Great Italian Compression Socks – A Short Story
Several years ago Peter Smiley, co-founder of BrightLife Direct, and I took a tour of compression hosiery mills in Europe. We heard about a small manufacturer in Northern Italy that was making a sock which had become a big hit in Europe. We found the small family-owned factory in the snowy foothills of the Alps and were shown their famous knee high sock. It was love at first wearing. A compression sock with a casual and airy softness and a classically elegant look.
The sock has a terrifically soft hand, is ultra-stretchy, lightly ribbed and has a one inch top hem that stretches to almost twice its flat size. It is woven with a blend of top-grade cotton, each strand wrapped with amazingly resilient European fibers to hold compression. Even with the socks’ success in Europe, it had never been distributed in the United States. We pounced.
BrightLife Direct began to sell the Allegro Italian Cotton Sock for women on our web site in 2007. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. In response to your requests, we added larger sizes for men and more colors. We now have five “unisex” sizes and five color options. This original sock was offered in a moderate 15-20mmHg graduated compression and we named it “The Swing.”
Soon we began receiving requests for the same sock in a higher compression. Back to Italy we go (feeling sorry for us is not obligatory) with marching orders for a 20-25mmHg firm version which BrightLife Direct would name “The Samba.” We introduced “The Samba” in 2009 in the same five unisex sizes and colors that we offered with “The Swing.” To date, this is the best-selling compression product in our catalog.
In the spring of 2014, we went back to Italy to hunt for more options - mainly the elusive OPEN TOE cotton sock. We found it - and launched it later that year - the Allegro Open Toe Cotton Sock.