Bad socks, bad coffee? Supreme launches new pro-edition ‘Barista Socks’ just in time for Christmas

  • Checkout
  • December 4, 2017
  • Elly Strang
Bad socks, bad coffee? Supreme launches new pro-edition ‘Barista Socks’ just in time for Christmas

New Zealand is well known for being home to producers of high-quality coffee, but the team over at Supreme may have taken this to all new heights. The coffee roaster has branched into a niche retail market and engineered a pro-edition pair of ‘Barista Socks’, which promise the wearer will brew ‘cups of excellence’. Idealog investigates the dubious testimonials backing up this product. Plus: Read on to win a pair of Barista Socks and some Supreme coffee.

Supreme are an independent coffee roasting brand who began brewing beans as far back as 1993. Due to being experts in their field, who wouldn’t believe them when they say, ‘Socks play an important part in the delivery of great coffee’?

When quizzed on the evidence backing up this claim, Supreme CEO Al Keating says there’s definitely a connection between good socks and a good cuppa. Forget athletes’ shoe woes, he says ­­– it’s baristas that blow through shoes (and socks) at a phenomenal rate.

“If you take a look next time at your local cafe, they'll probably be wearing a beat-up pair of Vans or Converse. We couldn't afford to start a shoe company, so we made socks instead,” Keating says.

Supreme first rolled out its Barista Socks in a red-and-white stripe design in 2016. They proved popular enough to be re-released in all their glory just in time for Christmas this year, alongside a brand-new design of ‘pro-edition’ Barista Socks.

The pro-edition Barista Socks were specifically designed to support two of Supreme’s baristas, Woohyung Lee from Camper Coffee (2016/17 NZ AeroPress Champ), and Dove Chen from Grey St Kitchen (the 2017 NZ Barista Champ), who represented New Zealand at the World Barista Champs and World Aeropress Champs earlier this month.

“We wanted to support them as they went to compete on the world stage. They were gonna need some special help and support,” Keating says, maybe slightly exaggerating what a sock is capable of. “They were going to live and breathe world champion barista attitude and style, so what better way was there for us to step in than shod them with the world’s number one Barista Sock?”

Supreme art director Doug Johns says the Barista Socks are the aesthetically perfect solution for baristas who take a lot of pride in their appearance and need to be seen as trying to look good, while at the same time not trying too hard.

“It’s a very serious business being a barista – you’re single-handedly responsible for the delivery of one of the most important parts of a person’s day. Sometimes, hundreds of times a day,” Johns says.

The stylish, checkered socks have that carefully curated look of ‘seriously-not-taking-oneself-too-seriously’, he says, hence their slogan: ‘Take yourself more seriously’.

Caffeine connoisseurs aside, you don’t have to be a barista to purchase a pair.

Anyone capable of internet shopping can find either the regular or pro-edition pair of the socks on Supreme’s site, but the sock's powers may go to waste, considering the write up boasts that the socks are “specially engineered for cups of excellence”, while each pair is “vacuum packed for ultimate performance and freshness”.

It’s also claimed the socks are 100 percent endorsed by the ISSA (The International Specialty Sock Association), a site that offers no further information on its organisation, but suspiciously features a picture of someone’s feet sporting Supreme’s Barista Socks.

When asked whether Supreme has stumbled upon a booming niche market through its Barista Socks, Johns says that everyone needs socks, so sales are good.

“We’re the art department, so we say pretty much everything’s going good,” he explains.

“We’d have to ask Jesse down the hall in the finance department for an accurate answer to that question.”

All joking aside, Keating says the Barista Socks idea was sprung from originally being a Christmas present for their wholesale customers and friends.

He says seeing as Supreme travels often to far-flung corners of the world for work, the team likes to take a gift with them, but coffee was becoming oh-so predictable. Socks, on the other hand, have many strengths: they’re lightweight, easy to pack, and loved by all.

“You know when your second favourite Aunty gives you a semi-stink pair of socks, but somehow, you still actually love them? Well these were kind of inspired by that gift,” Keating says.

“What gift does one never tire of both giving and receiving? Socks, right?”

You can’t argue with that logic. To win a pair of socks and some Supreme coffee, email and tell us your best ‘foot in mouth’ moment where you said something humiliating, like trying to decide between saying 'Hi!' and 'Hello!' to someone and instead coming out with 'Ho!' We'll pick our favourite. 

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Amazon attempts to track warehouse staff

  • Checkout
  • February 8, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Amazon attempts to track warehouse staff

Amazon has released plans to deck out its employees with wrist tracking devises to monitor performance. So far the tracking bands have warranted a much-deserved mixed result.

Read more

Ugg boots get a runway revamp

  • Checkout
  • January 18, 2018
Ugg boots get a runway revamp

The runway is a space for creativity and originality, with often the wildest visions becoming the most popular. The Y/Project has tapped into those wild visions heavily with a thigh-high Ugg boot at Paris Fashion Week.

Read more
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Smith and Caughey's pirate-themed Christmas window

  • Window Shopping
  • November 30, 2017
  • The Register team
Smith and Caughey's pirate-themed Christmas window

It’s the highlight of the festive season for many shoppers: the day when Auckland department store Smith and Caughey’s opens the curtains at the front of its store to reveal a tiny animated world that’s all about Christmas. The theme for 2017 is 'A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas.' If you've got or seen a great store or mall display, why not show it off on The Register? Just email a picture and a short explanation of the store to

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit