How to Look at Socks

Zuha, Ziaee “Sock Feet” Photograph. Ryerson University. 8 February 2017.

Look down at your feet. What are you wearing? Are you wearing socks? Now, take a moment to imagine what our world would be like without socks. They are the only article of clothing that stay on our feet besides our shoes. Culturally speaking, they are also the article of clothing we lose the most. But how did we get from wearing animal skin around our ankles to wearing actual cloth that not only protects us from the cold but also absorbs sweat and keeps us comfortable? Socks have come a long way since the time of the Ancient Romans who were known for wrapping animal skin around their ankles. Historically speaking, a Greek poet by the name of Hesiod was the first to write about socks that were made from animal hair, otherwise known as “piloi”.

How do we look at socks in 2017?

To look at such a simple piece of clothing and determine how it came into existence, sounds a bit mundane. However, who says socks should be dull? For starters, just by looking at socks we know that they come in pairs.

Usually found in a variety of colours and patterns, they can be made from a vast array of materials with the most popular ones being nylon and cotton. The design of the sock is curved so that when one places their foot inside, it follows the natural arch of the feet and adjusts accordingly. Socks are designed to be comfortable and absorb sweat so that shoes can be worn on the feet without having to worry about our feet getting hurt. While we wear socks without realizing how important they are, socks weren’t originally made to be fashionable or as easily accessible, much like they are today. In fact, socks originally began as a symbol of status, something only the wealthy could afford. Since they were knitted by hand and not mass-produced like they are today, the ordinary had to make do with using animal skins. Most socks were made from wool and very plain looking, unlike the funky variety of colours that socks come in today. Can you picture yourself wearing the same old boring, black or white coloured socks every single day? Thank god for evolution and new ideas otherwise we would have never gotten purple dinosaur socks.

Socks are an integral part of society often at the top of people’s Christmas list considering how often we tend to lose them. They are unique and unlike any other piece clothing given that people make style statements based on their choice of socks.  There are a countless number of ways to express your individuality based on your choice of socks alone. Ankle socks, knee-highs, fuzzy socks; name it and it probably exists. Let’s face it, socks aren’t going anywhere. They are an eternal fad and one that one that aren’t going to die anytime soon. As long as humans have feet and wear shoes, socks will always have a greater purpose in the lives of us mere mortals.

How will you express yourself?



Works Cited:

© Copyright 2017 Ziaee, Zuha. “Sock Feet?” Photograph. Ryerson University. 8 February 2017.

Elkins, James. How to Use Your Eyes. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.

Kay, Olga. The History of Socks. Moosh Walks. 31 August 2016.

Yes Positive Communication. History of Socks. Pournara Quality Socks. 2017.