Socks, horror : The first socks were designed to be worn with sandals
May 9, Lost Sock Memorial Day.

Dad’s revenge: the earliest surviving pair of socks were designed for wearing with sandals.

Dads wore these with sandals about 1,600 years ago

Wearing socks with sandals has been a source of endless ridicule for dads, German tourists, and hippies.

It’s been called the biggest turn-off for women.

The most passive of all footwear has been co-opted as a modern battle cry.

This Spaniard urged his fellow countrymen to stop selling Britons stockings to wear with sandals!



In 2016, Samsung commissioned a scientific study of missing stockings.

According to them, each person loses an average of 1.3 socks per month, accounting for more than 15 per year and 1,264 over a lifetime.

This sock slaughter led to a mathematical formula to predict the likelihood of socks straying:

Sock loss index = (L+C)−(PxA)


L = Laundry size

Calculated by multiplying the number of people in the household (p) with the frequency of washes in a week (f)


C = Washing complexity

Calculated by adding how many types of wash (t) households do in a week (darks + whites) and multiplying that by the number of socks washed in a week (s)


P = The positivity towards doing laundry

Measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being ‘Strongly dislike doing clothes washing’ to 5 which represents ‘Strongly enjoy doing clothes washing’


A = Degree of Attention

Which is the sum how many of these things you do at the start of each wash check pockets, unroll sleeves, turn clothes the right way and unrolling socks



Let’s not forget for every missing sock, there’s a human behind it.

Here are some psychological reasons for hidden hosiery:

Diffusion of Responsibility: If more than one person is doing the laundry, the other person must be in charge of the socks.

Visual awareness (“heuristics”): Look in the three easiest places for the lost sock, then assume it’s gone forever.

Confirmation bias: If you cannot see any odd socks, there are no odd socks.

Behavioural errors of omission and commission:  Knowingly leave an unpaired sock in the laundry basket (omission) or blatantly kick an odd sock out of sight (commission).

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Professor Stephen Hawking once speculated the lost socks may have fallen victim to spontaneously-created black holes.

Sandal Socks

Specially designed sandal socks were found in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt.

These very odd socks were made between A.D. 250 and A.D. 420.

There’s a compartment for the big toe and another for the rest.

The process used to make these red socks is called nålbindning, or single-needle knitting.

This time-consuming process required only a single thread.

These toe curlers are on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum in the United Kingdom.

Perhaps the biggest wonder of these socks is that after 1,600 years, they are still a matching pair!

Something to think about on Lost Sock Memorial Day.

Bonus Fact: Washingtonians searched for “sandals and socks” on Google more often than residents of any other state.

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