Made in America Holiday Gift Guide — merino wool socks, gloves and sock monkeys

merino wool sockssock monkeyCall me boring — or call me quaintly traditional — but we always give and get socks in my family at Christmas. Doesn’t everybody? Warm toesies are the best… and, hey, socks these days can be cute as a button. I am a super fan of merino wool, and own lots of Smartwool socks, but now, I am happy to know that I can buy merino wool socks from several places Made in the USA — and they are even priced about 25% better than the Smartwool. Thanks to reader Chris, who found Made in America socks from Fox River Mills, which is based in Appleton, Wisconsin, with manufacturing in Osage, Iowa. The company has an expansive line of socks for men, women and children. They also have unfashionably — errr, retro — ragg wool gloves and mittens… and, their socks are used for the famous sock monkey. 

sock monkey hat

Sock monkey hat — too cute!

More About Fox River:

Fox River® is America’s original sock brand. As makers of the Original Rockford Red Heel®, the Monkey Sock, Fox River’s products date back to the 1880s. But their

socks today aren’t your great grandfather’s socks. Infused with innovative technologies and over a century of experience woven in, nothing beats these socks for performance and comfort. With clever engineering you can feel, there’s no wonder they are guaranteed. Fox River Mills, Inc. is a privately held company manufacturing performance socks by 200 of the friendliest folks in Osage, Iowa.

Link: Fox River. And I see they have free shipping through Nov. 23.

Meanwhile, John Briggs of points to several other Made in America sock manufacturers.:

Pam: Other U.S. made brands are the grandaddy of U.S. sock manufacturers, Wigwam Mills of Sheboygan Wisconsin, Soyad and Zkano. Hope that helps. Stop by my blog,, for other great American made products. All the best, John Briggs

Regarding smartwool — their website says 90% of their socks are knit in the U.S., and that apparel and accessories also may be made in a number of other countries.

And Megan B. from added this find: Darn Tough socks, milled and manufactured in Northfield, Vermont. Yo, I love these, too, especially because they have all the wild color combos — several shown above — Made in the USA. Megan said she nabbed her pair at Marshalls.

Thanks, Megan. And, keep the recommendations for Made in America products coming, readers, I really appreciate it!


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. Chris says


    I stumbled across the Fox River Mills site while looking for sock monkeys – a toy my mother used to make, out of old socks.

    The company provides instructions on how to make the sock monkeys.

    I’ve been wearing the socks for work (I’m on my feet and moving for about 7.5 hours out of an 8 hour day) and they seem to hold up really well.

  2. Christa says

    Hi Pam!
    I found this website when looking for things made in America…and they seem to have everything from organic clothing to…well, just take a look!


    Happy browsing!

  3. Trina Bobrowski says

    These posts are great! My goal this year was to buy all my gifts made in America. Alas, I am having a very hard time in the toy department, yes there are web sites with USA toys but they are more for older kids or made of wood. I have two little girls and unfortunately they wouldn’t like these gifts. Have you come across anything on the web with more popular toys, like at the stores that are made in the USA?

    • pam kueber says

      I’ll keep an eye out, Trina. I am doing a lot of research… it’s harder than I thought it would be, but that’s the problem, I guess….

      • Trina Bobrowski says

        I’ve looked at the green toys web site. I have a 5 year old girl who want’s Barbie type dolls, or leap frog type items, these are not made in the USA. Actually when I went to a couple of stores, 99% of the toys were made in China even Melissa and Doug which I thought was USA. Only thing I found was Playmobile which is from Europe and another Canadian made toy group, that’s it! Games like Candy Land are still made in the USA. You have to be careful though because some of the Made in America sites say the items are made in America but they aren’t, they may be distributed by a small American company, like Bryer Horses, I was so excited to find that site because they have Barbie type dolls and horses but when I called the corporate office they said the toys were made over seas!

    • Meridith says

      You might check for handmade, very sweet toys, clothes, and decor items. You can get custom made Waldorf style dolls–along with lots of clothes and accessories, doll houses with (mid mod!) furniture, felt and clay play food, tutus and dress up items, hand knit, crocheted, or sewn stuffed animals, and lots of fa-fa bedroom decor, blankets, slippers, and clothes.

      My 2 year old son is getting an Etsy Christmas with bedding for his new “big boy” bed, a roll-up chalkboard, felt food for his play kitchen, and some wool “longies” (aka cloth diaper cover).

    • pam kueber says

      Rebecca, I have continued to research and build on this story. Smartwool says 90% of their socks are knit in the U.S. – good news for your cosy toesies (and mine). Also check out the VT company I’ve added…

  4. Carrie says

    I have been looking for made in USA socks since the company I used to buy from went overseas. I placed an order today and look forward to them, thanks!

  5. Melanie says

    I’m so glad you shared this site. I have so much trouble finding warm wool women’s socks (wow, say that three times fast!), now I know where to go. It’s so nice to be able to order online too!

    • rechercher says

      I received Cabot and Sons cotton socks for xmas and I love them. I will be on the lookout for this brand from now on, they are great socks. So glad to see they are Made in the U.S.A.

      • Jackie says

        Whittle Shortline trains are made here in the St. Louis area–if you have a chance, visit the shop in an old train depot. Their products are beautiful, and a great way to transition a little one from Thomas trains to “real” model trains (an oxymoron, I know). The Whittle tracks and trains are exactly compatible with the Brio Thomas trains, but are painted to represent engines and cars of classic American train lines like Union Pacific and Burlington Northern. My son hasn’t played with his in years, but I still can’t bring myself to get rid of them!

  6. Patty says

    I like Smart Wool socks – great product for sports whether you ski, hike, etc. I also LOVE my Thorlos – made in American. I especially love the pink thick cushion distance walking sock. I’ve been wearing them to work. Another great choice for sports. Both sock brands cost a little more, but they are an affordable gift and the wearer will get long, comfortable wear. In the end, they last longer than cheaper socks, I think. Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, these socks are great for walking, shopping, work, etc. You can buy both brands at your local sporting goods store or chain sporting goods store.

      • Sara in WA says

        Love Smart Wool socks too. My sister asked me last night what I want for Christmas and I said navy small wool socks. She said “me too!” We always think alike. Drawer full of socks but always reach for the smart wool.

  7. BETSY says

    As a resident of Appleton, WI for 19 years,

    you have made me extra proud today!

    I read your blog every single day —

    it takes me back —

    and that, of course, makes me smile!

    Thanks again,

  8. Jamie D says

    Oooh, I adore my Smartwool socks and have been slowly replacing all my older socks with Smartwool since I’ve discovered them. I was glad to see the MADE IN USA label on my two newest pairs. I’ve always loved Wigwams, too. I’m still wearing three pairs of Wigwam ragg wool socks that are at least 13 years old, not a single hole or thin spot in them.

    I’ll definitely be putting Darn Tough and the Fox River sock monkey socks on my wishlist! I work outdoors and the early spring is always freezing cold and very rainy here. Standing around for hours and hours with cold wet feet is the worst. 😛 Warm natural wool socks are the BEST.

  9. vee says

    I second the love and recommendation for Fiestaware China. They make so many things besides dishes that are suitable for gifts and it is all made in the USA.

    Another great gift resource is Hall China. Check out those teapots on their webiste and again, all made in the USA. I gave a Hall Owl cookie jar to a cousin who loves owls for her 60th Bday a few years ago and she told me her love of Owls as decor was inspired by the same cookie jar in a childhood friend’s kitchen.

  10. JKaye says

    I checked out the site. He features a Filson women’s timber jacket that I got for my daughter last Christmas. She is a forester and actually wears it to work in, but it is so sharp that she also wears it out on the town (after picking the burrs off, of course). The quality is great and it will last forever. My husband has a Filson wool vest that he wears to work a lot in the winter because his office is so cold.

  11. Nathan says


    Cheers on the Made in USA section – I buy US made as often as I can find it.

    Is there a reason why you don’t have Dishmaster in this section?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *