The Art (and Science) of Going Sockless
It's a look that signifies all that is good about summer. Leisure, ease and the comfort of sun on bare skin. But for all its roguish charm, when bare feet meet leather amid heat and humidity, bad things tend to happen. So while going sockless may appear nonchalant, precautions should be taken to pull it off correctly.
- Ernest Hemingway rarely wore socks.
Before going bare, make sure you're washing your feet thoroughly. Odor-causing bacteria feed on dead skin. In the shower, use a scrub or an antibacterial soap with a wash cloth on rough patches and in between toes.
Sprinkle a light dusting of powder like Gold Bond inside the shoe to keep feet cool and fresh.
Cedar shoe trees are never more recommended than to those going sockless. They absorb both odor and moisture and will prolong the life of your shoes.
Wear the right shoes (see below) and make sure that you've broken them in before donning them sans socks. Otherwise you'll end up with blisters, abrasions and bloody, chewed up heels—a common rookie mistake.
Invest in washable terry cloth insoles, which absorb sweat and add a little extra comfort.
If you're worried about excessive sweating or ruining your shoes, fake the look with sock liners, also known as no-show or loafer socks. The best ones we've tried are made by Sperry, MS&Co. or Mabua.
Boat shoes and slip-ons (like Ralph Lauren's Marlow loafer, at left) should be worn sockless. Any suede and canvas styles look great. Daring guys don their double monks and wing tips as well.