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The history of socks

How did it all begin

We are so used to socks as a part of our everyday clothing that only few of us thinks about how long does the civilization know socks and where do they originally come from. Word “sock” comes from old Greek sykchos meaning “light, low-heel shoe”, slipper as we would say today. But the object itself of course has much older history that its name. Below you can read a short CV of socks and the story of their development.

Above all, the feet should be warm. This wisdom was known also by the cave man who were wrapping their feet in furs to protect from dangerously low temperatures and frostbites.

And, thus the first socks were born – pieces of furs and leather wrapped around the feet and tied together around ankle with leather strips.

These kind of “ancestors” of socks were spread still in 8th century before Christ in ancient Greece and Rome. Soon socks of the same kind were made out of woven fabrics although leather was still a common material. Bu the way, the eldest known surviving pair of socks were found in Egypt and it is believed that they are from 5th to 3rd century before Christ! In Europe you could find rectangle-shaped pieces of fabric that people wrapped their feet in and this kind of clothing was called “leggings”.

Socks’ fashion

Interesting is that during Medieval times when socks already had been acknowledged as independent piece of clothing, men were using it more than women. They were available in different colours and it came together with bigger pieces of silk, velvet or wool that people put over their feet and covered the lover part of leg. These were called “hoses”. When the men’s tunics and breeches became shorter the “hoes” grew longer. In 14th century both details were joined in one sock. It is significant that left and right socks were in different colours. Also the design of shoes developed, thus a new meaning of socks appeared – they were meant to ease the chafing of shoes as well as to correspond the newest fashion. The quality and fashion of the sock fabric also noted the wellbeing of its owner – only wealthy men could afford the new, long socks.

Socks’ revolution

Big leap in the development of the socks took place thanks to rather romantic story. In 1589 an English clergyman could not stand that his beloved did not rise her eyes from her knitting needles, therefore he invented knitting machine! This inventor was William Lee and principles he developed can still be found in modern textile machinery today. Soon knitting schools opened in many places and socks were available almost to anyone. European fashion was also influenced greatly by Spain because when Spanish discovered the New World in the shores of America, they brought wonderful, new fabrics with embroidery and different ornaments into fashion.

In 17th century cotton came into socks business.

But another sock revolution was in the beginning of 20th century when the nylon was invented. Pants grew longer and socks – shorter, thinner and cheaper. Fortunately, today people come back to using more natural materials. And SOKKI family takes care that you don’t need to sacrifice fashion when choosing materials more friendly to environment and humans. SOKKI regularly offer new collections for different tastes. You won’t be able to find strips of fur in the offer but you can check the dragon-scaled patterns in many bright colours!

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