A sock monkey is a toy made from socks fashioned in the likeness of a monkey. These stuffed animals are a mixture of folk art and kitsch in the culture of the United States and the culture of Canada.
Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. Folk Art is characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed. Closely related terms are Outsider Art, Self-Taught Art and Naïve art.
As a phenomenon that can chronicle a move towards civilization yet rapidly diminish with modernity, industrialization, or outside influence, the nature of folk art is specific to its particular culture. The varied geographical and temporal prevalence and diversity of folk art make it difficult to describe as a whole, though some patterns have been demonstrated.
Fox River Mills, Inc. is a sock manufacturer based in Osage, Iowa.
The company was founded in 1900. In 1992, they purchased the Nelson Knitting Company of Rockford, Illinois, and in the process acquired the trademark on the Red Heel socks used to make sock monkeys. Fox River Mills includes instructions for making a sock monkey in every packet of Red Heel socks.