I remember as a kid growing up my dad wearing mid-calf length socks with his worn-in Birkenstocks. Back then it would have never dawned on me that my dad was fashion-forward. Of course, this was back in the 90's and his choice of footwear had no inspiration in today's modern trend.
It used to be a stereotype pertaining to German tourists that they were often seen wearing socks with their sandals (usually sensible Birkenstocks). For a long time, this was considered the epitome of bad taste, deserving of ridicule and derision.
But fashion is a funny beast and things which we once considered bad taste suddenly come into style (hello dad shoes, mom jeans, etc). Such is the case with socks and sandals.
What might surprise you is that this pairing pre-dates Birkenstocks and German tourists. In fact, many Buddhist monks typically wear socks with their sandals. This is a typical practice is many Asian cultures in which sandals are the normal historical and traditional footwear.
Now that this trend has come West officially with press including Vogue, Glamour, New York Magazine and a slew of other international press weighing in, you too can liberate your feet into one of the most comfortable footwear combinations around.
The trick to pulling off this look requires differing techniques for men and women.
It's important to note that not all socks and not all sandals go together. Just like you wouldn't wear athletic socks with a pair of brown leather lace ups, you wouldn't want to wear your gym socks with sandals. Instead, choose a pair that makes a statement, like Tibetan Socks hand woven merino wool socks. You'll want some color coordination between your socks and sandals. For example, if you wear brown socks, your sandals should be brown, tan, or some neutral tone in that family.
Importantly, be very careful wearing white high socks with pool sliders. This look as a particularly creepy child-abductor aspect to it. Additionally, avoid rubber flip flops and Tevas as these don't lend themselves to socks.
The ideal sandals to wear with socks are those made of leather, like the famous Birkenstocks.
For women, there's a myriad of ways to wear socks and sandals together, and in fact most women are used to some sort of hosiery with heels already. Women have a lot more freedom in this context with many options of footwear and sock styles, from woolen to sheer nylon. There's a school girl / harajuku quality to this look which can be played with.
You might think socks and sandals look silly together, but once you experience the coziness of soft socks with the freedom of sandals, you likely won't care about any judgmental looks.