Bison, the six foot tall, 2,000 lb. behemoths, are proud, majestic creatures that eat for nine hours out of the day, and enjoy wallowing in the dirt. They’re a pivotal part of American history; found only in North America, the animals were hunted for centuries by Native Americans, who revered them. Because of these reasons (and other reasons like them), President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act, which made them our national mammal.

We thought that was pretty neat. We also thought it would be pretty rad if we got on the bandwagon, and made some bison-themed socks. Then we thought, “What if people have questions about bisons?”—a valid concern. Then we realized we had questions, like “Why don’t bison wear socks?”

That’s why we’ve set out to answer some critical, burning inquiries about bison. You have questions, we have questions; it’s time we all received the bison-related education we’ve all been craving.

Why Don’t Bison Wear Socks?

As you may have noticed, bison tend to roam around with their feet unshod by warm, comfy socks. You might assume that this is because their feet end in hooves, or because they lack the fingers and thumbs necessary to put them on. This is not the case, however. A bison would enthusiastically endure such challenges and wear socks, were it not for the following reason.

Bison are nearsighted. That means that, as they roam about the open plains, the herd will not likely be able to clearly see the fun patterns and designs on the socks. Everything from argyle to hot dogs would register as a colorful blur to them. And since half the fun of wearing socks is showing off how cool they are, the astigmatic animals would find that their poor eyesight defeats the purpose.

Wouldn’t Bison Socks on a Bison Be Redundant?

“A bison wearing bison socks?” you might be thinking to yourself, “That’s just a bison with bison on it!” Before you pick up the phone and contact the department of redundancy department, be aware that Bison are redundant creatures by nature. Allow us to illustrate.

In biology, each animal is given a two word designation (consisting of the Genus and the Species) as a name. For humans, it’s Homo sapien. For house cats, it’s Felis catus. For bison, it’s Bison bison. It just goes to prove that bison are very redundant animals, and are prone to repeating themselves.

Wait, What About Buffalo?

At this point, you’re probably coming to one of the most foundational questions about bison: what’s their relation to buffalo?

We’re glad you asked. Buffalo is actually an alternative name for bison, likely coined in an effort to shake up their redundant reputation. Historians believe the word came from the French word for beef, which is “boeuf.” Either way, you’re referring to the same animal. Though, using “bison” instead may actually help you avoid even more redundancy, as we explain below.

Can You Buffalo a Buffalo from Buffalo?

Some of you may be aware that the word “buffalo” has at least three meanings:

  • Noun—a bison, or multiple bison
  • Proper noun—a location, as the city in New York state, named Buffalo
  • Verb—to harass, intimidate, confuse, or bully

While you’ve likely heard of the first two, not many people have heard of the third usage, as it’s not used very often anymore. In any case, the homonymic nature of the word lends itself to some pretty odd literary constructs, such as the sentence “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” (we told you they could be a redundant animal). So yes, you can indeed bully a bison from Buffalo, if you so choose. We would just recommend you do it from a distance, as they can run up to 35 mph.

Now that we’ve answered some of your questions, if you’d like to honor the bison by buying our brand of bison socks, and be a beacon of bison benevolence, we’d be happy to hook you up. While you’re at it, take a look at some of the other bunches of beautiful foot-bags we have to offer. Even if you’re not the biggest bison fan, we’re sure to have something you can appreciate.