Boat Shoes & Socks?

As warmer weather draws near our thoughts turn to colorful madras, cool wearing seersucker, and of course the eschewing of socks. Today marks the first day of spring, but the weather has a mind of its own and has decided that we will have to put our warm weather gear away for at least 1 more week. If you have already been sporting your boat shoes without socks you may need to add a pair for the upcoming chilly mornings.
Boat shoes with ragg wool socksIf you are still reading after I suggested that you wear a pair of socks with boat shoes let me explain. I am not suggesting that you add a pair of dress socks or white athletic socks. I am suggesting a rustic pair of socks with texture that will turn your warm weather friend into a cool cold weather shoe.

Ragg wool socks are an Ivy/Trad staple. They have all of the traits that Trads value. They are simple, well crafted items that work well, but unlike many Trad items they are also affordable. Ragg wool socks can be had for around $10-$15 a pair. My go-to brands are L.L. Bean (Bean Ragg Sock) and Wigwam (Wigwam El-Pine), but there are lots of other companies manufacturing ragg wool socks so be sure to look around. I also recommend stopping by your local TJ Maxx/Marshalls as these are great places to find ragg wool socks for cheap.

Soon the weather will be too warm to even consider wearing socks with boat shoes. Yes, that statement means that I am strongly against the wearing of socks with boat shoes outside of what I have described above. Even no-show socks. The sock-less look (and feel!) is not for everyone, but neither are boat shoes. For those of you that want to wear socks with your boat shoes I suggest a pair of Camp Mocs (like the ones on the left). These will not look out of place with socks just don’t wear them with socks and shorts!

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

13 Comments on "Boat Shoes & Socks?"

  1. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I never go without socks. I simply do not feel clean if I do not have socks on. I even do the thing you just described. I wear white socks L.L Bean Camp Mocs and shorts.

  2. JGH says:

    I, too, wear wool socks with boat shoes during cold months. My preferred wool socks are made in Vermont by Darn Tough.

  3. Biff says:

    Mrs. Aldrich also recommends the wearing of ragg wool socks in cotton with boat shoes , sir. Carry on. : D

  4. Fred Johnson says:

    Question, when you wear socks then go “sock less” with the same shoe, isn’t the fit a little sloppy and loose?

  5. oxford cloth button down says:

    Fred – I think that the shoe is just a little tight when worn with socks. I haven’t noticed them becoming to loose afterwards. However, I am sure that it affects them some.

    Roger C. – It took me a while to enjoy the sock less feel. Like I said, I know it is not for everyone.

  6. bluchermoc says:

    This is totally personal preference. I know the official preppy handbook eschews going sockless all the time but I don’t know where that no socks with boat shoes rules came from. I never heard of it growing up and even wore (and sometimes still do) white socks with them!

  7. Orange Fiji says:

    I used to go sockless, but I now have really bad feet, so I have to wear socks. In the summer, I will wear a low cut pair of white socks with shorts. The rest of the year, ragg wool socks with long pants.

  8. CAY says:

    Yep, I have two pairs of boat shoes: one for cooler weather worn with ragg wool socks from Bean’s, the other a half size smaller for warm weather and sock-less wear. This works out great and the shoes last longer, too. I like the look of boat shoes and the gray ragg socks and wear them this way throughout the fall and winter. They are plenty warm for all but the coldest of days, and, of course, boat shoes aren’t the best in snow. Other than that, they are my go-to shoes for casual wear pretty much year round.

  9. Dave says:

    I wear my boat shoes year-round. LL Bean rag wool socks in the winter, grey or blue cotton crew socks in the early spring and late fall, and sockless in the late spring/summer/early fall.

  10. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I am glad I do not totally stand alone with my sock wearing. I have been told by my ex wife that I am often the topic of conversation at my son’s baseball practices because of my damn socks. I figure I am 48 years old which makes me almost invisible to some people. Nobody should be surprised by what I might do for comfort.

  11. Richard aka Tweeds says:

    Jerod I enjoyed your blog this week. I am glad to hear that many people are still wearing boat shoes. I started wearing them in high school off to college, Greek life, and keeping up with tradition. In San Diego most of us go sockless with our boat shoes and most of the time I don’t wear socks with pennyloafers especially with nantucket red shorts , blue OCBD.

  12. August West says:

    I seem to be in the minority here, but to my eye boat shoes with socks of any kind just doesn’t look quite right. I retire the boat shoes once the cool weather arrives, and will opt for camp mocs or bluchers until spring arrives.

  13. andrew says:

    my shoes would reek if i wore them without socks. in the warmer months, i’ll wear boat shoes with low-profile running socks – happen to like balega and point 6, but there are many good brands.

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