the history of socks


I’ve wondered some of the most random things at times and when I’ve wondered for too long that leaves me to A LOT of research. So, if you’ve ever wondered when socks were invented, who invented socks, or even caught your self wondering about the history of socks I’m going to pass on my research to you. Don’t worry I’ve cleaned it up and made it nice and simple. So, this should be an enjoyable short read filled with answers to not the most important thing ever, but hey, If you ask me, sometimes it’s unfortunate we don’t know much about the things we use every day of our lives.


We all know what socks are. It’s basically material used to cover your feet and often worn over them are your shoes. Unless, you’re not from earth than you probably wear sandals over your socks, but that’s a story for another time. (Actually, The word sock is derived from the Ancient Greek "sykkos", which referred to a thin shoe worn with sandals.)The materials most often used in socks consist of spandex, cotton, polyester, and others, but socks weren’t always made of those textiles. Instead, socks used to be made of LEATHER or matted ANIMAL HAIR! Could you imagine that? Leather socks? I wonder if the machine that makes knitted socks out of earthly grown materials were never invented, would my vegan friends have invented it?


Still, the machine that knitted socks only came about in the 16th century. Which means socks made of leather were being worn all over town. In the town square, there were swarms of people with diaper wrapped animal hair tied snug around their ankles covering their foot. “How’s that for town crier news?”


As sock evolution goes, the animal fur and leather was soon replaced by a knitted material. The “stocking” was originally attached to pants, why? not too sure, but its failure to make it in the apparel industry,  led to a sock that was its own article of clothing. The invention of socks no doubt was born of necessity, however it became a symbol of wealth, and who doesn't love to show off their wealth? The success of high end brands is based on that very concept.


The hosiery industry was revolutionized during the early 1920s with women’s attire becoming less Victorian and more modern. Legs were getting a lot of attention and embellished legwear was all the rage. A modern spin on the flapper style has made a comeback with fishnet stockings and racy printed knee-high socks.

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Today we have socks with an actual purpose. Compression socks for athletes, Dress socks for executives and fuzzy socks for the lazy. We have to assume that the first socks were meant to keep your feet warm, but that just wasn’t enough. You can now buy socks for specific climates, and various activities. Hiking socks, yoga socks, I'm waiting for watching TV socks to hit the stores.


Keeping up with the ever-changing sock trend can be a bit tricky. No show socks seemed to be a thing for a while until someone decided that “old school” was hip again and now we have to wear striped tube socks? Will we one day be sporting animal fur again? Curious to see how this plays out.


Sock swag these days is making the headlines on social media with non-stop sock selfies being posted and shared all over the web. From mismatched anklets to jewel encrusted logo crew socks, the sock fun is endless. Sock creativity mixed with social media is a match (or mismatch) made in heaven. Share some of your best Sock Selfies!


Using history as a guide, we can only speculate on the future of socks. Perhaps one day our grandchildren will be wearing state of art, multi-functional, biodegradable, color changing socks. For now, though, we all need to take a minute and appreciate the sock man, the creator of our favorite accessory, the founder of the most vital part of our wardrobe. Thank you sock man, for giving us socks. It’s the small and unnoticed thing that just keep on giving.