The story of this small piece of garment that so leisurely sits in our closets today has been fascinating to say the least.
The earliest records, of the Stone Age suggest a prototype of our modern day socks made of animal skin and tied around the feet.By the 8th century B.C., the Greeks were wearing socks made from matted animal hairs and were called "Piloi". The Romans wrapped their feet in strips of leather or woven fabric, and by the 2nd century A.D. were wearing "Udones", which were sewn from woven fabric and pulled over the foot. The earliest known knit socks have been discovered in Coptic Egyptian tombs dating from the 3rd-6th centuries A.D. By 1000 AD, woven and knit socks had become a status symbol of the nobility throughout much of Europe. Known as leggings, it wasn’t until the 12th century that feet were added to them.
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A model of the Egyptian equivalent worn in the c.1000 CE[/caption]
Moving a few centuries ahead, the 16th century saw the first woven socks due to the invent of the knitting machine. The fabric changed and socks became accessible to the commons.
Over the next couple of centuries, socks kept changing in lengths, as fashion dictated, anywhere from mid-calf to knee to mid-thigh. Rather than just the embroidery at the top, different colors, decorations, or stripes were often employed overall.Cotton came into wide use in the late 17th century, becoming a popular choice for socks. Note that up until this time, men’s hose were actually referred to as “stockings.” It was only when pant lengths grew longer that hose grew shorter, and the term “socks” came into use.
We are thankful to the Nick Graham blog for helping us learn so much.