johnnysama

Gridiron Football Socks - A History

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I've been thinking lately about one fairly overlooked part of the gridiron football uniform: The socks. Bear with me, here's what I've gathered:

 

Early on, the socks were just a single color. The Canton Bulldogs were the first to use the half color/half white combo in the mid-1920s, however, it didn't really catch on then. Beginning in the mid-1930s, the dominating sock look was the 3/4 color, 1/4 white look. This held until the mid/late 1950s, when the familiar half color/half white combo came into use.

 

However, for many years, the look was accomplished by the fact that one sock was a stirrup (or a solid colored one, depending on the team), and the remaining white section was a seperate sock. The reason you saw so many of the 1/4 color and 3/4 white look was because the white socks were too high.

 

That brings me to this. I found out via the twitter account NFL_Journal that the first "one-piece" sock was worn by the 1973 Los Angeles Rams. And the transition to these one-piece units wasn't complete until at least the mid-1980s. As a result, the modern NFL game sock is a one-piece unit, which I think gets rid of the hassle of having to wear two or more socks.

 

Well, that's all I've gathered. If anybody wants to add more info, feel free.

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There is a pretty well-known picture of Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall in the Colts locker room wearing stirrups.  I didn't post a copy of it because the only images I could find were Getty Images . . . and I assume that is frowned upon.

 

EDIT -- Thanks, UniWatch.

 

Earl-Morrall-Unitas.jpg

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To further my point about the football game stockings....

 

IMG_20180714_212138_zps1iqyj4ii.jpg

Here is the NFL's uniform code from 1980. Notice how the stockins are depicted as two seperate socks.

 

IMG_20180714_212136_zpsmfoggxwd.jpg

Fast forward to 1985, and the mandated socks in the uniform code are the one-piece socks.

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its true the players are issued a standard sock from Nike, but you might be surprised at what actually makes the field. look close enough, and you'll see all kinds of custom sock and legging combinations

 

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2 hours ago, johnnysama said:

To further my point about the football game stockings....

 

IMG_20180714_212138_zps1iqyj4ii.jpg

Here is the NFL's uniform code from 1980. Notice how the stockins are depicted as two seperate socks.

 

IMG_20180714_212136_zpsmfoggxwd.jpg

Fast forward to 1985, and the mandated socks in the uniform code are the one-piece socks.

 

Here's the 2000's version;

 

IMG_1827_zps9fcf77ef.jpg  IMG_1831_zps471854a8.jpg

 

IMG_1830_zps8a84386b.jpg

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Here's my question about it. Why do the socks have to be white on the bottom? Why can't they be team-colored all the way down to the shoe?

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8 minutes ago, stumpygremlin said:

Here's my question about it. Why do the socks have to be white on the bottom? Why can't they be team-colored all the way down to the shoe?

gty_501807732_78354826.jpg?w=1000&h=600&

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Because it looks better this way & is established as a professional look much how a nice suit has been

 

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Color down to the ankle (provided the shoes are a neutral color) is also a professional look. Just ask baseball, hockey, and soccer players. ?

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2 hours ago, andrewharrington said:

Color down to the ankle (provided the shoes are a neutral color) is also a professional look. Just ask baseball, hockey, and soccer players. ?

I agree for those sports but it has not been established for football & I hope it never does it looks minor league to me 

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i honestly prefer the a single color sock. it really bothers me when a team wears white cleats and they look like they're wearing long moon-boots. i'd love to see NFL introduce a warm weather sock (just a shorter sock) and keep the long/leggings for cold weather. (put them in the team stores as well for that extra $$$)

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10 hours ago, KRZYBDGRZ said:

gty_501807732_78354826.jpg?w=1000&h=600&

 

 This only looks bad because the cleats are the same colors as the socks. Restrict the cleats to either black or white and this doesn’t look nearly as bad, as modeled by Philip Rivers below:

 

9618223-philip-rivers-nfl-denver-broncos

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7 hours ago, hugevolsfan said:

I agree for those sports but it has not been established for football & I hope it never does it looks minor league to me 

 

I would disagree. To me, it’s the original football look as much as any other.

 

230px-Ernie_Nevers.jpgGrange4a.jpg210px-Jim_Thorpe_Canton_Bulldogs_1915-20

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It's one of those things, like grey in baseball. Just how the NFL evolved and makes it different.

 

 

Id rather see lower socks(think NCAA), rather than solid socks.

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CFL teams have been using solid socks for what seems to be at least the last couple seasons (maybe with the switch to Adidas? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if it's a league-wide mandated uniform rule).

Stamps_vs_MONT_-015DM-1377x1600.jpg

8fa7f7fb-72ed-43e1-94d1-bbe7c9bdc628?ass

DM5_8883-1600x1067.jpg

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I am not sure how many people here grew up watching those play but I would not associate that look with pro football nor would I leather helmets

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Why should teams that feature no white on their home uniform (like the Raiders, Seahawks, and Lions) be forced to wear white socks? It's an extra unnecessary color.

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On 9/7/2018 at 2:06 AM, monkeypower said:

CFL teams have been using solid socks for what seems to be at least the last couple seasons (maybe with the switch to Adidas? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure if it's a league-wide mandated uniform rule).

Stamps_vs_MONT_-015DM-1377x1600.jpg

8fa7f7fb-72ed-43e1-94d1-bbe7c9bdc628?ass

DM5_8883-1600x1067.jpg

Those wacky Canadians, wearing socks that contrast with their pants...smh. ;)

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On 9/7/2018 at 9:24 AM, jakgol said:

Why should teams that feature no white on their home uniform (like the Raiders, Seahawks, and Lions) be forced to wear white socks? It's an extra unnecessary color.

The same reason they're forced to wear white chinstraps, white bumpers, and sometimes white jerseys..

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