You likely wear socks often, and you’ve likely found yourself slipping a pair on in the morning asking yourself unusual questions about them… But have you ever asked yourself the simple question “why do we wear socks”?
Surprisingly, the answer may actually be exactly what you’d think. With that in mind, the first pair of socks were of course nothing like the socks that we know and love today, and they incorporated wildly different materials, craftsmanship and designs than you may think.
The first socks were invented and sought after for the sake of people’s health and wellbeing — much like they still are today. The main difference in their original construction was our need for more intense coverage to stay comfortable and safe while withstanding any season and any surface, whereas today our shoes carry a lot of this burden. As footwear formed and the fabrics and styles of socks shifted, history saw socks evolve from their original protective purpose to a symbol of nobility and wealth, into an everyday every-person way to showcase our style and accentuate our outfits while we stay comfy and safe in our shoes.
So just how far have socks really been innovated since their invention?Browse Our Collection of Men's Socks
the history and ever-shifting status of socks
As we know, socks were needed to protect peoples’ feet from the landscapes and elements they inevitably had to endure, and not only outside as proper flooring and indoor heating were yet to take over. In the winter in particular, socks were an essential item to fight off potentially fatal frostbite.
As they evolved, improved techniques for creating socks also eventually created a shift in view from socks being essential to socks being an ADORED accessory. Colorful and crazy socks softer than ever before became a killer trend. And as the quality of socks and the demand for them continued to climb, the cost of them of course did as well. Socks became such an expensive accessory that they were mostly worn by noble families and the top earners who were able to afford them.
Ancient Greece is where socks first came into fruition in the 8th century BC. Commonly made out of matted animal hair or skins, and actually called piloi, these pelts were wrapped around the feet and bound around the ankles.
Sometime shortly after in the 2nd century AD, in Rome, the sock was innovated into something similar to what we see today. Animal skins and hairs were exchanged for knitted fabrics and fabrics were sewn together to make socks, or udones as they were known then.
Socks made their way to Europe sometime around the 5th century, but not everyone was so fortunate to embrace or even see the style. These socks were only being worn by the holiest, nobelist and wealthiest people — most of which were unsurprisingly associated with the Church, likey driving this “holy” style status. Known as puttees, the socks at this point were made from cloth and wrapped in a bandage style around the ankle all the way up to the knee.
While socks have borne many different names throughout history, it wasn’t until the 17th century that the name as we know it stuck. Derived from the Old English word socc (meaning “light slipper”) the socks were born anew. “Stockings” have been a popular name for a big chunk of their history as well, and the term is still used today, but socks have definitely stolen the title!You'll Love Our Fun Socks for Women!
socks as we know them today
As mentioned above, in today's age, we wear socks to protect our feet AND showcase our creative side and interests. Unique socks for women that feel good and look good are accessible and appreciated thanks to improvements in materials and the dying process, and superior quality men's socks in styles they actually like exist and are adored thanks to improvements in craftsmanship and quality features.
Even when it comes to the benefits that they offer, socks have come a long way. Many different types of socks have been improved upon for their own specific purposes, so along with wearing socks to showcase your style and accentuate your outfit, and to keep your feet dry, warm, comfortable and safe, there are still options that offer even MORE. More personalized than probably thought possible when they were first invented, socks can be found in styles like everyday all-purpose cotton socks, athletic socks, boot socks, dress socks, novelty socks and even socks for health and wellness based needs like compression socks and bamboo socks!