White vs. Black Socks (The Definitive Guide)

In short: Generally, white socks work better in casual settings and are more elegant, while black socks are better for formal settings and are harder to get dirty.

When it comes to something like socks, there’s really no need to overthink it. I’ll keep this article short and sweet by guiding you with simple information about white vs. black socks.

Should you wear white or black socks?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so in order to help you decide between wearing white or black socks, let’s take a look at some pictures.

These are some white socks and white sneaker combinations. White on white works as long as either the whites are the same shade or are slightly different enough.

On the other hand, wearing black socks with white sneakers looks like crap. 

Now let’s take a look at the other combination: black socks with black shoes. 

Black socks are a natural pairing to black or other dark-colored shoes, especially in a formal setting. If you’re wearing black dress shoes, it’s best to pair them with black socks.

However, white socks with black shoes tend to look best in casual outfits, such as jeans and a tee shirt. Avoid wearing this combination with formal attire, as it can look unprofessional.

To keep things simple, it all boils down to what shoe colors you own. Pairing white on white is a no-brainer and looks naturally great, as does black on black. 

There is nothing intrinsically better about white socks than black socks, or vice versa, but in my opinion, your socks and shoes shouldn’t be in highly contrasting colors.

If you’re about to go out and buy socks, I would get both colors (white and black). Wear black with formal pants and dark-colored shoes, and wear white socks with white sneakers.

You shouldn’t be thinking too much about what color socks to wear with an outfit. Just choose between a pair of white socks or black socks – they go with literally anything.

Are they both boring? Sorta. But socks shouldn’t always be the star of the show anyway.

Or, just wear whatever color socks you wish. Chances are, most people won’t even notice them either way, so I wouldn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on it.

There are plenty of people who thought it made more sense to wear a pair of colorful and rainbow-like socks rather than keeping things simple, and they look slightly bizarre.

Are white socks better than black?

White socks aren’t better than black. The choice between white socks and black socks is a matter of personal preference, and not a question of which color is “better”.

Some people prefer white socks because they work better in casual settings and are more elegant, while others prefer black socks because they’re more formal and are harder to get dirty.

Ultimately, the color of your socks is up to you and what you feel most comfortable wearing. It’s like deciding between chocolate and vanilla. Some people prefer one over the other.

Are black socks hotter than white?

Black socks aren’t hotter than white socks if you’re wearing shoes. The black color only absorbs more energy in the visible spectrum (which can then become converted to infrared radiation).

If you’re in a dark environment or your socks are covered by something like a shoe, any changes in heat your feet experience will have nothing to do with the socks’ visible color.

However, if you aren’t wearing shoes and you’re in a bright, sunny environment, black socks will emit more heat and probably make you sweat more than lighter-colored socks.

Avoid piling on sneakers by matching sock colors

Something more important to consider when it comes to white and black socks is sock lint, also known as sock pilings, which are pieces of sock fabric stuck to the lining of your shoes.

These little balls of lint form around the heel of your shoes after some time and is, unfortunately, unavoidable. It’s also a pain in the behind to get rid of sock lint inside your shoes.

You can, however, avoid this by matching the sock color with your shoes. This means do not wear white socks with black-lined shoes, and vice versa.

A lint brush is an effective tool to remove sock lint inside your shoes but it’s by no means a permanent solution, so it’s best to avoid it from happening altogether.

I think choosing between white vs. black socks is more so about avoiding sock lints rather than considering whether both of them look nice on certain shoes or not.

By the way, you can read this excellent article from Complex about how to properly style and wear socks. It’s a great read if you’ve been contemplating white and black socks.