Footwraps as Improvised Socks or Foot Wear


Socks are something that we take for granted.  It is so easy to run down to the store and purchase a cheap pair.  That has not always be the case.  I can remember my Grandmother knitting or darning socks in the evenings by the fire in England.  How many of you know how to darn or knit socks.  One solution is to improvise socks by making footwraps.

Footwraps have been around for thousands of years.  They were used at Valley Forge, often without boots.  Many Eastern European armies used them up until the beginning of this century.  In the Russian army, footwraps remained in use for tasks requiring the wearing of heavy boots until 2013, because they were considered to offer a better fit with standard-issue boots.

The Russian method of making footwraps
The Russian method of making footwraps

Footwraps are rectangular pieces of cloth that are worn wrapped around the feet to provide warmth, avoid chafing, and absorb sweat.  Footwraps were worn with boots before socks became widely available.

Footwraps are typically square, rectangular or less often triangular.  They measure about 16 in on each side if square or about 30 in on each side if triangular.  The Russian army footwraps used flannel for the winter and cotton for the summer.

The Finnish method of making footwraps

While I would prefer a good pair of socks, footwraps actually have some advantages over them.  They are cheaper and simpler to make or improvise.  Footwraps dry quicker than socks and are more resistant to wear and tear.  You can cover any holes merely by re-wrapping the cloth in a different position.

Their main disadvantage is that the folds can cause blisters if the wraps are not correctly done. Consequently, armies issued detailed instructions on how to put on footwraps correctly.

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For us as preppers, knowing how to make and use footwraps, almost guarantees that we can always improvise some type of socks or even footwear.  If you don’t have boots or shoes, the footwraps could be improvised from leather, heavy cloth or even old carpeting. You could use Styrofoam from a cushion inside the footwrap for insulation in cold weather.

Hopefully you will always have access to good socks, but if you don’t footwraps are an alternative.


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