Introduction

Choosing footwear for the warmer summer months can often become a bit of a conundrum. We want to remain as comfortable as possible, without the risk of our feet overheating, but is it possible to do this whilst retaining an element of style?

It should be obvious that your choice of footwear will ultimately depend on the situation and the function it needs to perform. For example, it is both a professional and sartorial sin to wear a pair of flip-flops to the office (or anywhere but the beach for that matter), yet on the flip-side of the coin, you don’t want to be wearing your best suede double-monks to the beach or going for a paddle in your loafers.

In this two part article we are going to breakdown the six most popular footwear trends for SS13, as seen at fashion weeks around the globe. The first three footwear silhouettes under the microscope today are the classic high summer/holidaying options: flip-flops, espadrilles and sandals.

1. Flip-Flops

As soon as the sun comes out, you can guarantee that you will see shorts, flip-flops and bare-chested men roaming the high street up and down Britain. Most men will already own a pair of plastic flip-flops; such is their convenience whilst holidaying in hot, beach locations.

There are obvious benefits to this form of footwear: they are lightweight, breathable, easy to pack in your suitcase and slip on/off instantly.

However, what makes flip-flops so suited to the beach or in extreme heat is also the reason why they shouldn’t be considered a form of everyday footwear. We continue to see men pair plastic flip-flops with everything from jeans and chinos to shorts and sweatpants on a daily basis, even though the male footwear market has exploded over the past couple of years and there are now a huge range of stylish, lightweight alternatives – from suede loafers to deck shoes and even sandals – that will not instantly bring your outfit down a notch.

As long as you understand that there is a time and a place for everything, a pair of flip-flops can be a wise, low-cost investment for the high summer season.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Flip-flop Outfit Inspiration

zara ss10zara ss10zara ss10asos ss13minimum spring 2013minimum spring 2013CALIBRE ss11CALIBRE ss13CALIBRE ss13
SS13 Designer Advocates

Turning to the various fashion weeks for SS13, flip-flops remained a popular choice in collections by Michael Bastian and Etro.

Michael Bastian offered a slightly more refined take on the flip-flop, featuring slim, leather thong versions. These leather versions looked much more sophisticated than their rubber or plastic counterparts – something to note if you are looking for an easy holiday wardrobe upgrade.

Etro also featured thin-strapped flip-flops with wooden soles that beautifully complemented the exotic feel of the collection – which included billowing tunics and wide-legged trousers complete with ethnic-inspired prints:

Flip Flops At Michael Bastian and Etro SS13Flip Flops At Michael Bastian (Top) and Etro (Bottom) SS13

SS13 Key Styles

The key flip-flop styles this season come in leather. Instantly taking the aesthetic up a notch, leather versions are available in traditional thong styles as well as more high fashion alternatives that have an almost gladiator sandal feel to them.

For those sticking to low cost, plastic styles, why not take inspiration from Michael Bastian and Etro by opting for coloured versions? Shades of red and burgundy were particularly popular:

  • Allsaints Fenix SandalAllsaints Fenix Sandal
  • Allsaints Missour SandalAllsaints Missour Sandal
  • Asos Sandals With Woven StrapAsos Sandals With Woven Strap
  • Lanvin Leather Thong Sandals 144236Lanvin Leather Thong Sandals 144236
  • Bottega Veneta Crocodile Skin Flip-flops 146166Bottega Veneta Crocodile Skin Flip-flops 146166
  • Ancient Greek Sandals Thalos Sandals 143650Ancient Greek Sandals Thalos Sandals 143650
  • Topman Gandys Flip FlopsTopman Gandys Flip Flops
  • Dan Ward Two-tone Flip FlopsDan Ward Two-tone Flip Flops
  • Havaianas Rubber Flip FlopsHavaianas Rubber Flip Flops
2. Espadrilles

The espadrille is another spring/summer footwear option that has proven extremely popular with the men of Britain over the past couple of years. Exploding almost out of nowhere with the rise of the TOMS brand, espadrilles typically have a canvas upper with either a rubber or raffia sole. For many, espadrilles will immediately conjure up an image of summer.

Although much more appropriate than flip-flops on a daily basis, espadrilles are still best suited to casual looks. They are perfect for the high season, where their breathable canvas construction and lightweight nature will ensure comfort over extended use.

Good to know: experience dictates that at any location where there is likely to be liquid on the floor – be it a club, bar or any other kind of drinking establishment – the raffia sole will simply act as a sponge and can swell up, causing the shoe to become misshapen.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Espadrilles Outfit Inspiration

lbm 1911 ss13bershka may 2013reiss 1971 ss13el burgues ss13mac ss13he by mango ss13ramsey sport ss13pull & bear heritage ss13bershka april 2013
SS13 Designer Advocates

Maison Martin Margiela was one collection that featured espadrilles as the footwear of choice. However, the espadrilles favoured by the design house differed slightly as they were made using soft white textured leathers and metallic-toned materials in pale gold and silvery grey.

Espadrilles can often look quite cheap as they are almost considered to be a ‘disposable’ style of shoe, but the Maison Martin Margiela versions retained an air of luxury and sophistication due to their soft leather and slipper-like appearance.

Moncler Gamme Bleu was another collection which made use of the espadrille, although they gave the silhouette a modern twist by creating an espadrille/penny loafer hybrid. It was an interesting idea that was executed perfectly, especially when combined with the nautical theme running throughout the collection:

Espadrilles on MMM and Moncler Gamme Bleu SS13 RunwaysEspadrilles on Maison Martin Margiela (Top) and Moncler Gamme Bleu (Bottom) SS13 Runways

SS13 Key Styles

Key styles for SS13 include the luxury espadrille and espadrille hybrids. Luxury versions, such as those shown at Maison Martin Margiela, are now available in leather and will, like its flip-flop counterpart, instantly bring the aesthetic up a notch.

Of course, by coming away from the canvas upper you will naturally lose some of the espadrille’s appeal – namely the breathable and lightweight nature. As such, suede versions strike the perfect balance between the two.

Espadrille hybrids have come in many forms over the past twelve months. The traditional raffia sole has been applied to everything from desert boots and loafers to trainers and lace-ups, so it is up to you to pick a style that fits in with your requirements and personal style:

  • Benson Kg Kurt Geiger NavyBenson Kg Kurt Geiger Navy
  • Guy Kg Kurt Geiger NavyGuy Kg Kurt Geiger Navy
  • Christian Louboutin Espafred Watersnake Lace-up Espadrilles 146046Christian Louboutin Espafred Watersnake Lace-up Espadrilles 146046
  • Rivieras Bem Mesh And Canvas Slip-on ShoesRivieras Bem Mesh And Canvas Slip-on Shoes
  • Fins Eddie Tassel Burgundy Suede EspadrillesFins Eddie Tassel Burgundy Suede Espadrilles
  • Paul Smith London Juary Contrast Jute BroguesPaul Smith London Juary Contrast Jute Brogues
  • Dolce & Gabbana Striped Canvas Espadrille SneakersDolce & Gabbana Striped Canvas Espadrille Sneakers
  • Gf Ferre EspadrillesGf Ferre Espadrilles
  • Dune Billy Leather EspadrillesDune Billy Leather Espadrilles
3. Sandals

Sandals are the third and final high summer footwear option to be examined in this article, and they still remain quite controversial.

Although the majority of men will instantly dismiss sandals as feminine or a faux pas, this season several major designer collections have favoured sandals as the footwear of choice, using interesting effects and design techniques in an attempt to modernise the style.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Sandals Outfit Inspiration

lbm 1911 ss13bershka april 2013allsaints ss13he by mango ss11he by mango ss12he by mango ss12tate ss121minimum summer 2013reiss ss12
SS13 Designer Advocates

Sandals in tan leather with perforation detailing and toe/ankle straps were featured in the collection by Ermenegildo Zegna, offering a traditional take on the style. Similarly, Dolce & Gabbana included woven leather sandals with wooden soles and buckle fastenings, whilst Kenzo showcased thick-strap sandals similar to Birkenstocks.

Interestingly, Kenzo chose to pair their sandals with socks – which appeared to be a common theme amongst some of the designer collections who featured sandals.

Perhaps this approach was a calculated move to generate controversy, or maybe it could be considered a subtle jab at lazy industry writers/bloggers that STILL use socks and sandals as the go-to mistake within menswear, even though it is plainly obvious that men have come a long way since those days:

Socks and Sandals on The Kenzo SS13 RunwaysSocks and Sandals on The Kenzo SS13 Runways

Simon Chilvers, Assistant Fashion Editor at The Guardian, picked up on this worrying trend and wrote:

“From Prada’s 1970s retro sports collection where lots of dudes wore socks and sandals, to Agi & Sam’s offering where all the dudes wore patterned socks with white Birkenstocks, this divisive topic is back on the agenda.”

At the more adventurous end of the spectrum, Givenchy featured ankle-high sandals with eccentric gold chains added to the straps, whilst Louis Vuitton favoured sandals with climbing rope detailing in bright blues and oranges for a standout look.

However, the most adventurous style came from Burberry, with the brand featuring a relatively simple leather ankle-strap design in bright metallic tones such as gold, bronze and neon blue. Again, these were bravely paired with socks:

SS13 Sandals (Top To Bottom): Zegna, D&G, Givenchy And Burberry

SS13 Key Styles

With sandals still an underused footwear silhouette, even simple leather versions are enough to subtly separate your look from the crowd.

Low-cut gladiator sandals were prominent on the runways and are much easier to wear than the traditional high-cut versions you often see pushed by high fashion designers. This style has also been picked up by the high street, with Reiss and AllSaints featuring them in their latest collections, and although they would add an edge to any high summer look, you will need to wear them with rock solid confidence.

Alternative styles to look out for would include coloured versions and sandal hybrids:

  • Allsaints Azrou SandalAllsaints Azrou Sandal
  • Allsaints Nador SandalAllsaints Nador Sandal
  • Asos Sandals With Cross Over StrapsAsos Sandals With Cross Over Straps
  • Dan Ward Leather SandalsDan Ward Leather Sandals
  • American Apparel Mens Original Jerusalem SandalAmerican Apparel Mens Original Jerusalem Sandal
  • Reiss July Leather SandalReiss July Leather Sandal
  • Greenwood Kurt Geiger London YellowGreenwood Kurt Geiger London Yellow
  • Kg Kurt Geiger Fusion SandalsKg Kurt Geiger Fusion Sandals
  • Lanvin Cross-over Suede Sandals 144234Lanvin Cross-over Suede Sandals 144234
  • Paul Smith Mens Tan Armada Leather SandalPaul Smith Mens Tan Armada Leather Sandal
  • Marni Leather SandalsMarni Leather Sandals
  • Asos Sandals With Buckle StrapAsos Sandals With Buckle Strap
Final Word

So there we have three footwear trends pushed by high fashion designers for summer 2013. Part two of this article will investigate three additional footwear silhouettes that were particularly prominent at SS13 fashion weeks: boat shoes, loafers and sports shoes.

As always, we would like to hear your opinions on summer footwear. Are you a flip-flop kind of man, or do you agree that flip-flops are only suitable in certain situations? Perhaps you’re a sucker for sandals and love the fact that traditional styles are currently having a modern twist applied to them?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below…