The history of socks does go back a long way, but it is hard to trace as item of clothing often do not survive. Leather shoes have been dated back to 5000 years ago. The grass in the shoe may have part of the earliest socks, though the distinction between shoes and socks may not have existed at this point. In the earliest times people simply worn footwear.


More modern socks are made of wool, cotton, silk, or nylon; sometime combining two or more of these. The different materials have different advantages, but woollen socks have remained popular for many centuries.


Most sock etiquette is intuitive. But the guidelines are worth knowing.

  • Socks must go with the overall look of your clothes and occasion; wear formal socks with formal events and sports socks with sports events.
  • Socks must match the pants. But there is a lot of flexibility and interpretation here. Socks can be the same colour as the trousers, or they can be a contrasting colour. Strangely, socks with a pattern can go with plain pants. We rarely see the reverse situation.
  • Thinks of the socks as the merging point between the shoe and trousers. The shoes and trousers should already go together; the socks go in between.
  • Most people won’t notice the sock when you stand. Given this fact, you can probably be flexible.
  • Avoid holes in socks. Very few people will notice them, but your feet will suffer.
  • Socks sizes are approximate and vary with manufacturer. Find what works for you.
  • If you value convenience over variation you can buy several pairs of identical socks. Find a type of sock that you like and buy enough pairs to last a working week. You will never have an odd sock again! And you can always wear different socks on social occasions of the weekend.
  • Above all, emphasize comfort. This is both the initial feel of the sock and the way they last during the day. If you hardly notice the socks, that’s a good sign. If your feet are soaked with perspiration at the end of the day you may need to consider socks made from another material. Try wool or cotton.


If you prefer the look you can get no show socks. Literally going without socks will tend to cause problems with feet suffering in hard shoes. No show socks are so short that they just cover the part of the foot inside the shoe. These are comfortable, but it looks like you are wearing no socks.