The no-show sock should be the official mascot of summer.

It’s somewhat of a ritualistic process, having to pack away my thick, wool, calf-length socks, and pull out my collection of no-shows.

The no-show socks are a warm-weather staple. If you ever wanted to pull off the sockless look, you’re going to need a few pairs of no-shows. They act like regular socks do, 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.

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.

men's no show socks with loafers

📸 Andrew Snavely

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 recs to try first.

Benefits of no-show socks, 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! 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. Now you can find awesome no-show socks adorned with color and pattern just like the regular calf-length socks.

My criteria for testing no-show socks

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 newest no-show socks I tested in 2017

These are the latest no-show socks I tried out:

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

Anonymous Ism Striped Cotton Blend No-Show Socks

$25, via Mr. Porter (sold out) or J.Crew

softness, comfort, lastingness

These socks are made from a soft knit, navy and off-white cotton. They’re crazy comfortable and really soft, similar to a baby bunny. I’m not totally sure how well the soft cotton knit will hold up over time, but if you love them, buy yourself a few pairs so you have a solid amount in your rotation, and you won’t wear out any single pair too soon (this advice goes for all clothes, but especially items you wear a lot, like socks).

heel grip

There are three clear, wave-like strips for heel grippage.

versatility

The Anonymous Ism socks are cut low. It’s a true no-show and good for loafers with a low vamp since you can’t see the socks at top or sides. These would also work for sneakers.

anything else that stands out

I already mentioned this above, but they’re soft. Really soft. And comfortable and cushy. They’re thicker (but not athletic socks thick), so if you have snug shoes, this is something to keep in mind. See the Falke socks (below) if you need a thin option.

These can be pricey at $25/pair, but it’s a higher-end, well-made product imported from Japan, so a higher price is to be expected.

BUY ANONYMOUS ISM NO-SHOW SOCKS (J.Crew)

Falke Step Invisible Cotton Blend Socks

$15, via Mr Porter

softness, comfort, lastingness

The package says these socks from Falke are made from 98% cotton, 2% elastane. While thinner than the Anonymous Ism socks, they have a slight “hosiery” vibe (meaning it’s not a thick cotton sock), which can be a good or bad depending on your preference and the shoes you’re wearing.

They’re comfortable because they’re thin, but I wonder how they’ll hold up under multiple uses over a span of a few months.

heel grip

There are three rows of diamond-shaped heel grip, and after walking around in them, they seem to stay on well.

versatility

These 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.

I found the Falke no-shows on Mr Porter for $15/pair, and they’re imported from Europe.

BUY FALKE NO-SHOW SOCKS (Mr Porter)

Sheec No-Show Hidden Socks for Men Non-Slip – SoleHugger Active

$10 for 2 pairs, via Amazon

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 Anonymous Ism and Falke models. 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 ($10/2-pack), 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.

BUY SHEEC NO-SHOW SOCKS (Amazon)

Smartwool Men’s No-Show Socks

$14, via Amazon

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.

These came in at $14/pair on Amazon.

BUY SMARTWOOL NO-SHOW SOCKS (Amazon)

Stomper Joe No Show Socks

$12 for 3 pairs, via Amazon

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

At $12 for a 3-pack, 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, but they’re not truly invisible when wearing loafers or boat shoes.

BUY STOMPER JOE NO-SHOW SOCKS (Amazon)

Zederna Original Cedar Wood Insoles (the wildcard)

$17, via Amazon

softness, comfort, lastingness

These aren’t actual no-show socks, they’re insoles, which is why I’m considering it a wildcard. They’re very unintrusive, and how comfortable you find them depends on the shoe. If you need socks to prevent your toes from rubbing the top or sides of the shoe, this wouldn’t be a good option.

I imagine they would last a while if you take care of them. They’re prone to cracking since they’re made from a thin piece of cedar (with a thin cotton backing on the bottom).

heel grip

No heel grip because it’s an insole that you slip inside your shoe.

versatility

Super versatile, and completely invisible when wearing loafers, boat shoes, or anything with a low vamp.

anything else that stands out

These cedar insoles from Zederna are something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. After spending a few months with them, I totally cosign. I wear them sockless, and any sweat gets absorbed (dispersed?) by the cedar, and I assume the cotton backing also helps to absorb.

I’m also not a huge foot sweater, so if you are, these may not work for you.

These insoles are a great option for people who don’t want to deal with no-show sock slippage, which in my experience is unavoidable no matter what brand you choose. Also, you don’t have to wash them; they’re naturally absorbent and odorless.

BUY ZEDERNA CEDAR INSOLES (Amazon)

Best no-show socks for men in 2017?

best no show socks for men - effortlessgent

WINNER: Falke No Show Socks.

The thinner fabric makes it easy to wear even in tighter shoes, they’re low-cut which makes them ideal for low-vamp shoes like loafers and boat shoes, and the heel grip is solid… I didn’t experience the annoying heel slippage when I wore them.

BUY FALKE NO-SHOW SOCKS (Mr Porter)

best no show socks for men - effortlessgent

RUNNER-UP: Zederna Cedar Insoles.

In my eyes, these are first place (more on insoles in the section, “An Alternative to No-Show Socks”), but I know you’re reading this article because you’re mostly interested in no-show socks.

BUY ZEDERNA CEDAR INSOLES (Amazon)

An alternative to no-show socks

With all the scientific advancements made in no-show sock technology the past 5 years (ha! just kidding, that’s not a thing), 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: Zederna Cedar Insoles

best no show socks for men - effortlessgent

I mentioned these a few times in the sections above, but they’re the newest insole I’ve added to my wardrobe and they’re a game-changer.

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 sweat, 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.

BUY ZEDERNA CEDAR INSOLES (Amazon)

Insole #2: Pedag Deo-Fresh Insoles

best no show socks for men - effortlessgent

I’ve been wearing these 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.

Why are they great?
  • They’re absorbent, more than the cedar insoles, 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 (they might curl up though, but they flatten as you wear them).
  • 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).
  • Some people complain about the scent of the absorption material at the bottom. I never noticed this with my pairs though.
  • They curl up if you wash and dry them, and they may shrink. This can be avoided if you just lay them flat to dry.

BUY PEDAG DEO-FRESH INSOLES (AMAZON)

I definitely recommend giving these two insoles 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.

I still recommend these no-show socks

Did you know I first published this article in 2013? Back then, no-show socks for men were tough to come by. Most of them were made from nylon, like the footies shoe stores handed out when you wanted to try on shoes but didn’t have socks.

In 2015, I added these to the list of no-show socks I recommend. I have a few pairs of these in my rotation still, and I’ve worn these the longest.

What’s your favorite pair of no-show socks?

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?

Let me know in the comments below.

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38 Responses

    • Dan J. on

      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.

      Reply
        • Dan J. on

          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.

          Reply
  1. DH in Canada on

    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.

    Reply
    • cs70 on

      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.

      Reply
    • Barron on

      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.

      Reply
  2. Gordey Natalenko on

    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.

    Reply
  3. Matthew on

    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.

    Matthew

    Reply
  4. pablo on

    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://www.vrients.com

    Reply
  5. Ali Naaseh on

    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.

    Reply
    • Barron on

      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.

      Reply
  6. cs70 on

    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.

    Reply
  7. Tyler on

    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.

    Reply
  8. Andrew on

    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

    Reply
  9. Dave Hahn on

    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.

    Reply
  10. Proclamation Jewelry on

    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!

    Reply
  11. WideEyesTWBlog on

    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!

    Reply
  12. cs70 on

    Be on the lookout for a cork footed product that is on kickstarter. Web link:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/742620191/honey-soles-transform-your-shoes-forget-the-socks

    Cork insoles might help out if your insoles are removable or can accommodate a added insole.

    The leather sock lining of shoes take a big hit when worn without socks. I’ll try the cork insoles when they come out.

    I found a pair of older tan leather Oxford that I had found at the back of my closet that I had worn extensively ten years ago. I worn them without socks. I took them to my local shoe cobbler to redo the soles. I also was able to replace the leather liner or footbed of the shoes. The lady working their did comment about my shoes. “Must have not worn socks.”, she said. I said “No”. She did a great job in repairing the shoes. For these shoes, I will stick with wearing no-show socks. I wore them once barefoot since. I don’t care for the sweaty feel. Back when I purchased them, no-show socks were almost nonexistent.

    Reply
  13. Nick on

    As much as I like the idea of going sockless, the sweat and stickiness of your feet against the shoe’s interior is just too unpleasant – time to up my no show game and invest in some no show socks it would seem! Thanks for the tips!

    Nick

    Reply

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