The British summertime is one of change and surprise. Over the years men have been forced to adapt to swift changes in general weather patterns and drastic variations in temperature. Not only does this mean that the average British male must be ready for any situation, it must also mean that his body is up to the task of constantly changing outfits.
In this article, I am here to talk about your options for high summer footwear (the type you would pack in your suitcase) and how best to look after your feet throughout this tricky season.
Men’s High Summer Footwear Options
1. The Flip-Flop
First of all, whether you love or hate them, it is almost impossible to avoid wearing flip-flops. Even though they have a certain stigma attached to them and don’t adhere to the refined way of dressing we here at FashionBeans preach, they are perfect for beach wear and can even provide a welcome relief from office wear on the commute home. In the end, sometimes practicality rules over style – although we would all like to live in a world where we look well put together every hour of the day, for most it is not a realistic or reasonable expectation.
My personal advice would be to keep your choice minimal. Go with a navy or black – something that can be thrown on without much thought. Stick with rubber, as they are easy to clean, extremely flexible and easily affordable. As long as you use them at the appropriate times, there is nothing wrong with owning a pair – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Although rubber is the most practical flip-flop material, they can also be found in leather and fabric variations. Leather is a pretty safe option and will work with most summer outfits, whether you are dressing up or down. Fabric is trickier and can look quite cheap unless you invest properly. It can also make an outfit look extremely casual, in which case you might as well opt for the aforementioned plastic versions. Be safe and leave these to the gap year students.
In my humble opinion, for price, comfort and quality, one cannot go wrong with a pair of Havaianas. They are available from most high street retailers and will last for years. Mr. Porter even sell them, so they must officially be a menswear essential.
- Havaianas Rubber Flip Flops
- Havaianas Navy Brazil Logo Flip Flops
- Basic Flip Flops
- Allsaints Fenix Sandal
- Office Julius Toe Post Brown Leather
- Reef Skyver Leather Flip Flops Brown
2. Leather Sandals
Second of all, invest in a pair of good quality leather sandals. The summer is all about spontaneity and a casual day spent lounging in the garden can quickly turn into a smart-casual barbeque at a friends house.
Sandals are equally as important when abroad. They should be used in the evening when dining or even visiting a bar, so wear with a pair of smart chinos and a loose fit shirt to look the part but also retain comfort when the heat is intense.
Although many men have shied away from the sandal in recent years – again, probably something to do with the the socks and sandals crowd – many high street and high fashion designers have been utilising them in recent lookbooks and advertising campaigns, proving they are both versatile and very wearable. In the lookbook above you can see everyone from Zara and H&M to AllSaints and Reiss utilising them in a mix of both casual and formal outfits.
If you are on a budget, high street stores such as Office provide affordable solutions for around £50 – £60. If you feel like splashing out, then look no further than a high fashion Gladiator style sandal from brands like Acne and Jil Sander.
- Allsaints Hendrix Sandal
- Reiss Marshaw Leather Sandal Mid Brown
- Lanvin Calfskin Sandals 131790
- Kurt Geiger Palmer Sandals
- Kg By Kurt Geiger Rhine Cross Strap Sandals
- Paul Smith Shoes Chocolate Leather Seberg Sandals
The third style of shoe is very often over-looked by most – the espadrille. Ranging in price from £5 – £300+, these rope-soled wonders offer an extremely versatile alternative to the filp-flop or sandal. They can look slick whether worn with shorts or trousers and, contrary to popular opinion, can be dressed up or down to suit. However, words of warning: if they are being worn heavily, do not expect them to last a long time.
In most instances, the espadrille is a slip on shoe constructed of a flat rope sole and a basic canvas top. However, as popularity has increased, variations in styles have also become apparent. Some brands have experimented with hybrids, releasing espadrille-esque versions of desert boots, leisure shoes and even formal shoes. These are perhaps the most intriguing options as we look for styles that can effortlessly adapt to a multitude of looks within our wardrobe.
Again, style of espadrille comes down to personal preference. In my opinion, espadrilles have their use; appropriate as beachwear or maybe a casual afternoon drink; making them the perfect beach to bar shoe.
- Toms Canvas Classic Espadrilles
- Topman Vera Cadiz Espadrille
- Rivieras Blue Mesh Canvas Shoes
- Reiss Stamco Suede Brogue Espadrilles Navy
- Topman Vera Seville Lace Up Shoes
- Lyle & Scott Lace-up Espadrilles
- Castañer Canvas Espadrille Desert Boots
- Mens Pointer Chester Trainers
- Mens Momentum Harry Pt Boat Mesh Espa Shoes
Summer Foot Care
It is important to remember feet aftercare – especially in the summer months when they have to deal with sweltering heat and long days. It is quite easy to neglect these hard-working parts of the body, but here are a few simple rules to ensure that you will always ‘put your best foot forward’:
- Let your feet breathe. If you spend all day in socks and heavy footwear, then strip these off as soon as you get home. If you have time, give them a quick wash and dry thoroughly. To ensure this is done properly, go old school and sprinkle some talcum powder on. This gets rid of any excess moisture whilst giving your feet a layer of protection.
- Don’t be afraid to moisturise. This is an opposite step to the aforementioned. After a day of walking barefoot over or in flip flops, ensure that after washing, a moisturiser is applied. This stops feet becoming dry, which occurs quickly around the heel. Cracked skin can be quite unsightly, so make this a regular ritual to keep it at bay.
- If dry skin does become a problem, use a pumice stone to counteract.
- Keep on top of your toenails. They are not the most attractive body part at the best of times but let them get out of control and they really can become a problem – especially if you are opting for flip-flops or a pair of sandals this year.
- If any of this becomes overwhelming then book in for a pedicure. Forget any stigma you may have experienced, if you care enough about your overall style and appearance, why wouldn’t it make sense to look after your feet?
- Invest in good products. Brands such as Kiehls and Aesop have a great foot care range. They also go heavy on masculine scents like Sandlewood.
- Tweezerman Pedro Callus Stone
- Neat Feat Foot Pumice Stone
- Neat Feat Foot Antiperspirant Deodorant 60ml
- Burts Bees Foot Creme – Coconut 123g
- Gehwol Foot Powder 100g
- Molton Brown Desert Bloom Intense Hand & Foot Rescue
- Kiehls Sweat De-feat Foot Cream 100ml
- The Body Shop Hemp Foot Protector
- Aveda Foot Relief 125ml
So there we have it, a quick guide to your high summer footwear options and how to look after your feet correctly during the period. Now we want to hear your opinion:
- How does your footwear change during the summer?
- Are there any styles or brands that have stood the test of time?
- Any advice for keeping feet tip top?
- Which, if any, of the three styles above will have a place in your wardrobe/suitcase this year?
Let us know in the comments below…