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How To Wear Black Socks With Shorts (6 Essential Tips)

December 22, 2022
How To Wear Black Socks With Shorts (6 Essential Tips)

Knowing what socks to wear with shorts can be confusing. This begs the question, can you wear black socks with shorts?

Wearing black socks with shorts is entirely possible. Generally, longer socks look best. With this in mind, go for athletic tube socks instead of thin dress socks. Consider sock branding and think about the length of your shorts in comparison to that of your socks.

While that’s the short answer, there’s much more to it.

So, let’s dig deeper.

6 Tips For Wearing Black Socks With Shorts

While it can be confusing, this post will ensure you know how to pull off the black-socks-with-shorts look every time.

black socks with shorts
Image From Deposit Photos

1. Go For Longer Socks 

It may be tempting to go for shorter socks, such as short crew socks (i.e quarter crew) or ankle socks when wearing black socks with shorts.

However, one of the primary reasons to wear black socks with shorts is to make a statement.

Because of this, it’s important to ensure that your black socks are visible – even going to the extent of standing out.

The best way to ensure your black socks stand out is by going for longer ones.

These reinforce the controversial, stand-out nature of the outfit and look great, too.

There are many different types of socks. From no-show socks to over-the-calf socks, socks come in a variety of lengths.

Ideally, when wearing black socks with shorts, you’ll go for longer sock styles. These include crew, mid-calf, and over-the-calf socks. 

sock lengths
Image From Deposit Photos

Crew socks are likely the most popular socks in men’s style and reach around mid to upper calf.

The names of mid-calf and over-the-calf socks are pretty self-explanatory. 

That is to say, mid-calf socks extend to your mid-calf, while over-the-calf socks sit just above your calf.

All three are solid options for wearing black socks with shorts.

2. Consider Shorts Color 

An important factor to consider when wearing black socks with shorts is the color of your shorts.

Shorts color can make or break an outfit, particularly when worn alongside something somewhat controversial, such as long, black socks.

Black is a neutral color, meaning that it doesn’t appear on the color wheel. This makes it incredibly versatile in most items of clothing.

Therefore, black socks can be worn with many shorts colors and styles, including denim, chino, and cargo shorts.

While the majority of shorts work with black socks, it’s best to avoid board shorts with them.

Board shorts should pretty much only be worn with summer shoes; summer shoes usually don’t work with very visible socks.

Furthermore, board shorts have a summery vibe to them, and black socks significantly detract from this.

Although black socks can be worn with pretty much any shorts color, there are some colors that work better than others.

Neutral colors or those with darker hues work particularly well; different shades of brown, for example. Navy, khaki, and olive green also work very well. 

navy shorts
Image From Deposit Photos

If you want a more stand-out appearance, white shorts can look great too. 

When wearing white shorts with black socks, it’s best to wear white shoes alongside them.

3. Think About Shorts Length

The length of your shorts might not seem important initially; however, getting the right shorts length is just as essential as the other tips in this post.

This is particularly true when wearing long, black socks because getting it wrong can look incredibly awkward.

Shorts that are too short look very ‘70s and, therefore, outdated. Conversely, the outfit can look sloppy if your shorts are too long.

On top of this, if your shorts are too long, and there is minimal space between your long, black socks and your shorts, it’ll appear clumsy and not thought-out.

Therefore, the best length is the standard length. Of course, this varies for each person, so a good rule of thumb is that the end of your shorts should sit just above your knees.

If your shorts are too long, it’s possible to get them hemmed by going to a tailor.

While it can sometimes be costly, it will allow you to ensure your shorts are exactly how you like them.

4. Athletic Socks Work Great

It’s important to remember that – while dress socks are a style, not a length – the majority of dress socks are longer.

Athletic tube socks, however, are always longer than most other sock styles.

In terms of appearance, differentiating between the two is pretty straightforward.

Dress socks are generally block-colored and made of high-quality materials. This makes them comfortable, non-textured, and – above all – formal.

On the other hand, athletic tube socks are often made of a cotton-polyester blend and stand out considerably more than dress socks.

They are long and often have one or two stripes at the top of them. These stripes are usually in the opposite color to the sock itself.

For instance, black athletic tube socks may have two white stripes around the top of them.

The main reason it’s best to go for athletic tube socks over dress socks is the formality.

Shorts are very casual, and when combined with visible, stand-out socks, the casual nature of the look is enhanced.

That is to say, wearing dress socks with this outfit would create too much of a formality mismatch.

5. Sock Branding Looks Great

As mentioned, athletic tube socks often have one or two stripes at the top of them. However, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes the socks are completely block-colored (in this instance, black). This presents the ideal opportunity to add some extra personality to your socks.

Branding is a fantastic way to show off the style you’re aiming for, as each brand is associated with different styles.

On top of this, pairing two of the same brands of socks and shoes together creates a sense of intention and attention to detail.

For example, a pair of black Nike socks with Nike sneakers. Having said this, the brand doesn’t necessarily have to be high-end, like Nike. 

Other casual streetwear brands, such as Adidas, Reebok, Converse, etc., can work just as well. 

When wearing branded black socks, aim to have the branding in white, as this creates a subtle contrast in your outfit.

6. Shoe Style Matters

The final element to consider is the style of your shoes. 

As mentioned, wearing black socks with shorts is very casual – particularly if you go for athletic tube socks, as recommended earlier.

Because of this, it’s important to pick shoes that match the casual nature of shorts with black socks.

This means avoiding dress shoes altogether, as well as semi-formal shoes, such as loafers.

Furthermore, it’s best to avoid boots with black socks and shorts, as this is a controversial topic in itself.

Having said that, invisible socks work best with boots and shorts – if you insist on wearing the two together.

The best shoe styles to wear with black socks and shorts are sneakers and – in some cases – trainers or tennis shoes.

Sneakers are classics for casual wear and go with pretty much any casual outfit. 

Alternatively, trainers or tennis shoes can be great for a more sporty casual look.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a couple of frequently asked questions on the topic to really round things off.

Should You Wear White Or Black Socks With Shorts?

It’s possible to wear either white or black socks with shorts. However, visible white socks are becoming increasingly stylish and popular. Either way, it’s best to avoid dress socks with shorts – regardless of whether they are black or white.

It’s no secret that wearing visible socks with shorts is becoming more and more popular.

However, it can be difficult to know what color socks you should wear with your shorts.

Simply put, white and black are both incredibly versatile in fashion and go with pretty much anything.

Therefore, it’s possible to wear either black or white socks with shorts.

Can You Wear High And Long Black Socks With Shorts?

High and long black socks are a viable option to be worn with shorts. Go for athletic tube socks over dress socks. Often, longer athletic socks (such as tube socks) will have opposite-colored stripes around the top. These can be great for extra outfit flair.

High and long black socks are not only a viable choice but often a preferred choice when wearing black socks with shorts. 

One of the primary reasons to wear black socks with shorts is to make a statement, and by going for high and long socks, you’re doing exactly that.


You now know how to wear black socks with shorts and will be able to confidently do so in any appropriate scenario. Remember to wear long-ish socks and choose athletic socks over dress socks.