Business Beyond Tomorrow

Silver linings? Underwear goes high tech with metal

How underwear has gone high tech

Typical cotton underwear may be more comfortable than those made with synthetic fabrics, but one small business is making soft skivvies high tech by adding silver to its cotton fibers.

Underwear from Mack Weldon's Silver Series line consist of natural fibers like pima cotton with silver particles woven in. Silver has moisture wicking and antimicrobial properties, CEO Brian Berger said in an interview with CNBC.

"We personally like, aesthetically, a more cotton-based product, something that feels more natural, slightly heavier, somewhat more familiar. And what we find is in order to get a guy to change a half a step of a change from what he has in his drawer works a lot better than a full step," said Michael Isaacman, Mack Weldon, head of product and merchandising.

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Its underwear comes at a hefty price, with boxer briefs costing $34 and crew neck T-shirts $42, according to thecompany's website.

Despite the pricing, Mack Weldon has seen its revenue grow 80 percent year over year, thanks in part to repeat customers spending an average of 42 percent more on new orders, a company spokesman wrote in an email.

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Silver-infused fabric isn't new.

Athletes and weekend warriors have been wearing silver fabrics made by Swiss company Schoeller Tech, which says that its fabrics minimize odor by preventing the growth of bacteria. That company's fabrics are used by major sportswear companies including North Face and Columbia.

Silver Edge Gear also sells sportswear, as well as travel, baby and pet gear, using fabric infused with the metal.

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Mack Weldon later this year will give customers the ability to automatically reorder its products, Berger said.