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

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  • 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. 

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Allbirds launches two homages to “the drunkest bird in New Zealand”

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  • October 28, 2019
  • The Register team
Allbirds launches two homages to “the drunkest bird in New Zealand”

Every year, New Zealanders embark on a light-hearted mock election to choose the Bird of the Year. The campaign trail is filled with spirited rivalry from each bird’s campaign mananger and bird trivia flourishes. For the second year in a row, sneaker company Allbirds has partnered with organiser Forest & Bird to launch a limited collection of shoes inspired by Bird of the Year.

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The weirdest thing I’ve ever had to write is a product story on a stool for passing stool

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  • June 26, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
The weirdest thing I’ve ever had to write is a product story on a stool for passing stool

This week on 'I can't believe this is a thing': It’s a pass to pass, a stool for your stool, a support system for your own sewage system. Honestly the fact that this is a product is mad. Apparently, the innovative thinkers at Goodstool may have a method to their madness.

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The new Apple Mac is out, good thing I have a spare 35k to spend

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  • June 5, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
The new Apple Mac is out, good thing I have a spare 35k to spend

Apple’s products likely lead the way in design, but the point they seem to get across each release is that they also lead the way in price.

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Hell Pizza challenges Valentine’s Day tradition

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  • February 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Hell Pizza challenges Valentine’s Day tradition

Yesterday, Hell Pizza challenged the idea of Valentine’s Day with a campaign promoting a night for one, rather than a night out with the masses at a restaurant or bar.

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Just in Valen-time: Krispy Kreme shows its love

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  • February 14, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
Just in Valen-time: Krispy Kreme shows its love

Where there is a gap in the market, it will eventually be filled. So, has reigned true for the poorly timed disappearance of Candy Hearts and Krispy Kreme’s new ‘Conversation Doughnuts’ which have seemed to take the place of the classic Valentine’s Day candy.

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Real Groovy record store moves location, again.

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  • January 31, 2019
Real Groovy record store moves location, again.

Popular record store Real Groovy is moving for the sixth time in 30 years, this time only making a small hike up Queen Street where it will resettle.

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