Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Every year when the weather starts to get colder, I retire all my loafers and ballet flats to the back of my closet. I don’t really like wearing dresses and tights, and I’ve been conditioned to (wrongly!) believe that wearing these shoes with socks is a tremendous faux pas.
I remember first hearing about “no-show socks” when I was in high school, and the fervor for the equivalent of teeny-tiny hats you put on your toes hasn’t died down over the past decade. I’m personally convinced that we just haven’t yet come to the logical conclusion that it is okay to wear socks with shoes and actually have them show. Why is this so heavily frowned upon?
I’ll tell you why: because there are currently more than 11,000 search results on Amazon for no-show socks. That’s actually insane! Think of all the energy and time and marketing dollars that have gone into convincing people that they always need to appear to be barefoot under their loafers or slide sneakers. Why don’t we just… wear socks? Why are we, as a culture, obsessed with faking our sockless-ness?
I would never argue for going actually sock-less. You should really wear socks for a lot of reasons, mainly comfort but also sweat. Think about how good a pair of socks feels, and now think about how aggravating it is to wear some crap like this all day.
Seriously, look at some of these no-show socks. You know this particular pair is not going to stay on your foot, so why even bother? They’re like the free socks you get at shoe stores, which are not actually socks at all. These no-show socks have a total of five different colors on them — not very inconspicuous, to say the least! Related: Why do these have a Missoni-like pattern if they’re meant to be “invisible?” And why are these lace?! Is it somehow better to see an oddly-placed piece of fleshy-looking lace instead of an actual sock? No way!
I posed the no-show sock question to a few coworkers last week and was met with a “socks just aren’t flattering!” from one editor, who swears by a *particular* pair of Nike “invisible socks,” as she calls them. But are socks actually not flattering, or have we all just been brainwashed by Big Sock?
Or, have we just not yet discovered that this is a thing we don’t have to partake in, and we can wear socks with our loafers and be perfectly fine?