Below, are some socks facts that you may find interesting. Socks are one of those items that we have grown so accustom to, that we often forget about their history and importance.

Where does a word sock come from?

The modern English word ‘sock’ is derived from the Old English word socc, meaning ‘light slipper’. Socc comes from the Latin soccus, a term describing a “light, low-heeled shoe”, and was derived from the Ancient Greek word sykcho.

A brief history of the sock

Socks have been used to keep feet warm since ‘forever’. In socks’ earliest form, animal skins were gathered and tied at the ankles to provide a crude barrier between the foot and the harsh terrain. The ancient Greeks wore socks made from matted animal hair and Romans wrapped their feet with leather or fabrics. In the fifth century, priests wore socks to symbolize purity. In or about 1589 the knitting machine was invented for the production of hosiery, but socks were still hand-knitted commercially up until 1800. The earliest surviving cloth socks were found in Egypt. Dating between 300-500AD, they have ‘toes’ so they can be easily worn with sandals. You can still buy toe socks today.

Where are the most socks made?

The township-level district of Datang in the city of Zhuji in Zhejiang Province, People’s Republic of China, is known as Sock City. The town currently produce 8 billion pairs a year. That represents one-third of the world’s production of socks.

Materials used for socks manufacture (cotton, bamboo, wool)

Natural fiber is the best material for socks such as bamboo, tencel, cotton, silk, and wool. Socks can also be made from man-made materials including acrylic, olefins, nylon, polyester, and even spandex (elastane or lycra).

Manufacturing techniques of standard socks

Seamed socks are made by two different machines; the circular knitting machine makes the  body of the sock and the second machine makes the toe. They are then sewed together creating a seam  where the body and toe join. Special machines now enable the two pieces of the sock to be joined together by knitting with a flat stitch, eliminating the ridge formed between the sock body and toe. Another machine which makes seamless socks does so by spinning the yarn round to form a tube.

    Why most socks contain elastane?

    Elastane (or spandex) has exceptional elasticity properties, which is why it is used to help with the comfort and fit in socks. Elastane doesn’t absorb sweat and doesn’t feel as comfortable as cotton and that is why, when used, it is often combined with cotton or other fabrics.

    Why you should wear socks inside of shoes?

    Socks help protect your shoes from your body’s sweat which can cause rot and growth of bacteria inside your shoes. Rot, bacteria and fungi results in smelly feet and smelly shoes. Socks also prevent chaffing and rubbing from shoes and boots.

    Left versus right

    Socks are designed to be the same for each foot.  The exception being toe socks.

    About your foot

    There are 26 bones in your foot. Each foot also has 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons, 107 ligaments and over 250,000 sweat glands. Your foot produces about 500ml of perspiration daily.

    From kid to adulthood, it pays to look after your feet

    There are over 300 different types of foot conditions. They include dry skin, brittle nails, poor circulation, bunions, corns and fungal infections. About 75 percent of Americans experience some form of foot problems in their lifetime so it pays to take care of them. Wear the right shoes and socks, and visit a podiatrist if your feet look or feel unusual. Dressing your feet in natural fibers can help prevent infection as they allow the foot to breathe while absorbing sweat. Toe socks can also help prevent between the toe blisters. There are even specially designed arch support socks and seamless socks are good for people with diabetes who can suffer from friction and focal pressure.

    The Joy Of Socks