Hey gents,

A little over a year ago, I wrote about going sockless and my disdain for “footies”, a.k.a. no-show socks. I really didn’t like them before, but have since changed my mind… sorta.

Wearing leather shoes (loafers, boat shoes, or driving shoes) with shorts and regular white athletic socks—even the low-cut version—just doesn’t work. Don’t even try it.

At the same time, sweating profusely in your shoes sucks. It ruins your shoes, and in most cases, doesn’t smell very pleasant.

I’ll get to examples of the no-show socks I don’t like, but first…

A version I do like

I picked up this three-pack from Pact the other day (pictured at the top) and am so glad I did. There are other three-packs available here and here.

Why do I like them? They’re a true no-show (can’t see them when I wear loafers), they’re a thicker cotton, and they don’t look like women’s stockings.

Editor’s note, 9/29/2014: Many different versions of the no-show sock have been produced since this article’s original publish date. This past summer, I’ve used the Pedag Insoles much more, and I’ve found them to be a great alternative. Try them out.

A version I don’t like

I’m not a big fan of this style of no-show socks (pictured right). A year ago when I first started seeing no-show socks, these were the only choice.

Why don’t I like them? They remind me of women’s hosiery. On top of that, they don’t seem too absorbent since they’re so thin. I never gave them a chance, and if they were still the only option out there, I’d much rather go sockless.

They all differ

Try them on first if possible; at the very least, recognize that not all no-show sock silhouettes are the same.

For example, I first bought a pair of these, but they’re not cut as low as the ones I mentioned above. They’d work great for a blucher, but not so great for driving shoes, unless you don’t care about a bit of color peeking out. If I’m going low-cut, I want it to be completely invisible, but that’s just me.

I saw these in the store as well, but I couldn’t tell if they would be completely no-show. You can see that the silhouette looks a bit taller at the top of the sock than the Pact ones I purchased.

You could trust my recommendation for the Pact brand socks, or you can try out these others and see what works best for you.

Some benefits, in case they’re not completely obvious

You get the sockless look without the swamp foot. Sweaty feet + leather shoes feel gross. White athletic socks + leather shoes look gross. No-show socks help solve both these issues.

These socks grip your heel. Literally. There are little rubber grips on the socks’ heels so they don’t slide off into your shoe when you walk. Sometimes it still happens, but for the most part, this holds up well.

Comes in great patterns and colors! Like I mentioned, when I first started seeing no-show socks on shelves, they all resembled women’s stockings. Not cool. Now you can find awesome no-show socks in a thicker cotton and adorned with color and pattern like the regular cotton socks I always recommend.

That’s it!

Just a quick tip to keep your feet dry this summer. It’s already starting to warm up in my end of the world; hopefully the sun is shining where you are as well.

Have you stumbled upon any other great no-show socks? Are they truly invisible when you put on your shoes? Let’s hear it in the comments below.


[photos via Nordstrom]

PUBLISHED February 28, 2013

Barron is a Lean Wardrobe Advocate and Founding Editor of Effortless Gent. He's from San Francisco but currently living in New York. Connect with him on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr.

  • David X L

    My favorite solution is these washable terry cloth insoles from Pedag: http://www.amazon.com/Pedag-196-Washable-Summer-Barefoot/dp/B001G0NSWK/

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Yes! I was looking for those and I couldn’t figure out how to search for them. Thanks for linking that.

      • David X L

        Glad I could help!

    • http://twitter.com/kevlive Actually Kevin Gray

      Thanks for putting me on to these terry cloth insoles!

    • http://twitter.com/IPv6Freely Chris Jones

      I’d be a lot more likely to do this than to use no-show socks.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sethpollins Seth Pollins

      Hi David! Thanks for this recommendation. I ordered a pair after reading your comment. These truly are life-changing. I’m ordering two more pairs today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jan.grossman.54 Jan Grossman

    Waaaaaaaay TMI for such a simple issue.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Which part is TMI, exactly? It’s something that is asked a lot, so I thought I’d share a solution I found and like.

  • carlos

    Thanks for info, just ordered a few pair, keep up the great work!

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      No problem, and great! Hope you like em.

      • carlos

        Just got them in.. luv them
        two thumbs up
        the little rubbery things do work well

  • http://twitter.com/jackson_hearn Jackson Hearn

    Just wear socks. In my opinion this sock-less trend looks hideous unless you are wearing boat shoes AND you have a tan. A suit without socks sucks.

    • Dan J.

      Hear, hear! If you don’t like the white sock look (and I agree it almost always looks bad with anything other than gym shorts), wear colored socks. You can get socks, including short (not no-show) socks in all sorts of colors. Leather dress shoes without socks makes you look like you were too lazy to bother to get dressed. Yes, I know it’s popular. I know Nick Wooster et al does it. I’m with Jackson that it looks hideous regardless of what your name happens to be. To each his own, of course, and if that’s the style you choose to wear, then by all means don’t let me dissuade you. But someone once said that a gentleman should look like he carefully considered his clothes, got dressed, and then forgot all about them. No socks makes you look like you just skipped straight to step three in my eyes.

      • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

        I personally don’t like socks showing when I wear shorts, so these are an option. If you like your socks showing, by all means.

        • Dan J.

          I have no problem with it if you’re wearing soft-soled shoes – deck shoes, driving mocs, sneakers, even running or tennis shoes if that’s your thing. Most of the time, I assume, that’s what you’ll be wearing with shorts. It’s dress shoes without socks that I think simply looks unfinished and coarse.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      What if you’re wearing shorts? Do you wear socks then?

  • http://twitter.com/kevlive Actually Kevin Gray

    Yeah I think I may need to switch to these Pact socks. Every other brand I’ve tried has that slippage problem. I thought I might’ve been buying the wrong size or something.

  • DH in Canada

    I ruined a pair of dock shoes by going sockless, and I didn’t like the recurring athlete’s foot even with a disinfectant shoe spray nor the icky feeling of damp feet against damp leather. I then stuck to slides and fisherman sandals with shorts, but all the sand and pebbles that kept entering my shoes lead me to driving mocs.

    I didn’t have much choice for cotton no-see socks, so I picked up several nylon ones instead. I was pleasantly surprised that my feet stayed dry and cool, since nylon has such a negative reputation. Something to consider.

    • cs70

      I’ve worn leather dock or deck shoes for a few summers for work on sail boats and other various vessels. I’ve also have worn sneaker like deck shoes. The only issue with this type of shoe is the buildup of odor. The leather deck shoes, if all leather, tend to not have as much of a odor issue. Hot humid weather can make all leather shoes feel sweaty. The feet can slip around on the leather insole. I agree this feels icky and makes the soles of the feet brown from the leather dyes. I had athlete’s foot crop up on one summer. I had it checked out; and it was recommend that I check out a light “no-show” liner sock while treating the fungal infection. The Pact socks worked well.

  • TJ

    JC Penney now has Pact socks though I don’t remember if they have the no shows.

  • Andew

    Hi all, I’ve found a newer solution with regard to the no sock dilemma. Try out a pair of Genius Sockbeds, they are like an eco-friendly sock insole that you can reuse.



    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Those are cool, but the colorways are hideous, at least in my opinion. The Pedag option mentioned above is standard black or white, which i think would work better.

  • pablo

    Hello, I am one of your followers, I follow you always and I have a question …

    have you ever bought from this site?

    has some very cool items just that I think is new and unknown, someone can tell me something about it?


    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      Never heard of it. Anyone?

  • Gordey Natalenko

    No show socks are brilliant! I had some from banana republic, but they did remind me a little of women’s hosiery. Will check these new ones out!

    Might get a foot tattoo as well, so that’ll be sweet.


  • http://www.facebook.com/ali.naaseh Ali Naaseh

    I used to be heavily set in the “always wear socks” camp, even with my Vans.
    Then I threw them on without socks. Changed my life.
    As long as you don’t wear them two days in a row without socks, you’ll be fine. Either invest in two pairs of the same shoe (same color, or different), or just wear socks every other day.

    • http://effortlessgent.com Barron

      I’m the same way; I just don’t sweat that much. But! certain guys in certain climates simply can’t go sockless because they sweat too much, and I think this is a good compromise.

  • Matthew

    Personally, I haven’t tried the no-show socks, mainly because I haven’t found any that fit my larger feet and manage to stay on properly. When I’m wearing shorts and want to go sans socks, I’ll just put some Gold Bond powder into each shoe before slipping my feet into them. The powder prevents my feet from getting sweaty and helps keep the shoe smelling somewhat clean, too.


  • cs70

    Keeping the feet dry is important. I can stand to wear a full leather shoe without a sock for a few hours; after that, the moisture level in the shoe starts to fell icky. Gold Bond does help. Sweating directly into the shoe is takes a toll on the inside leather. I had a pair that looked like new on the outside to only look torn apart in the inside. Also, your skin of your feet can also take a toll too. It was when I started to develop some athletes foot around the toes I started to look into some no-shows when wearing the same shoes for longer periods of time. I will try the Pact’s.

  • chriss

    +1 for the Pedag terry cloth insoles. I bought them for a pair of loafers and they are life-changing!

  • Tyler

    Did anyone try the Cole Haan socks linked in this article? While they do look similar to the PACT ones it’s pretty tough to tell for sure either way. I absolutely destroyed a pair of boat shoes last summer not using socks. Definitely looking to pick something up to help out as I’m not risking the same fate for some new loafers/mocs I’ve gotten recently that I plan to wear during the warmer months.

  • http://twitter.com/Jabberdasher Andrew

    The best no show socks I have ever tried are Vivarati no-show socks. They come with the rubber silicon grip in the heel and don’t slip and slide. I bought these and couldn’t be happier: http://vivarati.com/socks/dark-blue-no-show-socks.html

  • Dave Hahn

    I bought some Pact socks – they’re low enough but I do find that they slip off despite having a little rubber in the heel. I don’t sweat a lot but I don’t like how going barefoot jacks up your kicks whether you sweat or not (which is why I’m not interested in the terrycloth insole). Oh well.

  • Proclamation Jewelry

    I chose to go sock-less. I can’t take the smell anymore I may have to invest in some no-show socks for this summer. Thanks for the tips!

  • WideEyesTWBlog

    Whole-hearted agreement from the folks at WideEyesTightWallets.com as far as the endorsement of Pact socks go, those things are incredible! Best summer investment yet, and so easy on the wallet!

  • Ramon Zamora

    I always wear loafers with no socks, I use charcoal insert & it’s absorbs sweat & control your feets odor.