Outdoor apparel and footwear firm Sorel Corporation has signed a licensing agreement with hosiery maker Crescent Inc for the design, manufacture and marketing of men's, women's and children's socks.

The agreement, which covers the North American market, will see Sorel-branded cold weather socks reach stores by autumn 2004.

"Socks are a natural extension of our cold weather footwear collection and we are very pleased to associate ourselves with Crescent, a company that is recognised as a premier manufacturer of socks," Sorel president Ed Howell said.

Due to the highly specialised design and production of performance cold weather socks, Sorel opted to pursue a license agreement rather than create the new collection in-house.

"Our relationship is a perfect fit because Sorel has long stood for products that withstand the elements and so do our socks," Crescent vice-president of sales Pete Glidewell said.

Crescent is based in Niota, Tennessee, while Sorel, a division of Columbia Sportswear Company, is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.