6 Style Tips for the "No Socks with Dress Shoes" Look

With business becoming increasingly casual, the "sockless" look has slowly but surely crept into offices across the country. This article will outline six tips to help you properly execute the bare ankle look while not sacrificing your comfort of destroying your dress shoes. 

1. Don’t actually go barefoot in dress shoes.

You should not wear dress shoes without socks. We'll go into further detail below, but this is uncomfortable, unhealthy and will damage your dress shoes.

wet leather dress shoesExcessive moisture, such as sweat, is not good for leather shoes

2. Wear no-show dress socks for the "sockless" look.

So, how do men achieve the bare ankle “sockless” look without ruining their dress shoes and podiatric health? No-show dress socks. No show dress socks are thin, stretchy socks that are specifically designed to be worn with dress shoes, loafers, boat shoes and similar men’s shoes.

man wearing tan no-show dress socks

The market is saturated with no-show socks, however, nearly all of these are thick athletic socks that cannot comfortably be worn with dress shoes. No-show dress socks are very thin, enabling them to easily fit into loafers and other snug shoes.

black no show dress socks with black penny loafers

Another key differentiator with no show dress socks is how low cut the sock actually is. Many dress shoes, particularly loafers and boat shoes, have lower vamps that naturally leave much of the foot exposed. No show dress socks are low cut to remain hidden.

Shop No-Show Dress Socks

At Boardroom Socks, we spent nearly a year designing our line of no show dress socks. These allow you to sport the bare ankle, “no socks with dress shoes” look while ensuring a comfortable fit and protecting your shoes. These socks are made with soft, breathable merino wool that will keep your feet dry and comfortable even during the hottest months of summer. Finally, we finish each pair with a no-slip silicone grip to keep them up all day.

3. Be intentional with your choice of shoes.

As menswear has adopted a more casual tone, dress sneakers have evolved as a new category of men’s footwear that is a hybrid of sneakers and dress shoes. The casual nature of these shoes makes them a great option for the “no socks with dress shoes” look.

brown leather dress sneakers with no socks

Loafers are another great type of dress shoe to wear when going for the bare ankle look. Similar to dress sneakers, these are inherently more casual than oxfords and other more formal lace-up dress shoes. 

4. Be strategic with the color of your no-show dress socks.

When selecting a pair of socks to create the no socks with dress shoes look, opt for a neutral color of sock. Try to either match your skin tone or the color of your shoes. When seated or walking, part of the sock will likely become exposed. A neutral color of sock will draw less attention and blend better with your shoes.

5. Don't wear high-cropped trousers.

In recent years, particularly in Manhattan, it has been en vogue to wear short, high-cropped trousers and dress shoes without socks. At Boardroom Socks, we tend to follow traditional and classic men’s style, which calls for at least a little bit of break in trousers. Frankly, the high-cropped look is a little ridiculous.

short pants with no socks and dress shoes

For professional business environments and formal events, it is best to always wear socks. In these instances, opt for a pair of dress socks.

6. Take care of your dress shoes

A quality pair of dress shoes is an investment that must be properly cared for. For all of the reasons outlined above, always be sure to wear socks with your dress shoes. Here are a few other parting tips to help extend the life of your leather shoes:

  • Always wear socks with dress shoes.
  • Place cedar shoe trees in your shoes when not in use.
  • Don’t wear the same pair for several days in a row. Instead, rotate them.

Can you wear dress shoes without socks?

The bare ankle look has become increasingly popular in recent years, leading some men to contemplate wearing dress shoes without socks. The short answer is that you cannot wear dress shoes without socks and here are two important reasons why:

1. Wearing no socks with dress shoes is unhealthy.

Your feet contain more sweat glands than any other part of your body, causing your feet to produce a great deal of sweat. When wearing no socks with dress shoes, this moisture will accumulate and cause your dress shoes to become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Warm, damp, and dark environments like this allow for the growth of bacteria that causes fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Wearing a quality pair of socks with dress shoes will allow your feet to stay comfortable, dry and healthy.

2. Wearing dress shoes without socks will ruin your dress shoes.

In addition to potentially being harmful to your health, the development of bacteria in your dress shoes will also cause them to smell. This stench is unpleasant and extremely hard to remove from your shoes once it has developed.

woman holding smelly black dress shoes

Without wearing socks, excessive moisture in your dress shoes will cause the leather to prematurely wear. Given that your dress shoes are likely the most expensive shoes in your closet, be sure to always wear socks with them.

What is your opinion on the bare ankle look with dress shoes? Please contact us with any questions or comments that you may have.

Ready to upgrade your sock drawer?

Shop No-Show Dress Socks

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.

Also in The Boardroom Memo

navy wool dress socks with dark slacks and black oxfords for male banker
Banking Attire: How Bankers Dress Like a Million Bucks at Work

by Editorial Staff April 18, 2024

Whether you’re new to the banking industry or are a seasoned vet, this article shares style tips on how to dress like a million bucks as a banker.
Read More
pastel pink dress socks worn with dark denim and brown tassel loafers
Pastel Dress Socks: How to Embrace the Spring Season in Style

by Editorial Staff March 15, 2024

Spring weather marks the transition away from darker colors as brighter shades emerge into full bloom. This guide to spring socks offers advice on incorporating pops of color to your attire for the new season.
Read More
wool socks with lots of pilling
How Do You Stop a Wool Sock Pilling?

by Editorial Staff January 20, 2024

Like fine sweaters, you may encounter pilling on your dress socks. Read this guide for tips on how to fix pilled socks as well as how to best prevent pilling in the first place.
Read More