3 ways to wear socks with sandals

Because if you like Marmite you should totally run with it

Last weekend I posted a picture on Instagram of me wearing socks with sandals. And although it divided opinion, as I expected it to, I was surprised that the majority of comments were from people who loved the look. Didn’t see that one coming!

But there were also some people saying that although they were on board with this Marmite styling trick, they wouldn’t have the confidence to do it themselves, and often that they would do it if it weren’t for the opinion of their other halves! And I think that’s a terrible shame, because you’re missing out on one of the most comfortable ways to wear shoes ever (and what does your other half even know about it anyway?!).

This is why I’ve written a short guide to wearing socks with sandals for you, in the hope that it will inspire a few more people to adopt one of my favourite looks. I totally get that you feel like everyone is looking at you and judging your feet when you first do it, but to be honest, for me, that’s part of the fun. I get a bit of a kick from wearing something that a lot of people won’t “get”. It’s like being part of a club; a bit like when me and my friends got heavily into Britpop in the Nineties well before Britpop reached the Isle of Wight where we lived. (I’ll never forget when Blur won a Brit Award in 1995 and my Mum said “so that’s why you dress like that!”)

The most important thing to remember when attempting socks and sandals is that it should look deliberate. Not like the time I wore Converse One Star slides to visit my boyfriend-now-husband’s parents at Easter and it snowed and I was forced to buy some white towelling socks because they were all that was available at Birmingham New Street Station. Your socks should be pristine, ideally with some kind of fancy finish, like silk ribbing or lurex. And your sandals, if not new this season, should definitely have been given a good clean since you last wore them on the beach. The best type of sandal to choose is something with a bit of chunk; your beloved Birkenstock Arizonas will do the job nicely.

1: casual weekend

socks and sandals

This is the look I do most often – a pair of cork footbed sandals with a thicker sock and a pair of faded blue jeans. I love Genevieve Sweeney’s beautiful socks in particular; they are soft and warm and have really cool patterns, often with a hint of sparkle, and are really good quality. This pair is made from silk tweed for a more subtle take on it, and the sandals are from British brand Moshulu, who I worked with earlier this year.

2: sporty urban

As soon as these sandals arrived (they were a gift from Vagabond), I knew I wanted to try them with socks. I like that they have a sporty vibe but the leather finish and lack of actual sports branding gives them more of a luxe look. Similarly, these lurex socks from & Other Stories (a gift from my husband for Christmas – he’s a keeper!) have a hint of tube socks about them, but no so much that you’d actually wear them to the gym. Pair with something completely the opposite in a similar shade, like this lace skirt.

3: slinky animal

Cropped tailored trousers are a great way of showing off your sock-sandal combo if you want to look a bit more smart. This style of silk ribbed sock is a great place for a novice to start, as they give a really polished finish without being too look-at-me. These are from COS, but Arket always has a good selection. This is a great blank canvas for some animal print, but I’d also wear the Vagabond sporty sandals with this look, or a plain black Birkenstock Arizona.

I’d love to know what you think. Have I converted you? Leave comments below!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous sock sandal combinations. I love Stance socks and sandals. I’m definitely going yo investigate Burlington (they’d somehow fallen off my “lovely sock” radsr).

  2. I’ve seen lots of Stance on Insta and they look good. Have yo tried them? Totally on board with socks/sandals. As you say, such a shame when other halves cast doubt and undermine confidence to wear what YOU feel suits you. Same goes for going grey, off topic but the point stands. As a singleton I just do what I want! #greysocklady

    • Ooh yes Stance socks are great! I had a lovely pair that I wore with sandals and I left them in a hotel drying on the radiator after a wet walk in Yorkshire. Gutted!! Here’s to wearing whatever you like!

  3. Woolly fairisle socks with my clog sandals are my favourite. Not yet braved Birkenstock’s and socks but I might just try it this evening

  4. Thank you so much for writing this. For me it wasn’t should I , but more how to style the shoe / sandal combo with trousers and how much of a gap between the cuff of the trousers and the top of the sock. And now I know. Doing the seasonal wardrobe swap this holiday and looking forward to getting more wear from my sandals.

  5. I do wear socks and sandals on a regular basis…at work! I work in a hospital and always wear trousers as part of my uniform. Shoes leave my feet too warm, and no socks is a no no! I love glitter and/ or statement socks so this combination is great for me. The main thing is that once I change into my sandals the next time I think of my feet is when I change to go home! My greatest bug bear is that glitter socks quite often have glitter under the soles too – it means they’re more sweaty and you don’t get to see the glitter underneath!
    At the moment I’m looking for something less glittery, navy and cream (not white) striped socks to replace some favourites that are nearly warn out!

      • No, I’ll have to check them out! The best ones I have are blush pointelle knit from And Other Stories, the air circulation helps. Mine are ancient though!

  6. I like a bright block colour sock with my white Birkenstock Arizonas. I don’t have any sparkly lurex type socks as they always feel a bit scratchy but maybe I should try a better quality brand.

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