March 24, 2012

Reader Question: Going Sockless

Hi JJ,

This year I really wanted to give the preppy look a try. I really like the look of the rolled up chinos and loafers with no socks but every time I try it, it is really uncomfortable and my feet get really sticky. There must be a trick to it, but I don’t know what it is. Any suggestions?


Hi Adam,

This is a great question, and you’re right, there are definitely some tricks to help you pull the look off. The first pieces of advice for how to successfully go sockless are the same for your everyday shoe care - don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row and always use cedar shoe trees. Giving your shoes a day to rest will increase their life and let them fully dry out between wears, while the cedar shoe trees will help absorb the moisture, keep your shoes from smelling, and hold their shape.

After the basic shoe care tips, there are two paths to the sockless look. The first is to actually not wear socks. If you decide to go this way, powder and insoles will be your best friend. It takes the most maintenance to keep your shoes from smelling but you can help by scrubbing your feet with anti-bacterial soap when you bathe to remove the dead skin cells. Sprinkling some powder (Gold Bond is the usual recommendation) in your shoes before putting them on will help reduce the friction that can lead to blisters and absorb the moisture when your feet sweat. You can also pick up some terrycloth insoles. They are a little tough to find, but Aldo sells some good ones that are hand washable (a huge plus). Add some powder for extra odor protection.

If you still want the sockless look but are okay with a little cheat, you can buy some no-show socks. For women they are sometimes called liners or, more frequently, Peds (even though this is a specific brand it seems to have become an eponym for no-show socks). This is my preferred option, as featured here in the second look. There is no shortage of places to get them as the sockless look becomes increasingly popular. Calvin Klein, Journeys, Gold Toe, and Banana Republic are just a few of the companies that make them. Slip these on and you have all the benefits of wearing socks with the stylish look of not wearing any.

Remember, colored spring chinos and multi-colored boat shoes are really hot this year, so don’t just stick with the same old thing. Have some fun with colors and take preppy to the next level.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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