There’s arguably no faux pas worse than a goofy pair of socks protruding from shoes intended to be worn sockless. This reminds of the nerdy look when your father used to wear bulky, white athletic socks that went up to his knees.
You wouldn’t wear flip flops with a pair of cotton socks, so why would you stoop so low as to sport visible socks with a pair of shoes that call for a sockless look?
Unfortunately, if you’ve ever tried to wear a pair of kicks with no socks for an extended period of time, especially in the summer, you know that it can quickly ruin the shoe and turn your feet into a hot, sweaty mess.
If you think your choices are going sockless or looking goofy, we’ve got good news.
What are No Show Socks
If you’ve never bought a pair of no show socks, then it’s easy not to realize they exist. After all, you don’t exactly see them worn out on the street as fashion statements.
After all, they are designed to go undetected. Also referred to as loafer socks, no show socks provide just enough coverage for comfort without appearing above the shoe line.
These make them perfect for shoe styles that are intended to be rocked with the sockless look.
While it’s totally fine to wear low-cut or even calf-length socks with athletic shoes, tennis shoes and runners, shoes with a lower vamp (the shoe section which covers the top of your foot) nearly always call for the use of no show socks.
Especially if your summer wardrobe includes boat shoes, slip-on or loafers for men, you’ll need a pair (or whole fleet) of quality no show socks. They’re not so much a style piece as they are an essential staple for anyone looking not to get laughed at.
Some men might try the low cut variation, but it leaves them looking sloppy. Low-cut sock variations don’t come up nearly as high as crew socks, but they’re still visible above the shoe’s vamp.
If your shoe game matters to you, don’t cut corners. If you’re sporting a shoe that calls for a sockless look, you’ll need to purchase a pair of no show socks.
Benefits of No Show Socks
If you’re committed to shoe fashion, you won’t dare walk down the street in a pair of low-vamp shoes and crew socks.
After all, even the world’s best boat shoes will end up looking wonky and awkward if they’re worn with a traditional pair of socks.
While some brave men do opt to suck it up and go entirely sockless, no shows offer all the comfort and luxury of socks without any of the smell, irritation and blistering from ditching socks altogether.
Besides plain, simple practicality, no show socks offer a whole load of benefits that make them a no-brainer.
Everyone loves a good optical illusion. Though no show socks aren’t exactly magic, they do allow you to sport the sockless look without having to go sockless.
Even low-cut socks become visible when worn with certain styles of loafers and boat shoes. To be sure your socks go truly undetected, no shows are the only way to go.
If you’ve ever waded through a muddy swamp or accidentally stepped in a puddle and had to go on with your day as nothing happened, then you can imagine exactly what it feels like to go sockless. It’s not comfy.
No show socks absorb sweat like a regular sock, so you’re not going to get that swamp foot feeling caused by going sockless.
Additionally, they help guard and protect your heels and toes from friction that can otherwise cause blisters and irritation, making no show socks an overall win for foot comfortability.
The simple science of foot odor is that sweatier feet make for smellier shoes. We put our feet through a lot and it’s no wonder they’re prone to breaking a sweat during our day-to-day lives.
Especially if your shoes are leather (like some of the items on the list of all wallet types for men), it’s likely that they hold odor and cause sweating.
Socks exist, in part, to help your foot skin breathe. This permits airflow, allows the evaporation of sweat and leads to a less smelly foot.
When you go sockless, you suffocate your feet and toes. With no additional barrier or means to get a breath, the sweat builds up, causing an unbearable stench that can ruin your confidence and shoes alike.
A solid pair of no show socks provide all of the odor-minimizing traits of a regular sock, allowing you to feel confident and smell better.
Fabric and Material Features of No Show Socks
Upon initial inspection of your first pair of no shows, it might seem like there’s not a lot there. Sure, they have even less fabric than a traditional crew sock and they take up next to no space in your dresser drawer.
Don’t let them deceive you though, big technology sometimes goes into these little guys. Several brands have impressive features that are no small feat.
For socks that breathe easy, you’ll want to search out a wool blend as opposed to cotton, which tends to retain sweat.
Some socks even have built-in cooling technology that works to wick away sweat before it causes odor or discomfort.
Sweat breeds bacteria. When your feet stink, it’s the bacteria that are the true culprit.
Antimicrobial socks work to reduce the bacteria caused by sweating. This isn’t just healthier for your skin, it also helps minimize odor.
Less sweat means less odor and more comfort. Some no show sock brands go a step beyond moisture-wick technology and focus instead on reducing your foot’s sweat entirely.
Socks with antiperspirant properties, like deodorants with antiperspirant properties, have their limitations. Of course, nothing can stop your body from sweating entirely.
Because no show socks are inevitably prone to a bit of slippage, some brands have begun incorporating a non-slip heel grip composed of a small rubber strip on the sock’s heel.
These serve to keep the sock firmly in place while you’re walking, running, dancing or moving. While they can’t always lock the sock in place without fail, they do provide a bit of added security.
A true no show sock is invisible when your shoes are on. For some, this is the perfect opportunity to add a bit of secret flare to their feet without anyone finding out.
Some no show socks come in wild, bright colors. Sure, they don’t technically add anything to the sock’s performance, but they’re a fun way to feel secretly spontaneous.
Choosing the Best No Show Socks
Softness and Comfort
As with any sock, comfort is key. Some of the finest socks for men are the ones which are the most comfortable and soft.
Thankfully, a sock’s softness is something you can feel before trying them on. However, the fit is also a huge determiner of comfort and to check that you’ll need to take the socks for a test drive.
Ideally, a comfortable no show sock will cinch firmly around the body of your foot and move minimally when inside the shoe.
Because no shows are so prone to slippage, heel grips are an essential determiner in selecting a product.
Grips come in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes and you’ll need to wear the socks for an extended period of time before you truly get a feel for its grip’s effectiveness.
Unfortunately, that isn’t really a possibility when shopping for socks. When choosing a pair, try looking for grip pads with a maximized area space.
For example, diamond shapes or circular pads will probably hold better than singular strips.
When hunting for a durable sock, you should be checking for elastic that looks like it won’t stretch out easy and a material that can take abuse.
Remember, sheer socks may wear thin faster. The thinner the sock, the lesser the lifespan.
If you’re unsure of a fabric’s integrity, you can do a test in the store in order to see how the fabric snaps back after being stretched.
When it comes to versatility, you’ll want to first consider the sock’s cut. Not all no show socks are created equally.
Some have cuts that extend higher on foot and may even end up being visible with some shoes.
These higher-cut no shows aren’t a problem if you’re wearing shoes with a moderate or high vamp, but if you want your socks to be truly versatile enough to wear with loafers and shoes of extremely low vamps, you’ll need a sufficiently low cut.
No show fabric weight ranges from ultra-lightweight to extra-heavy. Thinner socks are a popular choice because most shoes that call for a sockless look are summer shoes.
The idea is that a thinner sock is more breathable and reduces sweating. If you’re sporting a heavier, thicker shoe, you’ll want to go with a heavier sock as well.
When thin socks are paired with heavy shoes, it often leads to bunching, slippage and blisters. If you have both heavy and lightweight shoes, you’ll probably want a mix of heavy and lightweight socks.
If your no show socks are a true, super-low-cut product, then the color shouldn’t matter much in terms of the socks style. However, no shows color can determine how invisible it is and how well it wears with time.
While bold patterns and alternate colors are available, the three major options are black, nude and white.
Black is perhaps the most versatile option for no show socks. They’re ideal for any dark-colored or leather shoe.
Low-quality black socks may bleed dye onto your skin or shoe interior. However, they have the bonus of hiding dirt and wear.
Products with a nude color go the extra step beyond being no show to aim for absolute invisibility. With a skin-toned color, they’re intended to have a camouflage effect.
Nude socks are ideal because they can be worn with any shoe color or style. However, like white socks, they can stain easily and become tinted or grimy with extended wear.
White no shows are the classic go-to for all socks. They have a crisp, clean look.
Unfortunately, that crispness generally fades quickly, as all white socks are prone to collecting dirt and greying in the wash.
While some may not mind (the socks are intended not to be seen), white socks will inevitably become dingy with time and use.
How To Wear No Show Socks
No show socks are meant to be worn with dress shoes, driving shoes, boat shoes, loafers or any other shoe with a low vamp. Even some sneaker designs call for the implementation of the sockless look.
To ensure your no show socks are preventing blisters, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing them high enough on the heel to protect your skin, but low enough that the socks material remains hidden.
Additionally, you’ll want to find a sock that can be worn loose enough to promote toe comfort, but tight enough to prevent slippage. The ideal no show sock should fit tight around the body of the foot without causing any type of discomfort or blistering.
While no show socks are commonly worn with shorts that leave the tops of the foot visible, they’re also necessary with some pants.
For example, some of the best skinny jeans for men taper at the ankle, leaving the top of the foot entirely visible. To wear boat shoes or loafers with these pants, you’ll want to employ a no show sock.
Washing and Maintenance of No Show Socks
The good news is that no show socks are relatively low maintenance. Most brands can be washed along with your regular laundry.
Because fit is the most important aspect of a no show sock, you’ll want to reduce any chances of shrinkage by avoiding high temperatures. Never dry your no shows in a machine.
Instead, let them air dry to maintain their shape and sizing. Additionally, refrain from bleaching and ironing them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do no show socks slip?
All no-show sock labels claim to be non-slip or extreme grip. The cold, ugly truth is that to a degree, even the best no show socks may sometimes slip.
Because of the way no shows are cut, they will inevitably slip sometimes. If they don’t slip, they’re probably not no shows.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to minimize it. For example, you might find that thicker socks have a higher tendency to slip, whereas lighter fabric is more likely to cling to the foot effectively.
How to keep no show socks from slipping?
The best way to keep no show socks from slipping is to buy a sock that fits you well and includes some type of non-slip technology.
This can come in the form of taught elastic, silicon gripping patches, special ribbing and a quality cut.
How to keep your shoes from smelling?
For light odor removal, you can place a women’s stocking filled with kitty litter into the shoes and allow it to set overnight. Alternatively, you can load your shoes with tea bags and allow them to absorb the litter.
Some other odors removing materials include wood chips and baby powder. Because odor is caused by bacteria, you can also place your shoes in the freezer to kill off smelly bacteria.
If your shoes are especially rank, you can tie them into a pillowcase and wash it on the hottest cycle. This kills bacteria and cleans the shoe fabric, leaving it fresh and odorless.
When it comes to fashion, we often think of what’s visible. Elements like the fit of your pants, your shirt pattern or what beard styles you sport are all elements of style, but what you can’t see matters, too.
Any fashionable man knows that no show socks are a summertime staple. Without them, you’ll either become a laughing stock or a smelly outcast.
As one of the most underrated and underappreciated men’s style accessories, no show socks are a fashion staple we often forget about.
With the superpower of invisibility, a quality pair of no show socks keep your feet comfy and fashionable in any footwear from loafers to boat shoes.
Photos from: nito103 / depositphotos.com, VitalikRadko / deposithotos.com and sasimoto / depositphotos.com.
- What are No Show Socks
- Benefits of No Show Socks
- Fabric and Material Features of No Show Socks
- Choosing the Best No Show Socks
- Color Options
- How To Wear No Show Socks
- Washing and Maintenance of No Show Socks
- Frequently Asked Questions