Men are raised to approach dressing a certain way: Pants require underpants; flies require zipping; shoes require socks. But rules – in style and in life – are there for the breaking. In a time when so many men are going bold with their socks, leaving the hosiery in the dresser can actually be a better choice.
That said, going sockless turns out to be a bit tricky. Each of your feet can produce up to a pint of sweat every day, a complicating factor if ever there was one. That’s why we asked for a bit of guidance from Douglas Bensadoun, creative director and vice president of ALDO. Here are his three simple rules for going sockless without creating a scene or a smell.
First, keeping clean is key. “The point of this trend is to look smart, not sloppy, so grooming is essential,” say Bensadoun. Exfoliating every now and again in addition to proper moisturizing – Kiehl’s makes a good foot lotion – will keep your feet in tip-top shape. Bensadoun also suggests that men “pop in an insole, either terry cloth or leather, to keep your feet feeling fresh.”
No matter how hard you work keeping them clean, your feet are still likely to give off an unpleasant odor after a long day of leathery friction. Fortunately, a number of great products are available, including Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X, which works well for long periods of time, and Gold Bond, which now comes in small bottles you can slip into your briefcase. If you want to take it a step further, you can do the homeopathic thing and soak your feet in tea.
Second, your pants can make or break it. Mr. Bensadoun suggests starting with “cuffed or cropped trousers, jeans, or chinos, or a pair of tailored shorts.” Your pants should draw attention to the ankle, so a straight cut is ideal, hemmed or cuffed to just a bit shorter than you would usually go. Why go through all this effort if nobody can see your ankles?
Third, with no sock to share the spotlight, your shoes need to be able to stand on their own. “The key is to avoid anything too bulky,” says Bensadoun. Shoes that lend themselves to being worn sockless include classic wingtips, any sort of slip-on loafer, and clean sneakers. Ditching the socks means you will have to give your shoes some extra TLC so that they don’t reek. Make sure to thoroughly air them out between wears, and don’t be shy about sprinkling some deodorizing foot powder in there every now and again. Socks usually keep our feet dry and temperate, so with that buffer missing, your footwear will be subject to a bit more wear than usual.