MINNEAPOLIS - Michael Mader always enjoyed a funky patterned pair of socks.
In high school, he says his friends made fun of him.
“My friends told me the only way I was going to get a job in the real world is to cut my hair and stop wearing such funny socks," Mader jokes.
He heard them, but didn’t fully take their advice. The 24-year-old still rocks the brightly patterned socks and wears his hair long. Almost two years ago, he suffered a traumatic brain injury on his longboard. He hit a crack, fell off and hit his head. The injury put him out of commission for an entire semester of college. The doctors told him to do nothing but recover and heal.
“That gets boring after a while," he says. "I wanted to come up with a way to make a difference in my own life and the lives of others, too.”
That’s where the idea for Hippy Feet socks came from, with nothing but time to think. The socks are made mainly from recycled fabric and have different colors and designs.
Part of Mader's business model is buy one, give one. For each pair sold he gives a pair of socks to someone in need, homeless or on the streets. Much of his work is focused with YouthLink, an organization that helps the underage homeless.
Angel Sandro works at YouthLink and partners with Mader on giving back.
“Socks are important," says Sandro. "You might not think they are, but I hand out maybe 20 pairs a week to young people.”
“I like to say we’re good at feet and good at heart and that’s the mentality," Mader says.
To learn more about Hippy Feet socks visit the website.