Apparently the word ‘sock’ is derived from the Latin word soccus, which means ‘slipper’. But one imagines protective footwear pre-dates the Romans. I mean, you wouldn’t want to try to build a pyramid in bare soles, would you? You would want to have something on your feet, even in Egypt.

The socks pictured here are particularly fine, both to look at and to wear. I think you would not have been insulted if these socks had been among your Christmas presents last Sunday. The brand is called Sokx – their bokx (sorry!) is shown on the home page – and they’`re made from the highest quality cotton yarns to make them both comfortable and durable. There are seven pairs in each box (obviously, one for every day of the week) and the photo below gives you some idea of their vibrancy. The pair on top are called rainbow, while the others are casual grey, black striped, lightening white, hardcore pink, bright white and bike stoke.

Sokx in all their glory: a story of how a basic item of clothing can enliven anyone’s wardrobe and make it more fun

The latter pair features one white sock and one black: the wearing of odd socks was a personal foible of Naim Attallah, the publisher of Quartet Books, who died last year, although not from anything to do with idiosyncratic footwear choices. I am pretty confident he’d have ordered a few pairs of bike stokes if he was still around.

The word soccus is, of course, close to soccer, the American name for the game that was recently played out in Qatar with a dramatic World Cup final in which Argentina beat France on penalties after the teams had finished level on 3-3 after extra time. The champions’ socks were a kind of Cambridge-coloured only version of the top pair featured here, rainbow. In fact, sky blue.

Happy New Year!