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In fifth-century Europe, socks were usually worn by “holy” people to symbolize purity …

Alex .A

We always get excited when we stumble upon a riveting fact about some random object of convenience. So, in today’s episode of “the past life of ordinary objects,” we are going to talk about socks.

Socks have come a long way and dramatically evolved over the centuries. The earliest models of socks were made from animals skins gathered up and tied around the ankles.

The oldest known surviving pair of socks was discovered in Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt. They date back to 300-500 CE and were created by needle-binding.

The earliest known surviving pair of socks, created by naalbinding. Dating from 300-500, these were excavated from Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt. The split toes were designed for use with sandals. On display in the Victoria and Albert museum, reference 2085&A-1900. Photo Credit

The earliest known surviving pair of socks, created by needle-binding. Dating from 300-500, these were excavated from Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt. The split toes were designed for use with sandals. On display in the Victoria and Albert museum, reference 2085&A-1900. Photo Credit

Ancient Greeks in the 8th century BC made their socks from matted animal hair to warm their feet. In Ancient Rome, they would wrap their feet with animal leather or woven fabrics.

While Ancient Greeks and Romans used socks for functional purposes, in the 5th Century AD socks become known as puttees and were usually worn only by “holy” people to symbolize purity.

12th-century cotton sock, found in Egypt. The knitter of this sock started work at the toe and then worked up towards the leg. The heel was made last and then attached to loops formed while knitting the leg. This practice allowed the heel to be easily replaced when it wore out. Photo Credit

12th-century cotton sock, found in Egypt. The knitter of this sock started work at the toe and then worked up towards the leg. The heel was made last and then attached to loops formed while knitting the leg. This practice allowed the heel to be easily replaced when it wore out. Photo Credit

It was not until 1000 AD when socks became a prominent object in everyday life and a symbol of wealth among the nobility.

With the invention of the knitting machine in 1589, socks were knitted six times faster than by hand. In 1938, the introduction of nylon meant a new revolution in sock production.

Today in the 21st century, socks can be found for any kind of need, purpose, or style; the only thing that remains a struggle is to keep one pair of socks complete.