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Socks With Sandals: To Wear, Or Not To Wear? That Is The Question

SPY logo SPY 7/18/2021 Nina Bradley
© Courtesy of Adobe Stock Images

Socks with sandals have always been a controversial fashion trend. (Is it a trend if people mostly make fun of it?) Some people love the coziness of the sock and sandal grouping, while others are totally baffled by the pairing, blown away that anyone would even think about covering their feet with socks and then slipping into a pair of open-toe sandals. And for good reason. The age-old faux pas is certainly a major contradiction since sandals are meant to keep your feel cool while socks help keep them warm.

Despite the general disdain, fashion is cyclical, and the look creeps back into our lives every few years, giving brave souls and celebs another opportunity to rock out with their socks out. Celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Tyler The Creator, Kendall Jenner, Sophie Turner and David Beckham have all been spotted rocking the socks and sandals look.

This latest iteration of this look aligns with another of-the-moment trend — the popularity of “dad fashion”, which includes dad shoes, dad hats, dad jeans, and so forth. There’s also the great pandemic of 2020 to consider, as it undoubtedly made comfy clothes and athleisure more mainstream. 

These factors, along with the circulating ugly footwear trend, have made socks and sandals a thing once again, especially for those who find the look easy, comfortable and, dare we say it, fashionable.

That’s right, I’m not afraid to wear socks and sandals, and you shouldn’t be either. For fans of this controversial look, our time has finally come.

Whether you’ve tried it or just want to learn more, we’ve got all the tips you need to rock the look as well as some of our favorite socks and sandals pairing to help you make the look your own.

a man sitting on a rock: Socks with Sandals © Provided by SPY Socks with Sandals

But first, let’s start with some basics. Please, for the love of all things holy (pun intended), make sure your socks don’t have holes in them. Also, please make sure they’re clean. Like seriously, we beg of you. If you’re going for a stylish look, dirty, holey socks are going to instantly kill the vibe. So please — just don’t. 

Now that that’s out of the way, you’ll want to pair your clean socks with the proper sandal. Slide-on and easy-strap shoes like Birkenstocks, Crocs, or Tevas, luxury kicks like the Yeezy Foam Runners or Gucci slides, and sporty slides by Adidas or Nike, etc. are all suitable to wear with socks. That said, however, you’ll most likely want to avoid thong flip flops or other sandals that have to go between your toes. It just doesn’t look — or feel — great when your socks have to bunch up to fit into the shoe and you’ll probably end up regretting it after a few minutes or hours walking around in discomfort.

Crew socks always work well with the look. However, you could even go knee or ankle length if you’re feeling adventurous. If you really want to make a statement, you can invest in designer socks like the popular Gucci logo socks. Also, don’t feel like you need to shy away from patterns with this look. This look is all about casual fun and novelty socks offer the perfect opportunity to show off your personality. It’s also a good moment to experiment with high-low mixing, pairing a high-end sock with a lower-priced shoe or vice versa.

Feeling inspired? Take look at some of our favorite sock and sandal pairings for 2021.


Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed

Pair this classic pair of Birkenstocks with luxury socks to make a grand statement that’s both laidback and luxe at the same time.

a brown and black hat: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed © Provided by SPY Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed

GUCCI Logo-Intarsia Stretch Cotton-Blend Socks

LOW IN STOCK a close up of a logo: GUCCI Logo-Intarsia Stretch Cotton-Blend Socks © Provided by SPY GUCCI Logo-Intarsia Stretch Cotton-Blend Socks


Crocs Classic All-Terrain Clog

These all-terrain Croc clogs deserve a pair of fun, polka dot Happy Socks to make them complete. Sure, it’s definitely a look, but in a fun I’m-too-confident-to-care-what-you-think kind of way.

a close up of a footwear: Classic All-Terrain Clog © Provided by SPY Classic All-Terrain Clog


Happy Socks Dot Socks

qr code: Happy Socks Dot Socks © Provided by SPY Happy Socks Dot Socks


Banana Republic Pool Slide

Go monochromatic with this nude-on-nude pairing of Banana Republic Pool Slides and neutral Gap socks.

a close up of a hat: Banana Republic Pool Slide © Provided by SPY Banana Republic Pool Slide


Gap Athletic Crew Socks

a pair of sneakers: Gap Crew Socks © Provided by SPY Gap Crew Socks


Teva Hurricane Verge

Get back to basics in this pair of Teva Hurricane Verge sandals along with a simple pair of white Dickie’s crew socks.

a piece of luggage: Teva Hurricane Verge Sandal © Provided by SPY Teva Hurricane Verge Sandal


Dickies Men’s All-Purpose Cushion Crew Socks

Dickies Men's All Purpose Cushion Crew Socks © Provided by SPY Dickies Men's All Purpose Cushion Crew Socks

Buy: Dickie's Crew Socks $10.00


Adidas X PHARRELL WILLIAMS Chancletas Slides

Create a playful look by pairing these Adidas X Pharrell Williams slides with a pair of novelty socks like these from Bonobos.



Bonobos Soft Everyday Socks

a close up of a toy: Bonobos Soft Everyday Socks © Provided by SPY Bonobos Soft Everyday Socks  


Also Consider: Los Angeles Apparel Crew Socks With Stripes

If you’re looking for crew socks that will go with virtually any sandals or slides in your closet, then we recommend these Los Angeles Apparel Crew Socks. Los Angeles Apparel is basically American Apparel 2.0, and their classic retro three-stripe crew socks come in any color you could like. Best of all, they’re only $9.

a screenshot of a cell phone: crew socks with stripes © Provided by SPY crew socks with stripes      

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