I have been informed, multiple times, that sandals over socks are a revolting and unforgivable fashion sin. The word has come in grooming-advice columns and in conversation. In every case it has come from a woman — in a couple of cases a woman with whom I was intimate. There are apparently no exceptions to this rule.

Here’s the problem: That combination is incredibly comfortable. Some of us, losers in the genetic lottery I suppose, have hot, sweaty feet. I hate shoes and wear sandals for as much of the year as I can.

By the way, my current pair (by Ecco) are wearing out; any recommendations? I need tough, comfy, and good-looking enough to wear to meetings — i.e. no high-tech black plastic. But I digress.

If your feet are naturally hot-’n’-sweaty, they get that way even in sandals sometimes; say if you’re walking around Melbourne all day or sitting in a hot airplane across the Pacific. For these situations, the combination of the sandal, which lets the air in, and the sock, which wicks the perspiration away from your skin, is entirely perfect.

But, because The Women of the World, the evidence suggests, would have it otherwise, I sacrifice that extra bit of comfort. Just another fashion victim. Well, except on those transoceanic flights; In the air, nobody knows what’s on your feet.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Bob Aman (May 03 2009, at 14:53)

Chacos. Best sandals ever.

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From: John Dougan (May 03 2009, at 15:01)

You could always just move to continental Europe where, at least in my experience, this has historically been a perfectly acceptable combination. Germans in particular appear to favour the combination. I've even seen the combination of sandals and socks in the office...of course the sandals were leather and the socks were in a dark color.

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From: Mik Lernout (May 03 2009, at 15:02)

Definitely Birkenstock: the only sandal that does justice to the plain white sock :-)

Seriously though: try them out, there is nothing like it.

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From: David Magda (May 03 2009, at 15:05)

After pounding a pair of Mephistos into the ground (~3 years), I wanted the same think but the style was discontinued. It took some searching but found the Milano style by Birkenstock:

http://www.birkenstock.ca/model/MILANO-1421-en.php

My main criteria was black leather with a heal strap. I wanted it to at least kinda-dressy (hence both leather and black); there's plenty of brown leather, but not many black. The heal strap is for those times when you have to run for the bus and don't want to worry about them falling off.

As for fashion: while I try to look aesthetically non-objectionable out of consideration to those around me, I tend to err on the practicality. Looking fashionable is great for a pretty girl who likes a little attention; I'm neither pretty (nor a girl :), so I generally stick with jeans and a t-shirt (with extra insulation and weather proofing depending on the weather).

I don't wear socks with my sandals because it's harder to wiggle my toes. :) If you have a practical need, so be it--fashionistas be damned.

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From: John Lee (May 03 2009, at 15:14)

I, too, dislike shoes. If you must wear shoes, though, I've found that SmartWool socks do wonders for keeping my feet comfortable. In the winter they are warm. In the summer, they keep my feet dry. They're soft and do a tremendous job of wicking sweat away.

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From: Paul Hoffman (May 03 2009, at 15:30)

I was a Birkies or Teva person for a few decades. I recently have switched to slightly-oversized suede "mocs". They have the same roomy effect on my feet, and I can wear them with or without socks with only slight female fashion correction.

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From: Thomas Broyer (May 03 2009, at 15:50)

@John Dougan: in France, "sandals over socks are a revolting and unforgivable fashion sin" too; we frequently laugh at Germans who are effectively known to "favour the combination" ;-)

Maybe Dutchmen and/or Belgians too, though I'm not even sure.

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From: Eric (May 03 2009, at 16:08)

Well, personally, socks in sandals makes me cringe, but this seems to be the only fashion sense I have, not that I would care enough to mention it. But as a basically unfashionable guy, I believe I know why only women have mentioned it to you, basically because most men live in glass houses fashion wise--clueless and happy about it. Pointing out another man's dorkiness is dangerous to do when you're not sure of your own status on that scale.

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From: Jerry Brown (May 03 2009, at 16:25)

I don't care what anyone says. Sandals and a good set of low-cut, wicking running socks (Brooks, New Balance, etc) are as close to perfect as you can get. Funny thing is, it seems to be only in North America that this is considered a fashion faux-pas. It seems to be a lot more prevalent elsewhere.

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From: Carolyn (May 03 2009, at 17:17)

I recently broke two of my toes. I have a shoe problem. I've always liked sandals anyway, expect for when it is snowing or raining, that gets a bit uncomfortable. :^)

Before broken toes (BTT) I took my shoes off during a west-to-east coast flight. DO NOT DO THIS. You can't put your shoes back on (in a timely fashion).

My vote - wear what is comfortable and to hell with fashion. (Sorry, fashion ladies).

Carolyn A. Colborn

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From: Jason E. Rist (May 03 2009, at 17:19)

Chacos like Bob said, or Keens.

http://www.keenfootwear.com/

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From: Patrick Taylor (May 03 2009, at 17:20)

Try the Injiji five-toed socks ...

http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/products_injinji_socks.cfm

People will be too surprised to see the toes in the socks that they won't notice the fact that you've committed a fashion-faux-pas.

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From: Ian Gregory (May 03 2009, at 17:58)

I wear sandals over socks whenever I feel like it and to hell with what people think. I used to wear Birkenstocks but I walk a lot and the soles would wear through in a few months. So I went to a hiking shop and got a pair of Teva's - they are still going strong after a few years.

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From: stand (May 03 2009, at 18:29)

There was a commercial about this here in Seattle.

http://www.werealotlikeyou.com/

Can't direct link because of Flash. Check out Sandals and Socks Guy.

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From: Zach (May 03 2009, at 19:02)

For the last couple years I've been wearing a pair of Newalk Savannahs (Or maybe Kentucky, they seem similar,) which use the birkenstock base. They're extremely comfortable and look dressy.

http://www.newalk.com/savannah.html

http://www.newalk.com/kentucky.html

Mine are about ready to to replaced, in fact, and I'm thinking I'll just get another pair, even though it seems like I'll have to special order them from an unknown merchant.

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From: Tony Fisk (May 03 2009, at 19:35)

Crocs! These are light and airy, but are sufficiently enclosed so as to prevent the offending sock from being too blatantly on display.

They are also excellent for wading in rock pools... sans socks

Mine were supplied to me by women with whom I am on intimate terms.

(Maybe not red ones, though)

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From: Janne (May 03 2009, at 19:48)

I think it mostly looks goofy when it's sandals, sock _and shorts_. Don't do that.

I have the great fortune of living in Japan where socks and sandals (or slippers) is not only allowed but frequently mandated. That includes not only home of course, but work as well. My native Sweden is also fairly tolerant of sandals, and you're expected to remove your shoes indoors there as well. What's up with that disgusting habit of wearing shoes indoors, by the way? You think dried dog poop and bird droppings magically disappear with a brush or two on a welcome mat?

I currently favor Birkenstock. Comfortable, good quality and avoids that doofy "Xtreem ZportZ" look.

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From: Sam Greenfield (May 03 2009, at 20:36)

Silk pajamas are very comfortable, too, but only Hugh Hefner gets away with that.

That being said, why not just wear a velvet sweat suit all the time? Comfortable _and_ stylish. Make sure you wear it with fuzzy L.L. Bean slippers. :-)

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From: Gale Cowan (May 03 2009, at 20:46)

Well!!! :-)

This Woman of the World begs to disagree. Though we sock-and-sandal wearers do seem to be in a minority, why can't we just be making our own statement? Or making no statement at all, just a preference? I've worn socks and sandals *exclusively* for at least 20 years for the very reasons that you stated. I don't know what kind of friends or intimates you've hung out with, but I think that's very rude of them to criticize you for such a thing. To me, it bespeaks your good sense and attention to your own comfort.

Sock-and-sandalers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but fashion fascism.

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From: Chris Mahan (May 03 2009, at 22:20)

I wear white tubesocks. The kind you get at Target for ten pairs for ten dollars, and I then put my feet in Birkenstock look-alikes from Payless Shoe Source. ($35 or less).

Then I wear those at the office, at home, at parties, friend's houses, restaurants, etc.

Nobody, not even my very fashionable Japanese wife has ever complained.

Or maybe they have and I haven't paid any attention?

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From: Avdi (May 03 2009, at 22:37)

Chacos. Built like a tank and they make them comfortable by removing the chafing bits, rather than by adding padding. I've been wearing mine for 10 years and all they need is new soles - and the soles are replaceable.

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From: John Turnbull (May 04 2009, at 00:02)

There are important fashion precedents. Canada's own Pierre Trudeau wore sandals and socks with a business suit. Few -- certainly few women -- questioned his taste.

I'd say it's time to push back. We should adopt egregious socks for our sandals -- striped, argyle, chartreuse.

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From: John Cowan (May 04 2009, at 06:10)

I'll just add that I too wear socks and sandals all the time. Closed shoes tend to flex in such a way as to damage my diabetic toes, whereas sandals can't injure me. If I didn't wear socks, though, I'd be at risk from things like gravel and bits of glass. So socks and sandals it is.

The only problem is that a sock that would be just eaten by an ordinary shoe tends to emerge from the front of the sandal and flap about. My latest pair is semi-enclosed and doesn't have that problem.

In severe weather, I wrap plastic bags over the socks and inside the sandals and tie them loosely around my ankles. Crude, but it works.

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From: John Kordyback (May 04 2009, at 06:19)

Keen's Venice Sandals are the most comfortable thing on the planet. Pair them with something like a WrightSock if you like socks. Get them both at MEC.

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From: Nathan (May 04 2009, at 07:15)

I too had a fantastic pair of Ecco sandals which were wearing out. I wear sandals (sans socks) every day. I tried a pair of Keens and a pair of Tevas, but ultimately I went with the Ecco Yucatan, which though more expensive definitely met my requirements better than the previous two.

As for the sock issue, I say do what you want. I suggest wearing gray or drab socks rather than black or especially white since then they will be less noticeable, but if someone thinks less of you because of your stance in the sock/no-sock issue, this is probably not a person whose favor deserves currying anyway.

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From: Rob Koberg (May 04 2009, at 11:01)

I wear the socks and sandals (usually birks) all the time. Rarely wear shoes (or real pants for that matter).

Anyway, you need to get this great song

Preview at:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/media/sample.m3u/ref=dm_sp_smpl?ie=UTF8&catalogItemType=track&ASIN=B000TE6SNA&CustomerID=A24JTTFFB4FGLQ&qid=1241459999&sr=8-2

SOCKS'N'SANDALS(2:52)

I DUNNO WHY YOU LOVE ME BABY

I DUNNO WHY YOU CARE

I'M LOSIN'MY MEMORY

I'M LOSIN'MY HAIR

I LOST MY CAR KEYS AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE

I'M PART OF THE FURNITURE

I'M STUCK TO THAT CHAIR

SO I DUNNO WHY YOU LOVE ME BABY

I DUNNO WHY YOU CARE

SOCKS'N'SANDALS THAT'S WHAT I WEAR

I'M LIVIN' IN THE SUBURBS

AND WEARIN' BAD CLOTHES

BAR-BECUING HOT DOGS

AND KEEPIN'A CLEAN NOSE

MY BEST FRIEND'S A HILLBILLY

WITH A MOONSHINE STILL

ACTUALLY I'M LYIN'

HE'S AN ACCOUNTANT NAMED BILL

SO I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU LOVE ME BABY

I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU CARE

SOCKS'N'SANDALS THAT'S WHAT I WEAR

CHORUS

SOCKS'N'SANDALS

AS I HOLD ONTO YOUR LOVE HANDLES

SOCKS'N'SANDALS

AS I HOLD ONTO YOUR LOVE HANDLES

PORCELAIN DUCKS ARE LINED

UP ON MY MANTLE

FISH IN A POND AND

ONE OF THEM'S A FANTAIL

ONE OF THOSE CLOCKS WITH

THE RAYS LIKE THE SUN

I EAT MY DINNER WITH

MY RAINCOAT ON

SO I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU LOVE ME BABY

I DUNNO WHY YOU CARE

SOCKS'N'SANDALS THAT'S WHAT I WEAR

CHORUS

I GOT THAT MIDNITE-BLUE PAINTING

OF THAT ORIENTAL GIRL

YOU KNOW THE BIG-EYED ONE

YEAH YOU SEE HER EVERYWHERE

COOKING SHERRY AND A VELVETEEN CHAIR

AND IN THE EVENING I SIT RIGHT THERE

SO I DUNNO WHY YOU LOVE ME BABY

I DUNNO WHY YOU CARE

SOCKS'N' SANDALS THAT'S WHAT I WEAR

HALF CHORUS

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From: Edwin Goei (May 04 2009, at 11:41)

I have flat feet so I like sandals with good arch support. I have a couple of Birkenstock's one for wearing inside the house and one for outside. Your feet may vary. The only complaint I have is static shocks in the winter when it's dry. Oh and I often wear socks too but I've never considered myself to be fashionably dressed.

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From: Doug Cutting (May 04 2009, at 12:49)

I recommend Timberland Altamont Fisherman sandals. I have both a tan and a black pair.

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From: Bryan (May 04 2009, at 13:29)

Sandals & Socks 4 Ever - Enjoy!

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From: Lazar (May 04 2009, at 13:33)

Thank you!!!! I love wearing socks and sandals...it's cozy and comfortable!

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From: Shane Sweeney (May 04 2009, at 13:41)

I've had a pair of Keens for 3 years (heavy trail hiking and bike riding and walking over the place), and they are still going strong, and they, at least, water resistant. I did replace the slippery, good for nothing, lace keeper thingie with a stronger locking version, though your mileage may vary here.

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From: Adrian Ross (May 04 2009, at 15:14)

Well, I'm a New Zealand male and I'm here to tell you it's not just women who think this is a bad look, nor is it only North Americans. In my experience, scorn for this practice is international; it's also mainstream, rather than being the domain of fashionistas, wannabe or otherwise.

Here in NZ, you really shouldn't do it unless you want people to think that you're (a) your grandfather, or (b) a German tourist.

Your wife or partner will be cringing when you do this. She might be too nice to tell you; she might even think that she ought not to care about it - that your geeky prioritisation of practicality over style is admirable and endearing - but all the same she *will* care, and she'll secretly be wishing you were just a little bit cooler. And she'll feel conflicted and guilty about thinking that too; really - just don't put her through it!

If you find you absolutely must wear socks with your sandals, at least refrain from wearing white ones. White socks should simply never be worn except with white running shoes while exercising.

Hell, but on a plane all bets are off - comfort on these torture devices must surely be paramount, second only to consideration for the people around you (ie. don't take off your stinky shoes!)

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From: Seairth (May 04 2009, at 16:51)

I see that Chacos are already mentioned. Maybe the Paradox?

http://chacousa.com/Portal.aspx?CN=D885D7FA1375&MN=0BB282DB738F

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From: Christopher Cashell (May 04 2009, at 22:36)

I'm a big fan of socks with sandals. I've been wearing that combination for over 10 years now, and I do it year round (even in winter).

I have had one or two people comment on it being a fashion faux pas, but I've always been a "form follows function" person. Comfort and practicality will always win over appearances.

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From: Graham (May 05 2009, at 00:40)

Teva make some decent leather sandals. Very comfortable.

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From: Hanan Cohen (May 09 2009, at 15:03)

I highly recommend Lavilin Foot Deodorant cream

Can be purchased at Amazon

You apply it only once a week and solve your social problems.

Made in Israel and works like a miracle.

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From: Eric Jain (May 10 2009, at 19:56)

Just wear the socks over the sandals, problem solved.

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May 03, 2009
· The World (114 fragments)
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