Closet Constructor: To Bark or Not to Bark

The topic of men's sandals is a fraught one. We have the solution.

May 10, 2024 12:20 pm
closet constructor
Stocks and socks? Dogs out? InsideHook reveals proper sandal etiquette for the summer.

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Welcome to Closet Constructor, a weekly series where I (a style editor) help you (a well-meaning person who likes clothes) discover new, interesting, and affordable ways to really start dressin’.

In this polarized and highly charged climate, posing the wrong question can be asking for a potentially perilous outcome. But here at InsideHook, we’re committed to a certain standard of hard-hitting journalism that our readership demands, which is why, after much internal debate, I’ve decided to take the plunge into one of the most convoluted and contested queries out there: should men wear sandals?

You chuckle, but ask 100 different men their opinions on sandals, Family Feud style, and you’ll get 100 different answers. The divisiveness surrounding whether or not feet — specifically male presenting trotters — should see the light of day in a public setting is readily apparent in understandably heated. After all, men’s feet are, by most accounts, gross, but with the temps soaring and the hounds clamoring to be released, the temptation to risk it all for a cool breeze across your dogs is understandably strong. (To be clear, this discussion excludes the likes of the beach or backyard pool — anywhere that functional demands open-toed shoes is a safe space for toes.)

The past decade has seen collective sentiment oscillate on the viability of sandals as an appropriate footwear choice. Boat shoes momentarily replaced sandals as the footwear of choice for summer nearly a decade back — a trend that’s seeing a resurgence in 2024. Socks with rugged outdoor sandals a lá Chaco and Teva had their moment, as did streetwear-adjacent slides, similarly sheathed up. Huaraches have wormed their way into the zeitgeist, much to the anti-sandal crowd’s dismay.

Ghiaia Cashmere
Sandals don’t have to bear it all.
Ghiaia Cashmere

The whole “out, in, out again, very in again” cycle may he difficult to follow, but the great “should men wear sandals” debate really boils down to an argument over wether jailed but potentially nasty tootsies should be freed from the confines of shoes when the mercury spikes. The ensuing conversation about ideal form is just semantics. And seeing as how you’ve made it this far (that was — count ’em — six references to men’s feet in just three paragraphs, woof) you must be desperate for an answer. Here you go, chief. I, and by extension, InsideHook am/is on record as a pro-sandal publication. With some caveats.

It’s paramount to accept that to indulge in opened-toed enlightenment is to sign up for the Spider-Man philosophy of responsibility. As in, before you walk the dogs, you have to make sure they’re well-trained enough to not drag you into the street at the first sign of squirrel. Keeping your feet clean and manicured — a pedicure is an unknown luxury to most guys, but one well worth breaking whatever dumb social expectations are holding you back — is mandatory, not suggested. Otherwise sock up. You must have trimmed toenails to ride the sandalcoaster.

The Newest Menswear Trend Is Imported Straight From the Old Country
Fisherman sandals are a total nonno move…and the shoes of the summer

If all of this is sounding like more than you signed up for, know that there is a secret third thing: a new cannon of sleek fisherman sandals. A hybrid loafer-sandal typically constructed out of primo leather, these bad boys have a technically closed construction, despite the slide akin-ventilation and euro holiday curb appeal. It’s a win-win; you get the freedom you wanted, and the world doesn’t have to know your darkest secrets (read: if you have toe hair). And while the previous generation of fisherman sandals might have looked a little dorky, a ton of menswear labels — Vinny’s out of Copenhagen, king of Pasadena Ghiaia Cashmere, even clog makers Plasticana — have remade the style in a legimately cool offering. The new cohort of chanclas dress down a drapey linen shirt and some proper short shorts perfectly, and even look supering solid with a pair of ribbed, slouchy socks.

There you go. Sandals are officially okay. Get a manicure. Invest in some cod-catching footwear. Have a great weekend. Ciao.

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