The 19 Best Men’s Shoes to Wear Without Socks

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It doesn’t take a genius to understand why guys would want to find the best shoes to wear without socks.

During hot summer months, the sockless look combines a feeling of freedom with a laid-back look that’s quite literally cooler than wearing a pair of dress socks.

Man wearing white shoes with no socks
[image: PKpix / Shutterstock]

When the warm weather rolls around, there are few better feelings than sliding your bare feet directly into a pair of shoes (and exposing your bare ankle to some much needed sun), which is why it’s become such a go-to move in recent years.

Unfortunately, not just any type of shoe can handle direct contact with our sweaty feet.

If you don’t choose the right shoes for going sockless, you risk exposing the world to the smell of your stinky feet, and exposing yourself to everything from annoying blisters to painful fungal infections.

But while some of your favorite shoes may have to wait until sock season rolls back around (see you in September, chukka boots), there are a handful of sharp and stylish men’s shoes that both look and feel great while going sockless.

In this post I’ll break down the best shoes to wear without socks, and share a few of the most breathable, stylish and comfortable pairs of shoes for everyday wear.

The (Absolute) Best Shoes for No Socks

Breaking Down the Best Sockless Shoes for Men

White Sneakers 

Man wearing white sneakers with no socks
[image: Benjamin Rascoe / Unsplash]

Sneakers are arguably the best option for going sockless.

First and foremost they’re some of the most comfortable shoes a man can wear, which is important when there’s no sock between your skin and your shoe. 

But a sleek low-top sneaker is also one of the most versatile and stylish shoes you can have in your wardrobe. 

A well made pair of genuine leather sneakers can look just as good with a t-shirt and shorts as it does with a well-cut suit, and on hot summer days both look better when you’re sockless. 

(Although it’s worth noting that you can achieve a similar look by rocking low-cut sneakers with no show socks, which also might help cut down on potentially embarrassing foul odor buildup, especially if you expect to be on your feet for a long time.) 

Of course, technically any color of sneaker can be worn sockless, but if you’re only going to own one pair, I highly recommend opting for white. 

While they’re a little harder to keep clean, a good pair of white minimalist sneakers gives you a ton of style options because it can be paired with damn near every other piece in your wardrobe.

A Few to Try: 

Crossovers 

Man wearing crossover shoes with no socks
[image: Wolf & Shephered]

Crossovers are a great option if you want the toe shape and sophistication of more traditional shoes, but the comfort and support of a sneaker.

They’re defined by their thick rubber outsoles, which basically serve as shock absorbers and provide a level of arch support that you’d expect from the best running shoes, but rarely find in dressier shoes. 

(They work especially well for guys who have health issues, and can’t wear traditional dress shoes.) 

Crossovers vary pretty widely in style, but if you’re going sockless, it’s probably a good idea to opt for a pair made from synthetic materials and breathable fabric. 

Wolf & Shepherd’s Swift Knit Derbies have a breathable mesh upper that allows air to easily escape, which helps you avoid the dreaded smelly feet problem. 

They also have a removable cushioned insole, which when paired with the rubber outsole provides as much comfort as Nike Air Max trainers, but with a much sharper and more classic silhouette.

A Few to Try: 

Boat Shoes

Man wearing boat shoes with no socks
[image: Sperry]

Whereas most leather shoes are designed to be worn with dress socks, boat shoes are built with bare feet in mind. 

As their name implies, boat shoes have a nautical origin: 

Originally intended to be worn while sailing, they combine a leather upper with a comfortable rubber sole that makes it easier to get your balance on a wet boat deck or dock. 

They’ve since become casual staples both on and off the water, which is why you usually see a flood of boat shoes (pun very much intended) hit the streets in spring when the warmer weather finally arrives.

A Few to Try: 

Driving Shoes

Man wearing driving shoes with no socks
[image: Wolf & Shepherd]

As a kind of non-nautical alternative to boat shoes, drivers are the perfect option for guys who intend to go sockless in the city. 

They’re casual shoes that have an inherently relaxed look, which works perfectly with both the style and spirit you’re going for when you opt to go sockless. 

Driving shoes are also available in a wider variety of materials than boat shoes. 

Where boat shoes are almost always made of leather, drivers often come in suede, which doesn’t hold up as well to water, but has a textured look that’s both rugged and refined at the same time.  

Plus they’re slip ons, which arguably makes them more breathable shoes than their nautical counterparts, since they don’t have to be tied up tightly in order to get a good fit.

A Few to Try: 

Penny Loafers

Man wearing penny loafers with no socks
[image: Miad Vosoughi / Shutterstock]

There’s something undeniably European – which is to say, unmistakably stylish – about rocking a leather loafer sans socks.

Like drivers, penny loafers are slip on shoes that show a lot of foot, so they’re tough to pull off with a no-show stretchy sock, which will probably peak out from under the shoe’s tongue.

Depending on the toe shape and construction, pennies can vary pretty widely in terms of how formal they are, and which style you choose depends on how you intend to wear them.

If you’re looking for something you can pair with a suit or wear to work, opt for a more pointed toe, like you’d see on a dress shoe.

But if you want to wear them more casually, you can go for a rounded or slightly squared off toe, similar to the shape you’ll find on drivers and boat shoes.

A Few to Try: 

Dress Shoes

Man wearing dress shoes with no socks
[image: Allen Edmonds]

Dress shoes are admittedly a little trickier to wear without socks, but it can definitely be done.

The best way to pull it off is to wear shoes that have already been broken in while wearing socks.

Dress shoes are always a little stiff when they’re fresh out of the box, and usually need a few weeks of regular wear before they start to soften, and adapt to the shape of your foot.

Trying to tough that process out while bare foot is likely to result in a lot of blisters.

But if you wear socks for a few weeks first, the shoes will soften and stretch a little, making them a lot easier to wear without socks.

A Few to Try: 

Espadrilles

Man wearing espadrilles with no socks
[image: Estrada Anton / Shutterstock]

Like boat shoes, espadrilles are another type of shoe that was made to be worn sockless.

Espadrilles are canvas shoes that originated in the Basque country region of Spain, where people are about as likely to wear socks as they are to go to work in August.

(Which is to say: not bloody likely.)

They’re the perfect shoe to pair with casual wear for those long, sun-soaked weekends when the only thing on your agenda is not having an agenda at all.

A Few to Try: 

Sandals

Man wearing sandals with no socks
[image: DCL “650” / Unsplash]

Sandals are another style of footwear that is, of course, made to wear sockless.

(Unless you’re my 70-year-old dad, who insists on wearing velcroed sport sandals with black ankle socks.)

Whether you prefer to wear sandals like flip flops, which have as little upper material as possible, or prefer the kind with a hearty leather strap, the key to making sandals look sharp is to choose a pair made from high-quality materials.

Look for a model like either of the two below, which manage to offer both comfort and style by combining a padded synthetic sole with a genuine leather upper.

A Few to Try: 

More Resources ↓
More Advice on Men’s Boots and Shoes from Irreverent Gent:
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Banner Image: Allen Edmonds, Illustration by Irreverent Gent

About

Irreverent Gent founder Dave Bowden is a men’s style specialist, an Amazon bestselling author, an unrepentant introvert, a long-suffering (but very patient) Toronto sports fan and the husband of a wonderful (and thankfully even more patient) wife.