Taylor Shupe Helped to Make High-End Socks a Thing Through San Clemente-Based Stance

If you haven’t heard of Stance, you’re probably still buying your socks in 10-packs at Walmart or Costco—not that there’s anything wrong with that. But Stance is for people who want to show their feet a little appreciation. While some may scoff at paying $12 or more for a single pair of socks (up to $50, if you’re really feeling like a baller), the San Clemente-based company’s explosive growth over the past six years shows there are plenty of people who don’t.

“There was just no innovation going on in the marketplace,” says Taylor Shupe, one of Stance’s founders and chief product officer. “There was a need for quality for people who appreciated comfort. We felt discomfort was distraction, so we wanted to provide a product that was the most comfortable for the wearer.”

And that’s exactly what Stance has done since its founding in 2009. The company has become the standard in the high-end sock market: everywhere from the NBA to Disney, on everyone from skateboarders such as Nyjah Huston and Chris Cole to Rihanna and HAIM. But these days, Stance is establishing itself in fields such as men’s underwear and socks specifically for women. It’s making socks for skateboarders that won’t blow out like normal ones do and constantly looking to improve athletic performance and comfort for everything from running to basketball. But if you’re not into all of that, Stance isn’t going to try to sell you on its product, but Shupe knows you’ll probably stick with it if you try it once.

“We see a really high frequency of purchases among our loyalists,” Shupe says. “You try the socks, you put them on, you realize what you were missing out on, and it gets you hooked. We use the aesthetic as the emotional drive to purchase the product, but it’s that feel and that comfort that brings our customers back.”

With hundreds of designs used at any given time, Stance has no shortage of aesthetically pleasing socks to convince you to buy that first pair. Beyond floral print and stripes, Stance’s advanced technology allows it to design socks with images that are so detailed you can still identify Darth Vader and Nolan Ryan when they’re stretched over meaty calves. But Shupe—a San Clemente native—believes socks are due for yet another revolution. There’s now a program in which you can customize your own socks, and although you’ve already got a whole lot more options than just red stitching or gold toes, one of Stance’s top innovators says the footwear is about to go to a whole new level.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more customization in the future,” Shupe says. “It’s not just going to be putting your name on them or picking a design; you’re going to be able to customize the whole sock—height, material, everything.”

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