LÉ BENT is 10 years old this year.
At least, it is on paper. In truth, it was born a long time before that. Our story as co-founders goes back to the early 80’s. Two toddlers stoked and throwing sand at each other in a sand pit behind a semi detached house in Sydney’s beachside suburbia.
We grew up together by the beach and in the mountains and our paths crossed as we travelled the world and chased snow in search of memories and moments. We left corporate careers and professional skiing behind for the university of life. A van for a home, surfing, skiing big lines and snowboarding.
We linked up again in Val d'Isere where Simon was chasing big mountain lines. Anthony’s short detour to catch-up, turned into a long detour, and he didn’t leave. It was here that big mountains and alpine good times were lived to the fullest, and importantly for Lé Bent, the synergy of a foot, a sock and a ski boot was finely honed in one of Europe's preeminent ski boot fitting labs. We fitted everyone. From hardcore skiers in the Boot Lab, to rock stars like Paul McCartney in his private chalet. To us, bootfitting and happy feet translated directly into more stoke and enjoyment on the hill.
Working in the boot fitting trenches, we noticed the lack of consideration for socks, and how often a ski boot and sock ruined a day on the mountain. So uninspired were we by the available socks at the time, each season ended in the tradition of a bonfire of old synthetic socks. You could say Lé Bent rose from these ashes.
We took inspiration from mother nature, partnered with Australia’s leading scientific body the CSIRO, and crafted our award winning Signature Blend of merino wool and bamboo rayon. Back home in Australia, the first Lé Bent sock was born to ensure a sock never ruined another epic moment in the mountains again.
Both of us inspected every pair of socks we made in that first year. That was 5,000 pairs, scrutinized under a head torch, in a freezing cold garden shed in the middle of winter. Product quality was at the core from day one. Thankfully, they sold out.
We visited 50+ factories throughout Asia, immersed ourselves in the production process and survived a high speed motorway crash when the driver fell asleep at 3am. We got haircuts and went to countless tradeshows. We were surprised to get invited back after the second one, when we rocked up with no product samples, only empty cardboard packaging. Somehow, we still doubled our sales and celebrated by drinking beers out of foot-long bamboo schooners – our other, thankfully less documented, brainchild.
Despite our mothers saying it was the best socks they’d ever worn, it took the same message from professional skiers like Cody Townsend to convince us. We’ve since partnered with the world’s best and applied our Signature Merino Blend to all first-on-skin layers. Since the socks felt so good, it was logical to wrap the rest of our body in this goodness. Head to toe. Balaclavas, base layers and soon, merino mid layers.
After 10 years we’ve learned that a great sock and layer provides a feeling of stoke and anticipation when you slip it on. Plus, the knowledge that today is going to be a good day and comfort is guaranteed. It does its job selflessly, relentlessly, day in, day out, while you forget you’re even wearing it.
Plenty has changed since 2012 when we pulled on a pair of our prototype socks and took them off four days later. What hasn’t, is our blend still suppresses odour like nothing else and is now enjoyed by thousands of feet all over the world, across ski slopes, dirt trails and single tracks.
The best moments to us are still found outside, unplugged from the matrix in natural and urban playgrounds. From driving snow pelting your face while the wind whistles on wild pow days, to the unique sounds of Aussie bird calls in the bush as you snake down perfect dirt berms, to the smell of rain sizzling on the hot concrete in a summer storm as you pound the pavement.
How do you make a sock? Bent.
– Anthony and Simon, Co-Founders, Froth Lords, Merino Blend Barons