What Is Sandalfoot Pantyhose?

Sandalfoot stockings walk the line between functional and super sexy.

Photo: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Demi-toe, matte, seamed, ultra-sheer, hold-ups: the world of hosiery is a dizzying place, and if you don't know what you need, it's easy to get lost in the web of nylon. One pantyhose style you're bound to run into again and again is sandalfoot style. Sandalfoot pantyhose are often touted as the solution to the fashion war over wearing nylons with open-toed shoes, but get the details on this popular style before you wear.

What's the Difference?

If you pick up a package of your standard, run-of-the-mill pantyhose, you'll probably notice that the fabric seems thicker in the hips, crotch, toe and heel. These extra-thick areas get the most stretch and pull, so reinforcing them gives the nylons a little more durability. Sandalfoot pantyhose take a different approach. Sandalfoot styles don't have the same fabric reinforcement or super-thick seams around the toe and heel, and some designs skip the doubling up at the crotch and hips, too. Keeping the whole foot sheer opens the door for pairing up the pantyhose with sandals, hence the name "sandalfoot."

Sandalfoot Saves the Day

The debate over whether or not it's a fashion faux-pas to wear stockings with open-toed shoes became slightly less heated when sandalfoot pantyhose stepped onto the scene. Without the distractingly darker fabric around the toe, you can keep your love affair with nylons and still slink into a pair of strappy sandals for the next cocktail party or date night. When bare legs are not an option for an elegant affair, or if you just prefer the silky sexiness of a pair of sheer nylons, sandalfoot styles give you a wider range of options for choosing the right pair of shoes since you don't have to mess with bulky seams that give away your undergarment secrets.

Sandalfoot Nay-Sayers

Not everyone is convinced that sandalfoot nylons are superheroes of the stocking world. Fashion consultant Brenda Kinsel doesn't mince words in her book "In the Dressing Room with Brenda." She keeps it straightforward with the fashion doctrine, "Don't wear nylons with open-toed sandals." Fashion purists would rather see you skip the nylons altogether or opt for some closed-toe slingbacks. Another complaint about sandalfoot pantyhose: reinforced toes actually do serve a functional purpose. All that stretching and straining is havoc for nylon, so without the extra bulk, you're setting yourself up for some serious runs.

Make It Work For You

Avoid the scorn of stocking purists by sticking to some standard guidelines for wearing sandalfoot hose. Start with a color that's right for your skin tone. Stockings are not an opportunity to fake a tan three shades darker than your natural tone; keep it close to your natural shade to avoid drawing too much attention to your nylon-wrapped legs. Check the seam placement across the toe. If you can, tuck the seam slightly under your toes so you can't see it at all. Stick to a style that fits you well. Any bunching around your toes or ankles defeats the purpose of low-profile stockings.



"In the Dressing Room with Brenda"; Brenda Kinsel; 2001
"Lingerie: A Lexicon of Style"; Caroline Cox; 2000 Clothing Dictionary: Apparel S

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