Socks and sandals

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Sandals worn with white ankle socks.

Wearing socks and sandals together is a controversial fashion combination and social phenomenon that is discussed in various countries and cultures. In some places it is considered a fashion faux pas.[1]


The earliest known surviving pair of socks, created by naalbinding. The split toes were designed for use with sandals. Dating from 300–500, they were excavated from Oxyrhynchus on the Nile in Egypt.

The earliest evidence of wearing socks and sandals is documented at the archaeological site between Dishforth and Leeming in North Yorkshire, England. The discovery suggests that ancient Romans wore socks with sandals at least 2,000 years ago.[2][3]


Saurabh Bhatia, the author of the book Indian Corporate Etiquette, advises readers: "If, for some reason, you are not wearing socks with sandals, ensure your toes are clean and your toe-nails are closely clipped".[4] Joshua Belter, the author of The Book of Rules: The Right Way to Do Everything, points out that wearing socks with sandals reduces the amount of cooling feet experience.[5] However, energy design handbooks include light socks and sandals as part of a high-thermal flux tropical attire.[6][7]

Regional phenomenon[edit]

According to Brian Shea of The Evening Sun, wearing socks and sandals is popular among the older generation and Germans.[8]

The Britons are, according to The China Post, "famed for fashion blunders like wearing socks with sandals".[9]

Wearing socks and sandals is considered rather unaesthetic in the Czech Republic; however, some people prefer socks and sandals, and a part of the population prefers both the options (sandals with and without socks).[10]

In Israel, socks and sandals are stereotypically associated with Immigrants from the former Soviet Union.[11][12][13]

Socks and sandals is a regular Pacific Northwest phenomenon.[14][15][16] Seattle based insurance company PEMCO used the "Sandals & Socks Guy" character as part of a 2007 advertising campaign that portrayed this as a typically Pacific Northwest fashion.[17][18] The Daily Dot highlighted "sandals and socks" as a term entered into a web search engine more often by Washingtonians than residents of any other state.[19]

Subculture phenomenon[edit]

Xbox Live avatar with socks and sandals
Kyle Gass performing with Tenacious D while wearing socks and sandals

Wearing socks and sandals is associated by some with geek culture.[20][21] Socks and sandals were noted as a "high crime of fashion" when introduced as Xbox Live avatar accessory downloadable content in 2009.[22]

2010s fashion trend[edit]

In 2010, the newspaper Daily Telegraph reported that wearing socks and sandals was a hit for spring/summer of that year.[23] Starting in 2010, and again in 2014, several sources reported that socks and sandals had become a fashion trend in the United States and the United Kingdom, appearing in several runway shows, including those of Miu Miu (2010) and fashion designers Vivienne Tam and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (2014), and picked up by celebrities.[24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Socks and sandals voted biggest fashion faux pas of all time". Debenhams Press Center. Debenhams. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  2. ^ Alleyne, Richard (25 August 2010). "Romans wore socks with sandals, new British dig suggests". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  3. ^ Acton, Adams & Packer 2006, p. 241.
  4. ^ Bhatia 2008, p. 42.
  5. ^ Belter 2012, p. 132.
  6. ^ Parsons 2010, p. 138.
  7. ^ Butera 1999, p. 44.
  8. ^ Shea, Brian (7 July 2008). "Regular Guy: Power to the Relaxation Revolution". Hanover, Pennsylvania: The Evening Sun. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Britons are worst-dressed European tourists: study". The China Post (originally AFP). 7 June 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Spor o ponožky v sandálech mě pobavil, píše Američan v reakci na Škromacha". Lidové noviny (in Czech). 1 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Israel's Russian Wave, Thirty Years Later » Mosaic". Mosaic. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  12. ^ "Odessa – Tel Aviv". Eretz Israel Museum. 2018.
  13. ^ "סנטה קלאוס וסנדלים עם גרביים: יוצאי רוסיה זועמים על קמפיין גיור" [Santa Claus and sandals with socks: Russian immigrants furious over a Conversion to Judaism campaign]. הארץ (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  14. ^ Haupt 2009, p. 30 "Surely wearing binoculars is a novel fashion statement, one that has yet to be discovered by Paris, New York, or even Seattle, where we regularly dine out in polar fleece and wear sweat socks with our sandals."
  15. ^ Steve Scher (August 13, 2010), "Pacific Northwest Fashion", Weekday (Radio show), KUOW
  16. ^ Chickowski 2012, p. 68 "[S]pecialty beers are as de rigueur here [in the Northwest] as fleece jackets and sandals with socks."
  17. ^ Christina Corrales-Toy (August 29, 2014), "Newcastle native inspires PEMCO's newest Northwest Profile", Newcastle News, Newcastle, Washington
  18. ^ Jennifer Gehrt (March 1, 2010), "We're a Lot Like You" PEMCO's Campaign, Seattle: Communique PR
  19. ^ Josh Katzowitz (August 26, 2015), "America's most shameful Google searches, state by state", The Daily Dot
  20. ^ Langley 2012, p. 30.
  21. ^ Reay 2005, p. 46 "As a scientist, one of the 'perks' of the job is going to international conferences. These are usually dominated by people with a penchant for wearing socks with sandals..."
  22. ^ Alexander Sliwinski (May 13, 2009), "New Avatar shoes available, fear the socks and sandals option", Engadget
  23. ^ Alexander, Hilary (10 April 2010). "Socks with sandals are on trend for spring/summer 2010". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  24. ^ Magsaysay, Melissa (2014-04-05). "Wearing socks with sandals is suddenly fashionable". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  25. ^ Persad, Michelle (2015-05-13). "Why It's Not A Bad Idea To Wear Socks With Your Sandals". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  26. ^ Cheng, Andrea. "From Taboo to Trend: Sock-and-Sandal Pairings Are Really Happening". InStyle. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  27. ^ Kim, Olivia. "What's Up, Olivia: Socks & Sandals". Nordstrom. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  28. ^ Mirchandani, Raakhee; Moussavian, Anahita (2010-05-14). "Should you rock socks and sandals?". New York Post. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  29. ^ Stein, Sadie. "Socks And Sandals: A Meditation". Jezebel. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  30. ^ Woo, Stu; Smith, Ray A. (2015-09-15). "I'll Be Darned, Wearing Socks With Sandals Is Fashionable". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019-01-08.

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