The History of Socks: from Stone Age to today’s custom socks

You probably don’t give your socks much thought, except when you wonder how the washing machine makes them magically disappear, when you can’t find matching socks in your drawer or when you’re about to order some pawdorable custom puppy socks or custom cat socks online.

But did you know that socks have been around for far longer than anyone could imagine? Believe it or not, but they are considered the oldest type of clothing that is still used to this day.

The first forms of socks date back to the Stone Age and look nothing like what we wear now on a daily basis. Cave paintings depict them as animal skins and pelts tied around the ankle.

The first written mention of socks comes from the Greek poet Hesiod, in the 8th century BC. He calls them “piloi” and describes them as made from matted animal hair and worn under sandals.

Romans started to saw the pieces of woven fabric they wrapped their feet in and started wearing fitted socks in the 2nd century AD. Almost in the same time, the first knit socks were being made by the Egyptians. The socks had bright colors, a split toe and were designed to be worn with sandals.

Later on, during the Middle Ages, socks became a sign of nobility and luxury. They would cover the lower part of the leg in bright colors and be fastened to the leg by a garter belt. By the 15th century, the French and Italian aristocrats would wear the finest hand-knit silk stockings.

The turbulent history of socks also includes the British “sock police”, a 16th-century method of surveillance in which 4 men would be posted at the gates of London, making sure that the people entering the capital were wearing appropriate socks.
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