What does DANISH ENDURANCE stand for? What are the values, we believe in? These are a few of the questions we asked Nicolaj Due, our CEO, and Founder. Indeed, who better than him could explain the essence of DANISH ENDURANCE?
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is the person behind DANISH ENDURANCE?
I have been running marathons for more than 25 years. Running has shaped and continues to define a great deal of who I am. When I run, I feel free, and I feel happy. I can let go of everything. I can focus on pushing my body forward – nothing else. The focus combined with pushing yourself to the limit and sometimes even beyond is extremely rewarding for me. This is also pretty much my attitude to life. I always want to improve and I’m not very fond of giving up. You need to do a good job no matter what you are doing.
2. What has inspired you to create DANISH ENDURANCE?
Passion for the outdoors. My father took my brother and me into nature as soon as we were capable of walking. I have loved it ever since. But I also have memories of itchy socks and cold feet. Later, when I served in the military and started running marathons, blisters became my number one enemy. So, my brother and I had a genuine desire to see if we could do it better when it comes to pampering your feet. As with all good start-ups, we designed our first compression sock in my basement. It was so cold during the winter months that it was obvious that we needed something warmer. That was the start of our merino wool range.
3. No one better than you can describe the essence of DANISH ENDURANCE. What does DANISH ENDURANCE stand for?
I think our name is very self-explanatory. The Danish part is our dedication to quality and design. We design all our products in Denmark, where there is a long and strong tradition for design and quality. The Danish focus on sustainability and our ambitions towards protecting the planet is also very important to me.
I also believe in the Danish concept of “Hygge” and after living abroad for several years I understand why foreigners often see Danes as the “Happy” people. I’m actually very proud of my Danish heritage and I think we have a lot to offer. I hope we reflect some of those virtues in our products.
The endurance part relates to how our products come to life. We develop our products together with Danish Olympians and endurance athletes. Olympic Gold Medallist in handball Casper U. Mortensen always plays in our compression socks and Stina Troest, the Olympic 800m runner, trains in our various running socks and makes sure that we incorporate all the best features. When it comes to our hiking socks, they are tested to the extreme by Rasmus Kragh, who was the first Dane to climb Mt. Everest without the use of oxygen and Anders Hofman is the first ever to do a full Ironman in Antarctica. You don’t get better endurance testers!
We feel this approach is unique because we develop with and are continuously challenged by the best of the best. The key component is quite simply endurance. Furthermore, we proudly produce all our socks in Europe. There is a long tradition for quality knitting and the local production makes it a lot easier to constantly improve and upgrade our designs.
4. Who is this brand for?
Endurance is personal. It is about setting your own goals. Your endurance goal can be to run 5K for the first time in your life or to climb Mt. Everest without the use of oxygen like Rasmus Kragh, one of our great ambassadors. Rasmus was defeated by Mt. Everest twice, but he did not give up and that is why he succeed in the end. That is the spirit of Danish Endurance – We want to inspire a state of mind where life in physical and mental balance is not only the key to greater personal endurance, but it's the key to happiness.
To sum it up; we are serving people, who appreciate high-quality products made with Danish dedication to design and sustainability. Our customers love to push boundaries and they are attracted to the Danish story of happiness and quality of life.
5. DANISH ENDURANCE is mostly known for socks. How are these different from other brands’ socks?
From the beginning, we have been extremely dedicated to socks. We are nerds when it comes to socks and we are proud of it. We want to be the best at making socks and we always try to improve; there is still so much we can do in order to deliver the perfect sock. We constantly get a lot of feedback from our customers, and we implement that in our development. Our Merino Wool Hiking Classic Sock, which is one of my favourite socks, has probably been improved at least 15 times over the last few years. It is just small changes every time based on input from our many happy users, but it means that the sock continues to evolve toward the perfect sock. This is in my mind a unique approach and it is only possible because we have local production that is extremely flexible.
We are not into fast fashion; we like to see our products improve and mature over time.
6. DANISH ENDURANCE started with socks but the story does not end there. What are your focus products today?
This is a key question we have discussed internally for a number of years. We haven’t reached our Nirvana when it comes to socks yet, and we are super dedicated to doing our job even better. Having said that, we also want to develop our brand.
A few years back we started to develop male underwear based on the same values we apply to socks in terms of durability, comfort, and sustainability. Our male underwear has been extremely successful, so we have a lot of happy customers in this category.
Today I see performance socks and underwear as the core of our business. We are also strong in headwear and merino base layers, and we continue to launch new amazing products, but nothing beats our socks and underwear.
7. Being the CEO of a sports brand, you must be very sportive yourself. However, you must also be very busy. What advice would you give to people facing a similar lifestyle?
For me, running has always been about getting energy not consuming energy. It gives me an invaluable kick of endorphins every time I run. I have never understood people who say they don’t have time to exercise. It is simply not true. The time spent on running is an investment you easily recoup in terms of extra energy, and it enables you to stay more focused and concentrated when you are working. For me, running is also problem-solving. Over the years I have learned that when I run at a slow pace, I get in a state of mind where I’m very good at coming up with solutions to even complex problems or planning future strategies. So, I can almost say that I run as an integrated part of my work and I’m a much better version of myself when I have been running. By the way, forget about thinking when you are running at a fast pace. That is completely impossible
– just try to survive.
Recently I have also taken up biking. Last summer I joined La Marmotte in France which is regarded as one toughest one-day amateur races in the world climbing some of the most iconic mountains in France ending on the top of Alpe d’Huez.
It was truly an amazing experience and during the wintertime, I do a lot of gravel biking in the forests north of Copenhagen. I’m really amazed about how much nature we have in our backyard and biking is a great way of experiencing it.
8. Tell us the truth: do you always train in DANISH ENDURANCE socks?
To be completely honest – I often sleep in them. And yes, I always exercise in DANISH ENDURANCE socks. So does my family – but then again, they probably wouldn’t dare to wear any other brand, because they know I am always keeping a close eye on their feet! The first thing I look at when I meet a person is what kind of socks he or she wears. It is a bit scary but that is just the way it is.
9. If you should pinpoint what defines the success of DANISH ENDURANCE what should it be?
The fact that we never stop improving our products based on customer feedback and input from our ambassadors is extremely important to me.
We are also a family business. I founded the company together with my brother and we work together every day, but we also have an amazing team. We are 20 nationalities in the company, and I really get inspired by working together with so many different nationalities. It gives a very diverse approach, which I think makes us a lot stronger and gives us a better understanding of our customers throughout the world.
10. What are your favourite DANISH ENDURANCE products?
That is like asking a mother to choose between her children! It is impossible. However, DANISH ENDURANCE has developed so much over the years that we now have an extremely strong range of socks that can cope with almost any situation. We have developed a Long-Distance Running Sock. In my view, it is the best running sock on the market. We are working with a new “secret” yarn and the sock has fantastic features when it comes to absorbing the hard impact of long-distance running.
When it comes to underwear our Bamboo trunks are my favourite. You get addicted when you start wearing them because they are so soft and comfortable.
11. The final question: Where do you see Danish Endurance in 5 years?
We want to continue to inspire people all over the world to get out there and pursue their goals big or small because I think that is what makes you really happy!
Our ambition is to deliver the best performance socks and underwear the world has ever seen :)