From Footwear to Fashion: Why Mercato Led Stance’s $30M Series D


Founded in 2009, Stance originally set out to upend the $20B+ sock market through its free-spirited, fun, and rebellious approached to brand building. In the years since, Stance has not only managed to elevate socks from footwear to fashion, but has cemented its place in the pop culture zeitgeist of the late 2010s.


Why We Invested in Stance


More than a decade ago, most dresser drawers and laundry hampers were stuffed with (formerly) white, dystopian-esque piles of socks. Largely a cheap commodity at the time, socks were relegated to the function-over-form bin, and were most certainly void of any actual fun. That is until a few mold-breaking founders set out to transform the category into a beacon of self-expression and creativity.

Inspired by Skullcandy—Mercato’s first ever investment, and one of Utah’s most successful brands—and its revolution of the consumer headphone landscape, Stance was founded in 2009 with plans to similarly upend the $20B+ sock market. By focusing on infusing creativity and relentless technical innovation—think anatomical cushioning and targeted compression—into the design process, Stance managed to not only turn an everyday item into functional art, but also build a loyal, loud community of enthusiasts and brand ambassadors along the way.

From Dwayne Wade to Rihanna to Jimmy Chin, an eclectic, forward-thinking following of athletes, artists, and cultural icons were attracted to the company’s unique approach to brand building—free-spirited, fun, and a bit rebellious. Collectively known as "Punks & Poets," this group helped to elevate Stance socks from footwear to fashion, and consequently, propel the company into the pop culture zeitgeist of the late 2010s.

Today, Stance has sold over 110M units, opened dozens of brick and mortars, been named the official performance sock for both the NBA and MLB, and expanded beyond footwear into athleisure apparel, underwear, and headwear. While its offering has grown, every product line—from socks to snapbacks—still carries the same unmistakable Stance DNA that was born with the brand: a commitment to toe-to-head quality, creativity, and individual expression that is “Stitched Different.”