Here’s How to Ditch Your Socks This Summer


A man wearing shoes with socks | Source: iStock

The season of sockless-ness and bare feet is upon us. Maybe you’re already wearing your shoes sans-socks or maybe it’s something you’ve been considering trying out for a while. Either way, it’s a great trend to rock, but there are a few things to know beforehand to really nail this potentially stinky trend. The truth is your feet will perspire and your shoes (unless you follow these steps) will start to smell. Follow these 6 rules on how to properly go sockless — your feet and those around you will thank you very much.

1. Make sure you’re wearing your correct size

It’s surprising how many men wear the wrong size shoes, especially in terms of width. Men’s shoes come in a range of widths from “A” (very narrow) to EE (very wide), with a “D” or “M” usually representing “Regular/Medium” width. Buying the correct width for your foot is crucial to feeling comfortable in your shoes whether you’re wearing socks or not. Though, arguably, if you’re going sockless you have no barrier between your foot and the inside of the shoe so you better make sure they’re extra comfortable.

2. Take care of your feet

And by take care of your feet, we mean properly prep them so that they don’t stink. Before we get into it, it’s important to know the causes of foot odor, which is of course, thanks to sweat. While that sweat is naturally odorless, it can turn into a breeding ground for bacteria, which is the main cause of foot odor. Your feet tend to produce a lot of sweat because they are densely packed with sweat glands, and when you have them stuck in your shoes sockless for hours on end, there is no ventilation to air that sweat out.  So, once you have that sweat going, the bacteria starts to grow and produce that horrible, smelly odor. To prevent smelly feet, you need to prevent these two things: sweat and bacteria. Here’s how to tackle the odor problem so you can comfortably go sockless: Wash your feet as frequently as possible, and use an anti-bacterial soap, which will help to destroy dead-skin eating bacteria. The fresher your feet are, the less they’ll stink. Oh, and dare we say that a pedicure is not such a terrible idea from time to time as well.

3. Don’t wear the same shoes everyday

Sperry boat shoes and Castañer espadrilles from Mr. Porter

Boat shoes and espadrilles | Source:

Gentlemen, listen up: If you’re going sockless, you should not be wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row. You need to give them at least a day in-between to dry out completely. Extended periods of moisture can affect the leather and only add to the smelly problem you’re trying so hard to avoid. Have a pair or two that you keep in a steady rotation, and be sure to sprinkle foot powder in your shoes, like Odor Eaters, before you wear them again. It will simply keep your feet dry throughout the day and kill any bacteria that may be laying dormant in your shoes.

4. Store your shoes properly

On the days you’re giving your shoes a rest, stick cedar shoe trees inside them for several reasons: Not only do they maintain the shape of your shoe, but they absorb the moisture from the lining of your shoes. The cedar shoe trees will also deodorize your shoes and leave them with a nice cedar scent. If for some reason you can’t get a hold of a cedar shoe tree, try sticking crumpled up newspaper inside your shoes, which will absorb moisture as well.

5. Stick to loafers

Going sockless is a casual, leisurely move, so it’s important that the shoes convey that same message. The idea of going sockless with a pair of fancy business shoes, like brogue captoes or wingtips, looks a little unnatural and forced. Additionally, even when choosing casual loafers, not all shoe leathers are created equal. Opt for an unlined supple suede or leather that is going to be soft and flexible from the start.

6. Don’t go sockless at all

If after reading this you’re still not comfortable with going completely foot commando, then fake it. If you’re uncomfortable with the inevitable sweat, then opt for no-show socks, which give the illusion that you’re not wearing socks. We won’t tell.

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