Someone said to me a couple of days ago that men will never be into shoes in the same way that women are. I smiled and nodded as is standard in these kinds of situations; however, on reflection and much thought, I disagree. I think guys have always been as obsessed with shoes as much women, they’ve just been obsessed with the wrong kind of shoes.
Sneaker-heads have been around since the eighties and plenty of men religiously buy Converse or Vans or K-Swiss as if they were part of some exclusive club. The only thing that separated us from our female counter parts was we just had no variety or imagination.
But these days the tide is changing. Men across the world are becoming more and more obsessed with shoes in all the myriad of options now available to us, that I might even be so bold as to say we’re more obsessed than women are. Or, at least, I am.
So with that in mind, I decided to compile a top 5 list of the types of shoes that every man should have in his wardrobe. Or shoe rack if we’re being fussy. For the non-obsessed this will be a good initiation, and for the already converted a nice check list. What I will say is that when it comes to footwear there are a few things to bear in mind.
Cost And Maintenance
Firstly, you get what you pay for. I can’t pretend that a £30 pair is going to stand up against a £250 pair. It’s fine to buy from the high street and on the low end of the spectrum but expect them to only last you a couple of years (if that) before you need a new pair. The £250 pair on the other hand will be timeless if looked after correctly.
So that is where correct maintenance comes in. If you have gone up market, invest in some shoes trees. These keep the leather’s shape after the day’s sweat it’s absorbed. Clean them regularly with shoe polish, brushes and cloths. And when packing them for travelling, try to keep them in some kind of separate shoe bag so they don’t get marked by other items in your case.
The 5 Essential Shoe Styles
Here’s my official list:
- The White Trainer – yes guys, you can still wear trainers. You just need to start investing in man trainers. My personal favourites are Adidas Stan Smiths or Sambas. The reason is because they are slim and simple. No excess detailing and easy to keep clean. Try to think of your new trainers as you would your clothes; tailored. This way they can be paired easily with anything you’ve got; jeans, chinos, suit trousers, you name it.
- The Loafer – now this can be either a penny or a tassle. Or maybe just a plain old simple loafer. It also doesn’t always have to be in leather, suede loafers are really cool too. In fact, I have a black pair that I rock sockless with my white jeans all the time in the summer. They can be brown or black, that doesn’t matter either. What matters is that they are of decent quality leather and you keep them clean! They’ll look great with any pair of jeans or chinos but they’re not the shoes you wear with your suit. These are your casual go-to’s.
- Brown Brogues – they’ve made a pretty big comeback over the last couple of years and I think they’re probably here to stay. Make sure you get a pair that has a substantial sole to them so they can still be worn when the weather gets rough. All shades of browns look good too, so take the time to decide whether you’re bold enough to go for a tan or oxblood pair or just a simple chocolate. They will look great with your suit to work and are a real easy way to smarten up your jeans. Just be sure to make sure the fit of your jeans suit the brogues – a baggy fit will engulf them.
- The Black Derby – if there was a pair of shoes that I would recommend you to go the extra penny with, it would be this. I know I’m normally the guy who says to always buy brown because they have more style but these bad boys will see you through anything. No matter the occasion they will never be out of place; be it a wedding, the office, a night out or just a way of mixing up a casual outfit. If you invest in them they‘ll be the most versatile shoes you own and will last you forever.
- The Desert Boot – this shoe is the definition of smart/casual. Smarter than trainers but not quite in the league of the derby and the brogue, this one could end up being the work horse of your footwear militia. Always looking their best with a pair of jeans or coloured chinos, I’d suggest you get a pair in a neutral tone such as brown, beige or navy. A tip for cleaning suede that I use for my boots, rather than get suede cleaner simply rub the other shoe against the mark and it will come straight off!
So there you have it guys, 5 shoes every guy should own. Have you got all 5? Or do you need to start doing some serious saving/shopping? Or did I miss something off that you think is 100% essential? Let me know in the comments section.