Spotlight Series: Ruck Sox

There are a lot of great sock manufacturers in the US, but not many specialize in just one sock. So, when we found Ruck Sox, we knew they were unique because they only make one thing – high-performance rucking socks.

So, we heard from Killian Nowrey, the Co-Founder and CEO of Ruck Sox, and we knew we wanted to learn more about their American manufacturing story and what makes them tick. Killian was kind enough to share his story with us, which we’re excited to bring to you!

Check out our exclusive interview with Killian below. Our questions are marked with “AAO,” and Killian’s responses have an “RS” next to them. We hope you enjoy their inspiring story as much as we did!

Behind the Scenes of Ruck Sox

AAO: Give us a look inside the history of Ruck Sox. How did y’all grow up into the company you are today?

RS: When I left the Army in 2021, I wasn’t in a good mental state. I had lost purpose, lost being challenged, and lost a friend. That’s when I started to think about how to have that sense of camaraderie again, working towards a common goal with the people I care about and enjoy working with. I started thinking about all of the problems I encountered in the military. Of course, there were several, many of which I considered outside my control or ability to change. I then thought about my best friend, who encountered setbacks in training because he couldn’t complete rucks due to severe blisters on his feet, no matter what he tried.

Killian Nowrey, Co-Founder & CEO of Ruck Sox

This ultimately led to the idea of Ruck Sox, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone and had no desire to. I saw this as an opportunity to get the friend group back together after each of us went in different directions, either staying on active duty, joining the reserves, or getting out altogether. Fortunately, having worked together so much while in the Army, we know how each other thinks and operates, so we’re a very effective team.

AAO: What made you want to get started?

RS: When starting Ruck Sox, we knew we wanted to make the best sock for service members to solve the blister problem once and for all. Having grown up in North Carolina, I knew my state’s rich history in the textile industry and saw this as my opportunity to make an impact. From the beginning, I made it clear that I wanted to be part of revitalizing the textile industry in the Carolinas. Apart from the sheep who live on ranches out west, our entire supply chain is in North and South Carolina. We’ll sheer the sheep, comb the wool, spin the yarn, and knit the socks ourselves by hand if we have to before we ever consider offshoring.

Our socks aren’t cheap because they shouldn’t be. American labor is the best in the world. American yarns are the best in the world. Service members deserve nothing less than the highest quality socks on their feet. We could have much greater profit margins if we sourced foreign yarn and labor, but we care more about bringing American manufacturing jobs back.

AAO: How many U.S. based employees do you have and in what locations?

RS: 4, all in North Carolina.

AAO: Why do you choose to manufacture in the U.S.?

RS: First, we believe that service members should wear high-quality American socks. Second, and on a more personal level, our CEO grew up in North Carolina and wanted to do something that revitalized the industry that used to have such a massive impact on the state. Our socks aren’t cheap because they can’t be and shouldn’t be. American labor is the best in the world, so we’re willing to pay a premium. We hope our customers are as well.

Our Favorite Ruck Sox Products

Similar to other performance soc companies, Ruck Sox doesn’t have many SKUs. Here is a little bit more info about their Ruck Sox 2.0 socks – their latest and greatest performance sock.

Ruck Sox 2.0

RS: We spent over a year prototyping our socks and materials, testing them in deployed environments in Africa and the Middle East, before bringing our socks to market. We use RWS and Berry-compliant wool and knit our socks in NC with American nylon and elastane. We’re beginning to expand into more models, but our current Ruck Sox 2.0 is the sock designed based on what worked best while testing and prototyping.

The First Performance Rucking Sock

AAO: What do your customers love most about Ruck Sox and your products?

RS: They love what we stand for and believe in, all of which is backed by a superior product that stands on its own.

AAO: What makes your products unique vs. the competition?

RS: Our experiences and our values. We’re a disabled veteran-owned company that has essentially carved out a niche market that historically hasn’t existed. We make socks designed for military and first responders and own the registered trademark The First Performance Rucking Sock®. No other sock company is sponsoring The Tactical Games, Ft. Liberty 10-Miler, All-American Races, Run to Remember events, or funding high-risk operations to eradicate forced labor like we are. We like to say we’re the Black Rifle Coffee Company of the sock industry.

The Future

AAO: What gets you excited about the future of Ruck Sox? Where are you headed?

RS: (response from the Ruck Sox team) The unwavering support from patriots around the nation who want to support us and all of the American textile workers throughout our supply chain. We want to grow grow grow, which will help create even more jobs and prevent the current jobs from going overseas. Once our CEO finishes the MBA program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June, he jumps right into the Master of Textiles program at NC State. Combining those two powerful programs will help him lead the company to unprecedented heights, thanks to having learned critical technical and business skills.

Thanks to Killian and the team at Ruck Sox for sharing their story! We’re super excited for their future and hope you are as well.

About The Author



Mike leads research on the team, writes, and manages the YouTube channel. He’s been buying products made in the USA for as long as he can remember. It’s in his blood, growing up working in American manufacturing.