For years, the topic has been hotly debated: Socks and sandals, a fashion faux pas or a comfort-forward trend? Sandal-maker Chaco Inc. has emerged as a frontrunner in the “Socko” revolution, and the brand is putting it out there for the world to see.
Search the hashtag #sockos and you find a litany of Chaco-wearers extending the sandal season well into the winter months. Although socks and sandals have been around for years — Birkenstock enthusiasts being main culprits — the “socko” revolution comes with the backing of thousands of social media hungry fans of so-called “Chaco Nation.” As winter descends upon North America and Chaco-wearing devotees shed their sandals for more appropriate footwear, there is a diehard bastion who refuse to give up their open toes. Are they (we, I admit) committing fashion suicide by stepping into sandals every day, cold temps and snow be damned?
It is my hope that anyone, at a first glance, might be able to understand the appeal. Combining the oh-so comfortable footbeds of the traditional Chaco Sandal with a pair of cozy socks… well, it gives you breathability and comfort all in one. It’s like a fleece sweater for your toes, and it allows airflow and just enough breeze to let you know it’s chilly outside.
Starting in the foothills of the Western Slopes, and quickly spreading to outdoorsy towns across the country, the socko-wearer gives no shits. He or she fancies comfort over looks. They wear a Patagonia sweater and shorts along with Chacos and a pair of knee-high socks. Add a Mountainsmith hip-pack and the aesthetic — not to mention the absolute outdoors utility — is complete.
If a socko user is really dedicated, they won’t hesitate to break out a pair of toe socks to accomplish to ultimate in sock-sandal fashion.
The toe-sock socko look is the truest form of the combination. Warm enough to keep your feet from freezing, but free enough to make it feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all on those piggies.
Although friends and family might try to talk the socko advocate down out of their social-life-debilitating fashion choices, most become addicted after their first use.
Weeks after friends have packed away summertime footwear, the socko man or woman is still insistent — they wear the sandals everywhere, including the bar, family gatherings, work, and weddings. Hiking? Hell yes, we are wearing sandals, from June to January, it doesn’t matter.
Regardless of what you think, sockos are here to stay. Admit, you can’t help but deny the combo makes some sense. Maybe the next time you’re alone, slip on a pair of woolies and slap your feet into those Chacos. Take a test run or a hike. You might never take them off.