It is a well known fact that the K-pop industry relies not only on the money that the music sales bring in, but on the income from merchandise, too. And while fans all over the globe may wave their lightsticks and don their t-shirts proudly, there is one item that has garned unforeseeable attention…

Socks! K-pop socks are anklet socks that come in all manner of colours, with socks featuring every group and every member without fail! While there are official goods on offer, the socks are so cheap to make (and hence, not too expensive to buy) that the product has cropped up on the ‘black’ market in surplus amounts. Word has it that you can find these socks in every shopping market, mall and stall in South Korea, not having to look far in the slightest.

The socks themselves feature cute, anime style characters, drawn to represent specific K-pop idols, though arguably many of them are hard to recognise.

Featured: 2NE1 socks, sporting representations of the members in their music videos.

Cute though they may be, it does baffle me as to why such busy designs are created only to be hidden in the inside of a shoe. Their relatively cheap price means that goods companies can even give them away for free. I have heard from more than one friend that they have received socks as a free gift when ordering albums and posters online before now, in replacement (or alongside) of free cosmetic samples.  Not a bad gift! Though cosmetic samples are given away with the aim of persuading the customer to buy the product (and I may have fallen for this ploy more than once…), it’s difficult to imagine that one would be encouraged to buy more socks.

Why have they become so popular? Likely reasons are their cheap price, as many fans are teenagers after all, and cartoon designs that would appeal to the younger fans. Most importantly, they’re fun! K-pop has to be a serious business for economic reasons but it often promotes a message of fun and youth culture. Teenagers and young adults have disposable income to spend on arguably unnecessary things like socks, which is why K-pop can extend its money-sucking tentacles.

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Do you own a pair of these socks? Have you ever received any as a gift? And what’s your on them; do you think they’re cute and fun or just plain unnecessary and a waste of money? Let us know in the comments below!

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