The Best No Show Socks For Men (From Budget to High End)

by   |  in Accessories

I think the no show sock should be the official mascot of summer, and if you’re looking for the best options for men, I think you’re gonna like these picks.

The no show socks are a warm-weather staple. They act like regular socks, keeping your feet dry and out of contact with your shoes’ insoles, so you don’t get a serious case of Swamp Foot in 90-degree heat.

If you ever wanted to pull off the sockless look, you’re going to need a few pairs of no shows.

men's no show socks with loafers
Photo by Andrew Snavely

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 aesthetically. Don’t even try it.

Going completely sockless doesn’t work either. Sweating profusely in your shoes is no fun. It ruins the shoes, and in most cases, doesn’t smell very pleasant.

 

The Bottom Line, Up Front

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THE BOTTOM LINE ON NO-SHOWS: I’ve tested over 10 brands of no-show socks (some of which I didn’t bother adding here because they weren’t great), and 1) the level of “no show” varies, and 2) I can’t find one that stays on your foot 100% of the time.

The more invisible and low cut a sock is, the less likely it is to actually stay on your foot.

The more secure a no-show sock is on your foot (e.g. doesn’t slip off your heel), the smaller the opening is (meaning it’s knit higher), and the less likely it is to work with the lower vamp, lower cut loafers.

If you’re looking for alternatives for your lowest cut shoes, keep reading.

To put it simply: No show socks can be hit or miss, so choose wisely. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hit the jackpot (in terms of fit, color, garment durability) the first time around.

I’ve bought many pairs of no show socks over the years, and I expect you’ll have to try a handful of brands before landing on the best ones for you.

In a Rush? These Are My Top No Show Sock Recommendations

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This article is beefy!

In sections further down, I’ll go into detail for each of the pairs I’ve tested, but if you just want my no show sock recommendations without having to read through the entire thing, here they are:

Budget Pick
Premium Pick
Best For Loafers
$12.90 for 3 ($4.90 each)
$27.95 for 2
$10.57
Pros:
  • Hidden under sneakers, most loafers
  • Rarely slips off heel
  • Cotton poly blend
  • Flat toe seam, thinner construction
  • Affordable, several colors available
Pros:
  • Hidden under sneakers, most loafers
  • Rarely slips off heel
  • Incredibly soft merino wool
  • Comfortable, seamless toe
  • Made in USA, 4 colors
Pros:
  • Completely hidden, lowest cut no-show sock
  • Substantial heel grip, rarely slips off heel
  • Cotton / elastane blend
  • Premium German brand
Budget Pick
$12.90 for 3 ($4.90 each)
Pros:
  • Hidden under sneakers, most loafers
  • Rarely slips off heel
  • Cotton poly blend
  • Flat toe seam, thinner construction
  • Affordable, several colors available
Premium Pick
$27.95 for 2
Pros:
  • Hidden under sneakers, most loafers
  • Rarely slips off heel
  • Incredibly soft merino wool
  • Comfortable, seamless toe
  • Made in USA, 4 colors
Best For Loafers
$10.57
Pros:
  • Completely hidden, lowest cut no-show sock
  • Substantial heel grip, rarely slips off heel
  • Cotton / elastane blend
  • Premium German brand
11/10/2022 08:13 am GMT

Budget Pick: Uniqlo’s Low Cut Sock

The low-cut sock from Uniqlo is my favorite budget option for no-shows. I’ve been using these consistently the past five years and they never let me down.

They’re true no-shows, hidden underneath my loafers, and rarely, if ever, do I incur any heel slippage. Of course your mileage may vary, but definitely give these a try if you haven’t already.

Premium Pick: Boardroom Socks No Shows

Over the past couple years, I’ve grown to really like and prefer Boardroom Socks’ no shows. They’re the ones I grab most often from my sock drawer.

Depending on your loafer, you may see a bit of sock peeking out. But I was good with all sneakers I tested.

Best for Loafers: FALKE Step Invisible Socks

The Step Invisible Socks from Falke are the best option for lower cut loafers and boat shoes. Other than the non-no show sock option (see below), these are the only truly invisible option with all the shoes I’ve tried.

Additionally, Falke’s Step Invisible socks have a substantial heel grip and in my testing, slipped off my heel the least, even with looser shoes, which is when the slippage tends to happen most often.

Best Non-No Show Sock: Pedag Terry Insoles

I use these absorbent insoles from Pedag the most often, especially with loafers, boat shoes, and driving shoes. They’re the easiest to keep in place, in that I never, ever have to deal with any kind of heel slippage.

I simply insert these in my shoe (on top of the insole) and throw my shoes on. That’s it! They absorb any moisture like a regular sock, and you can throw them in the wash like regular socks, too (though the instructions suggest you hand wash, which isn’t a bad idea and is pretty easy to do).

If you’re excessively sweaty and you need the full coverage a sock can provide, these may not fit the bill for you. Regardless, I suggest you give them a shot. I’ve been using some form of absorbent insoles for the past eight years and they’re a game changer for me.

By the way, I put together a quick video of my top favorite no show socks for men.

You can end your search here, if you want! The sections you’ve read above this sentence are my favorites in a nutshell. But if you want to check out the other options and testing in detail, keep reading.

Benefits of No Show Socks

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In case they’re not completely obvious, here are some benefits of using no show socks when going for that sockless look.

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 silicone 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! When I first wrote this article in 2013, no show socks were hard to find. Most men’s no show socks resembled women’s stockings. Not cool. Nowadays you can find awesome no show socks in all colors and patterns just like regular calf-length socks.

Testing No Show Socks: The Criteria

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In this article, I’m going to list a few versions I’ve worn and tested. They’ve seemed to hold up the best based on my criteria (which I’ll get to in a second) and I’d confidently recommend them.

What works well for me may not work so well for you. Everyone’s feet, shoes, and sweat levels are different, so keep that in mind.

I’d recommend trying a few of these brands to see what you like best. My job is to point you to versions that worked well for me so you’re not shopping blind, and so you have a few recommendations to try first.

I have a few criteria when trying out these no shows.

1.) Softness, comfort, lastingness: How soft are they? How comfortable are they in my shoes and when I’m walking around or climbing stairs? Do they last a long time, or is it obvious that they won’t last (maybe the fabric is worn down easily, or the elastic stretched and didn’t bounce back)?

2.) Heel Grip: Most, if not all, no show socks have a bit of grip at the heel. Manufacturers add in this rubberized strip (they make them in different shapes) to help the socks stay on your feet. How well do they work? Do the socks stay on or are they constantly slipping off my heel?

3.) Versatility: How many different pairs of shoes can I wear with these socks? True no shows work not just with low-cut sneakers, but low-vamp loafers as well. Some no show socks are only wearable with low-cut sneakers, but are not invisible when worn with loafers.

4.) Anything else that stands out: How much are they? Do they come in a 2- or 3-pack? Are there any details that make them visually or functionally different from other no shows?

The Men’s No Show Socks I Tested

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Here’s a quick view of all the no show socks I tried out:

Let’s go through all of them individually and you can see how each one fared.

Uniqlo Low-Cut Socks

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heel grip on uniqlo no show sock
Uniqlo Low-Cut Socks
$4.90

No-show design makes it looks like you are not wearing any socks. Non-slip heels ensure a better fit.

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softness, comfort, lastingness

These socks feel nice.

They’re soft and cushy, luscious and NOT crunchy, which cheap cotton socks can feel like sometimes.

I still wear my Uniqlo no shows I bought last year and the year before, and they’ve held up well. They are showing a few signs of wear, which is common with things you wear over and over, like socks.

heel grip

There are grip strips at the heel, stacked vertically about 1.5″ long, and they taper down (get shorter) the further down the heel you go.

versatility

I find them to be versatile, meaning you can wear them with most low-vamp shoes (loafers, driving shoes, shoes that don’t have less coverage at the top of the foot compared to, say, your typical low-top sneaker).

This will ultimately depend on your loafer. I can wear these with all my low-vamp shoes except one pair of loafers.

anything else that stands out

I bought a few new pairs for this summer and Uniqlo has several new styles, like this rough striped black and grey pair you see in the photo above.

I find these to be the best budget option!

Falke Step Invisible Cotton Blend Socks

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falke no show socks next to box
heel grip of falke no show socks
man with one shoe on, one shoe off, with no show socks from falke
FALKE Invisible Step Socks
$10.57

Ideal for light, elegant summer shoes. Guaranteed to be non-slip thanks to its anti-slip system at the heel, and invisible due to its innovative knitting technology.

SHOP AMAZON SHOP SHOPBOP
11/10/2022 08:13 am GMT

softness, comfort, lastingness

The Step Invisible (medium cut) socks from Falke are made from 92% cotton, 6% polyamide, 2% elastane blend. They’re a thinner knit (not a thick cotton sock) which I prefer personally, since I’d most likely be wearing these with loafers, deck shoes, or other non-sneaker type shoes.

heel grip

There are three rows of diamond-shaped heel grip, and after walking around in them, they seem to not slip (like at all), even when wearing my looser fitting loafers. Considering how low cut these are, I’m surprised at how well they’ve stayed on the heel.

versatility

Falke considers these a medium cut-out, perfect for slippers, loafers, etc., which means they may carry socks cut even lower. I don’t think you’ll need to go any lower after testing these.

The Step Invisible are cut low, a true no show. They’re good for low-vamp loafers and you can wear them with sneakers if needed… although if you have a few pairs of no show socks, I’d save these for when you really need them (i.e. when you wear loafers).

anything else that stands out

The Falke socks have the best cut out of this whole batch. I like that it’s a true no show. Some may not like how thin these are, but I think I prefer it, especially for loafers and other shoes that may be a bit tight when wearing thicker cotton socks.

Boardroom Socks No Show Socks

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boardroom socks no show socks close up
closeup of inside sock heel
closeup of socks and loafers with one shoe on
closeup of loafers with socks
Premium Pick
Boardroom Socks, No-Show
$27.95 (2 pack)

"Comfortable, breathable no-show socks designed to stay on and stay hidden. These are the ideal socks for loafers, boat shoes, sneakers and other men's shoes. Sport the casual, bare-ankle look without forgoing the comfort of wearing a pair of socks." –Boardroom Socks

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softness, comfort, lastingness

Boardroom Socks’ no show socks are made from a more finely woven merino wool blend. The yarn is soft and but durable and bounces back nicely after a wash. The sock is finished with a seamless, linked toe that lies flat and is unnoticeable when walking around.

Overall, an incredibly comfortable no show sock that feels more dressy than athletic.

heel grip

The silicone heel grip is substantial and helps to keep the sock on. I’ve rarely experienced the heel slipping off when I’m walking around in these.

versatility

As mentioned, the Boardroom Socks no-shows feel dressier to me, so I tend to wear them with leather lace-ups, loafers, and dressy sneakers. They do peek out when I pair them with some of my lower cut loafers, so you’ll need to try them out with your specific shoes.

anything else that stands out

I sized up in these socks. There are two sizes: “Shoe Size 7-9.5” and “Shoe Size 10-12”. While I normally wear a size 9 shoe, I found the larger socks more comfortable (the ones for shoe sizes 10-12). I also have a slightly wider/flat foot, so maybe that’s why.

Boardroom Socks is a family-owned and family-run small business that makes their products in the USA. I love that! The socks themselves are very breathable and dry quickly, probably because of that merino blend yarn.

Proper Cloth No Show Socks

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proper cloth grey no show socks
closeup of inside sock heel
closeup of socks and loafers with one shoe on
closeup of socks and loafers with one shoe on
Proper Cloth No-Show Sock
Starting at $15

Sits below ankle, soft cushy terry knit. Perfect for athletic wear and sneakers. Several colors and multi packs available.

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softness, comfort, lastingness

The Proper Cloth no show is made from an incredibly soft terry knit fabric. Feels closer to an athletic sock than a dress sock. Substantial ribbing around ankle that helps with heel grip, though not too thick or tall, which is nice.

There’s built-in arch support as well; the 360º ribbed band hugs the foot nicely. This sock also has mesh ventilation at the top of the sock.

heel grip

Three padded silicone strips at inside heel to help avoid heel slippage. In my testing, these strips combined with the ankle ribbing helps to keep the sock on when wearing with sneakers or leather shoes. I experienced heel slippage maybe once so far, but overall, they stay on pretty reliably.

versatility

The Proper Cloth socks feel incredibly comfortable and secure (not to mention soft and absorbent) when worn with sneakers.

In terms of how invisible they are: Definitely fully no-show with regular low-top shoes (your standard minimalist sneaker, for example), but aren’t meant to be worn with loafers, as you can see in the above photos.

anything else that stands out

Although one of the highest of the no-shows I’ve tried, they’re also the nicest and most comfortable. I’d be confident wearing these with regular sneakers knowing they won’t slip off the heel.

The ribbing does peek out for the lowest low-top sneakers (Converse Chuck Taylor for example, or the Seavees Hermosa Plimsolls as you can see here). Stylistically that doesn’t bother me, but you can decide for yourself.

Sheec SoleHugger Active No Show Socks

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sheec best no show socks for men in package
no show sock heel grip
man with one shoe on, one shoe off, with no show socks
man with one shoe on, one shoe off, with no show socks

softness, comfort, lastingness

These are the first pair I’ve tried in this batch that feel like regular cotton socks that happen to be lower-cut. They’re very soft (like most brand new cotton socks are) and comfortable. I imagine they’ll hold up well, mostly because they’re a bit thicker and remind me of the “no show” cotton athletic socks I wear to the gym every day.

heel grip

The Sheec no show socks have a crosshatch grip on the heel. There isn’t as much rubber as with other models, so I’m hoping they stay on easily.

There’s also this thick (but flat) ribbing around the opening of the sock that should help to grip the foot and keep the sock in place.

versatility

This sock isn’t cut as low as the Falke model. They come up a bit high on the top and sides of the foot. I can see the socks when I’m wearing low-vamp shoes so I wouldn’t consider this a true no show, but they’ll work great for low-cut sneakers (like Jack Purcells).

anything else that stands out

On Amazon, there are many different options: 2-pack, 3-pack, and lots of different colors. I went with black (most of my socks are black, gray, or navy).

They’re really affordable, soft, and comfortable. They closely resemble a no show athletic sock (like Hanes or something that you’d buy from Target) but they’re not as thick.

The ribbing around the opening is a nice touch. I feel it helps to keep the socks on your feet, but I wish they were lower cut so I can wear them with loafers and other shoes with a low vamp.

Smartwool Men’s No Show Socks

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smartwool no show socks in package
smart wool heel grip
man with one shoe on, one shoe off, with no show socks

softness, comfort, lastingness

I’m surprised at how unimpressed I was by this pair of socks from Smartwool. I’ve owned other pairs (thicker calf-length versions) in the past, but the presentation and construction of these weren’t that great.

The material itself was soft, but the two things that bugged me most were the toe seam and the ribbing around the opening. The toe seam is pretty girthy and you can feel it at the top of your toes. The ribbing was also a bit thick, and I’m uncertain how comfortable both would be long-term.

heel grip

There was a small (relative to the other models I tried) rectangular strip on the heel. I imagine these easily slip off, based on my experience with no show socks.

versatility

If these were true no shows, I might be willing to overlook some of those shortcomings I mentioned. Unfortunately, they come up pretty high on the top and sides of the foot. So I wouldn’t call these true no shows; you can see the socks when wearing them with loafers. I’m sure they’d work well with sneakers.

anything else that stands out

These are made from a wool blend: 63% wool, 36% nylon, 1% elastane. The great thing about wool (or wool blend) socks is that they repel moisture really well compared to cotton, which tends to hold on to sweat.

Construction was the sloppiest among all the brands I’ve tried, which is strange, because like I mentioned, I’ve seen and tried other socks from Smartwool and they’ve always looked good.

Stomper Joe No Show Socks

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best no show socks for men - effortlessgent
heel grip - best no show socks for men - effortlessgent
versatility - best no show socks for men - effortlessgent

softness, comfort, lastingness

I’ve heard good things about this brand, so I was excited to give them a shot. Out of the package, I’d say they’re pretty soft and comfortable when wearing.

They’re similar to the Sheec brand; thicker, though not as thick as cotton athletic socks.

heel grip

The Stomper Joes have a wide oval grip on the heel with lots of coverage, so they stay on pretty well.

versatility

Definitely not a true no show. These socks came up the highest on the sides and top of foot in comparison to all the socks I tried. I can see them when wearing low-vamp shoes, but they’d work well with low-cut sneakers.

anything else that stands out

They’re super affordable and the cheapest pair I’ve tried. Not sure what that says about durability, but I guess you could always buy more if they don’t last as long as you’d expect.

They’d be fine if you’re looking for low-cut socks for your sneakers or boat shoes, but they’re not truly invisible when wearing low vamp loafers.

No Show Sock Alternatives: My Two Faves

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With all the scientific advancements made in no show sock technology the past 10 years, they still have one huge flaw: They don’t always stay on.

The rubber heel grip doesn’t always work, and you have to dig your finger in your shoe to pull the heel back on. It’s annoying as hell. Sometimes, I’m lucky, but for the most part, many of them tend to slip off within minutes of walking out the door.

This may depend on the type of shoe as well. A looser loafer = more potential for sock slippage, vs. a laced brogue that’s secure on your foot.

To completely avoid all that, I recommend trying insoles! Here are two I love.

Insole #1: Pedag Pure Terry Cotton Insole

I’ve been wearing different versions of insoles for a few years now, and I still swear by them. Again, YMMV (your mileage may vary); I say give them a shot and see for yourself.

black pedag insole pair on wood floor

Why are they great?

  • They’re absorbent, more than the cedar insoles I mention below, so for you heavier sweaters, this might be a better choice.
  • You can throw them in the laundry with your other clothes, and either lay them flat to dry, or throw them in the dryer.
  • No heel slippage like with no show socks.

What’s not so great?

  • They’re a bit thick, so it may be tight in some of your shoes (but they’re great if you have loafers that are somewhat loose).
  • They can feel “slippery”. Not sure if that’s the right word, but they feel like socks at the bottom of your feet, yet they’re insoles, so you slip around on them inside your shoe (might just take a bit of getting used to).
  • They may shrink if you wash and dry them often. I experienced this with older models, though not with this new model (yet). You could also lay these flat to dry. I do this nowadays.

Insole #2: Zederna Cedar Insoles

This is probably your first time seeing a cedar wood shoe insole. But I’m tellin ya, they’re great! With a few caveats, of course.

versatility - best no show socks for men - effortlessgent

Why are they great?

  • They’re thin, so you can wear them even in your snug shoes. It’s like going completely sockless, except you’re not.
  • You don’t have to worry about heel slippage like you do with no show socks. They stay in place.
  • They do a good job absorbing moisture, assuming you don’t sweat profusely (I don’t, so I don’t know what it would be like for someone who does).

What’s not so great?

  • They’re thin, so you don’t get cushy padding like you do with socks. If your shoe has a soft insole, this might not matter as much.
  • If you sweat a lot, these may not provide enough absorption for you.
  • They can bend and crack; they’re literally made of a thin piece of cedar, so you have to be careful when taking your shoes off.

I love these insoles. They’re practically invisible, which makes them a winner for me. I wear them mostly with loafers in the summertime, but they’re great any time you want to go sockless.

Final Word On These Insoles

Give these alternatives a shot if you’ve ever found no show socks irritating because of heel slippage.

I still wear no show socks regularly, but most of the time, I throw these insoles in my loafers and I skip out the door (clearly not worrying about sock heel slippage, which can happen when you skip). The more I use these insoles, the harder it is to go back.

What’s your favorite pair?

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Have you stumbled upon any other great no show socks? Are they truly invisible when you put on your shoes? And have you tried any of the pairs I mentioned in this article?

If you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter. You can also find join other readers on Effortless Gent’s Facebook page, or DM me on Instagram!

What’s changed?
06/03/2022Added two new pairs, updated copy, top picks section
05/02/2021Added “These Are My Recommendations” section, fixed links
08/08/2020Added video review and new pairs, updated links and copy
02/14/2018Added alternatives to no show socks, fixed links
10/24/2017Version 2 published, added testing criteria and new pairs
06/05/2016Added links to newly released pairs
03/18/2015Added a “Benefits of No Show Socks” section
03/03/2013Version 1 of Best Men’s No Show Socks article published