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Socks Or No Socks? The Debate.

Is it acceptable for men to not wear socks with dress shoes? I share my opinion and ask for yours...
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So let’s start a debate (I want you to get involved in the comments below).

Socks, or no socks?

This topic is easily the most debated subject on the MFM’s Facebook page but in this post today I wanted to share my personal opinion alongside giving you a platform to give yours as well.

I’ll also give you advice on how to pull off both looks.

Going sockless is something we’ve been seeing a lot of recently, and even though men have been rocking a sockless look for a while, in more modern times we’ve seen a lot of men opt for avoiding socks when wearing dress shoes.

Wearing no socks with dress shoes is obviously more of a statement than wearing no socks with casual footwear, but still some guys are against the idea of going sockless with any type of shoe.

What do I think? Should wearing ‘no socks’ be something we avoid as men or is it acceptable?

No Socks With Shoes… Can It Be Done?

Personally, I don’t see wearing no socks being a huge issue.

I prefer wearing socks but I also believe there’s a time and a place for it to be acceptable to leave the socks in the sock drawer.

For example I was recently out in Dubai talking at Fashion Forward and I decided to opt for no socks with some suede tasseled loafers. Why? Firstly the Loafer is an ideal shoe to wear no socks with, secondly I was in Dubai (a hotter climate) and thirdly the outfit I was wearing suited the no socks look.

paul mcgregor loafers

Those 3 reasons are why I think wearing no socks with shoes can be pulled off.

Let me highlight them again…

It Depends On The Climate/Occasion

If you’re walking around London in the rain with cropped trousers and no socks it’s time to reconsider your outfit choice. Even though it’s good to strive towards dressing well the most important thing is to focus on function.

On the other hand if you’re in hotter climates which require less layers opting for no socks is an option. Let’s face it, would you wear socks with shorts and loafers? Probably not.

The occasion is also something to consider. If it’s a formal dinner I’d advise against opting for no socks with a Tuxedo and Black Oxford Shoes, but if it’s a trip to a coffee shop on a hot summers day an outfit may call for no socks to be worn.


It Depends On The Shoes

The other thing to consider is the shoes you’re wearing.

Personally I believe it’s actually harder to pull off loafers whilst wearing socks, where as wearing Oxford shoes (a more formal shoe) without socks should be avoided at all costs.

Casual footwear such as Sneakers and Boat Shoes are more acceptable to wear without socks and Sandals should never go anywhere near socks.

Well constructed leather dress shoes (such as the Brogue, Monk Strap or Derby) can sometimes look good without socks but due to the leather and construction of the shoe it’s going to be uncomfortable to wear them without socks.

david gandy socks

It Depends On The Length Of Your Trousers

If you’re wearing cropped trousers or you’ve decided to opt for a turn up on your trousers sometimes going sockless is better suited to wearing socks.

cropped trousersturned up trousers

Now again this comes down to personal preference and personally I’m not afraid to show off a bit of sock with a turn up, but some guys believe wearing shorter length trousers with socks just looks like they’ve outgrown their trousers (something typically known as ‘jack ups’).

The length of your trousers can play a part in whether you decide to opt for socks or not. If your trousers are slightly longer then socks may be your best option but if they’re cropped or slightly shorter, wearing no socks may improve the outfit.

cropped trousers with socks

Again this is just something else to consider when deciding whether to wear socks or not.

It Depends On Your Style

Alongside the occasion, the climate and the choice of footwear your overall style plays a part in whether going sockless is acceptable or not.

If you’re more of a ‘dandy’ or you take inspiration from Italian style, then you may be able to wear no socks on some occasions. But if have more of a traditional style and you like to dress more of an English gentleman then you’ll going to want to opt for socks.

italian stylewith socks

I think there’s a time and a place for this trend but there’s a lot of guys that are completely against it.

Just look at some of these comments on our Facebook page…

facebook comments

Wearing Socks

If you’re choosing to wear socks you want to apply some attention to the socks you’re wearing.

If you’re wearing well fitted suit trousers your socks will typically show (especially when you sit down), so if you’re wearing some really old gym socks that have turned grey it isn’t going to be stylish.

Socks aren’t something to neglect and you can use socks to create a subtle statement. A pop of colour, print or pattern can add some colour and individuality to your outfit without overdoing it.


So if you’re completely against the ‘no socks’ trend then make sure you invest in a good pair of socks.

No Show Socks

I also want to include the importance of ‘no show’ socks if you’re aiming to wear no socks.

Going bare foot with any shoe is going to be uncomfortable and it’s also going to cause your feet and shoes to stink. I mean, walk around all day in a hot climate with no socks on and try and get your feet to smell like roses… it’s near enough impossible.

No show socks allow you to master the style of wearing no socks but it adds to the comfort and will stop your shoes and feet from smelling.

no show socks falkeno show socks men

The Debate: Socks or No Socks?

So I’ve shared my opinion, but what’s yours?

Is it ok to go wear no socks as a man?

Or as a man should we always wear socks?

As I’ve shared I think it can be pulled off if done correctly but you need to take some of the points I’ve shared in this article into consideration. Things such as the climate, the occasion, your overall style and your choice of footwear should play a part in whether you decide to opt for no socks with an outfit.

At the same time if you do decide to wear socks with an outfit choose wisely.

So get involved and share your opinion…

Here’s some comments on the YouTube video already.

youtube comments no socks

This topic normally causes a little bit of an argument as well, some guys are very for it some are very against it so let me know what you think in the comments below.

Have you subscribed on YouTube yet? I’m putting out 3 videos every single week based around men’s style, grooming and self improvement. As a subscriber you’ll be the first to get notified once a video is published.

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Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor

Founder of MFM, and short course lecturer at The London College of Fashion teaching all things marketing. Read my personal blog here.



  • James Spencer

    I can not stand the no socks lol it drives me batty.

  • Shane Dorrian

    I’d say no socks would only really work with like Espadrilles or trainers otherwise you might look a bit ridiculous

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  • P Valentine

    For me it as to be socks my feet would fell very uncomfortable and sore .

  • Silverbanshee

    It’s tacky, it’s tasteless, and it looks like shit. And, yes, eventually odor WILL become an issue. Not just for you, but everyone around unless you have the financial means to replace your shoes every month.

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