A Brief Look Into Novelty Sock History

A Brief Look Into Novelty Sock History


Socks come in different sizes, shapes and colours. We wear them all the time but when did people start wearing them? Well, it turns out it was quite a long time ago. If you’re curious to find out more, read on. In this article, we’ll be taking a brief look at the history of socks and talking about some fascinating facts you’ve never known before!


When Were Socks Created?


According to some sources, the contemporary English term sock comes from the Old English word socc, which means "light slipper." This is derived from the Latin word soccus, which refers to a "light, low-heeled shoe" worn by Roman comedy actors, originally coming from the Ancient Greek word sykchos. So, it's safe to say that socks, or at least what resembled socks, have been around for a very long time. And even though we have many different materials, colours, styles, and sizes to choose from, that wasn't always the case.


In fact, the first socks were made from leather, animal hair, and later, woven fabrics. And we're talking around 8th century BC until 2nd century AD. Now, the oldest surviving pair of socks is from about 250 AD to 420 AD and it was actually excavated in Egypt. These socks were made out of a single thread and they came with split toes for wearing sandals.


Socks as a Fashion Statement


It was in the Middle Ages when socks became more of a fashion statement than an article of clothing and they turned into a must-have item that everyone wore. Clothing was beginning to divide people based on their social status, considerably more than it does now (let's put it this way - we're wearing funky socks with patterns as we speak). Socks of the Middle Ages were made of colourful fabric and designed to fit snugly over the bottom portion of the leg. To keep them in place, garters were used because elastic had not yet been created. Socks became longer as breeches became shorter, just to keep warm.


Needless to say that with increased demand, socks became more expensive. So expensive that they became recognized as luxury products and even turned into a status of nobility. Because of the high cost and restricted availability of socks, the European working class began making their own versions of them. With beautiful hand-knit silk stockings, French and Italian aristocrats rose to prominence in the 15th century. They discovered that stockings emphasized shapely legs and increased ease of movement.


Game-Changing Innovation


With time, newer technologies were developed, including a knitting machine. The next major thing to happen to socks was the 1938 debut of nylon. The blended fabric was created, and synthetics transformed the sock world, and the rest is history. The most common blends today include wool, cotton, and nylon or polyester, but we also have socks made with bamboo, silk, spandex, and many other fabrics.


Bottom Line


Socks have evolved significantly throughout the years, and they are a true phenomenon. They keep our feet warm, comfortable and come in many different styles. 


Are you looking to add new socks to your crazy sock collection?


We've got your back. Here at Mad Socks Australia, we offer a wide range of cool novelty socks that will help you add that extra spice to any outfit.