That’s right, socks – not Stocks. Those wool or cotton garments you put on your feet – they are important. You should invest in good, quality socks – not cheap ones. Yeah, Don Johnson may have made wearing shoes without socks look good – but that’s true only in TV’s Miami Vice. In reality, Don Johnson’s character James Crockett wouldn’t have been able to, literally, run after the bad guys without wearing socks.
Socks are probably one of the most under-appreciated garments around. Many people take these for granted and only replace their socks when the ones they own are well worn on the heels (and perhaps, the toes). However, you really shouldn’t wait until your socks are splitting at the seams before you replace them. Do yourself (and your feet) a favor and read on. Maybe you’ll learn to value socks after you understand how these make your life (and the lives of others) more comfortable.
So what are socks? Socks are basically articles of clothing that are worn on the feet. It’s name is derived from the Old English word socc which means “light slipper”. Socc comes from the Latin Word soccus which describes a “light, low-heeled shoe”. The oldest pair of socks was found buried in Egypt in the 1800. These pre-historic socks (estimated to have been knitted between the 4th and 5th Century) were made out of wool single-needle stitching.
There benefits of wearing socks are numerous – but the basic, most important ones are as follows:
Socks Keep Your Feet Warm
This may not be true in tropical climates, but if you live a few longitudes north or south of the Equator, this is something you can appreciate. In colder countries, socks greatly reduce the risk of frostbite and other cold weather-related injuries such as chilblains, trench foot, and frostnip.
Socks Absorb Sweat
If socks keep the feet of those living in cold climates warm, what benefits do these have for those living in the tropics? Well, socks help absorb sweat. The feet, hands, armpits and the groin area, are the largest producers of perspiration or sweat and, the feet alone can produce over 1 US pint (0.47 l) of sweat over a period on 1 day. If sweat is not absorbed by socks, your feet would be susceptible to athletes foot, itchiness and may even emit a foul smelling odor.
Socks Protect Your Skin
Have you ever tried breaking in a new pair of shoes (without socks) and end up with blisters and chafing on your ankles and toes and other parts of your feet? It was awful, isn’t it? By now, you already know that feet sweat and, if this is unchecked and compounded by continuous friction against another surface, you end up with blisters. Socks would have absorbed the perspiration and provided a barrier between your skin and your footwear.
Now that you know how important socks really are, you might want to take more time in selecting socks for you to wear, instead of just picking the cheapest one in the store. Here are some tips on how to select socks that will love your feet.
- Select socks that fit your foot without being too tight or too loose.
- Discuss your needs with the sales person. The material and make of your socks will depend on how you intend to use them. Running socks are different from dress (work) socks or from hiking socks.
- If you are prone to blisters, you can try wearing two layers of socks.
- Throw out thin and worn out socks as they are likely to produce hot spots and blisters.
Knowing that running around without socks can cause smelly, and blistered feet doesn’t make Sonny Crockett look too hot now, does it? If, however, you’re still unconvinced about socks and manliness, consider this: recently unearthed evidence show that ancient Romans actually wore socks with sandals! If the warriors of Sparta didn’t find socks a source of embarrassment then neither should you.
Photo: Courtesy of Barkbud of Flickr