Socks for Soldiers Puts Socks on the Wartime Feet

New socks are always welcome in any wartime situation, which is why Socks for Soldiers wants to knit a pair for every soldier fighting the War on Terror.

All soldiers yearn for care packages from home, and Socks for Soldiers is one of the organizations currently answering that yearning. Their specialty is providing sturdy, comfortable knitted socks to replace or supplement standard issue for soldiers engaged in our current War on Terror.

While the military does its best, it has to clothe millions of people as inexpensively as it can. Sadly, the acrylic and nylon socks modern soldiers get wear out quickly and can cause blisters. That's not the case with Big Black Socks knitted by Socks for Soldiers.


Socks for Soldiers is the brainchild of Kim Opperman, whose oldest son, Tom, first brought the problem to her attention. Tom serves overseas with the U.S. Air Force, and at one point he told his mom that he wished that all his fellow soldiers could have a pair of her comfy hand-knitted socks.

Kim decided she could probably handle that. In May 2006, she founded Socks for Soldiers, a knitting group dedicated to providing as many pairs of socks to American soldiers as they could. Before long, the organization had received federal recognition as a non-profit charity.


Operating under the theory that an army travels on its feet rather than its stomach, Kim soon amassed a group of over a thousand knitters from every branch of the military and every walk of civilian life. The VFW, the American Legion, and the Red Cross got involved, too.

Kim's stated goal is to "keep knitting Big Black Socks until the last American soldier steps off the plane onto American soil. At the moment, the goal is 100,000 pairs.


Originally Socks for Soldiers operated strictly from a Yahoo! group rather than a website. You must be a Yahoo! member to join, but that's an easy and painless process. You can find the group here.

Socks for Soldiers, however, now has a Facebook page and Ravelry group as well. So if Yahoo! groups aren't your thing, you can sign up at one of these two locations instead.

The requirements for knitting a pair of Big Black Socks are pretty straightforward:

  • They must be black.
  • They need to be high enough to go over top the boot by several inches (11 inches is good).
  • They must fit without drooping, so use elastic in the cuff.
  • They must be very absorbent, since most soldiers wear their socks for 24 hours at a time.
  • The yarn must be a wool or wool-cotton blend.
  • You have to make them using a simple pattern.

Please don't confuse this Socks for Soldiers with another worthy charity of the same name that provides soldiers with ready-made socks rather than knitted ones. Their website can be found here.

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