How Toe Socks Became My Surprise NYC Spring Essential

May 24, 2023 Off By Mary Frances "Francky" Knapp

When I emerged from my horny hermit cave this spring, I had an epiphany: I’ve never owned socks that express my sexuality, and that’s a problem. I own a lot of ribbed white tanks and 2000s blockbuster film promo merch, which is a great visual shorthand combo for saying, “I am a single, thirsty pansexual.” But I can only rely on my The Da Vinci Code snapback to wrangle so much ass. It’s time for another part of my wardrobe to pull its weight this summer. Luckily, the solution is easy: toe socks.

Traditional socks are tight, but they provide a collective, blanketing comfort to my feet, while toe socks dare to say, “Check us out; we are 10 brothers.” Each little piggy deserves its own house under the philosophy of toe sock individualism, which dares to decree that toes are not a monolith, but a colony. They don’t need to be crammed together like a hot girl’s tinned fish; they deserve freedom of expression, dexterity, and the ability to grip a ballpoint pen should the moment arise. They deserve the best toe socks.

Rainbow toe socks have always been a solid White Elephant novelty gift, and Japan has been doing toe socks forever, from the style’s 15th-century Japanese origins to Maison Margiela’s Tabi boots and their corresponding, high-fashion two-pronged toe socks. Today, however, I will be slinging you the five-pronged toe hammock as the perfect sock for spring in the city (and, honestly, everywhere else).

Hear me out. Toe socks say, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” They’re an extension of the GOATed normcore combo of socks and sandals, and ideal for those spring days with a slight breeze when you don’t want to catch a foot chill; they will protect your toes from subway mystery fluids, and, according to a dear friend and fellow self-identifying ho, “reduce chafing and keep your toes from sweating and sticking together.” As an ASMR stan and an overall fan of sensory stimulation, I’m also a big fan of how they tingle feel in the first few moments of wear—it’s like a sixth sense is awakened. Some studies even suggest that toe socks can help align your toes to avoid hammertoe and bunions. Plus, they just look sick. The girlfriend of the aforementioned friend said these long toe socks give me “debutante glove feet”:

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Photo by the Author

… And look at how much they impressed my friend’s dog, Poppy, when paired with some platform Tevas and a Vivienne Westwood-inspired plaid skirt at the coffee shop last weekend:

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Photo by the Author

The only thing standing between you and a toe sock spring/summer is a few styling tips, so let’s unpack a handful of my favorite combos for hitting the streets, and maybe even making someone with a foot fetish really happy.

You read the classics

I feel like I’m always hiking up my socks in my shoes, so I made a point to buy this 5-pack of extra tall toe socks with a 4.3-star average rating on Amazon; Never mind the one reviewer who writes, “These are great, but whose pinky toe is that long?” Mine, mamma. These toe socks fit me like a glove, come in a shade I like to call “ostrich milk,” and haven’t slid an inch.

Of course, my short sock cousins will be craving their own foot jawn, which is where Fun Toes comes in clutch. This excellent brand makes a 6-pack of breathable, low-slung toe socks with a 4.3-star average rating from over 3,500 reviews, including one fan who writes, “no more blisters yay.”

You eat ass

Congrats, grad. You have mastered the classic toe sock, and now you’re ready for some fishnet and latex toe socks for some step-on-you/come-hither energy. You could be a ballerina, you could be in X-Men—you could be anyone in these statement socks.

Top it all off with a sandal

We fully support raw doggin’ the streets of Bushwick with your latex toe socks if you feel so inclined, but the work-appropriate way to style toe socks for spring and summer is by pairing them with some slides and sandals.

Pair these black platform Tevas with some long black toe socks for a monochrome look, or style them with a white pair to send the subliminal message that your feet are Double Stuf Oreos that need to be licked at the center:

If you want to look like the White Wizard, slip into some slick Hoka slides from Bodega and these white toe socks from some brand called Foot Traffic (swoon).

Listen, it’s easy being green. Just slip into your lime-colored toe socks and corresponding Sorel sling sandals with epic tread, and whisper “Kermit’s home” in your crush’s ear.

Last but not least, if you are absolutely balling out with that tax return, cop these sculptural Dries Van Noten sandals. They’re a Japandi-lover’s dream, and would look excellent styled with any of the aforementioned toe socks, as well as some two-pronged bois such as this pack of triplets by the brand “TeeHee.”

Happy spring, toe sock fam.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.