Gloves for your feet
Exactly when you start debating how Sarah Jessica Parker struts around town in knee-high hot pink socks tucked inside sky-high stilettos (and wonder if she buys the shoes a size bigger to make room for the socks), the world hands you the sock boot. Punk heel aside, the sock boot has a retro swing, reminiscent of the 1980s.
So it’s not a sock for your boot (which is technically termed a “boot sock”). It’s a boot, generally ankle or calf length, which merges the sock element in the design and is likely to have a pointy toe and a kitten or block heel. With colours ranging from neutral to pop, they are stretch-jersey booties, occasionally with added textures like velvet and embroidery. Sock line or potential scrunchy gathers aside, this hybrid acknowledges that athleisure is not a passing trend.
The sock boot is a natural progression from the thigh-high satin boots popularized by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel in 1990, when the boots became an alternative to leggings. Kylie Jenner made waves in purple Balenciaga Spandex boots, which, offered in a range of colours, are an obvious replacement for leggings. In 2014, Nike and Adidas introduced the all-in-one knitted football sock shoes. More recently, Vetements and Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia redefined the boot with the second-skin Balenciaga “knife bootie” in black knitted sock or pop-coloured crepe, which, in turn, is an elevated take on the Vetements lighter-heel knitted sock boots. And Valentino’s and Prada’s sock-stilettos may not be boots, but they do bear a strong resemblance, naturally creating a sock-stiletto-boot hybrid.
Sock boots hug the ankles and create a slimming effect, which is a big hit on the street. And it’s a trend that suggests longevity, simply because of its ease of use. They feel lighter than the original kind and are easier to carry around when you are hopping between kickers and heels. They also turn up the volume on the preferred silhouettes of the moment, anti-fit above and body-con below. High-fashion sportswear has become a wardrobe staple, and it is but natural that boots should follow suit.
These boots make perfect accompaniments to mid-calf or knee-length flirty skirts, floral dresses and minis. They also provide opportunities for layering: Beyoncé paired her Vetements mid-calf bootie of sparkly green athletic socks and a unicorn-printed column heel with cut-off shorts and a camouflage jacket.
Our favourite among what’s out there? It’s got to be Fendi’s toast-to-vintage and ready-to-rock sock boots that give the sportiness a feminine kiss with pearls and lace.
Where to find it:
Balenciaga, Fendi, Vetements, Valentino, Malone Souliers, Uterque, Giuseppe Zanotti, Zara, Mango, Forever 21, TopShop.