People have been wearing socks since they were living in caves. They wrapped animal skins around their ankles and tied them, sometimes using fur ones in cold weather. That makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is why some men today insist on wearing shoes without socks. Disgust might be too strong a word, but the sight does make me a bit queasy. Definitely a turnoff. Flip-flops, sure, or bedroom slippers, but sneakers or dress shoes without socks? Ugh.
We wear socks to keep our feet warm and dry and to ease the chafing of shoes. Socks help to absorb sweat and move it to where it can evaporate easier. Feet are one of the sweatiest parts of the body, and some of them have been known to emit — ahem — unpleasant aromas. Socks help to counter that. It’s hard to beat a pair of warm, dry socks when you’re finally back inside after a long bout of snow shoveling.
In the eighth century Greeks wore socks made from matted animal hair. Only the noble classes wore socks in medieval times. The 16th century brought us more than the Renaissance and its explosion of art, music and literature; it also introduced the knitting machine and tighter woven socks that ordinary folks like us could afford. Well, the wool ones, at least. Silk or cotton socks were reserved for the 1 Percenters. William Lee invented the first machine that wove socks in 1859 because he thought his wife spent too much time weaving socks. Nylon socks didn’t show up until the 20th century.
Remember sock hops in the 1950s? To keep our shoes from scratching the polished surfaces of gymnasium floors, we teenagers had to park them at the door and dance the evening away in our thick, white socks.
One of our daughters loves to knit things from scratch, including socks, which is hard to do but delightful for me to wear. Maybe I can persuade her to knit me a pair in Carolina Blue to wear on game days.