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Baby & children's hosiery trends emphasize usability, safety, design

Recent baby and children's socks, tights and legwarmers boast heightened comfort and protection, and novelty trimmings.

China suppliers of baby and children’s hosiery are ramping up efforts to enhance functionality, safety and appearance.

Slipper socks

Zhejiang Ubuy's pure cotton slipper socks feature nonslip silicone soles.

To improve warmth retention, more manufacturers are knitting soles in a terry construction. The towellike interior boasts good sweat and shock absorption as well.

Pure cotton is the most popular option for soaking up moisture. The fiber is also breathable and comfortable. Several factories utilize Coolmax and bamboo rayon for their perspiration management and quick-drying properties.

As regards safety, companies are employing nontoxic and accident-preventive materials such as organic cotton and silicone. The latter is incorporated as nonslip soles or grips in slipper socks.

Suppliers are also reducing the adoption of prints and embroidery. The first may contain harmful substances, which are sometimes absorbed by the skin. Meanwhile, the rough backing of sewn details can cause discomfort or irritation.

Further, to comply with the stricter requirements of buyers in the EU, products are sent to third-party testing institutions. They are checked for physical and chemical safety, and compliance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. In general, clients shoulder the inspection fees, but manufacturers bear the expense if the goods do not pass.

In terms of aesthetics, novelty styles are gaining ground, with some featuring mismatched patterns. For example, each sock in a pair has its own print. When set side by side, they can form an image of a cat or dog.

Makers such as Hangzhou Winwell Co. Ltd offer 3D releases featuring plush toy animal heads. A bell may be inserted in the stuffing for added appeal.

Recent releases come in abstract or polka-dot patterns, although traditional striped, checkered and cartoon character motifs are still common. Lurex, lace and rhinestones are the popular trimming options.

Bright colors are typical for babies’ variants. Those for older children are often similar to adult designs.

Product gallery

Children's ankle socks

These children's ankle socks from Haining Changhui are made of 80:13:7 cotton-spandex-nylon.

Socks dominate exports

Baby and children’s hosiery from China comprises socks, tights and legwarmers. The first accounts for 60 percent of total output in the category.

Pure cotton is the most common material for socks. The other options are nylon, polyester, acrylic and spandex. Organic cotton and bamboo rayon are typically adopted in high-end models.

During manufacture, the toe section can be stitched manually or via machine. Handsewn variants are usually more comfortable. But because they are labor-intensive to produce, these are at least 10 percent costlier and used only in upscale designs. Socks that have separate sections for each digit are 15 percent more expensive.

Prices are mainly determined by the material type and consumption. The low-end line is $0.30 to $0.50 and consists of socks. The pairs adopt cotton blended with nylon, polyester, acrylic or spandex. They are in solid or two colors.

Quoted at $0.55 to $1.10, midrange releases employ pure combed cotton or more than 70 percent cotton combined with nylon or Lycra. Socks dominate the selection. The trimming options are lace, rhinestones, plush toys, or 2-color striped or contrasting prints.

High-end hosiery is between $1.15 and $3.50. Models adopt combed or organic cotton, or bamboo fiber. The fabrics contain Lycra. A few sports designs utilize Coolmax. The majority of the selection consists of tights and legwarmers.

Prices increased about 10 percent in the past quarter amid rising labor and material costs, and the yuan appreciation. With these factors expected to stabilize in the next six months, quotes may remain at current levels.

As suppliers face resistance in implementing higher prices, export sales for 2011 are projected to be lower than last year. Some makers anticipate a 20 percent decrease.

Hosiery price guide

Ankle socks

Product gallery

Haining Changhui Knitwear Co. Ltd

Model: CH-CD-3
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 20 days
Description: Ankle socks; 80:13:7 cotton-spandex-nylon; nonslip grips

Midcalf sports socks

Haining Changhui Knitwear Co. Ltd

Model: CH-CM-77
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 20 days
Description: Midcalf sports socks; 80:16:2:2 cotton-spandex-nylon-elastic tape

Slipper socks

Zhejiang Ubuy Socks Mfg Co. Ltd

Model: UB-2
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Slipper socks; pure cotton; nonslip silicone soles, toe caps

Slipper socks

Zhejiang Ubuy Socks Mfg Co. Ltd

Model: UB-3
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Slipper socks; pure cotton; nonslip silicone grips


Zhejiang Ubuy Socks Mfg Co. Ltd

Model: UB-4
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Tights; cotton-polyester-nylon-spandex-elastic tape; 144N; 45g; custom designs, packaging

Novelty socks

Zhejiang Ubuy Socks Mfg Co. Ltd

Model: UB-6
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Novelty socks; pure cotton; 3D design

Note: This article "Baby & children's hosiery trends emphasize usability, safety, design" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to- business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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