Your Guide to Socks, What Colour to go for and How to Wear Them


Socks – we all have them and use them usually everyday, however, most of us don’t give much thought to them. Check out our complete guide to what socks you should be wearing with which shoes, what material to be looking for, as well as some of the best sock options out there.


If you end up wearing poor quality socks with a high quality outfit you are definitely on the right track to weakening the overall strength of your presentation.

The humble sock keeps your feet very comfortable whatever you are doing, whether it’s hiking up a hill or strolling along in town. So, when buying socks you need to consider your needs, your budget and what socks actually goes with what shoe. A little lost? Look no further, this guide will give you all the information you need to know about socks.

First impressions are vital to everyday life, you want to look your best at all times! So when you are deliberating your jacket, jeans, t-shirt jumper or even accessories, why would you leave out your socks? Socks aren’t just black anymore and gone are the days where a sock that matches your trousers was the only option!

Believe it or not, socks are also very important to the life of your shoes. As feet are prone to sweating, this can cause damage to the footwear, which highlights the importance of a good quality pair of socks.

Choosing which socks are best for which shoes and how to style them can be quite a hassle to most men, with so many lengths, patterns and styles available it can be quite hard but this guide breaks down everything you need to know. And remember, rules were meant to be broken so make sure you experiment!
The General Rules of Socks

No thin / fine dress socks for athletic shoes.
If you’re unsure about how to wear your socks, stick to black.
Make sure your socks match each other and have no visible holes. It sounds obvious, but it’s an easy enough mistake to make.
Remember you need to ensure that they fit well so you don’t have to spend the whole day pulling them up as they sag around your ankles.
A good pair of socks shouldn’t just absorb sweat but should distribute perspiration through the material to the outer surface which is an actual process called wicking.
The sock should cushion the foot from impact with the ground, and prevent the skin from rubbing against the inside of shoes.
If you’re wondering what colour socks to wear with jeans – black is your safest option.

Lengths of Socks

The length of your socks has to be considered when choosing what socks to wear with your outfit. No show or liner socks both give the illusion of going sockless, while ped and anklets are best worn with trainers or plimsolls, as they’re pretty casual and offer just a glimpse of colour at the ankle. Finally, mid-calf and over the calf length socks can both be worn under your jeans or trainers.

Material of Socks

Common base materials include cotton, wool, nylon and polyester.
Cotton socks are absorbent and good for soaking sweat off the skin, but it doesn’t wick moisture towards its surface and it doesn’t allow wetness to evaporate quickly.
Wool breathes easily and lets wetness evaporate, is warmer, but lacks specific wicking properties for speeding moisture away from the body.
Synthetics such as polyester and nylon encourage wicking, but provide little cushioning for the foot.
Cotton and cotton blend striped and patterned socks for casual sneakers, casual or dressier leather shoes.
Fine wool blend and cashmere dress socks for leather dress shoes.

Size of Socks

Although you’d think that sock sizes are like shoe sizes, most of them aren’t. Sock sizes are scaled from XS to XXXL and most ‘medium’ socks will fit up to about a size 10.5 (UK). Although this is usual, you should still check the size chart before buying as brand sock sizes vary.
Types of Socks
Plain and Dress Socks

If you are more old school, plain or dress socks are the way to go! Standard black, plain grey and navy make the best dress socks, but even white socks can work depending on your outfit and where you are going.

The Rules

If you’re unsure about styling your socks, stick to something plain or a classic pattern such as argyle.
Keep the colour of your dress socks matching to your trousers for suits.
Choose a pair of socks that are either a shade darker or lighter than the trousers you’re wearing.
Plain white socks and suits are a no-no

The Shoes: Formal Shoes

Classic black dress socks paired with a smart tuxedo and formal shoes will make you look extremely dapper while pairing plain grey or navy socks with formal shoes will give you a sophisticated look.
Textured Socks

If you like the idea of plain socks but want to give your outfit a bit of an edge then textured socks are the way to go! Just remember that textured socks can add weight to a look!

The Rules

Choose a pair of socks that are either a shade darker or lighter than the trousers you’re wearing.
Pair your textured socks with pieces made from similarly heavy/rugged materials for your trousers such as denim, wool or even leather.
The socks may make your shoes a bit tighter so take this into consideration.

The Shoes: Desert Boots
Not only does textured socks look great with brogues but also desert boots, Just make sure again to co-ordinate the sock colour with the colour of your desert boots and your set to go!
Bright Statement Socks

Bright, statement, coloured socks have made a comeback in recent years with men becoming more conscious and confident to wear fashionable, vibrant colours.
The Rules

Bright socks are generally not for funerals, important work meetings or really formal black tie events; colourful socks with suits are acceptable – just not at a funeral perhaps?
Wearing bright socks are very ‘out there’ and you need confidence to pull it off!
When choosing what colour socks to wear, compliment or contrast correctly otherwise they will clash and look like a disaster.
If stuck with what colour to wear you can buy socks with more than one tone of colour shown above!

The Shoes: Plimsoles

A new white pair of Converse or some classic slip-on Vans are great summer shoes that can be styled with either no socks, or even bright statement socks. The casual footwear will be jazzed up with colourful socks and will create a statement!
Patterned Socks

Patterned socks are actually quite versatile and easy to style. A simple white T-shirt with either indigo or black slim jeans and a pair of low tops (black or white) will make these socks stand out, making your day more comfortable and stylish. Or you can even wear them with a suit for a more snazzy look.

The Rules

Wearing patterned socks with your finest suit is a pretty bold statement; it takes confidence.
Patterned socks are best paired with trainers for a much more casual style.
Keep your outfit simple when wearing these as you want them to be the main focus of attention.
Try to choose socks in a pattern with a base tone that matches the colour of trousers you’re wearing.
You can even co-ordinate your patterned socks with a pocket square.
When it comes to patterns, it never hurts to stick with classic dots or stripes.

The Shoes: Brogues

As long as the sock colour isn’t too bright, you can pair classic patterns such as argyle, polka dot and stripes with smart brogues, lace-ups or even loafers! Just make sure the socks and the shoes co-ordinate.
The Ankle Sock

Ankle socks are actually the best thing to wear with trainers, so you cannot see the sock yet your feet are comfortable protected by it when taking part in sport activities or even on a daily basis.

The Rules

Invest in some ankle socks that aren’t visible when you wear your trainers.
Make sure your ankle socks are very comfortable.
Ensure the ankle sock fits perfectly as they usually have a bit of elastic material which hugs your ankle.
You can experiment with colour, although it’s not necessary and neutral colours look best.

The Shoes: Trainers

When wearing trainers, it’s probably best to wear ankle socks as they are prone to causing feet to sweat a bit and will therefore be quite a hassle and very uncomfortable!
Going Sockless

To go sockless or not to go sockless? That is the question that most men face when picking out their shoes.

Daring to bare is often seen as a risqué option; there’s some sort of taboo about slipping in to a pair of shoes without your socks on. However, when it is done right, going sockless can actually be a more sophisticated option!

The Rules

You should ideally be wearing a pair of slim-fitting trousers or jeans which finish above the ankle.
Hygiene is essential and you need to wash your feet along with the inside of your shoes.
Make sure you have broken in your shoes before going sockless to avoid pain and blisters!
Pop in an insole, either terry cloth or leather, to keep your feet feeling fresh.
Although no socks can look sophisticated, it depends on where you are going and the event as some formal situations may require a traditional sock and brogue combo.
Your pants should draw attention to the ankle if you are going sockless


Right, so you’ve decided that sockless is the way to go, so now you need to consider hygiene – no one wants embarrassing foot odour following them around! To keep clean and smell free is actually quite simple and can be done with things just laying around at home.

You can line your shoes with teabags which absorb smell, baby powder which absorb moisture, and even alcohol which sterilises the inside of your footwear! Just add whatever you decide and leave it for a night to work it’s magic!

As stated before you also need to make sure your feet are clean and smell free before putting your footwear on.
The Shoes: Boat shoes & Loafers

If you want to play it safe and easy, you can stick with going sockless with boat shoes. Boat shoes with no socks create an effortless smart-casual look without causing too much thought to your outfit. These are for sure a summer shoe, so make sure you whip them out for a perfect day in the sun!

Loafers are traditionally worn barefoot, and can be paired with a slick suit for a formal occasion, or can be paired with slim-fitted jeans and a white t-shirt for a more casual occasion. The possibilities are endless and are ultimately determined by where you are heading!
The Invisible Sock

If you love the idea of the going sockless and love the sockless look, but don’t want to have to deal with the hygiene factor – you can actually invest in some invisible socks. These socks cover your toes and sit just below your ankle which means they will not be seen when wearing footwear and give the impression of sockless while remaining comfortable!

Like with going sockless, invisible socks can be worn with loafers, boat shoes and even trainers! Take a look below for some style inspiration with what to wear invisible socks with. With summer just around the corner you will look super stylish and have comfortable dry feet.

Guide to Sock Cheat Sheet

If you’re unsure about styling your socks, stick to something plain or a classic pattern such as argyle.
Plain white socks and suits are a no-no
Choose a pair of socks that are either a shade darker or lighter than the trousers you’re wearing.
Patterned socks are best paired with trainers for a much more casual style.
Try to choose socks in a pattern with a base tone that matches the colour of trousers you’re wearing.

Final Word

Well there you have it, a few simple styling tips and tricks that you can utilise the next time you’re picking out socks for your outfit. Just remember, once you open your mind to breaking the rules a little bit, the outfit options are really endless.


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