The above soccus are from sometime around 300-500 A.D. They have a handy split for wearing them with sandals.
The word sock was originally derived from the Latin word soccus, which was a type of low-heeled loose fitting shoe or slipper. The meaning of the word continued to develop through Old English as socc and then Middle English as socke.
By the year 1840, the English word sock had become the accepted term to describe the “hose” that men and boys wore. However, it was not until forty years later in 1880 that socks became acceptable for young girls to wear.
At this point in time, there were very limited options in terms of available materials for socks, and thus men would often wear silk socks with suspenders attached to below the knee. Other working class men would wear wool socks that were held up with elastic garters. It is believed that the term “pull up your socks” likely came from this time period. Slowly but surely improvements came about, including the use of elastics, thus eliminating the need of suspenders or garters for sock wearing.
As new technology continue to develop, so too did options for sock manufacturers. After World War II, cotton and wool blends were still most popular. As progress continued, new fibers were developed including olefin, spandex and other acrylic fibers.
There has been tremendous progress made with sock “finishing” allowing manufacturers to include ant-microbial properties to socks to help wearers avoid smells and fungus.
Sock options today are virtually endless, with styles and varieties available in every imaginable fiber, texture, color, thickness and athletic function. Thankfully, we have come a mighty long way since the days of the soccus.