Socks vs Stockings: Difference and Comparison

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

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 cosy by enveloping our feet from toe to thigh-high.

Key Takeaways

  1. Socks are short, close-fitting garments worn on the feet, made from cotton, wool, or synthetic materials.
  2. Stockings are longer, form-fitting garments that cover the legs and feet, made from nylon or other sheer materials.
  3. Socks are designed for everyday wear and provide comfort and warmth, while stockings are worn for fashion or formal occasions and provide a more polished appearance.

Socks vs Stockings 

Socks are a type of garment worn to cover the feet. Socks can be worn in both summer and winter. Socks made of thick fabric can be worn in winter to keep the feet warm. A sock can be made of different materials. Stockings are used to cover the legs to the knees or waist. Stockings are available in 14 types. Stockings can be worn with shorts.

Socks vs Stockings

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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 covers the feet and the full leg or up to the knee.

They are fashionable and versatile for any occasion. It renders both a sleeky look as well shields 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, and sports, to keep oneself warm, socks are a standard piece of attire for any occasion.

Moreover, wearing and having a pair of socks is crucial, 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. In prehistoric times, it was evident that socks were a part of clothing, as cavemen and cavewomen hunted animals and wore 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 derives from the Latin 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 they also protect from extremely cold temperatures. 


What is Stockings? 

In contrast to socks that any gender can wear, 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 centuries, stockings were referred to as longer hoses and were primarily used by men. Initially, women wore stocking to cover their legs as it was inappropriate to show too much skin.

However, 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 machines has manufactured plentiful 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 and shield legs from aching, swelling, and 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 of 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, and even full-body stockings. 
  5. The purpose of wearing socks is to prevent skin blisters, wounds, and rashes & keep us cosy. Meanwhile, Stocking termed legwarmers while wearing winter outfits like skirts & is considered fashion icon wear. 
Socks vs Stockings – Whats the difference

Last Updated : 25 July, 2023

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