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The History of Socks

February 18, 2017

Unless you are fortunate enough to spend your days in a warm, dry climate all year round, the chances are socks form a staple of your wardrobe. So when did it all begin?

Nobody actually knows exactly when we realised our feet were better off covered but the first historical reference to the use of "socks" was in 700 BC by the Greek poet Hesiod in his advice to farmers "And on your feet bind boots of the hide of the slaughtered ox, fitting them closely, when you have cushioned their insides with felt".  That felt layer could be considered to be the first sock. 


The Romans also wrapped their feet with leather or woven fabric and by the 2nd century A.D. they were wearing udones, sewn from woven fabric. The earliest know knitted socks were discovered in Egyptian tombs from the 3rd century A.D. By 1000 A.D. knitted or woven socks became a symbol of the nobility and of wealth throughout Europe and were known as leggings but it wasn't until later that the feet coverings were added. 

The invention of the knitting machine in the 16th century by William Lee in England made the mass production of socks possible and thus, accessible to the rest of society rather than just the nobility. The style of socks changed over the following centuries from knee length to mid-calf to the ankle socks that are commonly worn today. 


Whilst silk had been used to dress the feet of the nobility in Europe, cotton came into wide use from the 17th century onwards and continues to be the primary material used in sock production today. This is a trend we are trying to break at Gorilla Socks by replacing cotton with the eco-friendly bamboo fiber. Not only is bamboo the fastest growing plant on the planet, it uses 1/3 the amount of water required by cotton and yields the same amount as cotton from 10% of the land area. Visit our homepage for more info on why we use the unique bamboo fiber to make our colorful socks for men.

Traditionally socks were dark in color but in recent years there has been a surge in statement socks that help you stand out from the crowd. At Gorilla Socks, our launch collection provides stylish, colorful socks to make you stand out from the crowd whilst also supporting gorilla conservation through our partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.  

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