History of Socks

Believe it or not socks have been around since the stone ages. They were very different from socks as we know them today. They were often made of animal skins that were tied around the ankles.

In Ancient Egypt there is evidence of the existence of knitted socks and by the 8th century BC, the Greek poet Hesiod wrote of paloi - socks made of matted animal hair. They were mostly worn by actors in comedic plays.

During the Middle Ages colored cloth tied around the legs and held up with garters were in popular use. Garters were placed over the top of the sock/stocking to prevent them from falling down. They were mostly worn among the more wealthy.

In the 1490’s, breeches and hosiery were one piece. They later became known as tights. They were made of colorful silks, wools and velvet. Each leg was often a different color. At the turn of the fifteenth century knitted hose was being worn in France and Scotland.

In the 1590’s knitting machines were created. This made the use of knitted hose more common. With the wearing of tunics hose had to be made longer.

In the 17th century the use of cotton became popular in the making of socks. Early Americans also used wool and silk. Poorer people wore woolen hose usually tan in color. The rich on the other hand wore fine silk hosiery and more colors.

During the 19th century knitting mills allowed hose to be made in America. As men’s pants became longer stockings became shorter until the term was changed to sock and replaced the term stocking. The word sock is derived from the Latin word “soccus” which means light covering of the foot. Women to date wear stockings, tights, or socks.