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A wardrobe overflowing with socks

Socks are things you wear to keep your feet warm.

Socks are worn to protect the feet, keep them clean or keep them warm. Socks also protect feet from blisters from where shoes can rub. And socks provide a protective liner that can absorb sweat or other dirt from feet and be easily washes, so that the interior of the shoes remain cleaner.

Socks can vary in materials. They come in many different colors and patterns. Some, also known as "footies", cover just the foot; "anklets" cover the foot and ankle. Most socks have no articulation for each toe -- similar to mittens, but "toe socks", like gloves, have a separate place for each toe. And some socks have a separate place or pocket for the big toe with all the rest of the toes together. This allows the wearer to also wear thong or "flip-flop" type shoes. Socks also come in different thicknesses -- from very thick wool socks down to very thin nylon socks.

When socks are dry and clean, they help keep feet from developing health problems like athlete's foot. But damp, dirty socks exacerbate those conditions.

Care and use[]

Socks are generally washed with laundry. They can also be cleaned with almost any soap in the sink and hung to dry.

Most people prefer to keep and wear socks in the matching pairs. So, there are several techniques for keeping both socks of a pair together from the time they've been worn and taken off through the processes of washing, drying and storing them until the next use. Socks have a reputation for getting lost in the clothes dryer. Some people will pin paired socks together, but this can result in holes and tears. There are clips and plastic holders created to keep them together. When storing socks, some people will fold the tops down, with one top overlapping both socks; others will put one sock in the other -- both of these techniques may stretch out the socks. Another technique is to only buy one type of sock; that won't always work as some socks are older than others.

“My socks DO match. They’re the same thickness.” -- Steven Wright

Sayings and quotes[]

"Put a sock in it" is a phrase that means to quieten down or to be quiet altogether.

Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster character in the Harry Potter series, makes a few notable comments about socks. When asked what he sees when he looks in a mirror that shows one's deepest desire, he says, "I? I see myself holding a pair of think woolen socks."

“If it weren’t for women, men would still be wearing last week’s socks.” -- Cynthia Nelms




Commercial sites devoted to socks: