The importance of good footwear can never be understated. There are a long list of reasons of why you should equip yourself with the best quality shoes, and here is a brief overview:
Over the past couple of seasons, here at FashionBeans we have noticed a distinct trend developing within the realm of men’s footwear: hybrid shoes. With the fashion industry constantly pushing boundaries and each designer/brand looking to differentiate themselves from the competition, there has been an increase in footwear that straddles the line between two or more traditional silhouettes.
Such is the popularity of the hybrid footwear at the moment, that there is a plethora of options to choose from, both designer and high street. There are subtle blends of established footwear – such as brogue perforations being incorporated on Derbies, Oxfords and even Chelsea boots – to much more obvious fusions of different shoe silhouettes, such as traditional trainer soles being almost ‘cut and pasted’ onto some styles.
For many of you, hybrid footwear will already be part of your wardrobe without you even realising. The brogue boot in particular has seen its popularity soar over the past couple of years, with many men now considering them a wardrobe staple. This is an extremely obvious example of this trend, and shows how traditional styles have evolved subtly as an increase in men’s fashion has developed.
Personally, this is where I feel hybrid footwear comes into its own. The combination of smart and practical footwear makes perfect sense, and allows the shoe to adapt to multiple looks and environments effortlessly. For example, brogue detailing can instantly smarten up a casual trainer or boot, whilst at the same time it can reduce the formality of a smarter silhouette.
It is this versatility that enables them to be dressed up or down dependent on occasion or taste, and this underlying ethos also ties in perfectly with an increasing amount of men looking to dress down but dress well on a daily basis.
Brogues, boots and trainers are the most often combined in the hybrid footwear that we have come across, and for good reason. Converting a shoe to a boot is almost a logical progression for many designers, providing them with new purpose that allows the wearer to cover them with their trouser hem for a smarter aesthetic, or cuff/roll their hems in order to give their outfit a contemporary edge. Again, versatility is at the very heart of this new design approach.
The vibram sole is another key construction principle that is often found on modern hybrid styles. Coming from humble beginnings as the base for mountaineering boots, the vibram sole has been incorporated on everything from brogues and Oxfords to boat shoes and trainers in recent seasons. Although this is not strictly an amalgamation of two different shoe styles, the combination ensures a fresh and unique aesthetic which aims to offer the best of both style and practicality.
As many of the SS13 lookbooks and collections prove, hybrid footwear will continue to evolve throughout next year. For those of you lucky enough to be experiencing some winter sun soon, the white and blue of the River Island brogues below reflect the colours of the summer sky, and the clash of a suede upper and vibram sole escalates the shoes into an eccentric realm where only those with an appreciation of fashion will recognise the deliberate juxtaposition.
Trousers in a cotton fabric will pair best with these summer shoes – artificial fibres and most certainly wool will be a contrast too far. Rolling up the trousers breaks up the line of the bottom half, and means that some colourful socks or a flash of the ankle can add another point of interest.
As for your top half, it is purely personal preference. I find that a slim fit, soft cotton polo shirt evokes a gentlemanly ease:
Tasselled leather brogues that emulate old golf shoes are a refreshing take on a design that, for many, are drowned in stuffy connotations and should not be worn outside the ‘men only’ spikes bar.
Teaming these shoes with plain chinos or a club tie would only reinforce the stereotype we are trying to avoid. Therefore, opt for some good quality dark wash jeans with the cuff turned up (so as to introduce a different colour sock in the lower half) to help ground the outfit.
On the top half, a simple white shirt will emphasise the muted, refined base we have created, but a bold piece of outerwear helps add a pop of colour that makes a statement and stands out against the neutral base tones:
As men’s fashion continues its evolution, we will begin to see more of these subtle developments and modern takes on classic, time-tested styles. The blending of silhouettes within men’s footwear can be either subtle or obvious, but at the heart of this mini trend is the desire for versatility and the ability to stand out effortlessly.
So, what do you think?
Let us know in the comments section…