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When were socks invented? A short history

When did the story of socks (long yarn, indeed) begin? Well,  I'm sure you have a hunch... when our feet got  chilly. But throughout sock's deep history, how much has this simple, yet indispensable innovation evolved?


When we were cavemen, we wore socks made of animal skins collected around our ankles that were knotted together. Moving up to the the early medieval period, people who wore socks were proud members of the higher social strata. Hand-woven or hand-sewn socks were the norm. With the development of the knitting machine in the 16th century, tighter-woven socks were produced. It is common to see them fashioned of wool for the average people, and silk or cotton for the elite class. Nylon socks didn't appear on the market until the turn of the twentieth century.


Socks are useful for more than just keeping our feet toasty; they also help reduce shoe abrasion. Even if modern shoes are far more comfortable than in the past, we still wear socks with nearly all of them. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable it must have been to wear some of the shoes that were popular throughout the middle ages without socks? Yikes!


Socks were more accessible in the 1600s when knitting schools were established. Because more and more businesses began specializing in certain sorts of socks, you could be confident in the high quality of the socks you purchased. The sock maker was forced to use whatever wool he could get his hands on. This is especially true in Yorkshire, England, where children and employees were far more likely to wear rougher socks. To get the best wool socks, you'd have to go to the Midlands of Britain. 

History of Socks – Present Day


Next, socks began to be worn at varied levels of length depending on what was fashionable at that given time, such as halfway up the calf all the way to the mid-thigh.  When it came to socks, there was no limit to the number of colors and patterns that might be used. Cotton socks were popular in the late 1700s, when the fabric became widely available. In the 19th century, the name "socks" was employed to describe stockings, which had previously been referred to as long pants.


Until 1938, nylon was the only material that could be used to make socks. When cotton-nylon mix socks became stronger and sturdier, it was a logical progression in production.  Socks became more flexible and comfortable when elastane was introduced to the mix later on.


Sock styles have come and gone, frequently to return after a few years. There is a revival of argyle designs, which were immensely popular in the 1920s. Cotton can now be dyed with more precision thanks to technological advancements, resulting in brighter and more vibrant socks. Socks with all sorts of fun funky patterns—like astronaut cats and Bigfoot— are becoming the newest fashion trend for men and women. 


What will proceed after this craze for meme-inspired socks? Only time will tell…