The first question everyone asks about over-the-calf socks is: Are they not too hot? No, the difference in heat is pretty tiny for a couple of inches of wool/cotton/blend, and the difference in style is immeasurable. Shorter socks don’t stay up; they always fall down, they always bunch, and that is not a good look with a finely pressed suit in rather fine worsted.

On some days however, such as the past three in London, they are certainly too hot. Even fine cottons, even a silk mix, even a linen mix like the pair I recently bought from my friends at the Dandy Store. On those days, it is better to go with no socks at all.

Not, it should be noted, with the fine worsted. Bare ankles are not appropriate for business. But then, when conducting business one is usually in air conditioning and heat is less of an issue.

In every other circumstance, loafers and slip-ons work well without socks. It is advisable to change at some point during the day, to help with any odour. Suede is preferable to leather in a lace-up; unlined shoes are particularly comfortable. If you must, wear a slipper sock that sits inside the shoe. But make sure it remains hidden.

With cotton suits, with chinos, sockless slip-ons are stylish and surprisingly cool. A lot of blood runs near the surface of your ankles.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
44 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Every now and then I will not wear a pair of socks. Especially during the summer. It just seems so fitting.

Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

AFJ

Lovely look

Would have gone for a button-down shirt though for a tad more casual look

Brgds

Roger

This is something I just can’t do. It’s not about being a traditionalist, I simply can’t stand the look and feel of it. It looks hipsterish and foolish.
On my only ever holiday to South America it was really scorching and I wore no socks, but I don’t think there’s ever a reason to wear no socks when wearing long trousers is still tolerable. If it was so hot that I was forced to wear shorts then okay, but otherwise I’m not doing it.

Anonymous

Great photo, is that yourself Simon?

Derrik

I always place a pair of Odor Eater inserts into the shoes that I wear sockless. I purchase several pair every spring so that I have enough extras to replace any that start looking worn or soiled all through the warm season. I also use a little foot powder before going sockless and put cedar shoe trees into my shoes after wearing, and the result is I never have any noticeable foot odor or stinky shoes ever.

Anonymous

I do believe ‘Not sock’ only work if you are Italian… I pass, certainly, socked 100% when in town.

Anonymous

the fact that you are having a conversation about no socks with a suit and loafers is super gay. preppy or both…. Sorry, I am hater, and by gay I mean no disrespect to homosexuals.

Anonymous

May I enquire as to who you have commissioned the cotton suit from Simon?

Anonymous

@Anonymous 27 April 2011 07:45:

No disrespect taken, philistine.

Sartor Resartus

To be more exact and prescriptive :
The more formal the attire the less acceptable short socks are.
Socks in navy, black or grey to be worn with suits, regardless of material, should not be short. Point finale.
It can be equally unattractive to see calf when sporting seersucker or linen ( suit, of course ) but if the sock in question is a cotton voile in aqua or lime one can be forgiven in July for not wearing over the calf.

Anonymous

one part vodka to 3 parts water sprayed in the shoe, lightly mind you, clears up any odor.

Anonymous

I do it every summer and always with a suit. I get questioned about it all the time and just say it’s comfortable.

Anonymous

I never wear socks in the summer unless I wear a black suit

Anonymous

Simon,
Thanks for an excellent blog.

I just wanted to share with you my disappointment with the Gamarelli socks. I love the story of them and promptly ordered four paris(blacks, cotton). I ordered size 11, they came in size 12. I can live with that.

The probelem is they breathe badly. Perhaps worse than regular supermarket socks and definately worse than off-the-shelf The Gap socks.

This might just be me (or my feet, rather) but I think the cotton-elastane (or similar artificial non-breathable material) mix is way off.

Any advice on other brands that in your experience are very breathable?

Once again thanks for all the work. I had your camel hair DB coat copied with great success in Jakarta and have indulged myself at Drake’s on your recommendation.

Best
Ian

Anonymous

I think that wearing shoes with no socks (and riding bicycles with no breaks, baking your own sourdough bread etc) is perfectly acceptable, even commendable, if you are a hipster living in Williamsburg, New York or Södermalm, Stockholm.

/Fredrick

Georg

Dear Simon, a quick question about over-the-calf socks: I have bought a few pairs of them lately (Gammarelli and Falke) and like to wear them for a little more formal look (and feel). However, my problem is that my trouser legs tend to stuck to the socks when I stand up, which results in awkward shaking of legs and pulling on trousers in order to rectify my appearance. Do you know whether this is a common problem, and what I could do against it? I fear that I should just invest in better quality trousers, but maybe there is a cheaper solution…
Thank you in advance,
Georg

Anonymous

Have you been able to find a solution? I just bought three pairs of OTC socks and now all of my flannel trousers no longer fit! I have to pull them down every time I stand up although they’re 8 inches wide

Kh

The best solution is to wear sock garters with a pair short socks. The sock garters are still invisible even if do the extreme posture like sitting down on the floor and cross your legs. They always keep the short socks up even better than OTC socks. Not to mention they never stuck your calf with the trousers legs unlike OTC socks. If you have some short socks with slipping issue, why not buy one pair? You may easily find one at Albert Thurston, Ben and Clegg or even eBay.

Kh

Thanks for your reply. But I disagree. I found them extremely practical.

Carlin

I don’t care for the look with a suit. Casually with jeans or shorts, yes. Go for no socks with derbies. Good leather shoes will not develop an odor. I now wear those short liner no shows. The issue is sweat! The shoes become damp as the day progressed. Sweat stays on the skin, then the feet become smelly; noticeable when after removing shoes.

Christos

Hi Simon,

i was wondering if a pair of fully lined trousers would help, regarding the problem George mentioned, that with the trouser legs stacking to the over the calf socks when standing up or even walking. Do you have any experience with such trousers? I am having the same problem and my trousers are not narrow i believe since my hems are between 19cm and 21cm.

Best Regards

Anonymous

Do you wash your socks after each wear? How long do they last on average?

Anonymous

How often do you wear one pair? — Or maybe a better way to ask would be how many pairs of green socks do you have? Thanks

Anonymous

When wearing no socks, how long should your trousers be?

Falk

I have no reason anymore to wear “no socks” – since I came across the wonderful Bresciani linen socks.
They are very light and cooling so that even in the tropical heat of Singapore I am wearing them all day Long without even feeling that I am wearing socks.

John

Simon, could you tell us how you wash your socks? Just a delicate cycle with cool water and then lay them out to dry?

Also, I’m ready to give long socks another try but I’ve already shrunk a bunch of nice Bresciani socks by putting them in the dryer. Is there a way to stretch them back out?

John

Thanks. So do you wear full above the knee socks even with jeans, boots, and trainers? You don’t own any calf length socks outside of gym socks?

I’m considering making a clean break with calf length socks just to make laundering cut and dry.

Ravi

Hi Simon,

Do you have a recommendation of where to buy decent quality no-show socks?

Many thanks.

Kevin

Fine wool socks are the only way to go. Wool fibers do not hold moisture like cotton socks, and they end up being cooler and drier, even in summer. And long socks are a must. I simply detest short ones that allow one to see a stretch of skin when the trouser leg lifts up.

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

Which brand of socks would you recommend that offers thick cotton socks as oppose to fine cotton? I know Anderson and Sheppard offer thick woollen socks in great colours. Have you tried Rubato socks in cotton?

Ayush

With casual clothing like ‘shirt and jeans or polo shirt and chinos’ can I wear loafers with socks or would no socks look better?