Sock Events Sock Historians Have Often Overlooked

Sock Events Sock Historians Have Often Overlooked

by Mark Lyons

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

SammySocks Etc. Blog - Comments and Observations from Someone Who Is a Retired Educator and Sammy’s Dad

     Sock historians have the reputation – and rightly so – of being a wild and crazy bunch. Whoopee cushions, dribble glasses, fake vomit, toilet paper all over your front yard, and squirting you in the eye from a water shooting lapel flower are just a few of the whacky things sock historians are known for doing. I know! Crazy, right? But, amongst all of this “wild thing” behavior, sock historians are thoroughly serious and qualified on the history of socks. Even still, they sometimes miss and overlook what turn out to be really significant events in sock history. Let’s see some of them.

+ 2 socks in a pair, not 1 – Initially, socks came only as a single sock. It took 10 years before someone realized you needed socks to come in a pair in order to be used on both feet at the same time. Up until then, sock wearers had to decide which foot to cover and when. Lots of tough decisions each morning.

+ Socks moved from the ears to the feet – Socks were actually developed to be worn on the ears and not the feet. It was great for the ears. Unfortunately, the socks did not stay on the ears. They kept falling off. Frustrated sock wearers rebelled. It was a big deal at the time. People demanded better socks – ones that actually fit the ears. The end result? Socks were moved to the feet and earmuffs were invented. 

+ The addition of the toe and heel part of the sock – The first socks left the heel and toes uncovered. A lowly seamstress quietly added the heel and toe area to cover the bunions of her mistress to stop making her mistress’s husband gag at the sight of her feet. It caught on and the complete sock was born.

+ Socks were worn on the inside of the shoe and not the outside – The first century of sock wearers put their shoes on first and then their socks. One day, a common laborer got tired of pulling mud and stickers off his socks and decided to put his socks on before his shoes. He liked it. Cobblers were happy, too. Since shoes were no longer protected by the socks, they needed repair and replacing more often.

+ The dedicated sock drawer – In early June of 1215, King John of England had grown tired of his summer castle’s (Runnymede on the Thames) walk-in closet. He thought it was too cramped and that there was not enough room for all of his kingly tunics. He wanted a makeover. (This is kind of like in the movie, Overboard, the one with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.) The carpenter hired by the king really loved socks. He was upset that people just threw their socks willy-nilly on the floor or stuffed them into their shoes when they were done wearing them after several weeks. The carpenter was inspired to elevate socks to the same fashion standing as tunics and robes. He designed a special compartmentalized set of wooden drawers positioned front and center in the king’s new walk-in closet thus effectively creating the dedicated sock drawer. And of course, later in the month, King John signed the Magna Carta at that same summer castle.

     If you do not want to be overlooked by sock historians, please take a look at our sock selection at SammySocks Etc. and purchase a pair or more. Visit our shop at 

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