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Socks & sandals: fashion faux pas or the epitome of casual cool?

Words by Rob Chilton & Dominic Renowden

The controversial style duo strides into view this spring

We’re familiar with photos of elite footballers wearing socks and sliders around the training ground. It makes sense: just off the training pitch, jump in the shower, quickly slip on some white socks and sliders before padding into the club restaurant for a high-protein lunch while counting the tens of thousands they’ve just earned for two hours’ work.

Boss SS21 show featured socks and sandals

But socks and sandals? That’s another matter. David Beckham was spotted wearing Birkenstocks and red socks and then again in different strapped sandals with white socks and the menswear world stopped in awe – or horror – depending on their stance on this iconic normcore look


In its SS21 show, Boss sent out models in chunky socks and action sandals; Coach, Berluti and MCM (main pic, above) also endorsed the look for SS21. I myself wore my Birkenstocks with some striped Paul Smith socks last weekend and felt… German. But it was quite comfy and practical for a chilly, yet sunny Dubai day when you want to let your toes wiggle around.

Boss SS21 menswear

Buying manager at The EDGAR Store, Dominic Renowden, is not a fan of the trend (which is putting it mildly) but concedes it is making a strong return this spring. “Long seen as the trademark of a man who wouldn’t know his Canali from his Corneliani, socks worn with sandals have been appearing in luxury brands' lookbooks for SS21,” he winces.


“Global lockdowns have resulted in increasingly laidback and homely dressing habits, and nerdy looks are proving popular on both the runway and the street. Perhaps it’s time to reassess the merits of this much-criticised combination. If the golden rule of style is dressing like nobody else’s opinion matters, then maybe this pairing deserves some consideration after all.”

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