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Shoes (steauarosie/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Shoes (steauarosie/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Your fashion advice for men to go sockless in summer is nuts Add to ...

The question:

You recommend going sockless with leather shoes, summer trousers and even suits. You are nuts. You want us to have stinky feet and rot our shoes.

The answer:

I am indeed completely nuts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about how I look. Sometimes, I admit, I will privilege appearance over comfort. Impracticality is a sign of a fun guy, no? Women have been living by the appearance-over-comfort directive since the invention of the corset, and although we also call them nuts, we still like to look at them. I would rather be nuts than unattractive.

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There is something insouciant and boyish about the sockless ankle in summer. When dressing for heat, the goal is not just to feel un-hot but also to look it: This is why Goths in black mesh shirts always look silly in 30 degrees no matter the state of their ventilation. Running shoes are not a good option for dressy outfits, and it’s almost impossible to find a sexy sandal.

I understand the fear of the sweaty foot. And it’s true that leather can take on a nasty odour permanently. If you want your shoes to last for 10 years (as your dad used to boast), then contemporary fashion is not for you.

But if you’re honest, you’re going to admit to buying shoes more frequently than that just to keep up with current trends. Wear your clothes with abandon, I say; don’t keep them pristine as if for museums: They are meant to wear out. Then you get to buy new ones.

And have you considered foot powder? It reduces sweat and odour, protects the shoe and is invisible if correctly applied (please don’t get it all over your ankles or we will see your secret).

The other option is athletic ankle socks, cut to the height of the shoe’s upper. They are available in running and other sports shops. They will always be visible so not, to my snobbish eye, perfect but certainly a better option – especially with shorts – than full-length socks. See? I will tolerate compromise.

Novelist Russell Smith’s memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a style question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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