Swiftwick is a performance sock brand with headquarters and manufacturing in Tennessee. We had the opportunity to ask the president of Swiftwick, Chuck Smith, a handful of questions about his background, Swiftwick as a company, technical socks for running, and even a really important question about Star Wars.
You’ve been the president of Swiftwick since late 2014, and you came from a background in product development, product engineering, and operations management. How have you been able to utilize these skills at Swiftwick?
One of the most valuable skills you can bring to a small business is the ability and willingness to wear a lot of different hats. I have been fortunate to have a breadth of opportunities and have worked with a lot of great people, and it is fun to apply those experiences at Swiftwick.
What would you say is one of your favorite things about Swiftwick as a company?
Definitely the energy of our team. We work really hard to provide great products and support for our customers, and we are able to have fun doing it.
We know you are an avid cyclist. Do you ever get out there for a run?
Time is always the most limited resource, but we have some great trails near our office. I enjoy going on lunch runs with our team occasionally.
What is your favorite, go-to Swiftwick running sock?
For trail runs, definitely the Aspire Four. In the gym on or on the road, I love our new Maxus line.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t wear performance running socks?
We encourage people to change their perception and consider socks as part of their technical running gear and not a fashion accessory. Whether running on the road or the trail, the sock creates a critical interface between you and the terrain. Why buy a high-quality pair of running shoes and have the interface between your feet and those shoes be a mushy pair of cotton socks?
What would you say differentiates Swiftwick from other running socks on the market?
Across the board, Swiftwick socks excel on three fundamental attributes. We have a contoured compression fit that provides support and doesn’t shift around during your run. Our fiber engineering and construction methods provide great moisture wicking. Plus, the combination of fit and moisture wicking create a blister free running experience.
We know Swiftwick emphasizes sustainability. Can you elaborate?
The most sustainable step we can take as a manufacturer is to make durable products. By making products that last, we reduce overall resource consumption versus selling pack after pack of cheap socks.
In his new book Door to Door, Edward Humes examines the incredible investment in transportation that goes into most products before they ever reach the consumer. We are highly committed to producing our products domestically, which greatly reduces transportation resources, and strive to seek out the lowest impact production methods available.
Swiftwick released the Maxus sock a couple of months ago. What does the Maxus have to offer the runner?
The Maxus provides the Swiftwick experience to runners who prefer a more cushioned footbed. It was very important that the Maxus retain the fit, moisture wicking, and blister control that is at the heart of all our products. Our competitors’ cushioned socks also tend to get hot. The Maxus was engineered to be super breathable on top to keep it cool. We are really proud of the result and the response from our customers has been great.
So, getting down to brass tacks… who shot first – Han, or Greedo?
Han. No question. If it wasn’t in the original theatrical release, it didn’t happen.
Give us a quote that inspires you (in life and/or business…).
As a team, we are currently reading Raising the Bar, the story of Clif Bar by Gary Erickson. It is chocked full of guidance for a growing brand like ours. A quote early in the book that resonated with us was, “Keep it personal. It probably sounds obvious, but I learned to build on my personal passions, my own life experiences and abilities. Do what you know, what you are.”
Thanks for your time, Chuck!