Socks have somehow become the legendary metric for how small a town Davis is. Along with toothpaste and the generic "men's clothing", they are often cited by pro-growth (even minimal growth) Davisites as items that are unobtainable or lack inexpensive variety in Davis.
Invoked during various growth battles, they have been used as a near mythical widget, a product that must be obtained at great cost and aggravation by driving all the way to Dixon or Woodland. Presumably now that the Target debate has been settled in the favor of Target, there will be other boojums and unavailable items that necessitate growing Davis larger.
Another variety of the "sock" are specific types or qualities of cuisine. Often foods that are only available in, or of a certain quality found in San Francisco, the Bay Area or Los Angeles are cited as lacking in Davis and thus Davis needs to have the lack of that particular sock filled by opening more restaurants.
Socks (real ones; tube to be precise), were part of the Aggie Pack controversy over their firetruck, which is capable of firing socks into crowds of people, presumably for riot control that could only be quelled by the distribution of cheap wholesale foot coverings.