The socks to wear with…

If you google “what kind of socks to wear with”, what comes up in the blank is every kind of shoe and boot under the sun – Vans, Chuck Taylors, booties, duck boots, cowboy boots, Birkenstock. But, that kind of makes sense when you think about it. Each kind of shoe does have a specific kind of sock that works best. And when you’re wearing the “wrong” one,  it just looks weird – either too much or too little of it shows. And just like the wrong shoe can throw off an entire outfit, so too can the wrong sock and shoe pairing.

But never fear, the TWC is here to help. When I wrote about the essential undergarments a woman needs in her lingerie drawer, I received reader suggestions that a post on socks was needed – ask and you shall receive people!! So, I came up with a list of the socks that are good to keep on hand. What was once a somewhat boring staple can now be a fashionable accessory to your outfit. And, what used to be a fashion faux-pas has turned into one of springs hottest must try items because the rules have slightly changed. (I’ll show what I’m talking about.)  But, in reality most of us aren’t going to wear them in any other fashion (no pun intended) outside of function. So, at least if you’re wearing socks, wear them right.

The sneaker and bootie sock.

RULE #1 – To show ankle with a sneaker or bootie wear a low profile sock.

Low cut socks are the best choice when a full sock isn’t necessary. These guys fit right under the ankle bone. They are great to keep on hand for the gym, or with your favorite pair of fashion sneakers, such as these even outside of the gym. They help to show off a little ankle, which is always cool, too.

Image result for sneaker and low cut sock street style


When you don’t want your socks to show with your booties try the low cut sock.

Image result for street style ankle booties

Low cut socks I love.

These come in a variety of colors and are a great year round with booties. They are my go to – the wool helps wick away sweat and keep your feet warm and dry.

Smart Wool Low cut socks

With a sneaker these are my sock of choice. The have some extra padding for comfort and hit just below the anklebone.balega low profile sock







A great low cut sock to wear with sneakers or with your booties, too. Adidas Superlite Low Cut Socks

RULE #2 – If you don’t want to show ankle with your bootie, wear an opaque knee high.

When you’re wearing an ankle boot and a cropped pant but you don’t want to show skin (like if it’s cold) wear a solid black mid calf or knee high sock. It makes it look like the boot is continuing and visually creates a long lean line.


Ankle and Knee High socks

Both the ankle and knee high version of these look great with black booties.


Socks for the ox. Oxford, that is.

RULE #3 – To show ankle when you’re wearing an oxford or loafer type shoe…go no show.

A no show sock hits even lower than a low cut, and will show skin when your bottoms are cropped. They’re also a good option in the warmer months to keep your feet from sweating in your shoes. Yuck. Who wants that?


Image result for street style oxford shoes

No shows I love.

This Smartwool has very little slippage because of the internal gripper. These also work great with a fashion type sneaker when you don’t want to see any sock at all.

Smartwool Hide and Seek Socks

This has become a sock drawer staple in my house. Both male and female alike really enjoy these bad boys.

 Nike 3-Pack No-Show Socks


RULE #4 – If you don’t want to show ankle with your oxford, wear a sock that has interest.

When you’re wearing an oxford or loafer type shoe, keep your ankles warm with a sock that has a little interest. Look for patterns like fishnet or contrasting colors. It takes your sock from functional to fashionable.


How To Wear Fishnet Tights or Socks | StyleCaster

Fun Socks.

You can never go wrong with animal print and these socks (similar) are no different.

STANCE Instinct Socks

With a brown or black shoe this horizontal striped sock (similar) works with both. The contrasting colors make them really current and very cool.

 Vertical Stripe Sport Sock

With a mule or a clog, socks are a BIG no-no.

Image result for mules street style

Look wise at least, you can’t wear a visible sock with a mule. Thanks to our reader Cindy for pointing out I missed this category. If you hate going barefooted in a mule try a half sock. They keep the ickyness away on the front part of your foot but leave the back to breath free.

I like these half socks because the argyle makes it a bit fun even if no one ever sees it.

The sock to try with a sandal or pump.

Ok, ok, this seems completely ridiculous, we know. It goes against everything that we’ve ever been taught or instinctively know.  Even most men over the age of 60 know that this was a fashion faux-pas at one point. But, someone, somewhere decided that this once fashion don’t is a fashion DO.  The sock with a sandal or pump is sticking around and I’m seeing it more and more. At first, I was a little geeked out by it, but it’s growing on me in a major way. The truth is, I have not taken the plunge into this brewing trend. I’m still trying to decide if I’m cool enough, young enough, or eh hem, brave enough? But, since it’s my job to inform you, I’d be remiss if this wasn’t added to the sock list.

Image result for street style heels and socks

Cool girl socks to wear with sandals or pumps.

Wear this cool dip dyed sock (similar) with any color shoe.

Hysteria by Happy Socks Mia Dip Dye Socks


A lovely lace sock (similar) to wear with a black pump or sandal.


Image result for spanx lovely lace sock



A two tone, pretty in pink (similar).


Hysteria Filippa Ankle Sock


So has this solved the sock/shoe dilemma for you? If not, let us know in the comments and we can dive even deeper in a future post.

Images : 1//2//3//4//5//  Header Photo : Molly Nook

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Post Updated 6/18/21


Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.


  1. Great post! I’ve never had luck with the very low socks (they always slip around) so am excited to try your suggestions. Thanks much.

    • Hallie Abrams Reply

      Thanks Beth – let me know what you think once you try them.

  2. Carol Oppenheim Reply

    Hey Hallie! Thanks for the great post – I’ve just ordered the Balega and the Smartwool socks.

    And I just came across this brilliant and new-to-me idea for when you really, really don’t want your socks to show (like with cute ballet flats) etc … but you also can’t stand the yucky sweaty feel of going sockless. Take a pair of thin no show socks, turn them inside out, and put them on the removable footbed instead of on your feet!

    • Hallie Abrams Reply

      Carol – That. Is. Genius! Thank you for sharing! I am going to try it for sure.

  3. This was soooo helpful. Thank you! Another idea for you. The annual fundraiser for my kids’ school generally has a theme. I really don’t want to buy an outfit for only one occasion because the theme is roaring 20’s or Kentucky derby for example. Could you provide guidance on outfits that would work for these types of events that I could then wear again to events that aren’t themed?

    • Hallie Abrams Reply

      Hi Nayela! Oh my goodness,I feel you. Dress up parties can totally throw one for a loop, can’t they? A quick answer to your question: I always like to do the “theme” thing with accessories (they’re typically less expensive). I have great links for that kind of thing so a post will come – thanks for the idea!

  4. What about socks with flats & ballets? Is it a faux pax when the stocking socks show around the shoes?

    • Hallie Abrams Reply

      It is kind of a faux pas to have the edge of your no show socks sticking out. Sorry!! Try a sock with a lower profile so it’s completely hidden.

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