A sock is a piece of clothing worn on the feet and often covering the ankle or some part of the calf. Some type of shoe or boot is typically worn over socks. In ancient times, socks were made from leather or matted animal hair. In the late 16th century, machine-knit socks were first produced. Until 1800 both hand knitting and machine knitting were used to produce socks, but after 1800, machine knitting became the predominant method.
One of the roles of socks is absorbing perspiration. As the foot is among the heaviest producers of sweat in the body, it can produce over 0.25 US pints (0.12 l) of perspiration per day; socks help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas where air can evaporate the perspiration. In cold environments, socks made from wool warms the foot which in turn, decrease the risk of getting frostbite. Light colored socks are typically worn with sneakers and dark colored socks with dress shoes (often black or navy blue dress socks). In addition to the numerous practical roles played by socks, they are also a fashion item, and they are available in myriad colours and patterns.
History of Socks
Socks have evolved over the centuries from the earliest models, which were made from animal skins gathered up and tied around the ankles. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, in the 8th century BC, the Ancient Greeks wore socks called "piloi", which were made from matted animal hair. The Romans also wrapped their feet with leather or woven fabrics. Around the 2nd century AD, the Romans started sewing the fabrics together making fitted socks called "udones". By the 5th century AD, socks called "puttees" were worn by holy people in Europe to symbolize purity.
During the Middle Ages, the length of trousers was extended and the sock became a tight, brightly colored cloth covering the lower part of the leg. Since socks did not have an elastic band, garters were placed over the top of the stockings to prevent them from falling down. When breeches became shorter, socks began to get longer (and more expensive). By 1000 AD, socks became a symbol of wealth among the nobility. From the 16th century onwards, an ornamental design on the ankle or side of a sock has been called a clock.
The invention of a knitting machine in 1589 meant that socks could be knitted six times faster than by hand. Nonetheless, knitting machines and hand knitters worked side by side until 1800.
The next revolution in sock production was the introduction of nylon in 1938. Until then socks were commonly made from silk, cotton and wool. Nylon was the start of blending two or more yarns in the production of socks, a process that still continues today.
Socks can be created from a wide variety of materials, such as cotton, wool, nylon, acrylic, polyester, olefins (such as polypropylene), or spandex. To get an increased level of softness other materials that might be used during the process can be silk, bamboo, linen, cashmere, or mohair. The color variety of sock choices can be any color that the designers intend to make the sock upon its creation. Sock 'coloring' can come in a wide range of colors. Sometimes art is also put onto socks to increase their appearance. Colored socks may be a key part of the uniforms for sports, allowing players teams to be distinguished when only their legs are clearly visible.