Ever wonder what shoes to wear with shorts? These six types of shoes are perfect for wearing with shorts.
Maybe you’re gone of those guys who wear shorts from late February through early November. Or maybe you only wear shorts during those sweltering triple digit summer days.
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Either way, you have to know which kind of shoes to wear with your shorts. The good news is, you have a lot of options. If you’re not 100% certain about how your shorts should fit, I recommend reading this post first:
Read: How to Wear Shorts (and How Your Shorts Should Fit)
This article will focus specifically on footwear.
Okay, here are six types of shoes that you can wear with shorts, in order from least casual to most casual:
In general, loafers are the least casual type of shoe that men usually wear with shorts. That said, there are many different types of loafers.
I recommend staying away from dressy options, such as velvet tassel Belgian loafers, and instead opting for more casual options, such as leather or suede penny loafers.
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with medium or light brown leather penny loafers. Loafers look great with a button up shirt or polo. You can wear them with loafer socks (a.k.a., no show socks) or no socks at all.
Moccasins are just a small step down from loafers on the formality scale, which is why they’re so versatile. Of course, there are different types of moccasins.
Some types are great to wear with shorts.
Driving mocs are slip ons that have those instantly recognizable rubber studs under the toe box and behind the heel. They’re kind of like boat shoes, but they’re more suitable for year round wear.
Camp mocs, also called blucher mocs or ranger mocs, are a more substantial shoe. They’re even better than driving mocs for four season wear.
You can wear them sockless in the summer or wear them with thick wool socks in the fall and winter. They’re one of the most versatile pairs of shoes you can buy.
#3: Boat Shoes
Boat shoes are decidedly preppy, and they’re not for everyone. If you do like the preppy look, boat shoes are the perfect shoe for summer.
They can be worn with shorts a t-shirt, polo or button up.
Boat shoes are traditionally worn without socks, although many men choose low profile socks for comfort.
If you want to be less preppy and more unique, you can espadrilles with your shorts instead of boat shoes.
Like boat shoes, espadrilles are designed for warm weather and bare feet. They’re usually made from thick textiles like canvas, and they require a bit of breaking in.
Make sure they’re nice and snug when you try them on, as they’ll probably loosen up and conform to the shape of your foot over time.
Espadrilles can be dressed up or down. You could wear them with swim trunks and a tank top or a button shirt and pressed linen shorts.
Boat shoes are ubiquitous, but espadrilles are still somewhat under the radar. So if you want to stand out, opt for espadrilles over boat shoes.
They look great with t-shirts and polos, but they can definitely be worn with button up shirts too.
- Minimal leather (e.g. Common Projects Achilles Low, Stan Smiths)
- Canvas (Vans Old Skool, All Stars)
- Athletic (Flyknits, Ultraboosts)
- German Army Trainer (Maison Margiela,
I prefer a minimal leather sneaker, but the choice is really up to you. Go with something that speaks to your personality and aesthetic!
Last and possibly least, we have sandals. Sandals are more casual than
You shouldn’t wear socks with sandals, ever, no matter what kind of sandals you’re wearing.
Sandals fall into three general categories:
- Walking/hiking (Tevas, Birkenstocks)
- “Dress” (gladiator style or “strappy” sandals)
- Flip flops
While all sandals are inherently casual, flip flops are just one small step up from bare feet.
They’re so casual that, in my modest opinion, I think they should be reserved for the pool and the beach.
Basically, if you’re within 30 seconds of jumping into a body of water, flip flops are totally okay.
Any of these seven types of shoes will look great with shorts, but that doesn’t mean you have to own all of them.
If you like the preppy look, for example, go with loafers and boat shoes (and shorter shorts). If you want to be more unique, opt for espadrilles and some cool sandals. Either way, save the flip flops for the pool, beach and gym shower.
And no matter what, don’t wear socks with any type of sandals. With the other summer shoes (loafers,
Again, if you need some great low profile socks, check out my favorite no show socks review.
What’s your favorite type of shoe to wear with shorts? Leave a comment below!
George Givens, Jr. says
Hi Brock, went right out to Amazon ordered a couple pair of Falke no show socks. They didn’t cost as much I thought $20. Since my wife complains about her no show socks not actually being “no show” and that they always bunch at bottom of foot I also ordered a couple pair of women’s invisible Falke’s too. (She has a pair of dress loafers where the top of the shoe is way down the bridge of her foot so ordinary sneaker socks and most so called no show socks don’t work at all.) Anyway back to the Falke problem. When I received them mine looked like I expected uppers cut low but also cut back off bridge of foot. My wife’s were cut low but not back off bridge of foot like mine. When I looked at package I noticed it says “High Cut” but that is NOT the way Amazon seller described them. I know that is not your problem. Anyway I went back to Amazon to set up return and noticed the females are also described as invisible sneaker cut (item 47577). However, the ones I ordered for myself were described as invisible shoe liners. Apparently there is a difference. So I reordered for my wife but this time I made sure the description said shoe liner (not here yet). I went out to the Falke website but could not find any such distinctions. Anyway I thought you might like to warn your membership. I’m including photo of mine and at pair I ordered for my wife.
P.S. No way post photo.
What’s a good place/store to buy no show socks?
I think we need to be careful about thinking the world revolves around our own little circle. I lived in Hawaii for a few years and flip flops are widely worn and accepted. Sandals are more acceptable in some places than others. What is stylish in Miami may be offensive in Chicago. Context is Important.
Rollo, I agree with you. However, some of my criticism of sandals, flip flops, and Birkenstocks was meant to be tongue in cheek. But I stand by my opinion that flip flops are best left for college students the beach and shower. Got nothing to do with social circles just style and fashion.
Awesome article Brock, again, precise and educational, thanks. From a man that wears shorts all year round, I am now keen to try out the casual leather loafer look.
In my opinion Birkenstocks should all be burned or put in a notch below flip flops. I also feel flip flops are for kids up through underclassmen college. If you’re a college senior or grad student you’re too old and hopefully educated to wear flip flops anywhere but at the pool or the shower at your gym.
do not use sandals! pleaseee
Do not wear shoes with shorts! Kidding, but seriously, I know feet in general are not our best feature, but aren’t hideous (I think it means “to be hidden”) either, if you look after that. If you don’t like to wear them, great, you simply have a different style, which I may or may not like it, but would just be my opinion, that’s the point.
and that goes for women too, but I guess for women this don’t apply, if it does, though kudos at least for the coherence.