Can you wear tights / stockings with open toed shoes?

Can you wear tights with open toed shoes?

Can you wear tights with open toed shoes

Socks with sandals at Bertie

Donna writes…

Hi There-

Is it ever acceptable to wear hose with opened toed shoes? Thanks


We get this question a lot, and it comes in many different forms:

Can you wear hose with sandals?

Can you wear socks with peep toes?

Is it OK to wear tights with strappy sandals?

Can I wear stockings with open shoes?

and so on and so forth. It seems a lot of you are worrying about whether or not it’s permissible to wear your sandals, peep toes and other open shoes with anything other than bare feet. So: IS IT?

The short answer: It totally depends on the type of socks/tights/hose. And also on the type of shoes.

The long answer (because the short one wasn’t really all that helpful, we can see that):

If you’d asked us this a few years ago, we’d probably have had no hesitation in saying that no, hose with open-toed shoes is NEVER OK.

Then again, if you’d asked us a few years before THAT, we’d have been all, “Sure, why not?”

Our point: things change. Fashions change. There was a time when bare legs would have been considered horribly unsophisticated, therefore women would always be expected to wear some kind of hose, regardless of the style of their shoes. These days, that notion is considered outdated by many (Although there are still plenty of people who still subscribe to it), and bare legs have become much more the norm, especially in the summer. In fact, until the Duchess of Cambridge started to popularise the wearing of nude hose again, sheer tights were considered frumpy, and unstylish.  Nowadays, they’re still not exactly the height of fashion (despite the Duchess’s efforts), but opaque tights, on the other hand, are still very popular, and it’s far from uncommon to see them worn with peep toes or sandals.

In other words, we don’t think there IS a right answer to the burning issue of whether or not you can wear tights with open toed shoes, as it depends so much on the factors above. If you want to know our personal opinion, however (And bear in mind this is just an opinion!), we’d say YES to opaque tights with open toes, NO to sheer ones. We’d love to know what you think, however, so please feel free to join the conversation below!

What do you think: can you wear tights with open toed shoes? 

  1. I’ve been as fickle about this issue as you. I used to think it was tacky, but maybe that was before opaque tights were around and in all sorts of cute colours and patterns. Now, I’d say they’re cute with peep-toes, but I’m still not sold on the tights and strappy sandals look.

  2. opaque hose with black open toed shoes rocks it for me.
    it creates the illusion of a never ending leg. i can think now of olsens, nicole richie and more sporting the look.

  3. I think you’d want to leave off the shiny toenail polish…that photo screams “Hoof!” to me in every direction!

  4. The rule I live by is that if there is an icky seam that shows out the shoe, whatever it may be, don’t do it. many hose and tights companies have made seamless toe stockings nowadays so it shouldn’t be that hard to make it work.
    I am also of the opinion that if it’s nice enough for strappy sandals, it’s warm enough to shave and lotion your legs.

  5. As for me, it´s all about the how sheer they are. If they´re sheer enough that you can see the seam, or the colour of the nail polish on your toes underneath, or infact even the outline of your toes then it´s a BIG NO, regardless of the colour of the tights/hose.
    However if they´re opaque enough that all you see are just the tights, then it´s ok

    1. I agree with you – and I feel that any kind of stocking with very strappy sandals doesn’t look good, but it is ok with just an oben toe or sandals vith very broad straps.

  6. Just tested with black opaque tights and black shoes, and looked fine.
    Also, opaque tights would alleviate the weird peep toe problem on those Alexander McQueen shoes, though I have no idea what colour they’d have to be…

  7. I like the monochromatic same color opaque hose and open toed shoe. Otherwise, It just screams tacky!

  8. I like the monochromatic same color opaque hose and open toed shoe. Otherwise, It just screams tacky!

  9. Spot on, Fashion Police, I think it looks good with opaque tights, but should be avoided with sheer ones.

  10. Rock Hyrax, doesn’t wearing black opaque tights with black peep-toes essentially undermine the whole point of the peep-toe shoe? I mean, you’d want the peep-toe to be noticed, and it’s a bit difficult if you’ve got tights the same colour as the shoe.
    As for the original question – I think it’s totally icky to wear any kind of tights with peep-toes. If it’s warm enough for your toes to be out, then it’s warm enough not to wear tights.

  11. I may be in the minority, but I’ve always felt that high heels WITHOUT hose looks tacky. Most women’s legs are not that flattering, and hose can smooth the color and soften the “ropy” texture that our leg muscles can have when we’re standing on our toes. Also, very few women have attractive toes, especially after years of wearing toe-pinching high heels.
    I think hose with peep toes is more attractive than bare skin, but only if the seam doesn’t show, and only if the hose are “sandletoe”.

  12. Hmmm…I think I agree with the traditionalists that say that all high heels look more polished WITH hose. However, not if the seam is showing and NEVER with sandals of any kind. Also, not if you’re wearing pants with your heels (especially jeans!!)

  13. It ends up being, like all fashion trends, a boiling down to personal preference. Anytime a trend excludes people it is frustrating enough. But a trend that excludes women who wants to (or need to) wear hosiery when the outfit calls for an open toe or sandals is one to be ignored.

  14. Ok first understand that I do not mind if women wear bare legs despite my listing some of the downsides. What I don’t like is that *all* women *always* wear bare legs and never hose even when it makes their legs look better because they don’t think they can do this with open toed shoes. I’m a guy who likes nice legs and can appreciate a coordinated professional look on a woman.
    General barely on topic rant:
    Like all fashion trends this is based on what we know. In the 90s bare legs (and corporate casual) became all the rage. And many young women who grew up then will always prefer that. I grew up in the 80s and a former girlfriend I know still loves shoulder pads. She just thinks they are great. I’m not trying to pull rank based on age but those who grew up in the 90s not only saw a rejection of hose but they saw a rejection of professional dress. The hose were just one part of that general rejection. Offices that used to be full of men and women dressed in suits are now full of portly men in kakis and short sleeve plaid shirts, and women, well, in all sorts of things. So certainly if a woman has on some sort of suit any sort of suit it will seem plenty professional. If a guy has a collar and sleeves longer than his elbow he is “dressed up.” Or so the children from the 90s think. I’m not trying to make this into a generation war. Instead I’m saying just please try to understand that certain things are sometimes trends that really have little to do with true aesthetics. From the 80s we had all sorts of things we thought were cool. In the 90s a generalization can be made that there was a rejection of professional looks.
    Ok now on to the specific question: Can women wear hose with open toed shoes?
    The answer was no if you are living in America in the late 90s. But it is yes if you want to look professional. Women couldn’t wear flatter hair in the 80s but in later decades it is recognized as fine if there hair isn’t so high. In the late 90s women couldn’t wear hose with open toed shoes but now if you want to look professional and coordinate its fine.
    One objection that you often hear is that open toed shoes only purpose is to show your pedicure. Well no. That’s sort of like saying the only purpose to wearing footwear other than boots is to show off that tattoo on your ankle. Or the only reason to wear a sleeveless dress is to show off how well shaved your armpits are. Yes if you have fungus and dirt on your toes and hair in your armpits then don’t wear open toed shoes and sleeveless dresses until you wash and shave. But there are other reasons for these styles of clothes.
    Why do they make open toed shoes? Because it is a shoe style. That’s all there is to it. Some shoe styles are sling backs showing the heel some shoes show more of the instep or side of the foot. Sandals and peep toe show toes. It’s simply the style of the shoe. It’s not all about the pedicure. Believe it or not, it also has to do with how well it coordinates.
    That’s a key to professional dress – coordination. Often when I see someone complain about hose and open toed shoes they will show a picture of the foot and the foot alone. They do *not* show how the footwear and the overall look goes even up to the knee of the leg!
    When a woman wears a skirt hose help her foot and toes *match* the color of her legs. This uniformity of look is a key to looking coordinated. This is why toeless hose are ridiculous. People can see that that “does not look right” and of course it doesn’t hose makes you look uniform and coordinated but when the toes are different it defeats this purpose. Bare skin is blotchy, some is better than others but generally it’s never as uniform as legs in hose.
    So when you’re wearing a skirt, hose are good not only because your legs look better but also because any part of your foot (toes heels instep) that is exposed will better match your legs and give you a more coordinated look.
    What about if you have pants on? Well the same thing goes. Even though you won’t have an exact match between your legs and exposed part of your foot you should coordinate. What does that mean? It means if your pants have a fabric that you should wear hose or socks with then wear them, if they don’t you don’t have to wear them. For example if you have professional wool pants wear hose. If you have casual cotton pants you don’t have to and probably shouldn’t wear hose. If a man wears a wool suit and no socks just his dress shoes how does that look? Well women are doing that now and people who are old enough to see how much that clashes cringe.
    It’s a shame to see women avoid something that makes their whole leg and outfit look more uniform and professional because they are so myopically focused in on a seam in the toes. Zoom out a bit and look at your whole outfit. You’ll see that hose can pull everything together and yes even the toe area from open toed shoes will coordinate.

  15. Are seamed hose coming back in style? I love the sexy look of hose with a seam. I would imagine it would be for festive occasions?

  16. tan or nude nylons with open sandals is the
    most attractive look of all with us men. I
    don’t know who started this about it being
    “tacky”. We think bare feet generally look
    tacky, common, coarse and un-ladylike. nylons
    are always acceptable, brown is the best color
    and we don’t care if it matches skin tone.
    Even a seam or reinforced toe can be very
    sexy because it is so uniquely feminine. solids
    and opaques are much less pretty but better
    than bare. My first wife listened to the fashion gurus. My permanent wife cares what I
    like the most. Women always look better in hose.

  17. I agree with you!
    sheer = bad
    opaque = good!
    I think the picture looks pretty good, for instance.

  18. hose and expose toes anytime, please, we guys love it!!!! The seam, the reinforced-toe, the transparency, the colors overlapping, the sense of intimacy, the scent, the peek, the sharing a hidden homely detail, we love it exactly because it is prohibited!!!! Real women love nylons with open shoes

  19. Personally I wish more shoes were made with closed toes. I never wear strappy or sandal-like high heels. Firstly I find feet tend to look unattractive in them especially if you are standing for a long time. The straps start to dig into your feet, and blood tends to pool in the veins and make them stand out. I think closed toe and closed heel shoes look far better and they are also more comfortable (the closed heel particularly supports the ankle and prevents the shoe from flopping around on the foot and slapping when you walk) so you can get away with a higher heel.

    1. Yes! It seems I can never find shoes without peep toes (might be because I am in Mexico where is friking hot and humid all the time) but still, I can´t wear heels without thights (have to walk a lot feet hurt), so finding shoes that fit your description would be nice.

  20. Like another reader, I grew up in the 80s, back when women wore hose. I can’t stand this bare leg trend, or this thing with opaque hose and open toe shoes. Would I date a woman that went w/o hose? Wouldn’t last very long. I am a libra, I like balance. women spend all this time on their hair and make-up, yet wont take 5min to put on a pair of hose. Its that finishing touch to an outfit. Yes, open toe shoes are fine with shear, sandlefoot hose, as long as the shoes are darker than the hose. I have as much respect for bare legs as I do automatic transmissions. Hate them both!! The later was the worst thing ever invented. Going w/o hose is just being lazy(like driving a car with an automatic trans).

  21. Well, I’m not the least bit surprised to read the posts by John and David.
    In the spring and summer, I often wear dresses and skirts and specifically minis at that. I always wear heeled sandals with my dresses. I never wear closed-toe pumps with them because I like to look pretty and girly; especially when I wear one of my floral, tiered minis.
    I do wear pantyhose as well and I know I’ve caught unnumbered men leering at my legs and sandals. I know the sight of me wearing tan pantyhose with white sandals and with a very short dress gets me noticed at the bus stop.

  22. wow…. i just read all the comments. the reason i came here was to find out whether its ok to wear open toed shoes with hose. i have a pageant coming up and they wanted me to wear office wear for the next round.
    being born in a tropical island (sri lanka) i never wore hose. but i loved it so much! i think they give a classy look. i just bought them and tried them on at home and I love the look !
    i read the whole thing and i came to one conclusion. “im wasting my time here!”
    im gonna wear the damn black hose with pink open toed shoes. sue me!
    i feel good and confident so im not gonna bother even if it is tacky. i may get illuminated from the pageant. but im going home feeling like a sexy b!tch. lol
    and ladies….if you want an honest opinion on clothes, ask a man. they tell you as it is. they may not know fashion, but they know how they want their women!
    just do whatever makes you feel good and confident. even a paper bag would look amazing on you if you feel good in it!

  23. Well,…I have a wedding to go to & I have some open toe stilettos to wear….I bought some open toe pantyhose but they look stupid because my legs have a lovely tan look and my toes peep out white and untanned, totally horrible,…so I will wear tan hose with open toe stilettos….(-;

  24. I had some open-toed nylons years ago – nude that looked good with a lot of sandals as long as the finish between the opening and the nylon didn’t show. My legs are way too white (and uneven) to go without stockings. My legs also stick together in the heat without stockings. Since I am working again, I’ll start looking for them.

  25. I think that you can definitely wear tights and stocking with open shoes – I do all the time – but never socks! I’m not completely sure why, but I just hate the way it looks. I have yet to see someone pull that look off without looking frumpy.

  26. What a combo of answers! I am nearly 70, and I was raised wearing hose to work and on dressy occasions. I’ve tried wearing dressy open-toed shoes or sandals without hose and it blisters my feet, so I wear hose; there’s no other choice for me. Forget “toeless” hose. I stick to tan or nude sandal-toe, depending on my color (I get a little tan in the summer even with lotion, so I go with the tan then), and my feet don’t blister, my feet don’t stick to my shoes and the overall look is more even and sophisticated. And I don’t have that pained uncomfortable look on my face. Hosiery it is!
    And for those who think hose is either tacky or not tacky, there’s more to life than worrying about hose. Style changes all the time. Change does not make something tacky that you wore a year ago! Pick what’s best for you and don’t worry about others. You’ll be more comfortable.

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