4 Steps To Leather Shoes No Socks – Care To Try This Summer?

July 15, 2017

Sticky and smelly. That may be your first impression if you've never tried leather shoes without socks. Of course it will be uncomfortable if you just shove your sweaty, smelly feet into leather sole. You just need to prepare a few things. Smelly feet can be prevented (up to certain level) and it's just wrong to leave your feet dirty anyway, whether covered by socks or not. If you work in a smart-casual environment, going sockless is another option while the weather is pleasant. So here are 4 easy things that you should do to wear your shoes with no socks.

Leather Shoes No Socks

#1 Proper Foot Care

Washing feet

We all know a "cleaning" is a temporary solution. Street cleaning is a hell of a never-ending job unless people learn higher moral standards - not to throw rubbish on the streets! We have to minimise the cause of mess. Certain bacteria living on your foot skin are causing the unpleasant smell, so you just have to apply some anti-bacterial agent to it. 

Bicarbonate of soda does it good. Put some warm water in a washing bowl, sprinkle a few tablespoons of the soda powder and soak your feet in it for 15-20 minutes. Your feet will smell dramatically less. Repeat it for a few days in the beginning, then do it weekly if you can. Not only will you get rid of the bad odour but your foot skin will become definitely smooth. I used to have heels of an elephant's with a few cracks (so painful!) but with the occasional foot soak I no longer have the problem.

Stepney Loafer from Ben Sherman, Black or Burgandy

Some essential oils kill bacteria, so you can add a few drops in your foot soak. Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary... And you know what? I do use them and love my foot soak now. I've never particularly believed in aromatherapy crap but instead of using a diffuser and making the whole place smell like a hippy house, this is just a 15 minute of "Om.....". I actually find it "therapeutic". Cedar Wood is great too. I mix two of them when I feel like it, e.g. lemon & rosemary.  Oh, lemon's great!

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Anti-perspirant foot spray is another essential if your feet get excessively sweaty. I don't sweat as much as I used to, but with these two methods (stop bacteria to grow & stop the sweat), wearing leather shoes with no socks is just smooth & comfortable in the summer. Still hot of course, but just as my upper body feels hot and bum in my chair is hot.

#2 Shoe Care

There are two things you should do to your leather shoes;

  • Don't wear the same pair every day.
  • If you have a space in the freezer - put your shoes (in a plastic bag) and leave them overnight - that kills the smelly bacteria. It really works, and works with jeans too.
  • Use wooden shoe trees. Bare wood shoe trees absorb the moisture well, and especially cedar wood can take away the odour.

I don't like to come home to take off my leather shoes and shove them right into the musty shoe jail (rack) with 10 other pairs of smelly inmates. I personally prefer to leave my pair out overnight with shoe trees in before storing them back on the rack. This way, shoes are kept dry and odour-free.

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#3 Coordinate (Just A Little)

You're not going sockless for the sake of it, you might want to coordinate the style just a little. You don't have to get hyped up about it, you just have to remember a few things;

  1. Pair of loafers is always the easiest option. Oxford or Derby brogue shoes are great too.
  2. Skinny or slim Chinos are the easiest to go with. The hem should hit just above the ankle, so fold them over a few times if they're too long.
  3. Or tailored slim trousers - get a shop to heighten the hems.
  4. Jeans look great with leather shoes without socks - definitely slim-cut. Still look ok with straight cut jeans...but not with baggy suit trousers.
  5. If you have a pale skin, definitely easier with light-coloured trousers (Chinos) with brown shoes. Avoid the combination of dark trousers and black shoes; that would make your pale ankle stick out.

Whenever I wear a tie with suit jacket - I make sure the colour of the jacket is different from the trousers'. A combination of "a two piece suit, a shirt, tie & leather shoes but wearing no socks" seems to look rather "incomplete". So if I wear matching jacket & trousers, I normally wear my shirt open-necked, or wear a polo shirt instead.

Pat Casual Derby Shoes from Ben Sherman, Black or Tan

#4 Get Used To It!

Try sockless every other day in the beginning to avoid swollen blistering feet. Quite obviously, if you just bought a pair of brand new leather shoes, break them in with socks first. It's only the beginning your feet may feel a little suffocated - soon you'll get used to it, so keep trying! The main thing is to keep yourself look cool (as in temperature), clean and approachable, and feel that way.

Ted Baker / Dune Shoes from John Lewis

Left: Ted Baker Simeen Round Toe Moccasins, Black. Right: Dune Radcliffe Derby Lace-Up Brogue Shoes, Tan. 

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About the author 

Ray Dioactive

Driven by dreams, grounded by reality, taking revenge on life's challenges. Whatever you say, I stand strong. I'm kind-hearted, though unapologetically true to myself. I stumble but I rise. I am who I am , no excuse.

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  1. Hey Ray, it’s great to know about soaking your feet in bicarbonate soda but I use epsom salt, and it seems to make a difference, have you every tried that? I dissolve some epsom salt in my bath. The salt is supposed to help relax your muscles but also to break down the bo bacteria. My feet don’t seem to smell as much as they used to. I wear leather shoes with no socks except the winter. Smart casual at work, no one takes notice anyway (8 men in the office) lol.
    Keep up with your good work Ray. Cheers M.

    1. Hi Martin, thanks for your comment. Wow, yeah I’ve heard of Epsom Salt, I’ve never tried that and it sounds like I’d better! I rarely take a bath, only on a freezing cold day in winter, always quick shower twice a day. That’d kill two birds with one stone, great idea. I’m sure people take notice of your feet somewhere – while commuting, in the supermarket, at a party most definitely!

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