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How To Wear Ankle Socks With Sneakers

Knowing the best socks to wear with sneakers can be confusing, especially considering how many sock styles there are. So, can you wear ankle socks with sneakers? 

While ankle socks are often kept for sporting endeavors, they can look great with sneakers. Go for plain, block-colored ankle socks of suitable colors. They can work with pants or shorts, but if you’re wearing pants, ensure they’re an appropriate length. Keep this combination for casual situations.

Although that’s the gist, there’s much more to it.

This post will walk you through how to pull off ankle socks with sneakers every time.

Let’s dig deeper.

sneakers and ankle socks
Image From Deposit Photos

1. Consider Sock Color

Despite ankle socks not being especially visible, they are still partially visible.

Socks of the wrong color for the outfit can look clumsy or awkward – to the extent of ruining the outfit.

Because of this, it’s essential to pick ankle socks of the right color for your outfit.

A common misconception is that your socks should always perfectly or somewhat match the color of your shoes. This isn’t the case.

When wearing pants with ankle socks, it’s best to pair your sock color with the color of your pants.

ankle socks
Image From Deposit Photos

By matching your socks to your pants, you’re allowing a more elegant transition from your pants to your shoes.

Furthermore, if you perfectly match your socks to your shoes, it can appear as if you’re wearing boots rather than shoes with ankle socks.

The same guidelines apply when wearing shorts with ankle socks and sneakers.

Due to the casual nature of this outfit, however, it’s not as imperative as for formal situations. In short, you can be more experimentative with your sock color.

If you’re unsure what colored socks to wear with your sneakers and pants or shorts, there are a few colors that will go with pretty much anything.

Grey is almost always a solid sock color. It’s a very versatile, neutral color that will pair nicely with most garments.

Its subtlety allows for a seamless transition between items of clothing of most colors.

As well as this, grey has many different shades, meaning that it’s much easier to pair with different shades and colors.

2. Avoid Patterned Ankle Socks

While sock color has already been discussed, there is another similar factor to think about: sock patterns.

You’d be hard-pushed to find patterned ankle socks that are truly ankle socks; however, there are still some on the market.

They can be more difficult to find than crew socks, for example, as their visibility is incredibly limited – somewhat defeating the purpose of having patterned socks.

Although the ankle socks-with-sneakers look is extremely casual, it’s still best to avoid patterned ankle socks.

This is because ankle socks are supposed to be subtle, and bright, boldly-patterned socks are the opposite of subtle.

If you wish to make a fashion statement by wearing patterned socks, your best bet is to go for crew socks or those of a similar length.

Moreover, because patterned ankle socks are much more difficult to find, they can be more costly.

This means that, overall, the best thing to do is go for block-colored socks.

3. Shorts Or Pants Can Work

When wearing ankle socks with sneakers, there might be some confusion as to whether you should wear pants or shorts with them.

In truth, ankle socks and sneakers pair nicely with both shorts and pants, and the one you choose to wear is entirely up to personal preference.

Having said this, however, there are styles of pants and shorts that work best with ankle socks and sneakers.

Chinos and chino shorts, for example, create a stylish, minimalist ensemble – ever-so-slightly dressing up the outfit while maintaining a cool, casual look.

On the other hand, you should always avoid wearing biker shorts, leggings, or pretty much any sports garment when wearing ankle socks with sneakers.

While some may argue that ankle socks are commonplace for sporting endeavors, sneakers tip the scales too far in the way of casual wear rather than sportswear.

Denim and sneakers go together fantastically, as both are staples of casual attire.

Because of this, both jeans and denim shorts look great alongside sneakers and ankle socks. Slim-fit jeans work best.

Neutral-colored bottom garments are ideal for this outfit; colors such as olive green, black, navy, and grey work particularly well. However, blue denim is just as viable.

When deciding if you should wear pants or shorts, it’s always worth considering the weather.

The weather has a huge impact on fashion – from the types of clothes to the colors and patterns you wear.

Neutral colors are good all year round, whereas shorts and pants aren’t. 

Do your best to ensure that you keep shorts for the summer – when warm weather is prevalent.

4. Ensure Your Pants Are The Right Length

As mentioned, it’s possible to wear either shorts or pants with ankle socks and sneakers.

However, if opting for pants, it’s essential to make sure they are the right length.

Pants that are too short throw off the proportions of the entire outfit while also looking and feeling uncomfortable.

Also, when wearing ankle socks, more ankle than usual is visible. This, combined with too-short pants, looks incredibly awkward.

Conversely, pants that are too long can drag on the floor or get caught on your heels – posing as a potential trip hazard.

Furthermore, if your pants are too long, it can cause visible bunching of the garment. This looks unflattering and can ruin an outfit.

Therefore, making sure your pants are the right length is essential. 

Shorts length isn’t as much of an important factor when wearing ankle socks with sneakers.

Due to the casual nature of all three garments (shorts, ankle socks, and sneakers), shorts length is pretty much entirely down to what you prefer.

5. Keep It For Casual Situations

Correctly matching your outfit with formality is crucial. 

Getting it wrong can be seen as disrespectful or show a lack of understanding or style knowledge.

Wearing ankle socks with sneakers is only appropriate on very casual occasions. Sneakers alone are incredibly casual articles of clothing.

And while sneakers can be acceptable in some smart-casual situations, it’s best to avoid them altogether on formal occasions.

Similarly, ankle socks are also very casual. They somewhat bridge the gap between sportswear and casual wear.

Therefore, they should never be worn in formal situations and are best kept for casual or sporting events.

Knowing whether or not it’s appropriate for a restaurant can be tough, as they can have such varying formality levels.

The combination of sneakers with ankle socks is, overall, too informal to be worn in any situation other than casual ones.

6. Think About Sock Material

There are a plethora of ankle socks of different materials and fabrics on the market, and it’s important to choose the right one for you.

There are several different factors to consider, such as warmth, comfort, breathability, and weight. 

Cotton, cashmere, nylon, polyester, and bamboo are some examples of ankle sock materials.

A classic clothing material, cotton is pretty inexpensive and looks and feels great for ankle socks.

Cashmere is the most costly ankle sock material – and arguably the best. It’ll keep you very warm while being incredibly breathable, sweat-wicking, and comfortable.

Nylon and polyester are synthetic materials that are very popular – particularly in sports – and are renowned for being light and sweat-wicking.

Relatively new to the market, bamboo ankle socks are fantastic options as they share many properties with cotton.

Regardless of the material you choose, it’s chief to ensure that your socks are comfortable – uncomfortable socks can ruin your day.