From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Sock (disambiguation).
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Physical Characteristics and Uses

A sock is a baglike covering for the foot and/or lower leg, which is designed to:

  • ease chafing between the foot and footwear,
  • keep feet warm, and
  • absorb sweat from the feet.

Socks are designed for wear with footwear that covers the entire foot, such as athletic shoes, boots, or dress shoes. They are sometimes worn with open-toed shoes, such as sandals, but the practice is considered somewhat unfashionable. Socks are also frequently worn by themselves, typically indoors.

The average foot has 250,000, sweat glands and the average pair gives off about half a pint of perspiration per day. Socks help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas of the sock where air can wick the perspiration away. Socks not only help with sweat, they also help keep feet warm and dry in cold environments where frostbite can be a common problem. Without socks the moisture given off by ones feet will build up and could freeze leading to frostbite.

Socks are usually made from cotton, wool, or nylon. They come in many colors, though are typically dark for formal attire and white for athletic or casual attire. Colored socks may be a key part of a sport team's uniform. For example, different colored socks come in handy when struggling for a ball in a soccer match at times when several players become bunched. A teammate’s leg can be distinguished from the legs of an opposing player legs based on the color and pattern of the socks.

Sock lengths vary, from covering only the foot, to knee level. There are the just-below-the-knee socks used by soccer and football players (and some fashionable basketball players as well). There are the crew socks, mid-calf and the bare socks. A toe sock[1] ( wraps each toe individually. In the United States, shorter socks such as quarter socks, low-cut socks or "no-show" socks have become more popular for wear with athletic shoes, especially by teenagers and young adults, as someone who wears high socks with shorts (outside of a sporting context) may be the subject of ridicule.

Although socks are sold in pairs, contrary to shoes, the two socks are usually the same. Mismatched socks were stereotypically the symbol of someone who was absent-minded. With formal or semiformal wear (such as a suit) the sock colour should match the colour of the shoes and/or pants. Wearing white socks with a dark suit is a sterotypical fashion mistake of those wearing suits infrequently.

Socks can also be used for alternative purposes, including:

A sock is also the term given to the layer of leather or other materials covering the insole of a shoe, some times only part of the insole is covered leaving the forepart visible, this is known as a half-sock.


A common complaint is the fact that socks often develop holes, especially in the heel, which quickly grow in size. Socks tend to wear out quickly, especially thinner dress socks. A pair of shoes will often outlast a pair of socks.

The elastic at the top of the sock is crucial for the sock. Too tight, and the sock is uncomfortable; too loose and the sock slips down the leg, also causing discomfort. If the elastic is overstretched and loses its elasticity the sock may be considered unwearable.

White socks can also become very dirty, especially in the soles, but this is typically not a result of wearing them with shoes. When socks are worn by themselves, without shoes, they pick up dust and dirt on the ground or floor. Since socks can be somewhat wet from sweat, especially right after shoes are taken off, the problem can be compounded.

Socks in Popular Culture

In western culture one of a pair of socks is popularly understood to disappear, usually at some point during the washing and drying process, leaving the owner with many socks without mates. There are any number of humorous theories to "explain" the disappearance.

  • wormholes open in the dryer, sucking socks into a different part of the universe.
  • Socks are the larval form of the coathanger. This neatly explains why there are always too few socks and too many coathangers.
  • Socks are by nature cannibalistic, but they only eat their mates.

In 2004, mismatched socks were a fashion statement[2] ( This continued into 2005 [3] (

Socks do, however, appear on the side of Good in the Harry Potter novels: Dumbledore once admitted his greatest desire was for warm socks as a Christmas present; and in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry frees Dobby the House-Elf by tricking Lucius Malfoy into handing Dobby one of Harry's worn socks (a house-elf is 'dismissed' from service when given clothes by his 'owner').

See also


External links

de:Socke es:Medias ja:靴下 pt:Meia simple:Sock fi:Sukka


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