One of the most asked questions regarding loafers is, of course, do you wear socks with loafers?
Loafers have been a staple in men’s and women’s fashion for decades, offering a versatile and stylish footwear option. Whether you’re heading to the office or enjoying a casual outing, loafers can elevate your outfit.
However, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not to wear socks with loafers.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the great sock debate, providing detailed insights into the advantages and disadvantages of wearing socks with loafers.
We will explore the different types of socks that pair well with loafers, discuss the health benefits of wearing socks, and shed light on potential risks associated with going sockless. Additionally, we will provide tips on how to style loafers with socks.
Let’s jump right in!
Do You Wear Socks With Loafers?
The decision to wear socks with loafers largely depends on personal preference and the occasion.
Going sockless with loafers can create a more relaxed and casual look, which is ideal for summertime or informal events. It can give a sense of freedom and lightness to your feet, providing a breezy feel.
Also, wearing socks with loafers can give more styling options and prevent potential discomfort and health issues like blisters, calluses, and corns.
Ultimately, it is important to consider the overall style, comfort, and purpose of your loafers before deciding whether or not to wear socks.
For me personally, I strongly recommend that you wear socks with your loafers, and here’s why…
Why you should wear socks with loafers
While going sockless with loafers might seem fashionable, it’s essential to be aware of the potential health risks involved.
When your feet are in direct contact with the shoe’s interior, particularly during extended periods of walking or standing, sweat accumulates, which can create unpleasant foot odors and a moist environment ideal for bacterial and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
Additionally, wearing loafers without socks may cause the skin on your feet to become dry, rough, or calloused.
According to podiatrist Emma Stevenson, from the College of Podiatry, “Too much moist in the feet can leave you vulnerable to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.”
So, wearing socks acts as a barrier that reduces the chances of developing these issues and helps promote better foot hygiene.
Overall, socks made from natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, or wool provide better breathability and moisture-wicking properties compared to synthetic materials.
They can provide cushioning and support, improving overall foot comfort and reducing the likelihood of foot fatigue.
Wondering whether wearing socks with Birkenstock is a faux pas or a comfortable combo? Give it a read!
Protect your loafers
In a nutshell, the purpose of socks is to protect your feet and your shoes. Like any other type of footwear, loafers can experience wear and tear over time, and if you have a really nice pair of loafers, you don’t want them to only last one season.
When you’re wearing your loafers without socks, you’re sweating directly into the shoe, leaving a whole lot of bacteria, and really the loafer starts to decay and break down sooner than it would if you wore socks that would absorb more of the moisture.
So wearing socks:
- Helps protect your loafers from sweat and natural oils produced by your feet
- Extend their lifespan and quality
- Preserve their quality
- Helps keep them looking great for longer
- Helps them maintain their chic appearance for years to come
But what if you really can’t sacrifice that sockless look with your loafers? There’s what I call the sockless illusion…
How do you go sockless with loafers?
When choosing socks to wear with loafers, it’s crucial to strike a balance between comfort, style, and functionality.
This particular sock style is relatively new and is one of my personal favorites because of what it’s able to do in terms of functionality and style.
Just remember, when you want to pull off the sockless look, you want your pant leg to be a little slimmer and you want to have little to no break so you can see your ankle when you’re standing up.
Also known as loafer socks or invisible socks, no-show socks are an excellent option if you want the benefits of wearing socks without compromising your loafer’s sleek aesthetic.
As the name implies, no-show socks cover only the sole of your foot and remain hidden beneath the upper of the shoe. Basically, when you wear this sock, it looks like you’re not wearing a sock.
However, it’s there and it’s doing the job of protecting the inside of your shoe and your foot, and at the same time, it’s making your loafer more comfortable to wear.
So no-show socks ensure a sockless appearance while:
- Providing a barrier between your skin and the shoe
- Absorbing sweat
- Wicking away moisture
- Preventing friction
- Reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort
This is especially important during the initial break-in period of new loafers or when wearing loafers without socks for an extended period.
No-show socks are available in various materials, including cotton, bamboo, or synthetic blends, and they come in different colors and patterns to suit your personal style.
Good quality no-show socks fit the foot very well and also have adhesives on the inside to keep them in place.
But if your no-show socks:
- Don’t fit you properly
- Don’t have a strong elastic around the bottom of the ankle
- Don’t have an adhesive in the back area of the heel
… they are very likely to come off whenever you’re wearing them.
I think the most important thing you’re looking for in a good no-show sock is one, something that doesn’t fall off your foot, and two, something that will last you a few months of washes and wears.
My advice here is to go out and try a variety of brands because I found that price isn’t always the determinant of quality. It really comes down to what brand is going to work with your foot mechanics.
Features to consider in your no-show socks
After testing a lot of pairs from different brands, the best no-show socks that stay on should:
- Be made out of lightweight and breathable fabric
- Have a very thin silicone gripper behind the heel
- Be a simple design with a seamless toe and heel
- Be comfortable as if you’re wearing nothing at all
- Be made with high-quality materials such as bamboo, merino wool, or even silver
These are some of the best no-show socks I have found throughout the years:
- Boardroom Socks
What you can wear no-show socks with
No-show socks are considered trendy and they’re also considered casual. But I do think you can wear them with a wide variety of clothing in the right situation – hot weather.
I’m talking about:
- Even a casual suit
In fact, the only hot-weather situation I can think of that you probably couldn’t pull this off with is a black tie.
If you’re in a hurry and you only have regular socks, here’s a hack to turn dress socks into no-show socks.
No-show socks are designed to stay hidden and maintain a clean and sophisticated look while providing the necessary protection and comfort and preserving the sleek appearance of the loafers.
Here’s a great video about discussing some great no-shows socks…
How regular socks can ruin the chic loafer look
While wearing regular socks with loafers is an option, it can compromise the sleek and sophisticated look that loafers are known for.
Traditional crew or ankle socks often extend higher on the leg, creating an unflattering visual contrast between the sock and the loafer.
Additionally, the excess material can bunch up or show above the shoe’s opening, kind of disrupting the clean lines of the loafer design.
Therefore, opting for socks such as no-show socks can help maintain the chic appearance of your loafers while providing the necessary comfort and protection.
How to choose socks for your loafers
When selecting socks to wear with loafers, it’s crucial to choose high-quality options that offer comfort, durability, and breathability. You also need to consider the style of your loafers and the occasion.
Opt for socks made from natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, or wool, as they provide better moisture-wicking properties compared to synthetic materials.
Consider socks with reinforced heels and toes to enhance their longevity and prevent wear and tear in high-friction areas.
Here are some tips to help you select the appropriate socks for your loafers:
Ultimately, prioritize your comfort. Look for socks that are the right size and have a comfortable fit. Consider materials that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and suitable for weather conditions
Cushioned soles or arch support can provide extra comfort, especially if you’ll be on your feet for extended periods.
Determine the occasion for which you’ll be wearing your shoes. Are you dressing casually for a day out, or is it a formal or professional setting? The formality of the occasion can help guide your choice of socks.
Patterns & colors
When selecting socks, consider patterns and colors that complement your loafers and outfit. Solid-colored socks or those with subtle patterns are versatile and can match a variety of styles.
If you want to make a bolder fashion statement, you can experiment with different patterns, colors, and textures to add a pop of personality to your overall look.
The style of your loafers can influence the type of socks that pair well with them. Loafers come in various designs, including traditional penny loafers, tassel loafers, and bit loafers.
No-show or low-cut ankle socks are a popular choice for loafers, especially in casual settings.
They provide minimal coverage and are designed to remain hidden below the shoe’s topline, giving the illusion of sockless feet.
Again, no-show socks can be a good option when you want the comfort of wearing socks while maintaining a more relaxed and casual look.
If you prefer the no-sock look but still want the benefits of wearing socks, you can opt for invisible socks. These are ultra-low-cut socks that cover only the sole of your foot and have a silicone grip at the heel to prevent them from slipping off. They are a great choice for loafers when you want to maintain a sockless appearance while maintaining a decent level of hygiene and comfort.
For more formal occasions or if you prefer a more traditional look, you can choose dress socks that complement the color of your loafers or match your outfit. Dress socks are usually made of finer materials like cotton, wool, or a blend, and they typically reach mid-calf or higher.
Traditionally, ankle socks have been very casual. You can definitely wear them with running shoes or sneakers, but you probably would not want to wear them with loafers.
They just don’t look right. I would recommend if you want to wear socks with your loafers that go a bit higher, then simply just go for a lightweight pair of mid-calf socks.
As the name describes, mid-calf socks are going to be some of the more traditional socks that go up about the area of the mid-calf. One of the advantages of mid-calf socks is that they are available in a wide variety of materials.
What can you wear mid-calf socks with?
Pretty much anything except shorts unless you want to set off a fashion statement. But when it comes to jeans or chinos, suits, and a black tie, mid-calf socks are where it’s at.
Of course, cotton dominates when it comes to socks. It’s inexpensive, it’s durable, and it gets the job done. But when you get to mid-calf socks, you’re going to have a few other options. You have wool, a lot more synthetics, and of course, cotton.
This applies to any type of socks, but there isn’t a perfect material. It’s more about:
- What you want from the material
- How it’s been sewn
- What properties you’re going to get from it
While wool sounds incredibly hot for some people, merino wools are actually very lightweight and breathable and they do a good job of wicking away moisture.
That being said, for the vast majority of us, cotton is going to be perfect. Why? It’s the right price and you’re going to have a ton of options out there.
if you see a little bit of a synthetic material mixed in with it like spandex, it’s basically there to give your socks a little bit of stretch. Not a bad thing.
Overall, cotton is a popular choice due to its softness and breathability, while bamboo offers natural antibacterial properties. Wool socks are great for cooler temperatures as they provide insulation and moisture-wicking capabilities.
How to style loafers with socks
Styling loafers with socks can be a great way to express your personal style while maintaining comfort. Striped or polka-dot socks can add a playful touch, while solid-colored socks can create a more streamlined appearance.
For a casual look, you can pair loafers with colorful or patterned socks that complement your outfit.
If you’re aiming for a more formal appearance, opt for solid-colored dress socks that match or coordinate with your trousers. Experiment with different sock lengths and patterns to add a touch of individuality and flair to your look.
How do you wear loafers properly?
The loafer is one of the absolutely best style of shoes you can have in your rotation because it’s versatile and dressy enough for almost any situation below formal but never stuffy.
In this section, I’m going to share with you five different ways to rock your loafers with everything from a suit, shorts, chinos, and everything in between.
Loafers are a fantastic way to break down some of the stuffiness of a suit and they definitely go perfectly when you’re trying to do a warm-weather look.
Have a look at this great lightweight cotton suit with these caramel loafers.
I always love the combination of blue and brown and I’m always recommending brown loafers because of the versatility and different shades of brown.
So when it’s time to do the suited and booted look but you want to take the dressing down just a little bit, throw on a warm weather suit and a great pair of brown loafers.
For the second look, we’re still going to show you the versatility of the loafer, but this time we’re switching out the brown caramel-colored penny loafers and going to a black horse bit loafer.
I absolutely love pairing chinos with loafers.
One of the most underrated colors of chinos are burgundy chinos. If you’re going to have a classic preppy style look, you never can go wrong pairing your loafers and your chinos with a great polo shirt.
For the third look of the day, once again, I want to show you the versatility of the loafer. You can rock them with almost any type of pants that includes your favorite pair of jeans.
For this look, I switched out the black horse bit loafer and threw on a pair of brown penny loafers and some jeans.
I love the color combination of brown and green as we have here with these pennies and the olive jeans.
Ordinarily, you might have been tempted to throw on some sneakers, but you can step it up a little bit without being stuffy by throwing on a great pair of brown penny loafers, and a polo shirt.
Again, this is a great classic look that shows off the versatility of the loafers.
For our fourth look, as the temperature drops, that doesn’t mean you have to put away your loafers.
This time, I have a great cool weather look with the black horse bit loafers and a pair of trousers.
This is another classic look. I love the combination of a trouser and some loafers. And one of the great things you can do in cooler weather or transitional weather is throw on a nice sweater, some trousers, and loafers.
Last but certainly not least for our fifth and final look on how to rock your loafers, we’re going to another warm-weather look.
This time, I’ve thrown on the loafers with a pair of shorts.
What I really want to highlight in this look are these great perforated loafers. As you can see, these are great brown leather loafers which have the perforations in them for that breathability. I definitely love pairing these loafers with khaki shorts.
This is a look you definitely can rock on a summer night. You’re cool enough on the bottom with the perforated loafers and the shorts, but if there’s a little chill, you got the sweater on the top.
This is another classic timeless maybe preppy style.
The video below gives you more styling ideas…
Socks & Loafers – FAQs
Is it necessary to wear socks with loafers?
Wearing loafers without socks is generally not something I would recommend. Use the power of no-show socks to pull that sockless look while protecting your feet from issues and preserving the quality of your loafers.
Why don’t loafers stay on my feet?
It’s widely known that loafers are the most challenging or tricky shoes to stay on your foot.
The most important reason loafers keep slipping off is because they don’t fit properly. If your loafer is a half size bigger or the leather has stretched too much, then it’s likely it will keep slipping off the back.
The other reason has to do with the style of the loafer. Unlike most other shoes, loafers have no lacing system.
You’re relying entirely on the leather and the shape of the shoe to conform to your foot. There is no play that you can use in some sort of fastening system like laces.
The other thing is loafers are more minimalist than these other kinds of shoes.
If you think about Oxfords, you can simply adjust the laces and pull them a little bit more tightly in the eyelets and they will likely hold to your foot better.
The same thing goes for monk straps. If your monk strap is not fastened all the way up when you first try them on, you can pull that strap and put the prong through the last hole in the strap and it will conform to your foot better.
How to make loafers fit better
Sometimes, when your loafers arrive, they are quite comfortable, but you notice there is a gap at the back toward the heel.
The best thing to do, of course, when your loafer is a little too loose is send it back and try sizing down.
However, there may be some situations where you really like the pair that you have and you want to adjust them to fit you better. Or, you might have one foot that’s smaller than the other and you just can’t go bespoke.
Here’s a couple of ways to make your loafers fit a little bit better.
The first thing you can try is something called a tongue pad…
- Tongue Pad
This is so by far one of the most effective ways of making looser loafers fit better.
These are small wedges of rubber or silicone coated on one side with a peel-and-stick backing. They’re generally under $10. Pic 3.49
What you do with them is peel off the tape area and you stick them under the tongue of your shoe. What that does is it helps to push your foot back gently, filling some of that gap at the back where the heel cup is.
The second option is to try wearing thicker socks…
- Thicker Socks
I find that the no-show socks with loafers work better than wearing regular socks with a calf high or knee high. Wearing a thicker version of a sock is actually more possible with a no-show than with a regular sock because if you do a calf high or a knee-high sock in a thick weight, it’s going to add more warmth to your outfit. It’s also going to look really bulky around the ankles and look really wintery.
Try to get no-show socks and then get the thickest version possible. This can be challenging because, by definition, the no-show sock is supposed to be minimalist.
So, see what you can get as kind of a secondary solution after trying the tongue pad.
Overall, these two techniques work best if you have a loafer that is only a half size larger or less. If the shoe is flapping around or there’s a lot of gapping in there, you should just give up and size down.
Let’s wrap things up.
The decision to wear socks with loafers ultimately depends on your personal preference, the occasion, the level of comfort you desire, and whether or not your skin can tolerate the friction and rubbing against your loafer.
No-show socks are an excellent choice, offering both style and functionality.
- Provide protection
- Provide moisture absorption
- Prevent discomfort
- Maintain a clean appearance
However, if you decide to go sockless, be aware of the potential health risks involved such as foot odor and infections.
By understanding the various options available, the benefits of wearing socks, and how to style them appropriately, you can confidently choose whether or not to wear socks with your loafers.
That pretty much wraps up this “Do you wear socks with loafers?” article. I hope you’ve learned something new today.
Are you a sock or sockless guy when it comes to loafers?
Let us know down below in the comments.
Until then, stay safe, and see you in the next one 🙂