A northern Iowa sock manufacturer is testing socks made of corn and plans to start selling them in March. Fox River Mills president Joel Anderson says the technology is “fairly recent.” Anderson says they have a “significant” customer base that likes environmentally-friendly products, targeted for the outdoor industry. Fox River makes “high-performance” socks for outdoor, athletic and casual wear. “We’re the oldest sock manufacturer in North America, based up in Osage, which a lot of Iowans don’t even know that, and it was just a matter of time before we pushed this envelope,” Anderson says.

The corn-based socks are a bit more expensive to produce. Anderson says as the technology advances and demand for the socks increases, the costs will probably drop to roughly equal that of the other yarns they’re using in their other socks.

How much will the corn-socks cost? They’ll hit the market March 1, and Anderson guesses they’ll sell for either $8.99 or $9.99. Iowa’s governor helped test market the socks. Anderson gave Governor Tom Vilsack a pair of the socks last week when Vilsack passed through Osage during the governor’s annual Walk Iowa tour. The governor says they were just like a regular pair of socks. “They performed quite well on the walk,” Vilsack says. Anderson says the socks wash well and come out of the dryer bright white, but they don’t know why. He says they’re still testing the corn-fiber socks to figure that out.

The socks are not edible, but Anderson jokingly says that’s not a bad idea.
“For the Survivor people, right?” Anderson says. Fox River Mills makes over nine-hundred varieties of socks. You can find out more on the web, at www.foxrivermills.com.