What Socks To Wear With What Shoes

Choosing the right socks to go with your shoes is more than just about comfort, style and protection for your feet. With an ever-increasing range of styles in men’s socks, such as no show socks, crew socks, mid-calf socks or more, we look at some of the ways to pair the right socks with your shoes.

Materials, styles and colours oh my!

Throughout the centuries men’s socks have gone through many iterations and as the years have gone by the ever-increasing number of styles can leave us wondering which socks do I wear for which occasion.

Technology and advancements in fabrication for socks have created a multitude of combinations in materials that range from bamboo socks, nylon socks, cotton socks to the luxurious feel of cashmere socks.

The evolution of men’s socks

The ability to create a never-ending range of colours, styles and patterns have also brought in more wonderful if not sometimes baffling array of choices.

A man’s sock drawer used to be at the bottom of the wardrobe and most likely wasn’t even a whole drawer but just a bundle of rolled pairs stuffed into a corner next to the rest of a man’s underwear, these days are long behind us as socks are now a statement just as much as your tie or shoes.

Conversations about a person’s sock choice is often a great conversation starter, so men have taken to the challenge, and over the years men have become bolder in their fashion choices when it comes to socks.

Beware of the fashion police!

The length of a man’s trousers have been in constant flux as fashion trends change, so the need to choose the right sock that compliments your trouser’s and is the correct style for your choice of shoe is something you don’t want to get wrong, or you could be hearing from the dreaded fashion police!

From casual to formal we’ve got your feet covered

Below you will find some key insights into which socks you should match with which shoe. Take the following as a guide to help you step out in confidence and style every time you leave your home.

From the casual boat shoe and trainers to the formal Derby and Oxford shoe, you will find below enough tips and guidance to put your best foot forward every time.

Going casual? Go for the men’s no-show socks.

The beauty of no show socks is they appear invisible when worn with boat shoes or similar casual shoes. No show socks pair perfectly with loafers, boat shoes, moccasins, canvas slip-ons and trainers, especially when wearing shorts.

When worn, the no show sock gives you all the comfort and protection for your feet and your shoes from fungus or sweat which causes odours but allow your ankles to breath, and the look is a classic casual summer style.

Want to workout? Wear Ankle socks. 

Ankle socks hit just above the ankle bone. Designed for activewear men’s ankle socks are with one purpose in mind, that is for you to break a sweat.

When paired with running trainers, men’s ankle socks are made to protect your feet, allow your feet to breath and focus on your activity.

Men’s ankle socks are designed specifically for performance so shouldn’t be worn with any other shoes.

Looking for a smart casual pairing? Go for the crew sock.

Ideal for casual or smart casual, the crew sock hits at the beginning of the calf muscle.

The type of shoe to pair a crew sock with would be Chukkas (sometimes called desert boots), Chelsea boots, Monk Strap Shoes, Brogue shoes and Oxford shoes.

But never, ever wear them with sneakers unless you want the fashion police hounding you on the street!

Going formal? Mid-calf and over the calf socks are the way to go

A simple rule to keep in mind would be; the higher the socks go up your leg, the more formal the shoes and event you will be using them. Perfect with suits and dress shoes both the mid-calf and over the calf sock are for formal wear only.

The reason the socks are so long is to ensure a seamless transition between trousers and shoes which also includes when you are sitting down as your trousers will usually raise up your leg, and the last thing you want is your bare leg to be showing.

So what about colours and patterns?

So the longer your socks, the more formal the occasion. Think of knee-high socks and over the calf for a wedding or formal business event.

Match your socks with your trousers, not your shoes. The reason is that the sock and shoe blend to become an unsightly bootie and no one wants that! Try to pull colours from your outfit, especially when you are choosing patterns and textures.

Argyle Socks – The classic men’s sock

The Argyle sock is a staple in any man’s sock drawer. A true classic, with familiar diamond pattern, the argyle socks are a great choice which transition between formal and casual. Argyle socks come in a variety of colours from sombre blues and greys to brighter combinations.

Usually made from wool, the argyle sock in bright colours can make a real statement. When the argyle sock is blue, brown, subdued oranges and greens they make excellent weekend wear, going well with cords and brown brogues.

Stripes – Choosing the right direction

Vertical stripes help lengthen and extend your leg whilst horizontal stripes break the line between your leg and foot. For this reason, if you’re a shorter man think about choosing vertical stripes whilst a very tall man would choose horizontal stripes.

There is also the consensus that vertical stripes are better for a more formal occasion the clean lines offer a smoother transition from trousers to the shoe.

Spots & geometric patterns

A good rule to follow with men’s socks that have spots or patterns is the more formal the event, the smaller the squares, spots or diamonds should be. As much as you want your socks to make a fashion statement, you don’t want them to be clash and be overbearing with your attire.

As you dress more casual, you can choose more vibrant and louder patterns, spots and diamonds but always choose something that fits with what you are wearing.

Going for the textured look.

When dressing formal, it is best to choose a thin, smart pair of men’s socks and you can choose a textured look to give your suit a contemporary feel.

At the other end of the spectrum wear thick wool or cotton cable knit socks with your cords, moleskins or jeans.

Paired with hiking or chukka boot’s these are ideal for country walks or a trip to your local bar in winter.

Here is a quick rule of thumb for choosing the right socks with your shoes.

This quick and simple checklist will give you bullet points to remember when choosing the right sock shoe combination and the confidence to pull up your socks and face any situation.

  • Athletic socks – White/black no-show socks for athletic shoes and casual trainers only.
  • Dress Socks – For all shoes but not athletic or casual trainers.
  • No thin/fine socks with Athletic shoes or casual trainers.
  • No white/black or any colour athletic socks with dress shoes.
  • No show socks – With boat shoes, moccasins, canvas slip-ons and trainers and loafers. Perfect with shorts!
  • Thicker and cotton socks for casual leather shoes or Chelsea boots.
  • Be bold! But don’t match your shoes and socks when it comes to colour.
  • Fine wool blend and cashmere dress socks for leather dress shoes.
  • Cotton and wool varieties for casual leather shoes.
  • Wear dark invisible socks with darker shoes and light invisible socks with lighter shoes, just in case they peek over the top of your shoes.
  • Ensure you purchase the right size socks or suffer the consequences.
  • The dressier the occasion, the smaller the pattern.
  • Horizontal stripes for a taller man, vertical if you are a short man.
  • The higher the sock goes up your leg, the more formal attire.

Time to put your best foot forward!

So now you are armed with the sock knowledge that will have you striding down every street, gym, beach and at any event with total confidence. A key thing to remember is to ensure you get the right size socks for your feet.

The wrong size socks or a sock that is not pulled on your foot correctly can ruin your day and potentially cause you problems with your feet. You spend a lot of money and time choosing the right shoes, so make sure you do the same with your socks.

Stepping up to help a million homeless people

At Kindsox.com, we are very passionate about socks and have some of the world’s finest brands and manufacturers supplying the latest styles and fashions. Not only will you have the highest quality fashion socks for your next meeting, event or day out with friends, but you will be helping a homeless person get back on their feet, literally!

For every single pair of socks you buy from Kindsox.com we will donate a pair of socks to a homeless person who is a desperate need for fresh, clean socks.

We are on a mission to supply a million pair of socks to homeless people this year. So the next time you are looking to purchase a new pair of socks for yourself, a relative or a friend make sure you choose Kindsox.com so that together we can help the homeless people.


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