The History and Importance of Socks

The History of Socks

Protection. Warmth. Durability. What comes to mind when you think of these 3 words? You may be thinking about shelter or a safe secure place. Your mind most likely doesn’t venture to socks. Well, these three powerful adjectives describe socks. Socks are of such importance, but rarely receive the acknowledgement they are due. But, have you ever thought of life before socks? It is truly hard to imagine.

Socks are so ingrained in our daily garb, a time without socks is seemingly unfathomable.  But once upon a time (albeit a very long time ago), we were walking around sockless.  Now, to some that may not seem like such a big deal but feet were basically cold, damp, and unprotected, which if you are familiar with So Others Can Keep Striding and our mission, you are most likely familiar with the serious health benefits that come with that and why we stress the importance of getting socks to our friends experiencing homelessness. Another issue presented is how badly shoes chafe bare feet, and shoes were extremely rough back then, so this caused serious abrasion. Ouch!

So, how exactly did we arrive from the point of bare feet to feet now enclosed in wool, silk, cotton, and nylon? Well, it dates all the way back to the Egyptians, cavemen, and the Greeks who crafted socks to mitigate the problems they endured with feet exposed to the elements. Socks were once made out of animal skins, and even animal fur, which is a far cry from the fashionable and functional socks we wear today, but they fulfilled the basic need of covering and warming the foot. Eventually (around the 10th century) socks moved away from a basic human need into a status symbol (we’ll come back to this point later). This was largely due to the time-consuming process in making socks that only the rich could afford to compensate. Once the knitting machine was invented, this sped up the process of making socks considerable and thus made it affordable and attainable for the working class.

The very things we take for granted are often what others need the most and can be literally life-saving.  During war times, many soldiers tragically died from trench foot, which could have been easily prevented by a fresh pair of dry socks provided to them. Is this not such a sad reality? So many passed away, their lives gone, and generations never realized through them due to something as simple as socks. Wow. Women were sent to the sites of battle to distribute socks directly to the soldiers to prevent this issue from happening to those that had not yet been affected. Did you ever think that war survival would come down to socks at one point? How amazing and perspective changing.  I know it shifted my heart to such gratefulness when I put on my socks this morning.


What Socks (and SOCKS) Mean Today

Now that we’ve tackled the history of socks, let’s transition into what socks mean for us today. Firstly, it must be said that history has a way of repeating itself. Why am I bringing that up? Well, today we still have people that have been displaced from their homes that are in dire need of….you guessed it: socks.

And, unfortunately, don’t have the means to get it. Remember when I said that I would come back to a point later about socks turning into a status symbol? Well, given that there are people in today’s society that are still succumbing to conditions like trench foot and suffer due to not having a pair of socks because they may not have the means to get them, have we circled back in time as a people where socks are now a status symbol still today? How in 2020 are basic needs for people not being met because of their financial status or temporary hardship that we all could face in our lives if just one thing changed? With our economic crisis, the price of living so costly, the price of food so high, and the unemployment rate a stark reality, simple necessities are at a high commodity. Because of all this, people are literally at war and a fight for their lives to survive. There is a battlefield out there in the streets and in shelters that those who are displaced are silently fighting. They need us.  They need love and compassion. And they need socks.

SOCKS Movement seeks to break down the status system in our present day that stands in the way of those that need socks (and other care items for their feet) by giving fresh, new, and dry socks constantly to those in need. SOCKS Movement is made up of people like those great citizens during war times, passing out socks to soldiers in need. That’s what we do. That’s we who are.  To those that are fighting battles out in the streets, whether it be external or internal, we want them to know they are not alone and they are loved…and it all starts with a pair of socks.





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