What Are the Best No-Show Socks?

Socks are one of those often-overlooked wardrobe items that deserve more attention than they get. Given the amount of time we spend on our feet, great socks can improve our quality of life, making walking and other daily activities spent in ballet flats, sneakers and loafers a pleasure. Or at least a relatively pain-free experience.

Especially around this time of year when feet swell in the heat and a shoe that fit nicely only a month ago starts to chaff. Then, before you can say “Ouch,” a blister has formed.

Enter no-show socks, those footie accessories that promise to allow you to look as if you are so carefree as to wear shoes without socks while actually allowing you to avoid the rub.

As a promise, it often seems too good to be true — and indeed, as you point out, it often is. No-shows that hit below the back of the shoe can inch down until there is a veritable, and uncomfortable, mound of sock under the arch of your foot.

But there are a few steps (sorry, couldn’t help it) that you can take to avoid this problem.

First, make sure you get the right size. Kane 11, for example, offers shoe-related sizing, as opposed to generic S-M-L, or even one size fits all. (The sock may fit all, but it won’t necessarily stay in place for all.)

Second, check to confirm that whatever sock you buy has a silicone “lip” on the inside of the heel or upper arch of the foot, which will help it stick in place. Bombas is especially good for this — the company also donates a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair sold — as is Eodor.

And finally, it’s worth reconsidering the visible ankle sock as an alternative solution. Yes, such short socks can have unsettling associations with childhood, but increasingly chic adult women are adopting the look and changing the narrative. Miuccia Prada, a great proponent of the visible ankle-sock-with-pumps, is a case in point.

Similarly, Karla Welch, a stylist who works with Sarah Paulson and Tracee Ellis Ross, has largely given up on the no-show-sock quest for exactly this reason. “I love seeing a sock just popping out of any shoe, even a low heel,” Ms. Welch said. She even rolls up her sweatpants to show off her tube socks.

For a more dressy socks ’n’ shoes look, Ikram Goldman, the founder of a namesake Chicago store (and fashion adviser to such power players as Mellody Hobson), recommends the sheer short socks from Tabio, which come in lace, tulle and lamé, among other fabrics. It’s one way to kick up your heels.

Every week on Open Thread, Vanessa will answer a reader’s fashion-related question, which you can send to her anytime via email or Twitter. Questions are edited and condensed.

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