How to Pair Socks with Shorts - Without Looking Like a Tourist

There’s a general rule when it comes to pairing socks with shorts, and it goes like this:


And, to some degree, it’s true. Most people who wear long athletic socks with sneakers over cargo shorts do end up looking like tourists who have no idea how to dress when they aren’t in an office environment.

But that doesn’t mean you can never wear socks with shorts. You’ll just want to be subtle about it, learn some interesting tricks, and pay attention when you pick out something to wear from the closet.

No-Show Socks: The Best of Both Worlds

Why do so many people hate the look of socks with shorts? Well, there’s a problem in that it tends to optically shorten the length of the leg; it makes your legs look shorter than they really are.

No-show socks get rid of this problem by doing what their name tells you: they don’t show up. They simply provide a barricade between the inside of your shoes and your feet.

The trick with no-show socks, however, is that they take up so little space on your feet that they generally don’t actually stick to the feet. For this reason, try to seek out the following socks:

  • No-show socks sometimes come with material lined in that helps the back of the sock stay on your heel. This is better than simply relying on the fabric itself.
  • Look for no-show socks that cover up the front of the foot; some merely cover up the toes and the bottom of the feet.

Pairing Socks with Shorts: Can It Really Be Done?

You didn’t only come to this article hoping to read about no-show socks; you want to break a fashion commandment and pair socks with shorts. Fine, we’ll indulge you. But try to keep the following rules in mind: 

  • Lower is better. Ankle-high socks pulled up to the top don’t even look good at the gym, where function and form rule over looks. If you wear athletic socks with shorts, you can still make them a reasonable length that doesn’t occupy more of your legs than is necessary.
  • White socks are athletic socks. If you’re playing a pickup basketball game, no one’s going to challenge you on wearing white socks. If you wear dark shoes and shorts to go to a’ll stand out like a sore thumb. Keep the athletic socks where they belong.
  • No socks with sandals. Some fashion rules are better stuck to than ignored. Wearing socks with sandals is a strange contradiction (it’s warm enough for sandals, but too cool to go sockless?) that doesn’t make sense in function or
  • No-show socks look better. It’s just how it is. If you can wear no-show socks and feel comfortable, try to go for the “best of both worlds” look rather than break a fashion rule.

Can you wear socks with shorts? The answer is yes...but it tends to be the exception to the rule rather than the rule. If you want to wear socks with shorts, try to go with no-shows first. Anything too high up your leg will give you that “tourist” look you’ll want to avoid.

Follow these tips for more answers to the common fashion questions involving shorts. At Vintage 1946, we want to keep you looking good and staying cool all summer long. Shop our full collection today to find the latest apparel and fashion trends for men.