The mystery of the missing socks
The mystery of the missing socks
Where do we go when we die? What is the meaning of life? Why do noses run and feet smell? Ever since socks were invented in ancient Greece in the 8th century BC, humans have been pondering another question: why do socks always go missing?
We have all experienced this phenomenon – you open your sock drawer on a stressful morning, try to find a pair of socks, and discover that the ones you have don’t match.
One is fresh out of the pack, the other is already visibly scarred by shoe life. Thinning material in the toe area means an increased risk of holes forming, so it is just a matter of time before the end is nigh. Reaching for another pair isn’t really a solution, as no two socks properly go together – instead you just have a sad pile of lonely, orphaned socks in a variety of colours, lengths and stages of life.
Why do socks disappear?
Hard work in tough conditions such as snow, friction or heat mean that it’s understandable that feet and socks might want to get as far away from each other as possible. Other theories born of childlike imagination are the sock monster, a black hole in the washing machine, or even a washer that eats socks. Billions of socks have been lost since the dawn of time – but only ever one, never a pair. Our only explanation for this puzzle is that someone wants to make things as difficult for us as possible.
A question for science
British scientists have now started investigating sock loss and have discovered something incredible: we lose an average of 15 socks a year. That’s 1,125 socks over a lifetime! As well as looking at the question of where the socks go, scientists have also developed a formula to calculate the probability of individual socks disappearing – the sock loss index.
What is the probability of socks disappearing?
The answers can be found in the ‘Sock Loss Index’. According to this formula, factors such as positivity towards laundry play as much of a role as the quantity of fabric being washed. You can use the ‘Sock Loss Index Calculator’ to work out how many socks you will lose in the future. The formula is:
(L(p x f) + C(t x s)) - (P x A)
- L stands for laundry size (number of people in household x frequency of washes)
- C represents washing complexity (types of washes (e.g. black, white) x number of socks)
- P is positivity towards doing a laundry (from ‘I hate it’ to ‘I love it’)
- A stands for degree of attention, so number of precautions taken before a laundry (such as checking trouser pockets or unrolling socks)
Calculate your sock loss now! Do you lose more socks than average?
Where do lost socks go?
If you throw an even number of socks into the washing machine but fish an uneven number back out, then the offending sock must still be in the machine. Perhaps revenge for an overloaded drum? During the wash, socks creep into the yawning abysses of the laundry drum. The heat and the rotations separate the clothes and cause them to disappear into the wastewater hose.
But not all socks go missing in the washing machine: some pine away behind radiators, get jammed between furniture or slide under the bed. Others sit right at the bottom of the constantly full laundry basket – separated from their partners in the clothing commotion, they don’t always catch the same laundry run. Some even fall helplessly from the clothes line and are abandoned to their fate.
How can we prevent sock loss?
Two are stronger than one, as the inventor of the sock clip might also have thought. However, this is not a foolproof method, as the clips often also go missing – plus, who has the time to join up all of their socks? You can of course run a separate wash just for socks so that you keep total control.
However, despite every precaution you always end up with an orphan sock, and it’s always best to find it a new partner as soon as you can before acute loneliness sets in.
The sockscription - because no-one likes buying socks
BLACKSOCKS has had a proven method of combating sock loss since 1999: receive regular sock deliveries to your door with the sockscription, always the same so that orphaned socks can find a new friend. With the sockscription you receive regular deliveries of new (and always matching) socks posted to your door, allowing you to quickly find new partners for your orphan socks and doing away with the tedium of sorting socks after washing.
You can choose between the original sockscription with multiple deliveries of three pairs of socks, and the extreme sockscription with one 12-pair delivery per year. Subscribe and try it for yourself.
New supplies at the touch of a button
If you suddenly find you have too many orphan socks in your sock drawer, then that means it’s time to order some more. However, most of the time this mental note to buy more socks disappears as fleetingly as it appears. The ‘More’ button makes everything easier: put it in your sock drawer, and all it takes is a double-click to confirm an order and get the socks you urgently need winging their way to your door. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Good to Know
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When do your socks start to fade?
Faded flowers end up in the compost. Sour milk goes down the drain. And old socks? They normally end up back on our feet. Put them on or chuck them out? Following are a few stages in the life of a sock which should make this decision easier for you.
The truth about Europeans’ socks
Who changes their socks only every couple of days? Who owns the most socks? And who prefers to leave it to mummy to buy socks? BLACKSOCKS knows the answers.
Who invented the sockscription?
The idea arose from an embarrassing meeting and developed into a product, which finally morphed into BLACKSOCKS. While there is now a myriad of product subscriptions available on the internet, the sockscription was the first.