In World War I, aside from the obviously terrifying elements of trench warfare (namely the trenches, bullets, and explosives,) many soldiers lost life and limb to an unforeseen complication: trench foot. That was a century ago, and though we certainly don’t have the same problems we had then, we have, over the years, maintained the lessons we learned from those early days of modern warfare. When it comes to feet, we learned that a fresh pair of socks can be a matter of life and death in a war zone…
But all of this is fairly hyperbolic; for most of us, the closest thing to trench foot we deal with can be handled with some Dr. Scholl’s powder or a trip to get a pedicure.
The truth is, our feet only get a second thought when they start to ache or when it’s getting close to beach season, and this is a sad reality. We cover them up with shoes and forget about them till they beg for our attention. I’ll admit that I’m a shoe guy, so I have always felt that have been taking care of my feet quite well. But they still ache, they still are rough, and more often than not they are the last thing I’m actually considering when buying a new pair of shoes.
I think the ironic thing about all of this is that we all know how great a new pair of socks feel. It’s always been one of the simple pleasures I’ve enjoyed. They are soft, dry, and they gently hug your feet in warmth and comfort. It’s not a matter of losing a limb, not for a computer jockey like myself, but there are many reasons to reconsider the sock:
First, keeping your feet dry and warm is healthier. It promotes better circulation, keeps the skin healthy, and can reduce odor. A comfortable shoe is always helpful, but we also need that added layer of warmth and cushion.
Second, socks are increasingly becoming a fashion statement in their own right. For years, loud patterns and colors sat on the fringe, but now, thanks to companies like Happy Socks and Soxfords, they are sliding their way into the mainstream. With cuffed pants and low-top shoes making the rounds, there is ample opportunity to tie some color into your outfit, or to really make a statement.
Third, it’s fun. Kids love silly and colorful socks. Why? Because they’re awesome and they wear them 80-90% of the time! There is no reason to dull them down just because you get older. Suits are classy, but bright intense colored suits are not quite “in” just yet. So ties, kerchiefs, belts, cufflinks, and socks are the best way to spice up that wardrobe standard and make a real statement.