Today, we’re answering another common loafer question: Should you wear loafers with socks or barefoot?
Since loafers can be casual or formal shoes, depending on their style and color, there’s no one answer as to whether they should be worn with or without socks. Our rule (which is by no means the final word on loafers and socks) is that you should wear socks with loafers in a formal outfit, and go sockless in a casual outfit.
How to wear loafers without socks
The more casual the outfit, the more you shouldn’t wear socks. If you’re wearing tan, burgundy or suede loafers with jeans or shorts, leave your socks at home. This is especially true if you wear shorts — socks with shorts just don’t look good in general. If it’s a hot summer’s day and you feel like wearing shorts and loafers, choose a pair of low-rise loafer socks if you really don’t want to go barefoot.
The same is true if you’re wearing anything in a light color. A light blue shirt, white trousers and loafers is a classic combo, provided you leave your socks at home. In general, you should wear loafers without socks for any summer outfit and non-formal event. The same rules apply for boat shoes and driving moccasins, both of which look best without any socks.
How to wear loafers with socks
Things get difficult when your outfit gets more formal. If you’re wearing a suit with loafers, should you go with or without socks? Our opinion is that you can get away with wearing loafers without socks with a blue, gray or brown suit, but not with black. If you’re wearing a black suit and loafers (also black, of course), it’s best to wear socks as well.
The reason is simple: black suits and shoes are very formal, and loafers are a relatively casual shoe. It’s okay to pair a casual shoe with a formal suit, but a black suit worn with loafers and no socks blends formal and ultra-casual in a way that just doesn’t look natural. If you don’t like wearing socks, stick with a blue, gray or brown suit, and leave your black suit at home.
Simple, right? Ultimately, whether or not to wear socks with loafers is a personal preference thing. If you prefer to go sockless, or prefer a pair of socks, go with what you think looks best.
Need help choosing the right pair of loafers?
Whether you’re dressing for work or for a night out, loafers are versatile shoes that look good with almost any choice of clothing. Read our loafers buyer guides to learn more about the best leather loafers in all price ranges