One thing I noticed at Oktoberfests and the German Festivals are these two part Lederhosen Socks men wear… and I had to know… WHY? What is the story behind those calf-warmers? Why don’t men in Bavaria want to cover their ankles? As anyone who has suffered through knitting classes, you KNOW that when you are knitting socks, the hard part is the HEEL, so it can’t be a case of people not knowing how to knit the straight part. So, who wears them? And how do they stay up? So I did a little research… and here’s what I discovered about “Loferl” the two part Lederhosen Socks.
History of Loferl
To begin with, Loferl is a Bavarian term for Stutzen (calf-coverings). Basically, they really ARE calf-warmers! (They are just a lot less slouchy than those leg warmers some of us wore as a fashion statement during the aerobics craze) But… why? Well, legend has it that many years ago, the Landvolk (country folk) worked barefoot, and in order to cover their exposed legs and keep them from getting to cold, they wore Loferl. (Now, I’m a bit surprised at this information, because I know how my Oma was about having something on your feet at all times… but… it’s all I could find on the subject). To me, the story doesn’t really hold up… why not wear long pants? Is it because Lederhosen are uncomfortable when they go down to the ankle? (Learn more about the history of Lederhosen here)
Later, Lederhosen, Loferl and Haferlschuh (the traditional Bavarian Work shoe or Brogue) became the standard “work clothes”. I noticed that the short sock part of the Lederhosen seemed to come later (from personal experience I know it’s harder to knit the heel of a sock, than just the tube… I’ve tried…). Maybe it was just a hassle to knit those booties, and I know they would have to be cleaned more often. In fact, I think the foot part of the Loferl is optional….
Maybe it’s because the tops are so decorative, and you want to show them off? (They do highlight the calves….)
Someone once tried to explain that it is cheaper to replace the foot part of the Loferl socks, than it is to replace an entire sock when you wear out the heel or toe. But that doesn’t really make sense, my Oma would have gotten out her Stopfpilz (darning mushroom) and fixed any holes. Something tells me Germans don’t throw socks away because of a little hole! (Anyone else remember that uncomfortable feeling of wearing darned socks… that spot would always be “thicker” inside the shoes… I hated it… but couldn’t stop feeling it with my toe)
How to wear Loferl
The first thing you must understand about these two part socks is that they should ONLY be worn with short Lederhosen. If you have knee length Bundhosen it just looks goofy, since the calf-sock part of the sock would extend below the knee length pants …and then just end.
Pull the calf-sock up to the top of your calf. A good quality woolen Loferl will stay in place… even when dancing a Schuhplattler. Usually there is a nice band of color or a pattern at the top of the Loferl to accent the sock, give your look a bit more style.
The foot part of the sock is also wool, and has a band of color to coordinate with the calf. (And can I just mention, as the person who has to match pairs of socks, I can imagine losing my mind trying to match socks that come in four parts!!)
It is possible to get Cotton Loferl… they certainly are cheaper than the wool Loferl. (Perfect for warm summertime Fests)
Why Wear Loferl?
To quote Tevye... “that I can tell you in one word, Tradition”. Yes, you can wear regular knee socks with your Lederhosen… and that looks snappy and traditional too… but with Loferl, you look like you’ve gone all in.
Besides, it gives you a chance to show off your ankles….and it’s probably a bit cooler on those warm September afternoons in the beer tent.
Want to Buy Your Own Loferl?
Complete your fest-look with your very own pair of Lederhosen socks men love!!! Perfect for showing off your ankles, and keeping them cool. They come in a range of prices, and some are rather pricey, but when you consider they are hand-knit with amazing patterns, it makes sense.
Authentic Bavarian Trachten Socks Loferl 2pcs in Grey or Nature Made in Germany (39-41(US6-8), Nature)Schöneberger Trachten Couture Loferl Socks – Traditional Lederhosen Bavarian German socks cotton (9-11)Cuir Craft Mens Bavarian Oktoberfest Causal Lederhosen Loferl Socks Pairs White & Brown Mix (US 8-9 / EU 42-43)Men’s Long Embroidered German Lederhosen Socks – Bavarian Socks for Traditional Oktoberfest Trachten Lederhosen Costume/Outfit (Grey/Green Stripes, US 12 / EU 45)Dirndl Trachten Haus 2 Piece Long Embroidered German Lederhosen Socks Cream/Brown (XX_Large, Wool)
Order those Lederhosen Socks men wear from Germany
Great prices and cool styles!
Loferl Knitting Pattern
Want to knit your own Loferl? This is a very basic pattern… and it’s in German….
Mens Lederhosen Socks
Don’t want to wear Loferl? That’s Ok… there are other Lederhosen socks you can wear…. these are more standard, and cover your shin and ankle..