Left foot, left foot, left foot, right

My mother always advised buying identical pairs of socks. That way you still have matching pairs even after you lose a few. Sock manufacturers have figured this out, obviously, because they sell socks in packages containing different colors and designs.

My husband says I need to spell out the meaning of the above sentence. I mean that the manufacturers want you to throw away the second half of the pair when one sock is lost.

I bought a pack of three pairs this week. But as you can see from the picture, the socks were not as identical as I had thought. I haven’t seen left and right socks since toe socks.

When I took out the last pair of socks to photograph, I realized that the package actually contained 4 L socks and 2 R socks. So should I try to return them? I can’t imagine how I would explain this problem to the store. In a country where large numbers of plumbers don’t seem to know what H and C stand for, what would an underwear store worker have to say about the difference between L and R?


  1. sylvia_rachel says

    Sock manufacturers have figured this out, obviously, because they sell socks in packages containing different colors and designs.
    This is particularly true of women’s socks. I can buy packets of up to six identical pairs for my husband, but can I even find packets of two the same for myself? Absolutely not. (Baby socks come in large identical quantities, but only if you want white. Little-kid socks, not so much.)
    Do the L and R socks actually fit differently in some way? Or are they labelled that way just for, well, decoration? Very peculiar!

  2. I thought that at least socks would be safe from merchandisers running amok but apparently not. Obviously we must have had people out there who couldn’t tell which one of an identical pair to put on which foot. Makes you wonder what need these socks are fulfilling.

  3. I keep all unpaired socks in a bucket in the laundry room. Eventually, most socks come home.
    Just remember, two lefts don’t make a right. (My mother used to say that. Don’t really know what it means.)

  4. does it matter if the socks say L and R? can you wear 2 L’s and call it a day?

  5. mother in israel says

    I couldn’t see any difference betewen the Ls and the Rs.

  6. that is like a “left handed coffee cup”..
    my wife buys identical pairs of socks for the kids…

  7. If I had those socks I would definitely have to wear them on the wrong feet, but I’m ornery that way ;-).

  8. Write the company and complain.

  9. I haven’t seen that here, but I’m sure it is only a matter of time.

  10. My mother gave the same advice about socks, which I pass on to my daughters. I’ve seen some kids’ shoes now marked with color codings on the sole to help a child realize which goes on the right and which on the left foot. But why for socks that fit the same way? As Phyllis says, I suppose you could still put an L labeled sock on a right foot. No one sees it in the shoe, right? BTW, I believe that Land’s End offers a single glove or mitten replacement service for about half the price of a pair (never bought it from them, so I am not sure) but I don’t know if they would do it for socks. Oh and I have discovered where some of the missing half of pairs disappear to — they fall behind the washer and dryer.

  11. BTW, for the vote, of course I recognize the quote. Hey, I can recite sections of kids’ books by heart and can rattle of the whole of Good Night Moon.