Michelle Huie, founder of VIM & VIGR compression legwear helps us up our sock game with designs that are not only style but contribute to our well being. 

Are all socks created equal? There are a ton of options out there when it comes to types of socks, even when comparing different types of compression socks! The key is research. Make sure you’re actually buying a true graduated compression sock because technically, anything tight could be classified as “compression,” but only graduated compression socks provide the health benefits that are documented in clinical studies, so not all socks in this case, offer equal health benefits.

A few things to keep in mind when buying a true graduated compression socks:

  • First, make sure the producer is actually using medical knitting machines when creating the socks. Adding extra spandex to a regular pair of socks does not provide the same health benefits, and you will notice the difference after wearing a pair of these socks for the afternoon.
  • Second, check that there are compression levels listed. For example, VIM & VIGR has two compression levels for our legwear, 15-20 mmHg and 20-30 mmHg because different bodies require more or less assistance. If there is not a compression level clearly marked, I would question why this isn’t listed.
  • The last item is to look that the company has listed their products with the Food and Drug Administration. 

What should you own in terms of the perfect sock wardrobe? Much of this depends on your own lifestyle. If you open a woman’s sock drawer, most of us will have different fabrics and type of socks depending on what we’re doing and what we’re wearing. We designed VIM & VIGR with versatility in mind. When I head to the gym, I often wear my nylon or moisture-wick nylon socks because I like a thinner sock for workouts. However, during the winter, I love wearing the wool collection because of the added warmth. We created different patterns available in four different fabrics so that our customers have styling and color options to fit their needs and preferences. A priority of mine in creating VIM & VIGR was that there was a stylish compression option for all year round use.
Do sock gremlins exist? Yes! We’ve had customers ask if we could sell just a single sock because one of their socks mysteriously walked off. Before we launched the Men’s collection, we had women tell us stories of how they could never find their VIM & VIGR socks, and later they realized that their husbands were stealing them! Luckily, we now have a Men’s Collection to keep the peace at home. You never know what or who is taking your socks!

What function can socks play in our lives in terms of health and well-being? You would be amazed at how a pair of the right socks can positively impact your health. What makes VIM & VIGR special is that we play at the intersection of fashion and function, which helps more people feel comfortable wearing compression socks and reap the benefits compression has to offer (reduced leg aches and fatigue, speedier recovery after tough workouts and/or sports-related injuries like shin splints and more energized legs). In the past, compression socks were all about function; the health boosts were undeniable but because they didn’t prioritize on some of the less medically focused wishes of the consumer, the socks looked like they belonged in a hospital. This left compression as always associated with illness, injury or old age, and alienated many people. By creating a compression line that is stylish and available in a variety of fabrics, we’ve opened up the benefits to a variety of people who would have been disinterested in compression beforehand. Also, there’s something to be said when you accessorize your outfit with a killer statement sock.
How did you become involved with the sock world?
 I never thought that I would start a compression legwear company. It all came about really from my own personal need, which is how I think many new brands begin. When I moved to Missoula, Montana from New York City, I found myself sitting for long periods of time at my new job as a pharmaceutical rep, leaving my legs achy and sore, and with new questions about my health. I mentioned my new sedentary situation and accompanying discomfort to a physical therapist and he recommended I try compression socks. But what I found was that the compression industry swayed toward either athletic gear or socks geared around medical use and was unable to find any type of compression legwear that I could seamlessly incorporate into my daily lifestyle. Thus, VIM & VIGR was born as a high-quality compression legwear line with stylish designs to be worn all day, any day. Now I think about socks so much, sometimes I feel like the woman who lives in a shoe.

What are the most interesting technological advances when it comes to sock design/manufacturing? One of the most exciting things we’re seeing more of in the apparel industry is the introduction of 3-D printing. This allows you create designs and fabric combinations more immediately, which VIM & VIGR takes advantage of. We use some of the concepts of 3-D printing in the development of our designs by using the medical knitting machines that provide a circular knit, which mimics 3D printing technology. In terms of compression specifically, the medical knitting machines have become much more sophisticated over the past several years. The impressive strides in technology have allowed us to incorporate more fun and detailed designs while still achieving a graduated compression sock. We’ll have even more patterns coming out this fall, stay tuned! —