Loafers, a type of shoe lacking laces or a fastening system, started as casual footwear, but these shoes have become quite versatile through the years, often pairing with jeans for a more casual look or suit pants and dress socks for more formal affairs. The debate, then, does not argue that loafers are inappropriate in either scenario, only that the choice of custom socks must be precise and chosen for the desired look.

This article will review loafers’ use as casual dress or formal wear, focusing on the general or established “rules” for wearing socks. This blog will first dissect the general suggestions for both men and women before delving into the expectations for each gender.

custom socks

General Suggestions

The original purpose of loafers as casual footwear means the shoes were never meant to be worn with socks because they were designed for leisure. However, loafers’ comfort and attractiveness also suit informal and professional settings well, meaning that socks became a typical addition to wear, reducing the appearance of skin and leg hair around the ankle.

The golden rule of wearing socks with loafers is to wear calf-length socks. Ideally, when wearing loafers with a suit or trouser pants, you should opt for lengthier sock options, like knee-high, to reduce the risk of the socks falling to the ankle.

When selecting your socks, choose between argyle or neutral colors. Argyle socks are a sophisticated and timeless pattern, dating back to 16th century West Scotland. While primarily associated with golf, the argyle pattern lends itself well to both casual and professional dress.

Neutral colors can help make loafers stand out and blend in. However, the neutral look can extend past the socks to the suit jacket or blazer. Alternatively, if you want to add a little excitement and interest to a neutral loafer, try pairing it with a colorful sock.

Guide for Men

For men, wearing socks with loafers is typically about subduing the look, especially when dressing up. Stick to neutral colors and try to refrain from overly colorful or bold displays. If you want to pair your loafers with argyle, choose a more muted pattern. Clean lines and soft or controlled colors typically suggest a more put-together ensemble for men.

While you may not want to bring in bold colors and patterns with your sock selection, there is no shame in adding pops of color to other accessories. For example, pair a colorful or patterned tie with an identically patterned kerchief. Choose a patterned shirt with a solid tie. While custom socks can also signal your personality, be careful with how bold you get when dressing for a professional or formal event.

Guide for Women

Women can use a little more freedom in their sock choices when paired with loafers. While the classic is a thin white pair of socks, ladies can also use sheers, metallics, ribbed silk, or creative colors and patterns. A less formal event is more open to personal preference, but sticking to sheer, white, or black is likely best for a black-tie or dress event.

However, women should never be afraid to use floral prints because they represent vibrance and sophistication. Flower patterns can work because of the timelessness of the style. Florals are both traditional and modern, meaning that they can pair well with most ensembles, including loafers and trousers.

While traditionally worn without socks and only for leisure activities, the loafer is now accepted as a dress shoe. However, there are differences when wearing the shoe for dress as opposed to casual. When worn with a suit or trousers, loafers should be paired with socks, possibly custom socks. Are you in need of a pair of socks for your loafer? Remember to look for pairs that use the argyle pattern or blend and match your shoes or clothing.