Socks That Give Back
If you’ve ever felt the need to Google “Why are socks important” you will know that there are a billion responses including everything from opinionated blogs, to factual educational essays, and anything in between. Many of these sources come from individuals who sell socks, are foot doctors, or do one thing or another with these small pieces of fabric we use everyday.
For us at OutsideIn, socks are incredibly important but for a reason that may not be obvious on the surface. To give you insight into these reasons, throughout this blog we’ll be answering the question: Why socks?
Through it, we hope to show you why socks are so key, especially for those experiencing homelessness, and we’ll also give you some interesting insight into our brand-new Giving Socks and share how they’ll be used for our various giving initiatives this Christmas season.
So, sit back, kick your socks up, and enjoy!
Why Are Sock So Important?
It’s simple - Socks are important for the overall health of your feet. Not only do socks absorb moisture, but they are also used to help prevent rubbing of shoes on the foot and cushioning the soles of your feet to pad them and help keep them warm.
The best socks are the ones that wick away moisture, especially during the summer months when feet can get really warm! By wearing a good pair of socks to keep your feet dry and free from sweat, you’ll avoid nasty things such as infections and blisters. However, socks are equally as important during the colder seasons. As the temperature drops and winter approaches us, socks can help to prevent cold feet and even frostbite. Cold feet can lead circulation issues which can be very dangerous. Nowadays you can even buy specialty socks, such as compression stockings, that have been specifically designed to improve blood circulation to the feet, prevent leg fatigue and aid other circulation-related issues.
Furthermore, as you’ve probably already guessed, socks are also really important in preventing smelly odours! Socks assist the sweat glands in your feet by absorbing excess moisture and keeping the foot itself dry. This means that there will be significantly less of a smell when you take your shoes off (win-win for everyone!).
So yeah - I guess you could say socks are pretty important…!
Why are socks even more important for those experiencing homelessness?Some of the most requested items from our partnered homeless charities across the UK and Ireland are, you guessed it, socks. Unlike T-Shirts and jackets, socks can get very dirty, very quickly, and they can easily develop unpleasant odours. Think about it - we change our socks Every. Single. Day. In fact, we usually change them multiple times a day; after exercise, after a shower, sometimes to bed in the winter - you get the point.
We change them because we should and because wearing them for days in a row just wouldn’t be comfortable (or recommended!). Unfortunately, for many individuals experiencing homelessness, this simple luxury just isn’t possible. Socks, while seemingly unimportant, are actually essential.
Many of those experiencing homelessness will be forced to wear one pair of socks indefinitely until they have a new pair. In harsh weather conditions, prolonged wearing of damp socks can expose the feet to dangerous medical hazards, especially in the winter. Cold weather and wet socks could lead to frostbite, which in turn can threaten a limb or result in amputation. Whilst it may seem simple, having a fresh pair of socks to put on your feet after washing them is a comfort that we beli
As you can tell, socks make an enormous impact. Not just to our feet, but to our overall health too.
Here are some interesting facts on why socks are so crucial to those experiencing homelessness:
From the cold:
- 30 minutes - The time it takes to get frostbite in sub-zero temperatures
- 5-10 minutes - The time it takes to get frostbite when temperatures are -0.55ºC or lower
- 30-60 cases - The number of people who experience frostbite in England each year (this increases when alcohol or drugs are involved)
From infections and disease:
- Wet socks breed bacteria which in turn can cause multiple infections
- More than 3.9 million people in the UK have diabetes which puts them at a greater risk of skin injury, infections, and it makes them more susceptible to needing an amputation of some sort
Access to life-saving resources:
- Many individuals experiencing homelessness walk several miles daily to access food, shelter, and essentials
- Accessing help is noticeably easier when your feet are healthy and free of blisters
- People are more motivated to seek employment when have confidence and feel equipped in their appearance
- Wearing socks and shoes with holes decreases feelings of self-worth
Chances are, if you’re reading this you probably have more than one pair of socks. You’ve also probably got a fresh pair on now. You see, without even noticing, you’re enjoying a luxury many do not possess. More than ever before, there is such a high need among charities for socks, particularly brand-new socks which help to give individuals experiencing homelessness a sense of dignity and pride.
Behind the Oi socks:
Process and intentionality with our Head of Fashion, Christabel
The Oi Black Tube Socks were specifically designed with giving in mind. We followed closely the size and quality of our previous giving socks and updated this based on feedback from our customers, our staff and our partnering charities. Both these charities and our own Social Impact team informed us that socks were still one of the most requested items needed to help those experiencing homelessness.
To produce the best possible sock, we made sure to include features such as a tighter ribbing around the leg of the sock, so as not to stretch as much when worn and increase the longevity of the sock. We also included both toe and heel reinforcement to combat wear and tear while still providing comfort and support for those who spend a lot of time on their feet. For the best possible fit, we sized the socks up to accommodate a better unisex fit for all who need it. We also chose to keep the design black in order to help disguise any marks gathered when wearing the same pair repeatedly.
For the design itself, we went for more bold and impactful OutsideIn branding and included key details on the soles of the socks that say, “Wear Hope” on the left, and “Share Hope” on the right. We want these messages to encourage the wearer that no matter our circumstances, we can step into each pair and feel the impact of the intention behind them. Then in turn, we can share this impact with anyone we meet, allowing these small pieces of hope to serve as daily reminders that we have the power to change someone else’s day just as we have the power to change our own. Like all of our new giving products, we have focused on functionality, comfort and design so that we can be sure to share a little bit of hope through every product.
These original socks form part of our Wear One, Share One concept. This means that for every pair purchased, we give another to someone experiencing homelessness. Not only that, but with every item of outerwear purchased, we can give 3 pairs of socks to the charities who are helping those experiencing homelessness this Christmas.
With our new manufacturers and original design, we have innovated and expanded our ability to give back to those who need it most.
Where We Step In:
Our heart at OutsideIn is to see a need and meet it in the best way we know how: By innovating our socks to bring relief to this HUGE need and to continue to add intention to every single sock we produce.
Throughout this Christmas season, for every pair of socks purchased another will be donated, and for every sweater sold we will be giving 3 pairs of socks.
So far, this November we have given 200 pairs of socks to partnering charities and have allotted a total of 1,990 pairs for the month of December! These will be donated to our partnering charities including The Soup Kitchen for World Giving Day, The Simon Community as the partner of our upcoming Christmas collection, Lighthouse Charity in London and many more.
This is a small but integral part of our wider goal to transform the lives of those experiencing homelessness both near and far.
How can you help?
- Donating socks yourself - mail or drop off
- Donate online to charities providing for the need i.e. The Whitechapel Centre’s Socktober Events
- Volunteer at a local organisation that serves those experiencing homelessness
- Host a sock drive at your school, church or organisation
- Recycle socks through The London Sock Exchange
For those of you who are new to OutsideIn, a big part of why we do what we do is to challenge society. We believe that whether you have a home or whether you are experiencing homelessness, we all have equal value and equal worth. Every giving product we share and every item we sell, is positioned and intentionally created to help bridge the gap between society and those on the outside of it.
So, the next time your feet need a new fit, we say, “Choose socks that give back!”