How to pair socks with sandals and become a normcore god
In 2014, when the term ‘normcore’ first gained mainstream popularity, it sounded like a joke: Hahaha, looking “normal” is in a way all the rage now! Hey look, cool kids are wearing their dad’s old pants and their moms jeans and scrunchies and ill-fitting overalls, crew neck sweatshirts and orthopedic shoes! Ha! Ha! Ha! “Normcore style icons include Larry David, Steve Jobs (guhh, turtlenecks!) And Blood Orange frontman Devonte Hynes,” VICE collaborator Chandler Levack wrote in 2014 in a post that defined the look as a “shiny meme”. Due to the age range of the normcore taste makers (collective opinion seems to attribute it to a group of art students who suddenly started wearing Patagonia fleeces, cheugy shoes and tourist ornaments), the look was deeply rooted in ’90s essentials, with the intention, according to Levack, of being “to return to the womb, the 5th grade class, where everyone wore Northern Getaway sweatshirts and neon fluorescent pants. To live in your parents’ closet forever ”.
One of the most prevalent trends to gain traction during the Normcore era was a renewed acceptance of wearing socks with sandals. In 2014, the same year, normcore was born as a concept, Gothamist ran an observation timeline noting important observations of the shoe combo, stating its return as proof that we had achieved “Sad Dad status”. That’s not to say the look was in any way new; the New York Cultural Blog also noted, via Wikipedia, that “the old Romans wore socks with sandals at least 2,000 years ago.” But a certain vitriol against wearing socks with sandals has always been blocked. To date, this Wikipedia article opens with the following statement: “Wearing socks and sandals together is a controversial combination of fashion and a social phenomenon that is discussed in various countries and cultures. In some places it is seen like a fashion faux pas. ” Time is really a flat circle.
There were those who speculated that normcore was a silly flash in the pan, some sort of weird final stage in the irony cycle. The New York Times speculated that it might just be a “massive joke”. Well guess what? Normcore won. Here we are, seven years later, and in cities from New York to Los Angeles, we’re in an authentic sea of nondescript white sneakers, metal-rimmed glasses, and old-fashioned ’90s vibes – and we’re happier. in this way. Social media-focused neo-streetwear brands, such as Ceramics Online and Fantastic explosion have built their mini-empires on banality and all-too-familiar recycled clipart. And the sock-to-sandal look has firmly planted its flag as not only acceptable, but somehow, unexpectedly, intentional.
During and after COVID, this understated, post-cool aesthetic makes even more sense. One of the important lessons of 2020 was that coolness is absolutely a build, and at the end of the day, being comfortable can be more of a part of personal happiness than being able to flex a stiff, ill-fitting jacket that costs half. of your paycheck and hours of your day to acquire at a sample sale.
Hear Us: A fluffy sandal or slide with a thick, marshmallow sock really looks like a spa. And if you become a sock with sandal wearer, you will be in good company. R&B artists, track models, TikTokers, comedians, an unrecognizable version of Pete Wentz– all let in socks with sandals in their waiting hearts.
Of course, now that celebrity children of counterrevolutionary celebrities, including Kendall jenner, Kaia Gerber, and Rumer willis wholeheartedly kissing socks with sandals, there’s always a chance the look will come close to the squeaky zone again. But that’s the problem with fashion; the pendulum continues to swing. At least we’re comfortable waiting for the fall. No blisters here.
Bury me in Birkenstocks
Unisex art teacher, universal and so crispy full circle that they are sort of the Dopest, Birkenstocks is a staple in the sandal world that not only goes with everything, but makes the look.
Easily slipped on or thrown in, they’re the ultimate low-effort shoe for the beach, barbecuing, lambrusco in the park, or cruising to the grocery store in a bathrobe like The Dude. We love that their timeless styles are all unisex (available in men’s and women’s sizes) and their aggressively neutral colors match any sock choice. Bless you, Birks.
The best socks to pair with your Birks
When it comes to socks and sandals, you can never go wrong with crisp, clean, chunky, white, athletic socks (or even slightly fluffy, which is its own vibe). These Gold Toe guys have 4.5 / 5 stars out of almost 38,000 solid ratings. The odd yellow toe sticking out of the tip of your Birk is so deeply #norm.
If you want a white sock look but a little something special, pair the legacy brand with the legacy brand and pair your Birks with Carhartt Work in Progress logo embroidered socks.
And if you really want to get the message across that you are a cooler who is full of sun and doesn’t give a shit about giving, these “No Problemo” socks will absolutely do the trick.
Take these Timberlands on a hike… to the art exhibit
Throw some skater socks under these chunky calfskin, tactile straps, and calfskin sandals from Timberland and you Dimes Square influencer. (For Timbs women, the Croc Malibus, with their foam-padded bed and high-grip soles, are positively * the chef’s kiss *.)
Pair them with Walter Van Beirendonck’s eye-catching snake pattern socks, which have a message that war is bad, or human rights, or something like that. Yes my boy!
If you’re looking for more subtle hippie energy, you can’t go wrong with tie and dye. It’s a neutral now.
Perfect summer pairing: Clarks sandals and a tasty hot dog
Clarks is known to be super comfortable; it’s kind of their thing. With that in mind, we’ve named these sandals the official Grill Dads Everywhere shoe this summer. You don’t have to have children. You don’t even really need to have a grill. You just have to be ready to crack open a cold one, wear a perfectly broken cap, and call everyone “sport.”
When it comes to pairing socks, you’re going to want to go for contrast. Sometimes in life, unusual couples can project dominance, an overwhelming sense of confidence that you know what you are doing. For this reason, we recommend a combo of Clarks with fancy Burberry check socks…
… Or, Fieri-esque Vans crew socks that don’t shy away from the mall punk aesthetic of the early 2000s.
For all your tide poolin ‘and Tinder datin’ needs
Holy shit … what did this line come from? Romeo and Juliet? “Because I never saw real beauty until tonight?” That’s sure to be the vibe seeing these multicolored Tevas in muddy jewel tones straight out of a 1994 pencil box. Every color option is certainly inspired, but this look… [faints in ecstasy].
You can’t improve on perfection, but you can push your Teevs past the age of tasteful sensuality with psychedelic zebra print socks.
It’s Croc time
If we go all-in on the normcore, that means we have to bow to Crocs. They stayed here the entire time, doing their thing, as many of us responded with confusion, hatred and ceremonial stoning in the village square. In reality, they’re lords with happy feet, and they never really cared what we thought, anyway.
Pair with Supreme socks, just to be a jerk.
Who needs a pedicure?
Oh yeah, it’s ladies night. Of course, all sandals are of any kind if you are not a coward. There is a lot to love about Chiara Ferragni large chunky leather logo sandals, but it’s hard not to have a soft spot for those fluffy, frivolous fleece-strap sandals, which whisper, “I barely got out of bed today but here I am, honey.”
Pair them with “no show” socks, which will indeed be visible, because that’s how little you care. Being that simple is, well, a bit of an effort in itself.
Or if you want to look into full kawaii, these kindercore sheer socks will do the trick, too.
Normcore’s final boss
That’s right folks – Bowser’s castle to dress like a ponytail guy working in a nursery in 1997. I’m talking, of course, about Dockers. They are heavy with seams. They are thong. This is an advanced normcore sandal that cannot be performed effectively as a “normcore” (and not just “unintentionally”) if you also have stick ‘n’ poke tattoos and an impressive collection of vintage t shirts that you plan to end up selling to put your kids through college. We believe in you!
Of course, there is only one correct answer in terms of what to pair them with: the Grateful Dead socks.
You hate this article, and so do you
That’s great. We even have something for you!
Socks, my friends.
The staff at the rec room independently selected all of the items featured in this story. VICE may receive a small commission if you purchase through the links on our site.