The History of Socks

Socks been around for a long time! Here is a short history of this essential item of clothing that we all take for granted now.

30/01/2018

Whether you want to be in with a better chance of winning a pub quiz or you’re just curious as to where the contents of your sock subscription box originate from, read on as Socks In A Box has the answer to all your questions about how socks came into existence.

The very first pair of socks was found in what is now modern day Denmark, dating from around 1500 BC but to trace socks back to their origins we need to time travel back to the Stone Age where our forefathers kept their feet warm and protected with animal skins tied at the ankle. Fast forward to the 8th Century BC and you’ll find the ancient Greeks and Romans sporting socks created from matted animal hair and strips of leather or woven fabric.

By the Middle Ages knitted and woven socks had become a must-have fashion accessory for aristocratic Europeans, however these were more akin to today’s leggings as ‘feet’ were not added until the 12th Century.

The 16th Century saw the invention of the knitting machine by a Reverend William Lee of Nottingham. He even created a pair of stockings for Queen Elizabeth I – to no avail as she wasn’t a fan of their rudimentary shape and refused to grant the industrious holy man a patent. Luckily financial assistance came from across the Channel in the form of King Henri IV of France. Lee thus moved to Rouen, the use of knitting machines spread across the continent, and socks became quicker and cheaper to produce which made them available to more than just the elite. During the Industrial Age a combination of Lee’s original design being improved upon and the advent of factory production techniques meant that it wasn’t long before socks became mass produced.

Just as fashions change in the blink of an eye today, so too did they over the next few centuries with different lengths, colours and patterns falling in and out of favour. Cotton was introduced as a viable sock fabric in the late 17th Century with nylon following years later in 1938 – the year of its invention. A plainer sock also came into vogue around this time, offering an alternative to the boldly patterned Argyle socks that were in vogue throughout the 1920s.

The good news is that today you can wear your socks as muted or as loud as you desire – anything goes, and with a sock subscription from Socks in a Box putting your best foot forward in a pair of must-have monthly socks is no longer only for the privileged few!

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