NAIGAI develops high-quality socks that help solve issues which concern the elderly, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.
Founded in 1920, NAIGAI has a rich history in sock making, providing high-quality products that are notably more comfortable, durable, and higher performing than those manufactured by its competitors.
Speaking to NAIGAI president Kenji Imaizumi, it is easy to sense his passion for his company’s products and how they can make a true difference in the world.
Through innovation and R&D, carried out at the state-of-the-art NAIGAI Lab, the company is developing products aimed at making users’ lives better, including products specifically designed for women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
“Our company’s primary policy has always been to prioritize quality. This policy has been upheld for the entire 100 years of our establishment,” says Mr. Imaizumi. “Our goal is to provide value that exceeds customer expectations.”
Turning to the technical aspects that ensure the superior quality of NAIGAI’s socks: “We have focused on the comfort of the rubber inserted into the sock and achieved this comfort by combining natural and synthetic rubber. Natural rubber is soft but lacks durability, while synthetic rubber offers durability, but is not as soft and leaves marks on the skin,” says the president.
“It took considerable time to develop the technique to successfully blend the two materials, and we eventually achieved it. Other apparel normally uses spandex, which can cause discomfort and leave marks on your skin. In comparison, NAIGAI products are soft and durable.”
He adds: “Our founder’s goal was to develop an ideal rubber yarn that combines the best qualities of both materials, leading to the creation of our NDX product.”
One of NAIGAI's latest product innovations, ‘SUASiC’ has been billed as “as the sock you don't wear", providing odor resistance, slip resistance and incredible comfort for those requiring the sockless look. ‘SUASiC’ was designed to address the concerns of women who wear pumps and sandals in the summer, explains the president.
“When they wear pumps or sandals barefoot, their feet would become sticky, slip, or could possibly even get hurt. It could also damage their shoes. ‘SUASiC’ doesn’t slide around in the shoe, providing a solution to issues such as friction and blisters. The gripping capability of the fabric on the foot prevents any sliding and eliminates the discomfort that many people complain of. We are currently developing it for men also.”
The development of products such as SUASiC serves as testament to NAIGAI’s commitment to solving customer issues. And that includes more complex issues encountered by particular customer groups with special needs, such as the elderly, people with disabilities and pregnant women.
With Japan’s population aging rapidly, NAIGAI has placed particular focus on the elderly, who often encounter problems such as foot pain, joint pain, hip pain, or swelling feet. In response, NAIGAI is focusing on developing socks and services to address these specific issues.
As people with disabilities have similar concerns as the elderly, the company has also focused on products for this customer segment also, such as its “Socks for Everyone”（みんなのくつした）brand.
When it comes to Femtech, NAIGAI has developed innovative products such as “TOTONO” to address issues faced by women at different stages of life, with a focus on improving blood flow. For example, one of its products utilizes a terahertz artificial ore called TERAX, which is known for its trillion times-per-second far infrared molecular vibrations.
“We grind this mineral rock and print it onto the sock. This promotes blood circulation and blood flow throughout the body and increases body temperature at the extremities.” explains Mr. Imaizumi. “Utilizing this artificial mineral enables the creation of vibrations that positively impact blood flow and other water substances in the body. By promoting blood circulation, this helps protect the body from becoming cold and fatigued.”
With such innovative products, Mr. Imaizumi sees NAIGAI as much more than a sock manufacturer, but a “Leg Solutions Company”. His aim now is to bring these solutions to millions more customers worldwide.
“We want to resolve the issues and concerns people have with their legs and feet worldwide. It’s part of our rebranding effort. We are already supplying Asia, America and Europe, including socks under several brands.”