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Sock Superstitions

Four feet in colorful socks in a dog theme poke out from under a red blanket

Feet, shoes and socks are the focus of so many superstitions. Maybe it is because comfortable, healthy feet are critical to our well-being. Or maybe it is because when we walk, we are connected to the earth through our feet — could this give socks a mystical importance in our lives? Whatever the reason, we loved learning about these sock superstitions from around the world. 

A pair of green socks with red pandas by ModSocks next to a colorful bedspread.

Wearing Socks to Bed

Wearing socks to bed is already a controversial issue before you add superstition to the mix. In Japan, many people believe you should never sleep in socks. The reason is that wearing socks to bed mimics the dead, who are commonly dressed in white socks before they are cremated.

In the U.S., many people believe that wearing a pair of wet socks to bed can cure a cold. Does it really work or is it just the placebo effect? You tell us!

A person puts a colorful sock on their right foot

Left and Right Socks

One piece of folklore states that you should always put your left sock on before your right, but this order is reversed for putting on shoes.

According to another superstition, sleeping with a left sock or stocking around your neck will not only cure a sore throat, but also give you dreams of future marriage partners.

Soccer players show off their colorful socks sitting in a circle around a pink soccer ball.

Lucky Socks

There are many types of lucky socks, and almost every person probably has a favorite pair they like to wear on special days. Sometimes athletes get superstitious and wear the same pair of socks to every game — hopefully they don't go even further and stop washing them!

In West Africa, luck on the soccer pitch can be yours if you prepare the right talisman — for many players, this means tucking pieces of grass into their socks.

It is supposed to be lucky to accidentally put on one of your socks inside out, and even luckier to accidentally put on a mismatched pair. For even more luck, you should leave them that way for the rest of the day.

A person holds funny socks that say "Worst Gift Ever" above gift boxes with shredded crinkle paper filling

Giving Socks As Gifts

In Russia, a woman shouldn't give socks to her husband or boyfriend, or else he might run away! For the same reasons, a Russian wife might encourage her mother-in-law to give a pair of socks to her son, hoping to curb her influence over his new family.

A big toe with a sad face drawn on the toenail protrudes from a hole in a blue and pink sock

Wearing Out a Pair of Socks

The way you wear out a pair of socks or shoes was once believed to predict your future. If you wore out the toe first, you would see misfortune, but wearing out the heel first would lead to success. The following rhyme sums it up — it was so common that it was included on a list of Philadelphia folklore in 1888.

“Wear at the toe, live to see woe;
Wear at the side, live to be a bride;
Wear at the ball, live to spend all;
Wear at the heel, live to save a deal.”

For incredibly durable socks with a lifetime guarantee, we recommend the Darn Tough brand.

Red socks with Chinese characters in yellow

Red Socks

In China you may see red socks with the characters cǎi xiǎorén (踩小人) meaning “step on villains” and an image of a tiny bad guy on the bottom. Give someone a pair for Chinese New Year and whenever they wear them, they will push bad luck out of their life with each step!

For New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, red socks were a source of luck on the sea. Before one sailing competition with the national sailing team in 1995, Blake's wife gave him a pair of red socks to wear. His team won the race and from then on, the socks became their trademark. Other New Zealanders including the prime minister began to sport red socks or fly them as flags from their car antennae to support the team.


A circle of feet wearing lucky green shamrock socks by ModSocks


More Colorful Socks

In the United States, wearing green socks is supposed to bring you wealth because it matches the color of paper money. Another superstition states that if you put a penny in your socks before putting them on, you will find even more money throughout the day.

Some say wearing a brand new pair of white socks will break a streak of bad luck, but we think a new pair in any color will do the trick. See our newest socks and find a pair to bring you lots of good fortune!

Andrea Farrell

Andrea Farrell is the lead buyer and content writer for Cute But Crazy Socks. She is a sock industry expert with over a decade of experience in socks retail, customer service, product selection, product development and customer behavior. Andrea leans on her degree in journalism from Western Washington University to write helpful articles on socks and hosiery, covering all topics from current fashion trends to sock jokes.

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