A sock is a piece of clothing worn on the feet and often covering the ankle or some part of the calf.
One of the roles of socks is absorbing perspiration. As the foot is among the heaviest producers of sweat in the body, it can produce over 0.25 US pints (0.12 l) of perspiration per day – socks help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas where air can evaporate the perspiration.
Thin socks are most commonly worn in the summer months to keep feet cool.
Light colored socks are typically worn with sports shoes and dark colored socks with dress shoes (often black or navy blue dress socks).
In addition, dark colored socks absorbs heat which in turn helps keep the foot warm while light colored socks reflects heat which in turn helps the feet stay cool.
Today, socks are created from a wide variety of materials including cotton, wool, nylon, acrylic, polyester, olefins (such as polypropylene), or spandex. To get an increased level of softness other materials that might be used during the process can be silk, bamboo, linen, cashmere, or mohair.
In ancient times, socks were made from leather or matted animal hair.
The first knitted items were invented in Jutland and date from 1500 BC.
The earliest sock-like knitted items were found in Egyptian graves in Antinopolis and date from around 500 AD.
But the first socks were actually made from leather or matted animal hair – called “piloi” in 8th century BC Greece.
A thousand years later in the 2nd century AD, the Romans were the first ones to sew woven fabrics together and make fitted socks (“udones”).
The earliest known surviving pair of socks, created by naalbinding. Dating from 300–500 AD, these were excavated from Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt.
By the 5th century AD, socks called “puttees” were worn by holy people in Europe to symbolize purity.
During the Middle Ages, the length of trousers was extended and the sock became a tight, brightly colored cloth covering the lower part of the leg. Since socks did not have an elastic band, garters were placed over the top of the stockings to prevent them from falling down. When breeches became shorter, socks began to get longer (and more expensive).
By 1000 AD, socks became a symbol of wealth among the nobility.
From the 16th century onwards, an ornamental design on the ankle or side of a sock has been called a clock.
The invention of a knitting machine in 1589 meant that socks could be knitted six times faster than by hand. Nonetheless, knitting machines and hand knitters worked side by side until 1800.
The next revolution in sock production was the introduction of nylon in 1938. Until then socks were commonly made from silk, cotton and wool. Nylon was the start of blending two or more yarns in the production of socks, a process that still continues today.
Luxury clothing brand Falke seling the world’s most expensive socks. The Falke Vicuna Socks are the first socks made from the wool of a rare animal called the vicuna. Each pair of socks is priced at $1,150.
The largest sock measures 9.93 m (32 ft 7 in) x 6.86 m (22 ft 6 in) x 2.49 m (8 ft 2 in) and was created by Project Undercover, Inc. (USA). It was unveiled at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, on 2 December 2011.
The Largest collection of socks is 660 pairs, and was achieved by Ashan Fernando (USA) in Berkley, Massachusetts, United States on 30 September 2020.
The most socks sorted in one minute is 31 pairs, achieved by Silvio Sabba (Italy), in Rodano, Italy, on 23 September 2016.
In support of her daughter Latifa, who proudly wear an odd chromosome in a shape of a sock, Meera Al Hosani created the campaign “My name is Latifa” to spread awareness about Down Syndrome. The purpose of the campaign was to collect socks to create the word “السعادة” meaning “Happiness” in Arabic. Along with their friends and family, Meera and Latifa collected and used 1,447 socks to achieve the record title largest sock word in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on the 6th of November, 2020.
The tradition of putting tangerines in stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks full of fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor.
Wearing socks and sandals together is a controversial fashion combination and social phenomenon that is discussed in various countries and cultures. In some places it is considered a fashion faux pas. But, ain’t that bad at all.
A sock puppet is a puppet made from a sock or similar garment. The puppeteer wears the sock on a hand and lower arm as if it were a glove, with the puppet’s mouth being formed by the region between the sock’s heel and toe, and the puppeteer’s thumb acting as the jaw. The arrangement of the fingers forms the shape of a mouth, which is sometimes padded with a hard piece of felt, often with a tongue glued inside.