Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Which shoes can be worn sockless, and when?

 

The well known Anonymous has already posed this question, and I agree that it merits its own discussion.  How does your devoted and knowledgeable readership apply its sensibility to the matter of wearing shoes without socks?  

My own approach is that as shoes descend through various levels of formality, both their own intrinsic formality and the formality of the clothes with which they are worn, it changes.  I shall assume no one goes without socks when wearing any laced leather shoes. 

  • Cordovan tassel loafers are always worn with a jacket and tie and, despite being loafers, are worn with socks.  

  • Leisure handsewns are often worn without socks with khakis, cords, or reds, and socks are optional unless there a coat and tie are involved. When they are worn with shorts, LHS are worn without socks.  

  • Bluchers, boat shoes, and other similar moccasins are reserved for casual wear, and the same principles that are applied to LHS work well with the caveat that the question of going sockless with any of them when wearing a coat and tie should arise only if you are that character who wears his poplin suit, bucket hat, OCBD, and repp tie with his bluchers simply because it is his nature.  He wears socks.  

In the realm of even more casual footwear such as athletic shoes and sandals, things become more, not less, complicated. 

  • For things like tennis or golf, wear socks.  For running, they are optional, but you are required to keep your running shoes clean.  

  • For sandals, socks are just wrong.  

  • For Crocs you should wear a sheepish and apologetic smile and stay behind the hydrangeas in your own yard.  

I know I am very opinionated on these matters, but I will not so much as snicker or raise an eyebrow if you have a different approach.  

With kindest regards, Vecchio Vespa

 

 

 

57 comments:

  1. Sperry, Bluchers and Birks...no socks. Suede bucks and Weejuns ...socks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frederick J JohnsonJuly 1, 2021 at 11:10 AM

      Seems about right..

      Delete
    2. I don't wear socks with Weejuns in the summer. I don't wear Weejuns with shorts. To me Weejuns are causal shoes. Maybe it's a girl thing.

      Delete
  2. That sounds about right for Crocs (shudder!)

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

    ReplyDelete
  3. The brilliant surgeon at MSK who saved my wife wore Crocs. When you're a brilliant surgeon you can wear whatever you want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very common operating room wear as they are easily washable. Some people also find them comfortable.

      Delete
  4. I agree with a few caveats. First, in steamy weather, no-show socks with moccasin-style shoes is OK with me. Second, i have Injinji wool socks with toes that I wear with sandals on hiking/canoeing trips in the p.m. (the Bedrock Sandals Cairn, one of the best outdoor sandals on the market, has a toe post similar to flip flops, so if that's your shoe on a canoe trip & it's a cold night, socks with toes are the ticket).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. No-one wants to inhale the disgusting odour of smelly feet. No-show socks are perfect for wearing with shorts and boat shoes or loafers. If you are not wearing shorts, long socks are obligatory in polite company.

      Delete
  5. Regarding leather lace-ups: When I was in prep school and college we often wore dirty bucks or white bucks sans socks. Today I don’t own either shoe but have been known to wear a pair of suede plain toe bluchers without socks once or twice a year.

    In informal settings (golf club, yacht club, garden party) I can imagine a navy blazer, khakis or reds, madras tie, and sockless cordovan tassels looking quite spruce.

    I would not go sockless with corduroys at all because I only wear corduroys in late fall and winter when it is too cold to go sockless.

    I would not wear sandals. No one is interested in your feet.

    The remainder I agree with.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Robert ReichardtJune 30, 2021 at 5:59 PM

    During warm weather I wear my Duckfeet Brown Fyns without socks.

    Duckfeet?

    Duckfeet is a Danish company (there's a tiny flag on one side) that uses high grade German leather, and has a factory in Poland. All Europe -- no sweatshops. Very high quality. These Fyns are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn -- especially since I have wide feet. I have a closet full of EE Width Alden Cordovans that I never wear because I could never break them in properly.

    Duckfeet shoes and boots are unisex, and women love them, too. Great color and style selection.

    The American distributor, Duckfeet USA, is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
    https://duckfeetusa.com/products/fyn-brown

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert ReichardtJune 30, 2021 at 6:22 PM

      I forgot to mention there's a 20% summer sale going on now.

      https://duckfeetusa.com/

      Delete
    2. Robert: I checked out your recommendation regarding the Duckfeet shoes. They are very appealing. Thank you for suggesting them and the 20% off summer sale . . . helps.

      Delete
    3. I, too, have wide feet. As much as I love Alden cordovans, when it was clear my 32 year old LHS needed replacing after near daily use all those years, I just winced at the thought of breaking in a new pair. Inspired by the casual vibe of the pandemic, I got Chromexcel LHS instead. They were comfortable immediately. As a surprise bonus the tops have the roll I associate with cordovan rather than the crinkle typical of calf. As a second bonus I got them from Shoemart's factory seconds. There are no discernible flaws. They are not, of course, as dark as No. 8. They could pass for whiskey cordovan. Now I shall check out Duckfeet. Thanks!

      Delete
    4. Wide feet here too with ridiculously high arches. Are yours high? I've read Duckfeet aren't particularly comfortable in that situation but have wanted to try them. Thanks for the info.

      Delete
    5. Robert ReichardtJuly 1, 2021 at 4:46 PM

      Anonymous at 2:10 PM:

      I too have high arches, and selected the three-lace-hole "Fyn" model because it provides more vertical space than the two-lace-hole "Jylland" -- which I think would be uncomfortable for me. The Fyn also has more room for an orthotic.

      Duckfeet, of course, has made different shoes, boots and sandals so it would be best to read some other people's reviews to see how they fit.

      I know I sound like I have stock in the company, but I don't, and am just glad I found shoes that accommodate wide feet. These are all high quality European footwear.

      Delete
    6. I am wearing Sebago Clovehitch in the extra wide (WW/XW) fit. They are very sturdy and the thick sole is very comfortable. Unfortunately, it appears that the WWs are no longer available on the company's website. If you can find a pair online, get them because they are excellent value.

      I may try Quoddy's "design your own" deck shoes, mocs and loafers in EE or EEE fit. They are more expensive but reasonable value as they are made in Maine.

      Delete
  7. Total agreement on life saving physicians and health care workers wearing whatever they want and likewise for chefs. The docs and chefs I have known have almost universally worn clogs. I also remember fondly wearing bucks, both beat up white ones on my feet and the tan ones on my friends' feet, sans socks, a clear exception on my general approach to lace up shoes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Del Toro slippers sockless with black tie at an outdoor wedding.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like you, Vecchio Vespa!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My, how kind of you. I find that on SWNE the readers are a pleasant, civil, and interesting lot. I am also pleased to relate that your responses have broadened my horizons.

      Delete
  10. I'm a fan of broken-in cordovan Alden low vamp loafers without socks in shorts.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cordovan low vamp Alden's - no socks all summer long. Broken-in of course.

    ReplyDelete
  12. For me, and not offered as a gospel:

    Loafers sockless
    Boat shoes like Top Siders sockless or rag wool socks
    Anything with a lace wear socks
    Why the heck are you wearing anything else?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Do today’s parents police sock wearing habits? Circa 1964 a boyhood friend left his socks in the bushes outside the High Lane Club. Only then did he join a “mixer.” He retrieved the socks at the evening’s end. His mother none the wiser, upon his return home, that he had been sock-less while attempting to court the young ladies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do today’s parents even bother to police their own dress? Cargo shorts and what we once called “shower shoes” are ubiquitous in public. By dress, one can’t tell the difference between the teenagers and the parents.

      Delete
    2. ^ And I think that is very much the intent. When I was a kid, we wanted to look like a grown-up. Today, the grown-ups want to look like kids. And dare I say act like them too.

      Delete
  14. My rule is that regardless of the type of footwear, if you’re wearing shorts you should never wear socks unless you’re engaged in a sporting activity. And regardless of what you’re wearing on your legs, if you’re wearing sandals you should never wear socks.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Birkenstocks with socks in the winter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...especially when feet are old, arthritic, lumpy, bumpy, are painful and the only thing one can wear are Birks or clogs. Both should be worn with snazzy, colorful, and/or unusual socks. The great thing about getting old is you don't care what others think about your sartorial and shoe choices and realize they probably don't either.

      Delete
    2. Probably. Perhaps not. Remember, “every girl’s crazy about a sharped dressed man...”

      Delete
    3. +1. Birkenstocks with Smartwool or LL Bean rag socks are the way to go.

      Delete
    4. Even with cheap sunglasses!

      Delete
    5. I was checking to see if anyone had made this comment before making it myself - and even more specifically, Liz's 5:29 reply.

      Delete
  16. I once went sockless wearing white canvas Topsiders while playing squash at the Harvard Club of Boston. By the end of two games, my heels were blistered and bleeding and I had to quit. Lesson learned. No more sockless squash.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ohhhhh, sockless running. Bold choice.

    ReplyDelete
  18. While I prefer my Weejuns with socks, I have noticed in Summer some tattered examples worn sockless with old jeans. Seemed quite natty for the occasion! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Weejuns, Alden Cordovan Shell 8 Tassel Loafers, Gucci ....sockless & with a mirror gloss....Crocs for barbers, surgeons, & fast food employees only

    ReplyDelete
  20. have wide feet and cannot find loafers Im not slipping out of, any suggestions are welcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert ReichardtJuly 1, 2021 at 4:51 PM

      You might want to consider these:

      https://duckfeetusa.com/products/falster-cocoa

      Hope this helps.

      Delete
  21. "I shall assume no one goes without socks when wearing any laced leather shoes.
    who would wear socks with white bucks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With a seersucker suit I'd find socks, maybe pink cotton lisle. Elsewhere, free the toes!

      Delete
    2. I like cotton argyles with white bucks.

      Delete
  22. Still no takers on the Alden cordovan low-vamp sockless with shorts??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a classic look. It adds a splash of seriousness to a shorts occasion.

      Delete
  23. I wear hidden socks with boat shoes. Stops any odour problems.
    Like these from Falke: https://www.falke.com/uk_en/p/cool-247-men-no-show-socks/13250_4320/
    or these from Mes Chaussettes Rouge (sock suppliers to the Pope. FWIW).
    https://meschaussettesrouges.com/en/collections/chaussettes-invisibles

    ReplyDelete
  24. Boat shoes and tennis trainers - 'sockless' (inverted commas as I wear no show socks).

    Everything else - socks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Sockless and Sperry's, Bean Gum Shoes,Weejuns, never fail! Thank you so very much!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Don’t confuse Crocs with Birki professionals. The Burki’s are worn in surgery all the time. Crocs almost never. They might look similar but they are night and different, I loved them when I was still working.

    ReplyDelete
  27. As James B mentioned above, my Bass Weejuns are always worn sockless with jeans, shorts and or slacks.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Such a wonderfully well-mannered debate- thank you, Vecchio Vespa for the amicable set up. I find my Josef Seibel leather loafers are versatile and always comfortable, with or without no-show socks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are most welcome. The chief thanks, however, are to Muffy for SWNE. This is such a wonderful group. I always learn when I come here and even when I disagree with anyone it is never in a disagreeable way. How nice.

      Delete
  29. Suede Clark Wallabees with no socks and without a care.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Socks or no socks, please - for a safe 4th don’t buy a 5th, on the 3rd. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Intuitive. "For crocs...", that was the best part!

    ReplyDelete
  32. No socks with Sperry's and all leather brouges. Dansko clogs, no socks. Sometimes running shoes like at ASICS Noosa Tri.

    ReplyDelete