When it comes to putting our best foot forward, pitfalls are a plenty. After months of travelling (and a distinct lack of self-respect), I’m a real victim when it comes to unacceptable footwear; Converse that look like they’ve been dragged from a burning home, Vans so tattered you could see my big toe and a pair of desert boots that had the soles glued on by Pritt Stick. Forgive me FashionBeaners, for I have sinned.
In my not-so-wise twenty-three years, I’ve managed to learn a little bit about trusted footwear choices and the importance of keeping them smart. My days of sartorial recklessness are almost behind me, but in a bid to keep on the straight and narrow, I sought the advice of the females in my life. That’s right fellas, it’s this month’s Girl’s Eye View: Footwear Choices.
From hi-tops to loafers, Derbies to plimsolls, we’re given more and more choice every single season, but how do the fairer sex judge this new burgeoning selection of treads? Needless to say, I’ve learnt (and suffered) a lot at the hands of my dearest female friends but after picking their brains, here’s what I got back.
Proceed with caution.
Suz, 28, Copywriter – The Brogue
A stickler for all things with an Old World aesthetic, my colleague Suz states: “I think brogues are the smartest choice; sophisticated and romantic. Guys look like they’ve made a real effort and even if everything else in the look is a travesty, all else is forgiven with a good pair of shoes.”
Whilst not all ladies are quite as soft as Suz, I think we can all agree on the strengths of a solid pair of brogues. They’ve been on the fashion radar for years now and with new, innovative takes, there’s no sign of this silhouette waning.
I’d recommend sticking to more traditional styles: round-toes, eyelet detailing and in a strong shade of brown. Perfect.
- Reiss Clements Classic Brogues Bitter
- He By Mango Brogueing Leather Blucher
- Dune Leather Brogues
- Reiss Halton Ox Blood Brogues Ox Blood
- He By Mango Brogueing Suede Blucher
- J.crew Kenton Suede Wingtip Brogues
- Topman House Of Hounds Dean Brogues
- Allsaints Hilt Brogue
- Grenson Sid Hi-shine Brogues
Nat, 24, Online Content Producer – The Hi-Top
As a Basildon native displaced in London, Nat is keen to get one thing off her chest in true Essex style: “first off, Crocs and flip-flops are a big no go.” I can only corroborate her concerns. “It’s rare, but I like a guy who can pull off garish hi-tops. A big print or colour can really set off an outfit.”
Vibrant sports luxe footwear almost certainly hits the mark but it’s tricky to get right. Try pairing a recognised brand (Nike, Adidas Originals and the like) with a classic yet simple outfit: plain tee, plain jeans and plain jacket.
Your hi-tops are the statement so don’t let your look get convoluted with too many different elements.
- Supra Skytop Duct Tape Trainers
- Adidas Slvr High-tops
- Nike Vandal Supreme Trainers
- Nike Blazer Mid-top Perforated Trainers In Red
- Asos Trainers With Leopard Print
- Nike Blazer Hi Suede Vintage Dark Gold Black Zebra Print
- Nike Men’s Blazer Mid Premium 77 Vintage Sneakers
- Balenciaga Panelled High Top Sneakers
- Jimmy Choo Belgravia Camouflage-print Ponyskin High Top Sneakers
Jade, 28, Teacher – The Loafer
“They’re just so cool,” Jade confesses, stabbing her finger at the pages of a nearby GQ.
“Loafers are such a classic style, I don’t know why every man doesn’t have a pair. They’re not old-fashioned and they’re not stuffy – they’re a commendable choice.”
Although I’ve been a party to my previous footwear downfalls, I wholeheartedly agree with this one. Loafers, whether tasselled or plain, are one of the most comfortable and on point options around.
Able to be paired with everything from slim-fit jeans to a full suit, their versatility will serve you well and ensure you stand head and shoulders above the rest.
- Asos Tassel Loafers In Leather
- Topman House Of Hounds Grey Slip On Loafers
- Gucci Horsebit Suede Loafers
- Asos Tassel Loafers In Leather
- Loro Piana Anytime Walk Tasseled Suede Loafers
- He By Mango Suede Loafers
- Anthony Miles Brunswick Penny Loafers
- Quoddy Tormaline Leather Loafers
- Bass Weejuns Larson Loafers In Burgundy
Rebecca, 22, Illustrator – The Running Shoe
In the last year or so, we’ve seen a massive resurgence of the running shoe. Once the sole reserve of 1990s football hooligans and now an undoubted hipster essential, sports luxe design has dominated nearly every area of menswear over recent seasons and my good friend Rebecca is a big fan.
“I really like a New Balance trainer or a good Nike running shoe, as long as they’re not too bulky and have something classic about them.” Seems straight forward enough. “Wear them on a relaxed date and you’re already winning.”
Owning a pair of New Balance myself, I can vouch that it is rare to find such perfect equilibrium between comfort and style. Nights out, every day at work (providing you have a casual dress code), weekend looks – they’re an assured choice.
- New Balance 670 Suede Trainers In Navy
- New Balance 1300 Nubuck And Mesh Sneakers
- Saucony Tan Grid 9000 Sneakers
- Saucony Shadow Original Trainers
- Nike Air Pegasus 83 Og
- Onitsuka Tiger X-caliber
- Onitsuka Tiger T-stormer Trainers
- Nike Air Vortex Trainers
- Valentino Leather-trimmed Suede And Mesh Sneakers
Jess, 25, Nurse – The Desert Boot
Rugged, classic and traditionally well crafted, Jess is a sucker for the desert boot. “They’re manly without trying too hard – like Indiana Jones without that weird whip. A good pair of suede boots goes with anything and makes it look like you’ve got at least half a clue about fashion.”
Whether you opt for Ben Sherman, Clarks Originals or another high street option, they are a real investment. Many men I know have taken the plunge with the desert boot and simply never looked back.
Picking the right colour can be tricky, though. Black goes with nearly everything but lacks outdoor appeal; dark brown and navy are versatile but jar against staple black denim. Our advice?
Buy two pairs Opt for tan – they will pair effortlessly with everything in your wardrobe and have a fun, playful edge that is perfectly suited to the weekend and nights out.
- River Island Black Lace Up Desert Boots
- Desert Boot Wolf
- Suede Desert Boots In Beige
- Clarks Originals Suede Desert Boots
- He By Mango Suede Desert Boots
- Mark Mcnairy Suede Desert Boots
- Ben Sherman Clegg Suede Desert Boots
- Asos Desert Boots In Leather
- Tods No_code Crepe-sole Leather Desert Boots
So there you have it, our ladies’ run down of the top contemporary footwear styles. It’s true that a pair of battered kicks can ruin even the strongest of looks and choosing (and looking after) a decent set is essential.
From thousand pound price tags to budget high street versions, scour the retail world high and low for your perfect pair. Lacing up should be a pleasure, not a chore.
What do you think of the opinions in this edition of Girl’s Eye View? Any additions? Complaints? Agreements? We’re all ears…