The Impressively Strong Case for Old-School Socks
Nathan Levy spent his three-decade career globe-trotting, helping one company after another make socks more efficiently. With various roles, he explored every part of the business from the cotton refining process to final marketing strategies and sales. When a consulting role ended in 2017 (he’d just spent a couple of years helping Stance get off the ground) he decided he wanted to revive an old method of sock manufacturing. So Levy founded Dueple, a company he could run on his own terms.
In the mid-1980s when Levy entered the industry, almost all commercial socks were made with either single-cylinder or double-cylinder machinery, but the double-cylinder equipment was preferred by brands. These machines allowed for double-knit socks, terry-loop backing, formed heel pockets and durable, comfortable constructions.
But over the next decade, Levy pushed his companies to move away from double-cylinder knitting and adopt single-cylinder methods. Making socks with these machines was fast and cheap, and great for a company’s bottom line. Though the quality fell short of double-cylinder construction — many single-cylinder socks even lacked shaped heels and toe pockets — customers continued to buy socks after the market shifted to single-cylinder manufacturing, and sock makers recorded higher profits than ever.
Through the early aughts, single-cylinder knitting greatly improved. The machines could produce a fine product, but Levy started to question whether these socks were a worthy replacement for the double-cylinder knits that had come before. “A professional who knows can tell you,” he said, “once you have worn double-cylinder, you cannot wear something else — you understand they’re different.”
In 2017, while Levy was visiting his daughter in Berlin, he noticed countless bicycle riders in high-cuffed pants and exposed socks. The visual display made a lasting impact, and Levi decided to start his own sock company exclusively using double-cylinder machines. So he founded Dueple with the promise of old-school, quality socks — the kind he once pushed brands away from — available in 31 rich colors.
Dueple has been selling its socks online since the tail end of 2018 and is looking ahead to bigger things, including potential store openings and a retail presence in the US. But for now, if you want to experience some of the best socks available for yourself, the price of entry is just $14.