Norrskov’s exquisite design and unique wool quality has its origin in a personal accident - Kim Brogaard, owner and founder, has had disabled feet since the age of two. At two years old he plays on the beach and steps into buried embers from a midsummer bonfire and even though his father jumps into the burning sand to save his son it all happens so fast and the heat of the sand is so immense - embers buried in sand can be as hot as 800 degrees celsius - that the little boy develops deep, third degree burns on both feet. His father grabs him and runs out into the ocean to stop the burning while his mother runs for help. The doctors struggle to save his feet and during the next hours they consider whether or not to amputate his right foot to prevent the burning from developing into gangrene. But his parents refuse amputation and instead the little boy is flown to Denmark’s leading burn centre in Hvidovre by helicopter.
All skin and fat has been burned off, the toes on the right foot comes off and Kim is hospitalized for six months. The doctors save both feet, but throughout his entire childhood Kim must go through countless of skin transplantations on his feet - Every other year he has been hospitalized for three months in order to have skin transplanted from his thighs to his feet - and Kim has grown up with disabled feet as a condition of life.
“I never walk barefooted - my skin is so thin and tenuous, that grass feels harsh and tiles feel like sandpaper. When my skin is worn out, I don’t get blisters like everyone else - I get flesh wounds.”
This particular life condition constitutes the cornerstone of Norrskov as Kim Brogaard has spent his entire adult life building up great experience in wool and footwear. Today he is considered one of Denmark’s leading wool specialists.
100 Km’s March
Straight out of high school Kim joins the military service with a dream of becoming an officer. The medical examiner tells him to forget about it and finds him unfit for duty. But Kim won’t take no for an answer and argues with the doctor:
“You can’t declare me unfit for duty because I have ugly feet” - And then he declares him fit with an enclosed note that he has burns.
As an adult it becomes his dream to make a career in the army, but because of the continuous physical training, marching and military exercises it is practically an impossible achievement with serious feet injuries. However, against all odds and as a result of having an extraordinary willpower he sustains all pain and fights his way through a military education. He becomes a sergeant, is stationed in the former Yugoslavia as a part of the military police, then applies for the military academy and is accepted as one of only sixty, after which he becomes first lieutenant and subsequently captain.
All those years in military boots and thousands of kilometres marching in all kinds of weather, carrying heavy kit is a challenge to most people. To Kim Brogaard it turns out to be a painful daily struggle.
“Everyone who has been in the military remembers the long marches clearly. When we tore off our boots, everyone but me had big blisters on their feet, whereas my right foot was covered in blood. Burns perspire a lot more than normal skin does - therefore I need to wear natural, breathable materials.”
These circumstances have forced Kim to think about how to improve his everyday life and therefore his focus has always been on the latest development in footwear and socks. His attention has been pointing towards the outdoor footwear business in the US i particular, where the development has always been at the forefront.
“Talking to a boot expert I discover the new technical wool by a coincident. He knows a company, which is working with a modernized approach to merino wool where the fibres are thinner.
I find that I don’t get chafings like I did before and I feel that these wool socks help me. Therefore I can’t help thinking that they might help others too.”
The new technical Wool
Through the years Kim Brogaard tests a vast number of different products and wool proves - without comparison - to be the absolute best material for the feet regarding endurance, comfort and sweat absorbance. “Wool is simply the best of all materials - natural and synthetic - when it comes to the ability to carry sweat away from the skin, softness against the skin and anti smell. Wool absorbs moisture in vapor form and carries the vapor away from the body whereas synthetic socks can’t handle sweat until it liquifies and thus the skin becomes moist.”
“In many of the existing wool socks there is always a stitching in the wrong place which chafes, or the wool has been used wrongly with the result that the socks’ sweat absorbtion ability has been reduced or the tempering is poor.”
Kim Brogaard turns his passion into his way of life, becomes an agent for various American outdoor brands and builds a name for himself in the business. Few people knows more about wool, wool fibres, the functionality of and production with wool than he does - and Kim experiences that it is vital for the performance and elasticity of the product, how it is knitted.
Along the way Kim discovers the ‘new wool’, NuYarn, a completely new and ground-breaking type of wool yarn invented by the Australian The Merino Company in 2013. Merino wool is known as the softest and most comfortable wool to wear against the skin, but alone it is not durable enough for sportswear. NuYarn consists of a polyamide core surrounded by a thin layer of merino wool from New Zealand sheep.
Today Norrskov is a close collaborator with The Merino Company and many innovations are made with NuYarn’s design department.