How the Fashion of Socks Evolved

socks fashion

Needless to say socks are an integral part of our daily wear and have been for quite a while. There are various models of socks such as full-lengths, knee-length, and ankle socks. Different materials like wool, cotton, bamboo, and nylon go into the making of these socks. And before present times, when we can even buy socks online, this integral part of our clothing has undergone centuries of evolution. Here we take a look at the peculiar evolution of the fashion of socks over the centuries.

Early history

oldest socksThe earliest known pair of socks in history has its origin from the country of Greece. Around the 8th century B.C, Hesoid, the Greek poet wrote about pioli, which were socks that were made from animal hairs which were matted. Rather than making a fashion statement, these socks were worn for providing warmth to the feet. A pair of ancient socks were found in Egypt in the 1800s /on the photo/. They were estimated to have been buried for over 1500 years, which would make the pair older than the first reference to toilet paper!

By the 2nd century A.D., Romans also started wearing their initial version of socks. The earliest socks worn by Romans were basically woven fabrics or strips of leather. These socks later developed into udones, which were made by sewing woolen fabrics and were worn by pulling them over the feet. Excavations done on Egyptian tombs build during the 5th and 6th century A.D. have unearthed knitted socks, which can be considered as an indication that the first form of knitted socks were worn during that period.

The evolution

Over the centuries, civilizations have started adapting the use of socks. But even then, socks were worn as a protective garment, rather than as a fashion accessory. By 1000 A.D, people began to wear colored cloth around their legs and used garters to sere them. These colored socks were considered as a symbol of wealth and status during those days.

Around the 15th century A.D, socks became more decorative. The invention of the loom by the English revolutionized the field of sock making. The first printed socks came out during that time. These socks resembled the socks, which we see today, in style. Both men and women started wearing socks of different lengths. In the 16th and 17th centuries, men in Europe started wearing knitted silk socks with emblems embroidered onto them. During the later part of the 17th century, socks made from cotton became widely popular.

Fashion in the 1900

socks factory - 1930s

socks factory – 1930s

In the early part of the 1900s, the first circular knitting frames were invented which in turn led to the mechanization of the sock industry and the mass production of socks. In the year 1938, the nylon fabric was developed. Following this, people started to make socks by blending two or more fabrics rather than using a single fabric. Sock coloring was also introduced during this period, and this led to the development of new looks, styles, and patterns in socks.

The present day fashion

 Today, socks are made from a variety of materials like polyester, spandex, polyamide, and acrylic. Socks also form a part of many school uniforms and sports team outfits. They come in a great variety of shapes and size – there are the official business socks, the anklets, knee high socks, short socks, toe socks, and bare socks. Many trends in socks have come and gone over the years. The socks today are not used as a simple piece of clothing but are used to make a serious fashion statement.


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