Hirsch Natur is one of Germany's oldest hosiery knitting mills established in 1928 and are founding members of the International Association of Natural Textiles (IVN). The factory is certified to produce according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and to the highest global Standard for natural Textiles “IVN-Best”and is monitored every year by a an independent Certifier (presently IMO/Switzerland).
Merino wool is the perfect fibre for socks as it works in harmony with the human body due to its similarity to human hair. In contact with sweat the fibre surface turns to sour pH-values hampering the development of bacteria and fungi. This environment causes the skin to tighten, avoiding blisters even on long hikes. For that reason you should wear woollen socks only for one day, and then air them for two days. It is sufficient to wash socks worn/aired like this every 2 months. Most washing detergents are alkaline and neutralise the above mentioned effect so you should only wash Hirsch wool socks with gentle wool detergents or shampoo, and if possible by hand.
It's surprisingly hard to find all natural wool socks for children in Australia. Hirsch Natur's Merinos are from certified organic farming in Patagonia where the climate, with temperatures below zero, is better for the sheep than the hot and dry climate in Australia. Many of the parasites causing problems in Australia don’t thrive in Patagonia. Therefore treatments like Mulesing are not necessary and of course prohibited in organic farming. Organic sheep farmers place great emphasis on healthy and species appropriate husbandry as opposed to maximising profits. The farmers accept a greater work load for the benefit of animal welfare resulting in better wool quality. Only organic feed is used, synthetic additives are not permitted. Preventative chemical treatments are not allowed. The yarn is spun in Europe. Dyeing, knitting and manufacturing is done in Germany by Hirsch Natur.
Sustainability is important to Hirsch Natur. Since 2009, half of the energy used by the factory comes from power generated by solar cells, and the production waste as well as the packaging material for the yarns is completely recycled by local partners. Water consumption for the process of prewashing socks is kept as low as possible.