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How to go sockless (and three shoes to try it with)

How to go sockless (and three shoes to try it with)

The impulse to bare everything when the sun shines is an understandable one. We spend most of the year covering up from the cold, so of course you want to get your skin in the sun when it does finally appear. But going sockless isn’t just about getting your ankles their dose of vitamin D. It’s become an increasingly stylish way to add a signature something to your look.

But don’t go running to rip those socks off just yet. They do, after all, serve a purpose. Socks keep your feet and your shoes clean. Feet are sweaty (gross, but true – sorry) and socks capture some of this perspiration. And unlike shoes, you can just chuck them in the washing machine.

Not all shoes need to be sockless either. “Anything mid to high top doesn't work sockless, so if you’re going sockless you want to go with a shoe with a lower silhouette,” says stylist Freddie Kemp. “It follows the line of the body better, sitting below the ankle to cover just the foot.”

Anyway, proper socklessness should be reserved for sandals. With any other shoes, you want socks that you can’t see, but which will mop up all that moisture, like Marks and Spencer’s trainer liners or Boden’s no show socks. Once you’ve added them to your arsenal, these are three footwear choices they’ll always work with.

The summer trainers you’ll wear all year

The shoe: Novesta Star Master

Why it works: “They have a sporty, heritage, feel so it doesn't feel odd to see this casual style without socks. Generally, the more casual the shoes, the more natural they look without socks.”

How to style them: “Given the sporty feel of these, if you’re wearing them without socks I'd always style with shorts. They’re pretty versatile, so depending on what the occasion is you can dial up or down the casual element. For an easy smart-casual look go with chino shorts and a button-down shirt. But keep it interesting with bold colours”.

Photographed: E. Tautz Naval Short (£139), Novesta Star Master (£49)

The not-for-everyone sandal

The shoe: Quincy sandal 

Why it works: “Don't get me wrong, there might be a couple of sandal styles that you can wear with socks, but these aren't those. These are true summer shoes and only look right without a sock. May be worth a pedicure first, though.”

How to wear them: “They’re best worn with light, loose trousers to really hit those summer notes. Add a camp collar shirt or light short sleeve shirt to for a more elegant look. If this style of trousers isn't for you, or you want something a little more relaxed, a casual pair of shorts or a looser cut, slightly cropped pair of jeans in light blue would be a good alternative.”

The shoes that feel more like a slipper

The shoe: G.H. Bass Weejuns Wedge Tie Reverso 

Why it works: “They are a very seasonal shoe. In both colour and fabric and the hotter seasons lend themselves to a little more skin on show. A round toe moccasin always works better without socks than their pointier counterpart. Visually, the shoe better reflects the shape of the foot and therefore looks more natural without a sock.”

How to wear them: “They’re quite a chunky shoe so suit a slightly cropped, wider leg trouser. Since you're going wide, keep everything wide. Finish with a loose shirt for a nice, relaxed look. It’s the kind of outfit that works wherever you're going, be it on holiday or off to work in a heatwave.”


Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Jamie Stoker
Styling: Freddie Kemp
Styling assistant: Toby Standing