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History of socks

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

In the beginning of the sock multiverse (History) (250 AD and 450 AD)

old history socks

These socks to the left (red/orange socks), were discovered as the earliest known pair of socks in the world was given by Robert Taylor Esq., “Kytes," Watford in 1900 . The Romano-Egyptian socks were excavated in the burial grounds of ancient Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. They are the earliest socks that are claimed to be from 250AD - 450AD historical period. Surprisingly still in very good condition. These socks were knitted with a technique called nalbinding, or single-needle knitting. The technique was frequently used for close-fitting garments for the head, feet and hands because of its elastic qualities. Primarily from prehistoric times, nalbinding came before the two-needle knitting that’s standard today; each needle was crafted from wood or bone that was “flat, blunt and between 6 -10 cm long, relatively large-eyed at one end or the eye is near the middle.” To this day, we don't know what the primary purpose of these ancient socks but we do know the concept of socks has been around for ages!!

Sock History - In the 8th Century B.C. (Romans and Greek)

The modern English word sock , evolved from Latin word soccus.....
wool history socks

Soccus was a lightweight shoe worn by ancient Roman actors. Later on the first socks were made from leather or matted animal hair called "piloi" in the 8th century BC Greece. Here is an example of a piloi sock.

history udones

2nd Century A.D

Romans wearing "udones' made by the technique called nalbinding. Wonder what a udones look like, well it's like those old Roman movies.

european sock history

1000 A.D

By this time Europeans where fashionable wearing socks as a status symbol of notability. Ranging from holy people to high society people.

Sock History -16th Century. The Invention of the knitting machine

English man William Lee (1513-1614) was the inventor who devised the first stocking frame knitting machine

first knitting machine

During this time period socks where heavily named 'Stockings'. With this creation, stockings where more available to the common people other than the wealthy. This also brought a change to European society where people commonly wearing stockings as "tights". Initially it was worn by men as the "latest trends"

fashion trend with stockings

Sock History- Stocking to Socks

During the next couple of centuries, stockings varied from long or short according to the fashion trends. They also featured different colors or patterns. By late 17th century, cotton appeared and become the choice of material for socks. Slowly stockings become socks, when men started wearing pants, which no longer required long stockings. As the stocking become shorter, it was now known as socks. Some of you may be familiar of the colonial clothing during the American revolutionary wars.

george washington with stockings

Sock History - By 1939 Nylon was introduced to socks

Nylon was the last great invention for socks, as the strength and elasticity was great for socks. It was invented by Wallace Hume Carothers in 1935, who worked for Dupont.

If you want to know more about Nylon and how it changed the sock world. I highly suggest you read this link from the Smithsonian .

Fast Forward to Today

Today you will find socks for men and woman made from wool, sustainable cotton, nylon, recycled polyester, spandex in all kinds of colors and patterns. China is a huge manufacture of socks in this world. Easily producing over 8 billions pair of socks per year. China even has a sock town called Datang. It's literally a town with many factories and markets that only produce socks.

Hope you enjoy the brief history. Leave some comments or contact us for more questions.

history of sock market


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