While working as a product manager in New York City, Minnesota native Andrew Ferenci sat for most of the day and traveled a lot. “I was experiencing ‘potato feet,’” he says, “i.e., when you can’t fit your feet into your shoes after a long flight.” Spooked by a close friend who developed a blood clot while flying, Ferenci consulted his physical therapist.
The answer: compression socks. These elastic stockings, often knee-high, constrict the legs to promote blood flow. In addition to the reduced risk of clotting, Ferenci felt less fatigued from sitting all day.
The one issue: “Compression socks are ugly, expensive, and uncomfortable,” he says. We think of them as articles for the elderly, or for people with circulation-stanching conditions such as diabetes. But anyone can feel the benefits, whether they spend time sitting, standing, or putting extra pressure on their feet. “That includes athletes, computer engineers, expecting mothers, frequent fliers, servers and cooks, nurses and doctors, and the list goes on,” he says.
A natural entrepreneur (having sold embroidered sports apparel as a student at Wayzata High School), Ferenci launched the Comrad compression socks brand in 2017. It took two years and 200 prototypes for his team to land on a formula of comfort plus medical specs. Perks include fun designs—check out the indigo fade on the Dip-Dye Ombre, Ferenci’s favorite—and an anti-microbial fabric binder that eliminates odor.
Comrad joins a market of compression socks, along with Vim & Vigr and Zensah, aimed at younger, health-conscious buyers—the standing desks as well as the sitting. As Ferenci puts it, “Why wear socks when you can wear socks with benefits?”