Socks for Loafers: The Ultimate Guide for Men

Loafers are a classic and incredibly versatile men's shoe, capable of being dressed up with a suit or even worn casually with shorts. While these shoes are quite popular, many men still struggle when it comes to wearing socks with loafers.

In this article we'll cover everything that you need to know about socks with loafers including which socks are best for loafers, how going barefoot in loafers can impact your health, a variety of style tips and plenty more.

Table of Contents
Acceptable Styles of Socks with Loafers
Style Tips for Wearing Socks with Loafers
Health Risks of Wearing Loafers without Socks

Acceptable Socks for Loafers

We are commonly asked if wearing socks with loafers is acceptable so we’re here to set the record straight: Yes, you absolutely can wear socks with loafers! While there are certain types of socks that should be avoided and style rules to keep in mind, wearing socks with loafers is perfectly acceptable. Depending upon your style preference, there are really only two acceptable types of socks:

1. No-Show Socks for Loafers

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

man wearing no-show socks with loafers and jeans

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.

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2. Dress Socks for 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.

man crossing legs wearing colorful striped dress socks with loafers

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.

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Style Tips for Wearing Socks with Loafers

So we've established that wearing socks with loafers is a good idea but how do you stylishly pull off the look? Continue reading below to find out.

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

purple dress socks paired with dark brown penny loafers

For further inspiration on how to stylishly wear socks with loafers, we’ve assembled some of our favorite looks below. If a pair of socks catches your eye, click the image to see more details about the socks.

navy dress socks with pink polka dots paired with loafers

brown dress socks with brown penny loafers

American flag dress socks with loafers

pink dress socks with loafers

Sporting the “Sockless” Look

Once you have picked out a few pairs of men's 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:

brown suede penny loafers and khakis for the sockless look

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. (Photo: Put This On)

man sitting on wall wearing jeans and loafers with no-show socks

No show loafer socks with suede shoes 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. (Photo: The Adult Man)

stylish sockless look with brown loafers and khakis

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 for loafers, ensure your pants have minimal break; shorts are perfectly acceptable as well.

Bonus Tip: Ditch the Athletic Socks

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 athletic-style socks anywhere outside of the gym is a major faux pas. (Photo below: Ivy-Style)

man walking wearing white athletic socks with loafers

Beyond Aesthetics

Above we covered how you can stylishly and comfortably wear socks with loafers but why is it so important to not go barefoot when wearing loafers?

Health Risks of Wearing Loafers Without Socks

Not wearing socks with loafers can be very unhygienic. When worn without socks, closed toe shoes become the perfect warm, dark and damp environment that facilitates bacteria growth. This bacteria can ultimately lead to Athlete’s foot and many other common foot fungal infections.

always wear socks with loafers to avoid foot fungus and other health issues

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.” Not only will wearing socks with loafers protect your podiatric health, but you'll likely also find it much more comfortable. A quality pair of socks will breathe to keep your feet dry throughout the day. (Photo credit: Doctors Australia)

Wear Men's Loafer Socks to Protect Your Shoes

Simply put, your feet sweat - a lot - and sweat is not good for leather. In addition to the potential health issues discussed above, the growth of bacteria can also cause your loafers to develop an unpleasant smell. Once this odor has permeated the leather of your shoes, it can be very difficult to remove.

man pinching his nose holding a pair of smelly loafers

Beyond simply causing odor issues, you'll notice that excessive moisture leads to other problems... When wearing loafers without socks, 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.

If you purchased a nice pair of leather, Goodyear welted loafers then you likely shelled out a few hundred dollars for them. With that in mind, always be sure to wear socks to protect your investment. (Photo credit: Your Next Step)

About Boardroom Socks

Boardroom Socks is a small, family-owned company committed to providing you with premium socks that are as comfortable as they are stylish. Each pair is made locally in North Carolina and impacts dozens of jobs in our community.

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Thank You for Reading!

We hope that this article has been helpful and informative! Should you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may reach us via phone toll-free at 855-379-7625 or via email at Thank you for reading!

Nathan James
Nathan James

CEO, Boardroom Socks

Nathan is an eighth generation textile professional, passionate about producing quality hosiery right here in North Carolina. His favorite dress socks are our burgundy merino wool socks. You will also frequently find him wearing our no-show socks. Outside of the office he enjoys fishing, reading and exploring Charlotte with his wife, son and Golden Retriever.

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