The 6 best men's shoes to wear without socks

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Although socks provide a layer of protection against sweat, sometimes you just want to pull on your damn shoes and go. However, that often results in a smell that could stop anybody in their tracks. Sweat combines with bacteria that live on your feet to create the perfect storm inside your shoe. Therefore, the best men's shoes to wear without socks are the ones that are least likely to make your feet sweat, whether that's from a breathable fabric or a strategic design.

Material matters here. Look for breathable mesh or natural canvas —even a leather loafer, since leather lets air in. You might also want to look for options that can be tossed in the wash (a handy feature should a stench start to develop). You'll want to avoid solid synthetic materials, since they trap moisture and don’t let your soles breathe. In addition to airy fabric, some shoes will offer additional ventilation through side panels and woven designs.

There are also a few things you can do to prevent a sweat-induced shoe fiasco. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes for two days in a row so they have a chance to dry out thoroughly. You can also stuff them with a deodorizing insert if you want extra protection (and for your convenience, there are some great charcoal ones included below).

From trainers to loafers and a few that fall somewhere in between, these stylish shoes won’t make you reexamine your life choices when you take them off at the end of the day.

1. The knit chukka

‌These woven chukkas are the lovechild of a sneaker and a boat shoe, in a breathable canvas-like knit you can toss in the washing machine. There’s a memory foam insole with a wider toe box and an anatomically correct heel pocket for enhanced comfort, and the flexible outsole is light enough to float on water. Note: The brand does recommend sizing up if you usually wear half sizes.

One reviewer wrote: “Very comfortable, stretchy, cushy, breathable and light, very light. Will be getting another pair!”

Sizes: 7 — 15 | Colors: 26

2. The canvas slip-on

‌This classic canvas slip-on has an Oxford cloth upper with cotton drill lining for a durable yet breathable low-profile sneaker. The vulcanized rubber sole is slip-resistant, and there’s an elastic gore for easy on and off. Shoppers reported that the shoes were easy to clean — in fact, you can throw them in the wash — and they break in well for a comfortable fit.

One reviewer wrote: “They're so comfy, great for the price. [...] The sole is very thick, padded, and the sides are also very sturdy. The leather padding on the heel doesn't cause blisters and I'd say the shoes can be worn with or without socks depending on your preference.”

Sizes: 3.5 — 16, including wide sizes | Colors: 33

3. The boat shoe

Water-resistant 100% leather combines with a slip-resistant rubber sole in this classic summer slip-on shoe that only gets better with age. A boat shoe's timeless, versatile style upgrades even the humble jorts and is nice enough for a pair of khakis and a sport coat. Once they're broken in, they mold to your foot like you've had them forever — and the side air mesh panels mean breathable wear day in and day out.

One reviewer wrote: “Good shoes for Florida with a non-slip sole. Not as hot as the leather version and your feet don't sweat since they are ventilated.”

Sizes: 7 — 15, including wide sizes | Colors: 4

4. The knit loafer

These knit loafers are a super-breathable option for a dress shoe you can wear without socks. The upper material is flexible and comfortable, according to Amazon reviewers, and the lightweight rubber sole offers grip with each step. In addition to various knit colors, these loafers also come in velvet styles and colorful patterns.

One reviewer wrote: “Exactly what I expected. Breathable shoe with a comfortable fit. No socks necessary, definitely a good look!”

Sizes: 6 — 13 | Colors and styles: 26

5. The mesh running shoe

‌These mesh sneakers couple an absurdly breathable upper with a super springy insole for a comfortable, all-purpose shoe you can wear for training and recovery. "They required very little breaking in, they're super comfortable and breathable, no sweaty or cramping feelings," one shopper noted. The precision-engineered "Fresh Foam" midsole is designed to be ultra-lightweight despite its cushy feel. They have a contoured heel and higher-cut bootie style that stays securely on your foot, and the durable rubber sole was designed to withstand everything from sidewalks to off-roading.

One reviewer wrote: “They are abused at work on the daily but remain comfy and stylish. I will buy another pair when these get tired. I wear a size 10.5 wide and they fit me perfectly. They are breathable and do not overheat my feet.”

Sizes: 7 — 18, including wide sizes | Colors: 28

6. The European espadrille

‌These high-quality espadrilles are a worthy alternative to sneakers and boat shoes, with a little more style than your well-worn Toms. They’re hand-made in Spain with breathable canvas, plus a genuine leather lining and a durable rubber and jute outsole. You can’t throw them in the wash, but they’re easy to clean: just brush with a little soapy water, then air dry. They need to be broken in first, but according to reviewers, they’re beyond comfortable once they contour to your feet.

One reviewer wrote: “I don't wear any socks with them (I don't believe you're supposed to anyhow), and I thoroughly enjoy the texture of the rope insole, more so that I find myself wearing these over my casual sneakers. Another reason as to why that is, is because they don't overheat.”

Sizes: 17 — 13.5 | Colors: 5

Also handy: The ventilated insoles

‌These full-size ventilated gel insoles are infused with activated charcoal and baking soda and feature a moisture-wicking lining, so your feet stay cool, dry, and odor-free. The honeycomb design promotes airflow within your shoe, while the wicking lining helps absorb moisture before bacteria can feast. The activated charcoal and baking soda neutralize smells, and the cushioning provides an added layer of shock-absorbing comfort when you’re on your feet all day.

They’ll fit shoe sizes 8 to 13 and can be trimmed to fit. Just note that you have to swap them out every six months.

One reviewer wrote: “Love these. They are so comfortable and airy. Keeps my feet cooler and more comfortable in my work boots and regular shoes.”

Another helpful add-on: The odor-eliminating bags

‌Tuck these bamboo charcoal odor-eliminating inserts into your shoe after a long day to absorb excess moisture and neutralize any lingering smells, all without any chemicals. You get a pack of 12 with each order — enough to reinvigorate six pairs of shoes — and they "recharge" if you leave them in the sun for a few hours. They're also great for gym bags, closets, cars, or anywhere that's prone to mustiness.

One reviewer wrote: “I wear a lot of shoes without socks. My shoes were starting to stink really bad. I bought these charcoal bags, placed them in the sun like the instructions suggest, and placed them in six pairs of shoes. I'm happy to report that my shoes no longer smell like stinky, sweaty feet.”