The Surprisingly Controversial Sneaker Rule
Sneakers may have humbly begun as shoes for the tennis courts of the early 20th century, but today, the comfortable shoe has weaseled its way into the hearts and wardrobes of even those who find themselves exercise averse.
Still, a question lingers for those who choose to wear the wardrobe staple: Must you pair them with socks? For some, going without socks is a style statement, while for others, sliding into sneakers barefoot feels just plain wrong. But who is right? We consulted a range of experts, sneaker designers, podiatrists, and fashion editors to get to the bottom of it.
Read on to read what each expert had to say; then shop socks and sneakers that can (but don't have to) be worn together!
"We are unable to wash our sneakers every day like our socks; therefore, not only can you develop 'smelly' feet from the moisture going into the sneaker directly, but you could be exposing yourself to a fungal infection."
— Dr. Deena Horn, podiatrist
"If you are planning on styling your sneakers with flowy dresses and skirts this season, I would recommend forgoing socks. If you like the comfort socks provide, switch out your regular socks for those little no-show, low-cut footie socks that are undetectable once you have your sneaks on.”
— Erin Sumwalt, fashion director, StyleWatch
"I love the look of a sheer sock peeking out of a sneaker or boot. I'm obsessed with Nicholas Messina and Darner; they each have such gorgeous socks from embroidered, sheer, and mesh to hand-painted. I also love a hidden sock entirely. It kind of depends on the look I'm going for. I love to mix feminine socks with tough-looking boots or sneakers."
— Elana Zajdman, accessories editor, InStyle
"I think sneakers, especially Vans, are all made to be different, so they can be worn both ways! Socks can provide a minimalistic theme by matching them to the same colour of the shoe or be expressive with a patterned sock to clash with the shoe."
— Angie Dita, head of women's footwear design, Vans
"Socks allow sweat absorption and prevent against micro trauma occurring in our sneakers. The moist, dark, and closed environment in our sneakers can precipitate a fungal infection. Socks provide a protective barrier against micro trauma of toes hitting against the inside of sneakers."
— Dr. Sid Sharma, podiatrist