Plagued by tired, achy legs instigated by driving for hours, Michelle Huie, an avid runner and hiker, searched for compression socks to alleviate leg soreness. Finding few choices in two colors – black and skin-color nude “never seen on any human” – Huie acted on a “lightbulb of thought” and launched VIM & VIGR, a fashionable, trendy compression leg wear line.
“I created high-quality, stylish, chic compression socks that didn’t exist for healthy, proactive, athletic individuals – like me – who spend an extensive amount of time sitting, standing or traveling,” she said.
The noted “expression in compression” has grown to become one of the most popular brand of compressions socks sold in more than 1,000 retail locations nationwide including Pacific Beach’s California Sock Co., which showcase VIM & VIGR as their premier compression sock.
Store manager Cameron Blackburn described the leg wear as a perfect fit for a novelty company that offers “styles, not selective medical or sport socks.
“VIM &VIGR compression socks offer comfort and style,” Blackburn said. “Patterns are fun. We sell solids, striped, polka dot, and floral patterns. I love them. I wear them standing on my feet 15 hours a day.
“As a kinesiologist, I understand the importance of proper circulation and the aches and pains that come from sitting and standing too long. And they’re approved by the FDA. Nurses and travelers love them. They fly off the shelves. People buy five pairs at a time,” Blackburn said.
Huie partnered with vascular surgeons and vein clinics to learn the science behind the product. The bio-tech and pharmaceutical sales rep – still working her day job – discovered that compression socks decrease ankle swelling and muscle soreness; stunt the progression of spider and varicose veins; aid in muscle stabilization and recovery; and reduce the formation of blood clots and the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Huie also learned that while clinical studies prove the effectiveness of graduated compression socks, the term compression was/is loosely regulated.
“Today’s sock marketplace is loaded with junk because anything tight can be labeled compression without delivering its health benefits,” she said. “True high-functioning, gradient grade compression socks – tight at the ankle, loose up the calf – should work as an external, therapeutic pressure that increases circulation and facilitates stagnant blood flow.”
After extensive research, Huie found a veteran manufacturer who worked with advanced gradient pressure knitting technology. She learned the process of “threading ratios” of nylon, moisture-wick nylon, cotton and wool to design a myriad of styles, patterns, sizes and colors for her socks to mimic the perfect sock drawer. Colors and patterns became synonymous with wearing for work, sport and travel. Wool socks are listed for hiking; cotton socks for every day wear – standing and sitting for long hours; and nylon and moisture-wick-nylon socks for running and exercise.
Cotton and wool socks fit loosely with little elasticity – perfect for all-day comfort – while nylon and spandex are tight, elastic fabrics perfect for sport. Socks include a flexible toe pocket, a fitted heel and a structured leg to ensure a comfortable fit. Wide sizes are also available. VIM & VIGR products are listed also with the Food and Drug Administration and ISO certified.
Huie’s chic, contemporary colorful style component was built on her love of fashion. “I’m a fashion junkie,” she explained. “I sample runway designer color and pattern variations that trickle in from the fashion mainstream with our brand loyalists. Ultimately the customer chooses the final product.”
The athletic entrepreneur left no stone unturned. “Every prototype is tested and re-tested until we get it right,” she continued. “Technically, compression socks have existed since World War II. VIM & VIGR compression socks are a cool, modern version manufactured with cutting-edge, medical knitting machines for daily wear without cramping anyone’s style.”
Although surprised by her success, Huie remains adamant that she’s simply “scratched the surface with so much more to be done.”
“Everyone should enjoy the health benefits of wearing compression socks,” she concluded. “Our very definition – vim which means energy and vigor which means health – showcases what we’re trying to achieve. A trendy way to put our best feet forward every day!”