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Origins of the Humble Sock

Updated on May 24, 2013

Who invented socks?

My feet are always cold unless the outside temperature is at least 35 - 40 degrees centigrade. ! This is true.

This or course means that l never go barefoot anymore, not like l did in my happy , hippy days.. Socks are essentials for me now.

As l pulled on my lilac mixed with deep purple, and silver sparkled pair today, a thought just´óut of the blue´came into my mind.. ¨l wonder where the sock came from originally?

l wondered who first thought of them. Someone like me , l suppose with permanently cold feet.

l discovered that socks go back rather a long, long way.. The earliest models were made from animal skins, gathered up and wrapped round the ankle.

Earliest known surviving cloth socks from 300 ---500   a.d.   On display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.
Earliest known surviving cloth socks from 300 ---500 a.d. On display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.
12 century cotton sock found in Egypt
12 century cotton sock found in Egypt

It seems the Greeks wore socks made from matted animal hair (sounds really comfortable, eh?), but apparently they were warm and that was the whole point of a sock.

l can´t seem to find a name of the original designer of these masterpieces of clothing, but whoever he/she was , l bet they didn't expect to see the socks of the last century and today,.

Pink sparkly socks, black socks with silly slogans on them, tiny white baby socks with lace all around the edges for little baby girls socks.

Ankle socks, school-girl knee length socks, over the knee socks, thigh- high socks !!!!

Wow! What a list there is.!

No Comment.!
No Comment.!

Hand made mohair socks?

Some friends of mine went on a cruise in order to see the Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis to give them their correct title.They got onto the ship at Norway and from there it just seemed to be The Arctic Circle to my friends. Guess what present they brought back for me?

Or course the handmade very warm course--hair socks not mohair as l´d thought,, though obviously not tampered with as to modern dyes etc, judging by the ghastly grey colour and ITCH!!???? Itch is putting it mildly. The thing is they are so big l can put them on top of another pair of soft socks, and then l´m warm and l don´t offend my friend by not wearing them.

They cannot guarantee on these cruises that you really will see the Northern lights, because everything depends on the weather. My friends were lucky enough to see the sight and are still raving about how beautiful it was. Magnificent, they said, never seen anything like it.

It´s often the case that something natural is far more beautiful than something man made.

Socks, however are definitely man made from the early Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans

right down to my Betty Boop socks of today or the simple white ones with red hearts all over them..

Sometime during the 1980s, there was a craze for mens´socks to always be white. Yes just pure white.! Due to the fact that men appeared to be wearing the same pair of socks for a week, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was actually the case, unless of course, you were a wife, then you´d know that unless a new pure white pair of socks were produced every day of the week, your man would look like he was wearing dirty grey ones by day 2..

Thankfully the phase passed but not before we´d had the fashion of luminous green socks, luminous yellow, or (the worst, l think) luminous pink socks. Very manly. Who thought that one up? You needed to be wearing sun glasses to look at them and oh dear, yes my husband loved them, worse, he loved wearing one pink and one green or yellow. Odd socks as well as luminous hideous colours.! Washing his socks in those days put .me at risk of going blind , l felt.

On the other hand how could l complain when l love the ridiculous socks that l do for myself such as the very very striped ones. All colours of the rainbow kind of stripes.

 O my gosh not with flip flops, please.
O my gosh not with flip flops, please.

My husbands´toned down socks , since we´re older and all grown up(Ha Ha), tend to be black, but they´ll have something like ¨worlds´best grandad ´¨on them in bright red !

His favourite pair are the black ones that tell him in bright red¨My fab dad¨.bought for him by our daughter , who although 36 years old with a family of her own is still absolutely ¨Daddy´s girl¨¨ Not in any weird way)

Baby socks are my favourite at the moment because with a new baby boy in the family l can´t go for the old´-fashioned lacy ones l used to put on my daughter, so boys socks l find are quite fun. ¨Here comes trouble¨ is on one pair and the inevitable,. ¨l´m grandmas´boy on another.

Yes the humble sock has come a long way from being something to only keep your feet warm with matted animal hair (Ugh!) to a fun fashion garment. So if you want to make a fashion statement try socks for a change.!


Submit a Comment

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    6 years ago from Great Britain

    Thanks KoffeeKlatch Gals.

    It was a weird one but I had fun researching it.

    Take care and thanks for the comment.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Very interesting. I love the pictures that you used. The information was terrific. - quite enjoyable.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    Interesting , making silk stockings? wow.

    Glad you liked the hub.

    Pleased to meet you here on hubpages

    Thank you for commenting

  • mega1 profile image


    7 years ago

    Good hub - and thought provoking. We take so much in our everyday lives for granted. Recently I knitted my first pair of socks - cotton ribbed tube socks that feel like a dream. Even though it took me a week, I felt it was worth while since I could never find socks like this in a store. I finally found a pattern without the pesky heel to figure out. I read about the history of socks in a knitting book and it is fascinating how the ladies in the Victorian era had socks made piecework by poor women who slaved over them for very little wage. They made fabulous silk "stockings" for the aristocrats. I think we must think alike about many things!

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    You are such a Dream of a friend. l love how you put things into words, (the washing machine EATS socks)

    l know exactly what you mean and it seems to happen to almost everyone l know.

    Thanks a lot for your comment. x

  • DREAM ON profile image


    7 years ago

    Dim Flaxenwick I rated it up across the board. I have quite a collection of mens socks. All of them odd socks.Some how each time I bought socks they are a little different in size and in style and over time the washing machine eats a few and a few wear out and I have the biggest collection of mix match socks in the world.All too good to ever throw out.I think my socks will out live me and for those who get my inheritance I warn you now it comes with all my socks.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    Thank you.

  • hameidinger profile image


    7 years ago

    Great stuff,.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    thanks donnakays................ pleased to meet you on hubpages

  • donnakays profile image


    7 years ago

    Very nice! Never thought much about socks before.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    Hi there! Good to meet you on hubpages. Thanks for the comment.

  • Russell-D profile image


    7 years ago from Southern Ca.

    Amen to socks. Sometimes on a real cold night, two pair are better than one, even one of wool. The choice is over sweating feet that let you sleep or better breathing feet that freeze so you can't. And what worked last year doesn't this. Socks for the feet. Gloves for the hands. Both quiet warmers. Both what we can't do without when winter blows cold. Even in California. David Russell

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    Glad you liked it and if it´s encouraged you to write more . Hoorah! for that..... Take care.

  • Eiddwen profile image


    7 years ago from Wales

    This is what I love about HP. Topics cover every avenue and you have published a great hub about socks and made it so interesting.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    I have not written many articles but I am goiung to write more and i think I need to loosen up and not look upon it as something I would not do well.

    We are our own worst enemies at times aren't we ?

    Thank you again Dim for sharing this one.

    Take care


  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    MICKY!!!!!!!! And God bless our Micky.

    love you man, you know that.!!!!

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    oh Runabstract. That really is a an encouraging comment for any writer.. Thank you SO much.

  • RunAbstract profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    I LOVE this article!!! You took such a mundane part of the wardrobe and made in interesting, funny, and historical! This was really GREAT!

    I actually had a pair of those striped socks with the individual toes! They were crazy!

    Thanks so much for the fun I just had!

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    7 years ago

    God bless our socks!

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    7 years ago from Great Britain

    Thanks Tony.. Always wonderful to see you visit my page.

    love and peace

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 

    7 years ago from South Africa

    Great stuff! I have never really thought about where sock came from before so this was an interesting and fun read. Thank you.

    Love and peace



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