SmartWool is a leader and innovator in the outdoor-based, performance merino wool sock and apparel market.

The Story

SmartWool was founded in 1994 by two New England ski instructors who pioneered the wool performance category by building an authentic brand grounded in functional and purposeful innovation. Using a unique technology and proprietary materials sourcing process, SmartWool had perfected the no itch, no shrink approach to wool performance base-layers.

After falling in love with the brand’s extraordinary comfort and performance, and getting to know the Founders, Stripes group invested in SmartWool in early 2003. Stripes believed they could work with the Founders to help expand SmartWool’s offering beyond socks to premium wool-based apparel and accessories both domestically and internationally. Ken Fox served as Chairman and as a team, Stripes and SmartWool invested significantly in building out the Company’s management team to support the growth of the business and focused the Company’s brand positioning and product offering to highlight what SmartWool did best: state of the art, merino apparel products. Under Stripes’ ownership, the Company grew its revenues and profitability considerably and moved into a beautiful headquarters in Steamboat, Colorado.

In late 2005, Stripes Group realized their investment in SmartWool through a sale to The Timberland Company (NYSE: TBL). SmartWool remains headquartered in Steamboat Springs and is now operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Timberland.