If you didn’t know this already, Oddzeez is passionate about socks. We live and breathe those funny little pouches of fabric you cover your feet with day in and day out.
But have you ever wondered – where on earth did socks come from?
What about – why do we really wear these wacky ol’ things on our feet?
Well now, thanks to us, you have wondered about these things and you’re sure as heck not going to be able to sleep until you know where socks originated from.
So, because we are first and foremost concerned about your well being (closely followed by your sock collection) we did a little deep dive into the history of socks. Whilst we can never know for sure exactly when or where they started, we’ve dug up a pretty interesting back story.
The term ‘sock’ (derived from the old Latin term ‘socce’ meaning ‘light slipper’) is used a little loosely here, but the first representation of socks dates right back to the caveman days. Socks have been documented as appearing in cave paintings from this time with the wearers painted topless. Even in a time where clothes were not deemed necessary – socks were. These ‘socks’ appeared to be footless, covering just the shins of the wearer. These were made from animal skins and tied together at the ankle. We imagine these to look like fluffy little shin pads and are now taking design notes. It’s long understood that socks in this time were created to insulate the leg AND act as protection in times of extreme conditions and disease. Despite these not being socks as we know them, we’re sure these sock-like inventions surely led us to the design we know and love today.
As an added bonus to warmth and protection, In 2018 we of course now know that feet are one of the body’s heaviest producers of sweat therefore wearing socks allows this moisture to be drawn away from the foot and into the atmosphere leaving your feet in tip-top shape. Stylish and useful. Sexy right?
It gets better.
After the fluffy shin pads and into 8th century B.C, ancient Egyptians wore ‘socks’ and sandals. Yes, you read that right – the absolute creme de la creme of 21st century fashion crime was where the first socks started. The ancient Egyptians wore ‘socks’ made from matted animal hair, that had a single toe separator, with sandals in order to protect their feet. These were called piloi and looked a bit like chicken feet. Again, more design inspiration for us that we’ve learned on this journey.
By 2nd century AD (keeping up with the dates?) the Romans were wrapping their feet in an invention they called ‘udones’ which were socks sewn using woven fabrics. These are well documented and look a bit like what we call bed socks. Warm, protective but not so much practical for the modern man.
These bed-sock-like inventions were also later found in Egyptian tombs between 3rd to 6th century AD. So really, the Egyptians may have beaten the Romans to the sock punch but we’ll never really know.
As Romans do, the Romans then took the concept of the bed-like socks and moved onto a more sophisticated way of making them by sewing two pieces of fabric together. These resembled socks that we know and love today. This is where the fun began…We invented the sock subscription in this same period and stored the concept in a tomb until a time we could combine our love for socks with the technology of today. You can also call us the inventors of the internet and real visionaries.
In this time, 3rd-6th century AD, the Roman standard of socks was difficult to manufacture, therefore socks became a symbol of the upper class and a sign of nobility across the nation.
By the 11th century, socks were fashion! The more pompous, colourful and detailed the socks – the more noble of a man. We could’ve told you ourselves that socks are items of great nobility and should be respected as such – the ancients were really onto something! However, we will argue that socks should not be reserved only for nobles. The slackers amongst us need warmth and protection too (although if your wife asks, remind her you’re noble and deserve a new set).
This snowballed as noble men, such as the likes of King Henry VII, wore breeches leaving a gap perfect for showing off socks. As these breechers got shorter, the socks got longer and more impressive, thus becoming symbols of status more and more!
Jumping forward again, the 15th century saw these breeches get so short that the gap between breeches and socks was closed and socks became stockings for crotch modesty. Told you it was saucy!
The 20th century then came and men were moving from the noble times into spending their days carrying out some serious hard yakka. Times were changing and this meant men morphing into what we call trousers. The need for long socks/stockings died down with shorter socks taking their place. It was also a time of sewing machines and new technologies allowing for socks to be mass produced which changed the way we saw and used the infamous sock!
Now, in 2018, there is of course only really one sock style that is IN fashion. That is, the Oddzeez sock. We may be biased but we predict this is where the future of socks is headed and we’re keen to see our fellow lads in the history books, rehashing their tales of that golden gap between trousers and shoes where socks truly shine.
There we have it friends, ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls; a quick and by no means complete history of the sock! Still not convinced? Check out our newest range now!
Please note: We considered completely fabricating (pun intended) a legend of the humble sock but the original story is just as interesting. Whilst we take full care to research the historical nature of our holy beloveds – we can’t promise this is 100% accurate. It is history after all.