Hugh Gaither, CEO
In 2002 after spending 27 years with Ridgeview sock and hosiery company, Hugh Gaither believed there was an opportunity to create a more technical, higher, performance sock that took advantage of the latest breakthroughs in sock technology. As a runner and someone who was passionate about being active, Hugh wanted to design a sock that would enhance the performance of runners and other athletes. He visited malls and sporting goods stores to do research and noticed that products in the “sports sock” category in 2000 were the same ones that he’d seen since the early 80’s with minimal changes. That’s when he came up with the idea of a sock with a seamless toe, a snug fit and using fibers that conformed to the foot to advance socks in the same logical direction as running and athletic shoes.
This new breakthrough product made a bold claim -- that it prevented blisters -- something almost every runner and athlete had experienced and believed to be unavoidable. His new socks were a hit. Under Hugh’s direction, Feetures has built their brand in run, footwear, and sporting goods specialty stores through product differentiation, grassroots marketing, and superior customer service. Since 2002,Feetures has grown with a national and international portfolio at over 4,500 doors in the US, including at larger outlets such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, Athleta, and Golf Galaxy. Internationally, Feetures’ portfolio includes distribution in 50 countries including China, Australia, Canada and the UK.
Since the beginning, Hugh’s main goal with Feetures was helping people to perform at their best. Hugh will be the first to tell you that his goal has never been about a number –not a revenue number, nor a number of retailers, not even a number of consumers – just providing products that help people perform at their peak.
In 2012, Feetures reengineered its sock with breakthrough technology called Targeted Compression. This new feature, combined with an anatomical design, resulted in a custom–like fit that was superior to the competition. Now calledFeetures Elite, this product took the brand to a whole new level. Running retailers and consumers around the world quickly embraced the new technology that delivered an enhanced fit and performance.
When it comes to successfully running a family business, Hugh attributes Feetures’ accomplishments to the fact that every day the company’s sole focus is to make the best performance socks in the world and treat people the way they want to be treated.It's important to Hugh to also make a positive difference in his company, with his employees, the communities he operates in, and in the world. To that end, he and the Feetures team are always looking for ways to give back, whether it’s through their continual work withCharlotte-based nonprofit organization,Let Me Run, which has a footprint across 27 states or their past partnerships withSamaritan’s Feet,Access To Success,Running Works, theMen’s Shelter of Charlotte, Hugh makes sure that Feetures as a company does more than just sell socks, that they also make a difference in the world the best they can. Just this past year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hugh worked with their partner and retailer, Fleet Feet, to donate 28,000 pairs of socks to hospital staff and healthcare workers at medical facilities throughout the United States.
This year, Hugh and the Feetures family are celebrating 20 years of making performance socks to support a healthy, active lifestyle. He still works alongside his two sons and a daughter running the company together as they continue to harness new technology to produce the best performance socks in the world.
John was born and raised in Newton, NC and graduated from Newton-Conover High School where he was a captain on the football and basketball teams.Following high school, he attended Davidson College where he played football and graduated with a B.A. in History.After college he spent time in California, working in the restaurant industry and as a counselor at an outdoor camp.In 2002 he returned to NC, and started working for his father as he launched a new business, selling the Feetures brand of performance socks.Initially, he helped coordinate the logistics of inbound product shipments, and helped with inventory planning.As the business started to grow, he became more involved with customer facing issues related to sales, product and marketing.He eventually took the lead in managing and growing our product line, and developing marketing plans.In 2012, he became our VP of Product with responsibility for all product design, development and sourcing.Today, the business has grown to 40+ employees, and sells products all over the country and all over the world, and the brand has become the leading brand in US running specialty stores.John continues to lead our product efforts but also leads day-to-day operations as Feetures COO.John is married to his wife, Sarah, and they have 3 kids, Jack, Ben and Hannah, ages 8, 6 and 4.He currently serves on the board of Let Me Run, one of the non-profit partners that Feetures supports.
Originally from Newton, NC, Joe went to boarding school at McCallie in Chattanooga, TN. He went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a BA in History. He then joined Feetures in 2009 as a tech rep, a role supporting sales. For the next few years Joe traveled to 49 of the 50 states on behalf of Feetures. On his travels he met with thousands of retailers and learned all about Feetures B2B partnerships with the goal of making Feetures their preferred brand of socks. After extensively learning the wholesale part of Feetures business. Joe took on a more elevated role on the sales team managing the sales force in the Western United States. Eventually, Feetures earned the position as America’s #1 running sock brand by market share in the run specialty industry. After a few years managing a part of the Feetures sales force, Joe’s brother John decided to relinquish marketing responsibilities so he could focus more on product development and operations so Joe took on the role of directing marketing. Joe helped create and grow a new marketing department at Feetures, making marketing a larger focus of the organization and at the same time developing Direct-to-Consumer as a sales channel. His team manages key partnerships from creative to digital ad agencies. Today, Joe leads marketing, ecommerce and customer service, three integral parts of the customer experience. Under Joe’s leadership, direct-to-consumer sales have gone from a minor part of Feetures overall business to become the fastest growing sales channel in the business.
In 2002, Hugh Gaither, a long-time sock manufacturer and industry leader, set out to create a new company focused on making premium performance socks for athletes of every kind. Leaning on his background as a runner and experience with manufacturing, he launched the idea for Feetures. He developed an original design employing new technology that combined compression and seamless construction.
This new breakthrough product made a bold claim that it prevented blisters, something almost every runner and athlete had experienced and believed to be unavoidable. His new socks were a hit.
In 2012, Feetures reengineered the sock once again with breakthrough technology called Targeted Compression. This new feature, combined with an anatomical design, resulted in a Custom–Like Fit that was superior to the competition. Now called Feetures Elite, this product took us to a whole new level.
Today, Feetures has become the #1 sock brand in U.S. run specialty stores. It is sold in over 50 countries and in national sporting goods chains like Athleta, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports. We have been recognized by Good Morning America, Runner’s World, Outside and New York Magazine. The key to our continued success as a running sock brand is attributed to tireless focus on product quality and innovation.