Loafers are a classic and incredibly versatile men's shoe, capable of being dressed up with a suit or even worn casually with shorts. When the weather gets warm and men start thinking about summer attire, we are frequently asked, "Do you wear socks with loafers?" or "Can you wear socks with loafers?"

The answer is yes. Not only can you wear socks with loafers but you always should, even when going for the "sockless" look. Here are a couple of key points to keep in mind:

1.Not Wearing Socks with Loafers is Unhygienic

Athlete’s foot and many other common foot fungal infections are caused by exposure to harmful bacteria. When worn without socks, closed toe shoes become the perfect warm, dark and damp environment that facilitates bacteria growth. For this reason alone, you should always wear socks with loafers.

New Jersey-based podiatrist Dr. Josh Miller says it best, “a sock a day keeps the doctor away.”

2.Wearing Socks Helps Extend the Life of Your Loafers

Simply put, your feet sweat - a lot - and sweat is not good for leather. When not wearing socks with loafers, this moisture will accumulate and prematurely damage the leather in your shoes. One of the first areas where you will notice this is the insole, which will eventually loosen and begin to bunch up under your feet. This not only becomes uncomfortable, but is difficult to repair.

Another unpleasant consequence of not wearing socks with loafers is one that will quickly become obvious to those around you: odor. The elevated level of moisture will lead to bacterial growth that, in addition to being harmful to your podiatric health, smells terrible.


So, how do I wear socks with loafers?

We've established that wearing socks with loafers is a good idea to protect both your feet and your shoes. But what type of socks should you wear? Depending upon your style preference, there are two options:

Option 1: No-Show Loafer Socks

During the warmest months of the year when you’d like to shed the socks and show some ankle, opt for no-show socks with loafers.

man wearing loafer socks with black penny loafers

These socks are specifically designed to be worn with loafers, boat shoes, dress shoes and other low vamp men’s shoes. They are constructed to give you all of the benefits of wearing socks with loafers while still achieving the stylish “sockless” look.

Shop No-Show Socks

men wearing loafers without socks
(Photo: Men's Fashion Magazine)

The bare ankle look can be quite fashionable with loafers, particularly during the warmest months of the year. Whether with slacks or denim, this makes for a sharp yet casual look. While the "sockless" style may be en vogue, ruining your loafers and jeopardizing your health certainly are not. Instead of going barefoot, be sure to wear a pair of no-show loafer socks.

brown penny loafers with jeans and no socks
(Photo: J Crew)

Option 2: Dress Socks with Loafers

In most business and professional environments, it isn’t appropriate to show your bare ankle. In these instances, you’ll always want to pair your loafers with dress socks. Loafers are designed to fit snuggly, so dress socks will be thin enough to comfortably fit while also tying together your look.

socks with loafers for men

Shop Dress Socks

Particularly during the cooler months, wearing dress socks with loafers will ensure you stay warm and comfortable. Even with something as casual as jeans, dress socks will still look sharp with loafers.

khaki dress socks with loafers and jeans

Style Tips for No-Show Socks

At this point it should go without saying, but we’ll repeat it again: avoid wearing loafers without socks. Once you have picked out a few pairs of loafer socks, you’ll be ready to sport the stylish bare ankle look while protecting both your health and your shoes. Here are some of our favorite looks:

khaki pants with brown suede loafers for a stylish sockless look
(Photo: Put This On)

Khaki trousers with brown loafers is a classic casual look. In a relaxed outfit like the one above, the “sockless” style is perfectly appropriate. You want to be strategic with the type of loafer that you would sport this look with - a more formal loafer would likely look out of place.

no show socks with loafers and jeans
(Photo: The Adult Man)

No show socks with loafers and jeans make for a great casual look. For an even more laid back look, add a slight cuff or roll to your jeans as shown above. To put a more formal twist on it, opt for darker jeans - without the roll - which could make the style appropriate for casual office settings.

brown tassel loafers with no socks
(Photo: He Spoke Style)

The above photo comes from He Spoke Style’s Brian Sacawa, who experty styles loafer socks with a variety of outfits. While these tassel loafers are more formal than the penny loafers shown previously, the minimal break on his trousers allows this to work. When styling no-show socks with loafers, ensure your pants have minimal break; shorts are perfectly acceptable as well.

Style Tips for Dress Socks with Loafers

When it comes to styling dress socks with loafers, the traditional rule in menswear is to match your socks with your pants. However, don't let this stop you from getting creative. Loafers are commonly worn with khakis, chinos and other slightly less formal trousers, making an earthy tone of sock a great look.

olive green dress socks with loafers and khakis

Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines with a pop of color. Below, our purple dress socks with loafers for a fun, yet tasteful, look.

purple dress socks with loafers and windowpane trousers

While wearing white athletic socks with loafers was a popular look with the “trad” and “Ivy” styles of the 1950’s and 1960’s, cramming a thick athletic sock into your penny loafers is not going to be comfortable. Furthermore, wearing white socks anywhere outside of the gym (with a few select exceptions) is a major faux pas.

white socks with loafers
(Photo: Ivy-Style)

Socks with Loafers - The Verdict

Whether for your comfort, to protect your shoes or to make a style statement, there are plenty of reasons why you should wear socks with loafers.

We invite you to shop our collection of socks for loafers. Each pair of Boardroom Socks is proudly made in the USA using the finest yarns from around the world. Designed for comfort and durability, you'll find our socks to be soft, smooth and breathable to keep you dry and comfortable all day.

Shop Boardroom Socks

So, do you wear socks with loafers? We would love to hear from you, particularly with any comments you may have. You can contact us here.

If you are in the market for loafers, our friends at The Adult Man wrote a detailed article on the best loafers for men. We are big fans of Alden and Allen Edmonds loafers, as these brands both produce beautiful loafers here in the USA.

Thank you for reading. We appreciate your business.

Nathan James
Nathan James

CEO, Boardroom Socks

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