A Brief Defense of Socks and Sandals

despite years of derision and corniness, the dad-look mainstay is a keeper

Dan Ingersoll

From my perspective, sandals without socks have never been a good idea. Let’s be real – even the best pair of leather sandals against the bare foot produces sweat, blisters, a fair amount of chaffing and, in short order, smells like a dead fish. Some dads have always known this and found that pairing a soft cotton sock with a good sandal is like dark chocolate and a fine wine.   

Despite the fact that for the past 20 years it has been considered one of the worst fashion faux pas one could commit and your children will not acknowledge you in public, it’s a really good idea. Add a little foot powder to the mix and be prepared for an experience that leaves your feet feeling pampered, your whole being lighter, and strangers will leave you more room on the sidewalk.

Beyond the children, you will have to deal with a few work colleagues who benignly suggest at lunch that they are thinking about nominating you to the TLC show What Not to Wear. And when you say, “What, me?” they say things like, “Oh come on, you have to admit you do a good job of sporting frumpy” or “Please – socks and sandals?”

Throughout it all – the shame, the ridicule of small children and adults alike – I have remained strong and true to my convictions: Fashion follows comfort and the fashion police be damned!  I will wear a nice pair of low-cut white sport socks in my sandals any time I feel like it. On a couple of occasions I have even donned an ankle-length black sock and received many fine compliments and only a few glares of disgust.

The other day I was out walking when another sock-n-sandaled dad passed on the opposite side of the street. Our eyes met for just a moment and then we flashed each other peace signs and gave that knowing head nod. That kind of support goes a long way, and for that I am grateful.
So after many years of standing strong in the face of ridicule while carving out solitary walks in my socks and sandals, I was surprised and amazed when I read this headline this morning: “Socks and Sandals are on the Runway and Taking the Paris Fashion World by Storm.”
Well this is a welcome change isn’t it? Finally the world of fashion has caught up with me!  
But wait! I can see it now … “Fashion” will dictate that you will need to be a “certain age” to pull off this “new” look. It will be the look of whatever comes after hipster. It will be adopted by the ones who made fun of you for the past 10 years for doing what they now intend to do. Suddenly the very thing that you have been doing all along will become you “trying too hard to be cool.” The reality is it’s been you leading the way all along, and the rest of the world is just too dumb to know it!

Stay strong, dads. We know the truth and we don’t need “normcore” to tell us we are OK!