A Public Health Warning: It’s Time To Put Some Socks On

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A Public Health Warning: It’s Time To Put Some Socks On

Words by Mr Ashley Clarke

17 October 2017

Science says put your ankles away – and here are the best items to slip your feet into.

While navigating fashion trends is a notoriously tricky business, it’s rare that they actually lead to medical hazards. Unluckily for sockless style-lovers everywhere (and whichever poor soul comes into contact with their feet after a long day), that’s exactly what has happened.

Last week, the College of Podiatry released a report warning that the trend for forgoing socks has caused a spike in athlete’s foot cases in men, which means that although moisturised mankles may have become de rigueur among fashion types (and, incidentally, half the MR PORTER office), what’s going on beneath our shoes is making us reconsider those neglected sock drawers. Sweating into a pair of leather loafers all day without a layer of cotton for protection, it turns out, will not do wonders for your feet. Who knew? So while we appreciate the bare-ankled charm of looking as though you’re on a never ending holiday in Tuscany, unless you actually are, you may want to pull your non-metaphorical socks up.

Invisible socks are a possible antidote, of course, but where’s the fun in that, especially when a range of designers from Vetements to Prada have lately devoted such varied design mastery to these humble and overlooked accessories? The options for colour, length and style are many, to the point that leaves us wondering why mouldy fashion feet ever became a thing in the first place. We’ve helpfully outlined some examples below to help you rehabilitate.

Wearing socks to smarten up an outfit is something men have been doing for generations – good socks, in fact, are often a surefire sign of a man that not only knows how to dress well, but pays attention to the details. This handsome Kingsman pair, made in collaboration with British brand Corgi and exclusive to MR PORTER, are made from a grey, checked blended cotton, and come with ribbed elasticated trims. Pair them with some snappy Oxfords for a classic look, such as this mottled brown leather pair by John Lobb.

Anyone who considers fun socks the preserve of embarrassing dads at Christmas parties has obviously never seen this pair from Vetements. Produced in collaboration with sportswear giant Reebok, they were inspired by classic gym socks, but have been upgraded with heavy metal iconography in a nod to creative director Mr Demna Gvasalia’s music taste. They’ll look right at home with a pair of similarly streetwear-conscious sneakers, such as this leather pair with a serrated sole (itself reminiscent of Reebok Classics) from Filling Pieces.

Whether they peek out from beneath your trousers when you sit down, or you have on a pair of cropped chinos so they’re on show all day, the wonderful thing about socks is that they’re great for adding a style-conscious flourish to an outfit without looking like you tried too hard. This pair of Thom Browne socks is a colourful take on the traditional Argyle pattern, and has been intarsia-knitted in the UK. Slip them into a pair of penny loafers, such as these calf-hair ones from Tom Ford, admire your ankles, and wonder why you ever eschewed socks in the first place.