The Odd Sock Myth

I am a great believer in odd socks. Allow me to explain.

At a recent Resyntex workshop, socks came up as being one of the likely biggest culprits of textile landfill. And given that we ALL need them at some point and they have to take a lot of use, it would seem no surprise that fashion empires have engineered them to be a prime candidate for planned obsolescence. Make do and mend might get the thrifty of us through a few more (or perhaps a lot more) wears. But eventually, they are going to end up in the bin somewhere down the line.

Of course, it stands to reason that the odd sock theory, in practice, should be nothing more than just a myth. When your shoes are on, noone sees what is on your feet. If you’re concerned about matching colours and odd socks are an issue for you, why not only have one type of sock in one colour?

Are people really judging you by your socks anyway? I hope not. Unless you are in the sock industry.  In fact, there is no reason why you should ever have an odd pair. Pulling out two socks from the drawer gets you a pair and then noone sees the details once your shoes are on. Surely that’s a problem solved?

But the fact remains that washing machines seem to devour them. Where do the odd ones go? Are they rattling around in the inner sanctum of the machine drum or is there really a sock monster out there? And how many times do the other ones eventually reappear? For me, 95% of the time.

Some of the audience gathered at our Resyntex event balked at the idea of wearing non matching socks, and I have to confess to being confused at their disgust. I like the quirk of odd sock apparel. I have employed it for some time because I always seem to have more odd than even numbers and as a stalwart of not buying until I have no choice I am happy to embrace the odd sock quirk. It saves me a lot of hassle.

For me, it also demonstrates practicality, a refusal to buy more ‘just because’ and a general individuality that always makes me notice someone. It’s kind of cute. But that’s probably just me.  If more of us embraced the sensibility of wearing odd socks, perhaps landfill levels would be less frightening. I don’t have the figures for this particular item but it’s certainly a thought.


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