Difference Between Socks and Stockings

We wear sweaters or woolen-made apparel to keep our bodies warm during the winter, but what about our legs?


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Because walking barefoot causes us to grow cold at the bottom of our toes, and for this reason, socks and stockings were designed to keep our legs warm and cozy by enveloping our feet from toe to thigh-high.

Socks vs Stockings 

The difference between Socks and Stockings is that Socks are a piece of garment that covers the feet, either till the ankle or the calf. On the other hand, Stockings is also a type of clothing popularly worn by women that cover the entire legs up till the waist or knees. 

Socks vs Stockings

Socks, an article of clothing, keep the feet warm and prevent any foot infection. Socks were originally called stockings till the 17th century.

And yet the root of the word is from the Latin word ‘Soccus’ refers to as a light slipper. On the whole, socks are considered a mask of one’s feet. 

Earlier stockings were called hosiery, meaning covering. It is also a type of garment that not only covers the feet but also the full leg or up till the knee.

They are fashionable and versatile for any occasion. It renders both a sleeky look as well shield from freezing conditions. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSocks Stockings
Meaning A piece of knitted/woven clothing is worn on the feet & covers the ankle-length or person’s calf.It is close-fitting transparency elastic garment that covers your leg from the foot up to the knee.
Etymology The word socks derived from Latin ‘Soccus’ means- light slipper, back in the 12th-century socks found in Egypt.Stocking was discovered in the 13-15th century, later pantyhose stocking by Allen E. Gant. 
MaterialsA sock can be cotton, nylon, olefins, wool, acrylic, and polyester.Most stockings include silk, rayon, or nylon.
StylesThere are 32 types of socks.There are a total of 14 types of stockings.
PurposeSocks are thick in clothing and help to warm our bodies during winter, bestow comfort while wearing shoes.Stockings are to warm your leg while wearing a mini skirt or shorts.

What is Socks? 

From wearing to schools, offices, sports, to keep oneself warm socks are a standard piece of attire for any occasion.

Moreover, it is crucial to wear and have a pair of socks, as they prevent smelly feet, athlete’s foot, ringworms, and shoes from being worn out. Socks are a type of clothing that goes on feet, covering the ankle and sometimes the calf. 

They are worn along with shoes and boots. Back in the prehistoric days, it was evident that socks have been a part of clothing, as cavemen and cavewomen hunt animals and wear their skins as socks. To feel warm during cold seasons. 

However, socks were discovered in the 12th century in Egypt. Subsequently, the manufacturing of socks has accrued popularity and profit to the next level by the 19th century.

Etymologically, the term socks are derived from the Latin word soccus, meaning a loose-fitted leg covering clothing. 

Yet, the derivation of the word socks is from the Greek word sykkos meaning a garment put on under a shoe. Over the centuries, socks are of various materials, such as, wool, cotton, cashmere, polyester, bamboo, acrylic, nylon, and silk.

Not only do socks prevent rubbing and blisters, but also protect from extremely cold temperatures. 

What is Stockings? 

In contrast to socks that can be worn by any gender, stockings are quite an important accessory in women’s clothing. These are elastic materials covering from the toe to the knee or the entire thigh.

It is also called hosiery, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning covering. 

During the 13th to 15th century, stockings were referred to as longer hoses and were primarily used by men. Initially, women wore stocking to cover legs as it is inappropriate to show too much skin.

However, over time, women in the 20th century have started wearing stockings along with short and mid-length skirts as a manifestation of fashion and aesthetics. 

At the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, nylon stockings made their debut in a lavish display. And it was silk, nylon, and rayon that are stockings made up of mostly.

And the start of knitting machine has manufactured a plentiful of fabricated stockings, such as, cotton, linen, wool, or silk. 

Similarly, stockings are to keep warm during chilly weather. Furthermore, one of the defining ideas in designing stockings is pantyhose by Allen E. Gant. Pantyhose is also a type of stocking but appends with underwear.  

Stockings are both functional as well as fashionable. Because they help keep legs warm during cold seasons, shield legs from aching, swelling, blood clots. 

Main Differences Between Socks and Stockings

  1. Socks are a piece of clothing that covers up to ankle length. Meanwhile, stockings are a close-fitting transparent cloth that covers the entire leg.
  2. Socks are short in size, whereas stockings are lengthy in size that covers the middle or upper area of the thigh. 
  3. Socks are made up of cotton, nylon, olefins, wool, acrylic, and polyester. On the contrary, stockings were produced with the help of silk, nylon, and rayon.
  4. There are 32 styles in Socks such as toe cover, ankle-length, ped, over-the-calf socks, athletic socks, fence net socks, etc. On the other hand, 14 Stocking types are- transparency, fishnet stocking, lace, printed, striped, thigh-high stockings, even full-body stockings. 
  5. The purpose of wearing socks is to prevent skin blisters, wounds, rashes & keep us cozy. Meanwhile, Stocking termed legwarmers while wearing winter outfits like skirts & considered fashion icon wear. 
Socks vs Stockings – Whats the difference


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/019096229070302X
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2133.1997.d01-1177.x
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