If you look up fashion faux pas in the dictionary, you will see a photo of socks and sandals. The footwear combo has been one of the most derided and universally unacceptable trends — for both men and women. And, while the girls can more often get away with wearing the quirky combo — it’s “avant-garde,” — guys have historically had a harder time pulling it off, as it’s reeked of everything from morning-after frat party fashion to silly tourist trend to bad dad style.
However, is that all about to change?
Responsible for leading the charge and defining trends, the fashion community holds the literal fate of many a trend in their hands. And it looks like sandals and socks aren’t forever down for the count.
Beginning with the Men’s Fashion Week Spring 2016 collections, which debuted last summer, a tide started turning among designers. Socks and sandals reigned supreme in Milan as the footwear of choice for Spring 2016 with the look tromping down many a runway including those of Versace and Bottega Veneta. Calvin Klein Collection and Marni among other luxury labels also showcased the socks-and-sandals pairing.
At New York Fashion Week Spring 2016, Robert Geller even took it a step further with toeless socks and mandals. His thong-style leather styles as well as his Velcro-strap sandals were paired with cashmere half-socks for a certain casual, cozy appeal.
British designer James Long was already way ahead of the curve, though, when he outfitted models with socks and sandals for Spring 2015. “The look was a ‘sports Jesus’ theme,” he said at the time of his show. “It was a feeling of a sports star that gave up sport and moved to Ibiza to pursue the more relaxed life.” So, if you’re channeling your inner sports Jesus, then socks and sandals are the solution for you. Who knew.
But, the hallowed, haute runways aren’t the only place where the look has popped up.
There’s an official Twitter hashtag (#socksandsandals), where there is no shortage of footsy inspiration.
And, sporty footwear brand, Teva, has also capitalized on the craze, curating an online guide for how to pull off the combo. “From textured neutrals to fun prints and colors, take your Teva Originals into fall with socks and sandals as a statement style,” says the brand, clearly tapping into the season-less appeal of the sandal.
And the look isn’t without its only celebrity endorsement, too. In this case, it’s a football player who has put the sartorial stamp of approval on the pairing and declared it an on-trend touchdown. New York Giants player Brandon Meriweather has unapologetically carried the socks-and-sandals torch, bringing the look out of the locker room and onto the everyday fashion field, so to speak. “Everybody that I know wears socks with flip-flops, except females,” the NFL veteran told For The Win. And, just like that, socks and sandals suddenly became cool.
With the preponderance of fashion sock brands and sock-of-the-month subscription services such as Foot Cardigan and Sock Panda, there are many reasons to now let those punchy, cool designs see the light of day, instead of being stuck underneath closed-toe shoes. After all, you’ll need to up your sock game if you’re jumping aboard this open-toed bandwagon. You simply cannot wear your worn-out, grubby gym socks with sandals — that’s still is a fashion faux pas that we don’t see changing anytime soon.
No matter what, socks and sandals are still likely to be the Marmite of men’s style: You either love the look and wear it with pride — or you think well, socks.