A man's guide to wearing shoes without socks

This story was originally published on D'Marge.

Your girlfriend/wife has it easy. Summer comes around and all she has to do to accommodate the rising mercury is throw on a dress and slip into some sandals.

For you, though, summer brings annual footwear frustrations over how to stay stylish but also stay cool. Sandals look faintly ridiculous on all but the most sartorially advanced men. Thongs are too adolescent for your grown-up tastes. Peep-toe pumps are definitely out of the question. So what do you do?

Liberation is the answer. The kind of liberation that exposes your ankles and calves to the elements and lets them enjoy the seasonal sun alongside the rest of you. More and more men are going sockless for summer; but do it without taking precautions and not only will you look foolish, you'll likely have a biohazard on your hands.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind before you decide to rock the no-socks look.

Suitable occasions

The classic sockless look comes with an occasion already built in: boat shoes on the deck of your spectacular Wolf of Wall Street yacht. If you're not there yet, don't worry – the yacht can wait and the boat shoes can be worn elsewhere in the meantime.

Besides, boat shoes aren't your only option for socklessness. From Oxfords to Vans, you can free your feet in all kinds of footwear. The resulting impression can either be care-free and casual, or sophisticated and slightly daring, depending on the rest of the look. Most anything can work – including denim, shorts, and even lightweight summer suits – but it must be appropriate for the occasion. Going sans-socks is a no-no with business attire and formal wear. Beyond that, feel free to experiment.

Choosing the right footwear


With no socks to share the spotlight, your shoes need to stand on their own. Beginners can't go wrong with a classic loafer. It's the easiest shoe to sport sockless, and it'll look stylish in plenty of situations. Other slip-ons, like driving shoes and moccasins, plus low-cut sneakers, are also easy to wear. On the more structured side of things try Oxfords, bucks, brogues … or pretty much anything you want, actually. Almost any dress shoe is fair game, as long as it isn't too formal for the rest of your look. Since you don't have any socks to show off, now is a good time to get a little experimental with your shoes.

Keep in mind that a little extra maintenance may be required if you plan to have consistent foot-to-shoe contact. Allow each pair a 24-48 hour resting period before slipping into them again. In the interim, use cedar shoe trees to help them properly dry out. If odour is an issue, invest in a foot anti-perspirant to stop any unsavoury smells.

Styling advice

You can try this look with a variety of garments on your lower half. Jeans, trousers and shorts are all viable options, but the classic is a slim-cut chino. Avoid elasticated or skinny cuffs, but keep your hems close. Aim for the base of the trouser, whether cropped or cuffed, to hit about two inches above your shoe and expose the bottom of the ankle. Any higher than that and you'll look like you're wearing capri pants, and that's a definite no.

Know your accessories

Picture: Tommy Ton

You could rock no-socks without any supporting materials, but we wouldn't recommend it. It's tough on your feet and on your shoes, and both could use a little extra TLC. Eliminate the unpleasantries that can come with sporting bare ankles with:

1. No-show socks: Is there anything worse than the squelchy sensation that comes from a day of going barefoot in leather shoes? Then there's the smell. And let's not even talk about what might be growing down there. Going visibly sockless doesn't have to mean going totally sockless. Invest in the low-cut invisible kind that'll keep you fresh and won't ruin your look.

2. Cedar shoe trees: As previously mentioned, this handy accessory soaks up sweat, helps prevent bacterial growth and deodorises. Win-win-win.

3. Stench-neutralising spray: For obvious reasons.

4. Powder: Sprinkled in small doses, the right powder has a cooling effect on your feet and helps absorb moisture.

5. Insoles: Terry cloth or leather insoles also aid in absorbing sweat and eliminate odours.

6. Moleskin patches: Apply in places of friction to avoid blisters.

D'Marge is one of Australia's most popular men's style and fashion blogs.

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