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Our story


The birth of the idea

Swiss pioneer Samy Liechti was a recent graduate and had just started his first job as a junior consultant in an advertising agency. Young and still unfamiliar with the conventions of the business world, he was soon able to work on his first business meetingmeeting with high-caliber Japanese business partners.

As only selected employees are sent to business meetings with important business people, he thought it appropriate to change his clothes quickly. He put on two pairs of black socks from his stash, put on his freshly ironed shirt and tied his tie. And so he set off full of pride and self-confidence to the meeting with the Japanese.

The business side of the meeting went as expected and the outcome was accordingly satisfactory for everyone involved. Following the meeting, the entire delegation was invited to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony ceremony. Upon entering the teahouse, it quickly became clear that, in accordance with Japanese customs shoes must be removed had to be removed. And that's when it happened.

Total embarrassment. The boundless embarrassment. It was clear and unmissable. The socks did not have the same resume. The left sock appeared to be a strong black with a broad structure. The one on the right, on the other hand, was washed out in light black with a narrow pattern, and to top it all off, the big toe showed through the sagging fabric.

He would have loved to dive into the sink into the cherry wood floor or buried his head in the soil of the bonsai pot. He immediately had to bury his last hope that this was just a bad dream, and it became increasingly clear to him that there was no salvation. He had to go through with it.

Of course, there was no avoiding the fact that the Japanese hosts and the boss also had the the mishap. However, they played over the faux pas with great tact and human greatness. So he sat there in the lotus position, trying to hide his feet and never really being able to follow the course of the conversation. In the eyes of the hosts, he must have looked not only unkempt but also dreamy. But he just couldn't help it, there was only one thing on his mind: the damn socks!

Once he had got through all this and was back on culturally familiar ground, he gradually realized that his experiences with the Japanese must have a deeper meaning. Fate had chosen him to eradicate human humiliation from this world through inappropriate footwear. From then on, the mission was called: To rid the world of sock worries step by step. This gave rise to the idea of offering socks by subscription.

With the launch of BLACKSOCKS in June 1999, not only the first sockscriptionbut also the first online subscription. Even Netflix didn't start with subscriptions for films and TV series until it introduced the flat rate in September 1999. That's why BLACKSOCKS proudly call itself Swiss pioneer in the field of online subscriptions in the field of online subscriptions.


We get started

Just imagine: It's the year 1999. One year earlier, Google went online. The Internet is barely populated, only 11% use the Internet several times a week (that includes e-mails!). Only 10% of them have ever carried out a transaction over the Internet. And this year BLACKSOCKS goes online as a collective company - with only a black calf sock and a black knee-high sock on offer.

We are careful with our money. We make mistakes. No customers, no turnover, no brand awareness and no trust - that's how we started. But the sockscription is slowly taking off. By the end of the year, we have just over 1,000 customers.


We are in the black

The first money is earned and of course reinvested immediately. However, e-commerce is still a marginal phenomenon. Many customers made their very first e-commerce transaction with us.

And then we are also honored for the first time. In 1999, the renowned Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (GDI) presented the first E-SHOP AWARD for the first time. In principle intended for Swiss online stores, foreign stores were also considered due to the lack of Swiss stores. BLACKSOCKS received the "Site to Watch" label.


Now more than ever

At the beginning of 2001, the general partnership became a limited company and a part-time job became a full-time job. This creates the basis for further growth. By the end of the year BLACKSOCKS 5,000 customers. The first orders from abroad arrive.

We will be supported by the Design Prize Switzerland in the Service Design category. The jury: "With the socks in the subscription BLACKSOCKS solves a non-serious but constant everyday problem elegantly and with a pleasant dash of self-irony."


Not such a stupid idea

In May 2002, the jury at the Best of Swiss Web announced: "With the sock subscription BLACKSOCKS avoid annoying sock purchases. The seemingly absurd pairing of e-commerce and socks proves to be a clever idea: The market is large, the goods uncomplicated, the shipping simple. The subscription service brings regular customer contact." The high-caliber jury went on to say: "With a very good business idea BLACKSOCKS made a name for itself out of nothing."


More recognition

After less than 4 years, we take the plunge and ask who knows us in our home market of Switzerland: 26.9% of adults. Today it is over half of the Swiss population. K-Tipp & Kassensturz also know us and give our Calf socks Classic the top rating of good.

But the good press should not make us lazy. In October 2003, we launch a sock recycling service - initially for Swiss customers. Each delivery comes with a label for returning the used socks to TexAid. 80% of the socks collected were given a second life in the second or third world.



A new website for the 5th birthday. With pictures! With two full-time positions and the same sock partner every year, we serve over 25,000 customers from 30 countries this year. We want to celebrate this with a new sock: the cashmere silk sock. After all, successful men treat themselves to cashmere sweaters. Really successful men go even further.


We almost can't keep up

The founding partner Marcel Roth sells his shares to Samy Liechti. Samy Liechti thus becomes the sole shareholder. And then everything happens in quick succession.

As the only European company BLACKSOCKS was nominated for the "Copernican Award". The nomination was for the category "Microenterprises with a turnover of up to 100 million dollars". We were proud to receive the award in the Rainbow Room of the Rockefeller Center in New York on April 27, 2005, before the well-known photo service Flickr. The Copernican Award is presented by the Customer Experience Council to companies that place the customer at the center of their actions and their business model and thus achieve above-average performance.

To top the year off, one of our customers was on the Customer Experience Council and nominated us. We won and the hype surrounding the award has made us grow 70%. The 3 people from BLACKSOCKS are totally taken by surprise.


A breather

We gather ourselves. Although more and more copycats appear, most sock suppliers disappear as quickly as they arrived. In the meantime, we prefer to concentrate on new product launches. Short sneaker socks make it into the range and retain their place to this day.


The revolution: underwear

When the company was founded, a small contract was signed on a napkin stating that no non-sock products would be launched until BLACKSOCKS has 10,000 subscribers. In 2007, this number was exceeded and the desire for underwear also came from the customers.

At the "Ars Electronica 2007" in Linz (A), an installation by the University of Applied Sciences North-Eastern Switzerland caused a sensation. A matrix display across the street turned our boxer shorts into dolphins. Visitors could write a message in wooden letters, which was digitized and communicated across the street using underwear.


One million calf socks

While Zalando is just getting started, our oldest product, the calf sock, is sold for the millionth time. We were also tested by K-Tipp and Kassensturz as one of the 14 best-selling black men's socks - for abrasion resistance, fit after washing, linting, color fastness and manufacturing quality. We were the test winner with 5.2 out of a possible 6 points!

But don't worry. It can also be without socks: just in time for the start of summer BLACKSOCKS the license to go barefoot: As soon as the mercury at the customer's place of residence climbs above 27 degrees Celsius, the subscriber will receive a text message from the inventor of the sockscription giving them official permission to wear their socks barefoot. BLACKSOCKS and spend the rest of the day barefoot.



You can't receive an award every year, so we celebrate ourselves after 10 years. The year before BLACKSOCKS was described by the business magazine Bilanz as the dinosaur of the Internet. We are not extinct.

But with the Business Light a smooth, lightweight sock for everyday wear made from mercerized cotton. The new sock becomes one of our bestsellers to date.


Color in the dark

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for BLACKSOCKS. After more than 11 years in black, you have convinced us not to paint everything black. Now the time has come: the classic calf sock, our bestseller, is now also available in anthracite, navy and red.

But that's not all. Best of Swiss Web awards honored the most outstanding Swiss websites since the invention of the Internet in the special category "Simply the best" in 2010. The shortlist of the best sites and thus the shortlist for excellent, trend-setting Internet projects also included BLACKSOCKS. This puts the e-commerce pioneer in the exclusive circle of the five best Swiss websites "ever". The fourth redesign of the website is paying off.


Test passed

Samy Liechti, founder of BLACKSOCKSwill be the first to be awarded the newly created "Digital Lifetime Award" from the Interactive Advertising Bureau Switzerland (IAB) for his life's work. Meanwhile, we are praised for the third time by K-Tipp for our quality with an overall score of 5.

And then comes something the sock world has never seen before! BLACKSOCKS launches an iPhone app, socks with an RFID and a reader: Smarter Socks. The system allows the socks to communicate with the Internet and visits skyrocket.


More and funkier

Striped Business Light Socks, Urban Comfort socks made from organic cotton, shirts and polo shirts. The range is constantly being expanded. Most prominently, of course, with our Funky Socks in collaboration with Philipp Fankhauser. The colorful socks set the mood and bring music and a good mood into the wardrobe.


Just one click away

We now deliver to a whopping 104 countries! Of course, we want to make life even easier for all these customers. That's why we're launching the More Button, which makes shopping with the "More of the same" principle easier than ever before. One thought and a double-click is all it takes to order your favorite product.

We have also solved the problem of unsightly protruding socks in shoes. With Invivisible Socks for the barefoot look. The short socks are invisible in your shoes, yet they protect your feet and prevent chafing.



When we sold our first socks online in June 1999, we would never have dreamed that they would one day become millions of socks. Our bestseller alone, the Classic calf sock, has made a career for itself and become a million-seller. In the meantime, other models have also broken through the million barrier.

In 1999, the name was also the program. BLACKSOCKS only sold black socks until 2008. Today it's different. Our plain, patterned and brightly colored socks are growing every year and are certainly here to stay.

2020 until today

Good for people & the environment

Full of energy and zest for action, we have ventured into new sock and underwear creations. First and foremost: the Organic Comfort socks, organic sneaker socks, as well as the organic Boxer Albertine - all made from the finest organic cotton. Our socks have always been good, after all they are made in Italy from the highest quality materials - but the organic range is even better for the environment.

We are also promoting various initiatives to further protect the planet. Our plastic packaging is paper-softened and we are now even plastic-neutral.


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