Best Foot Forward

As we begin to wave goodbye to the winter season, it’s important we alter our wardrobe to suit the warmer months ahead. However, it’s not just your fabric choice and clothing that needs to adjust – your footwear should too.

No longer is it acceptable to pound the pavement in the robust, worker wear boots you have relied on for what seems like an eternity. Instead, why not invest in one of these five key SS14 silhouettes…

1. The Leather Tasselled Loafer

First made popular by American Ivy Leaguers in the 1930s, the loafer has withstood the test of time and is now considered one of the most versatile and visually admired silhouettes on the market.

Although there are many different styles to choose from, we believe this season’s must-have is the ever-popular tasselled version in leather. Simple yet highly effective, they suit a wide variety of occasions and are able to adapt to multiple looks. Whether used to smarten up your off-duty attire or complement your weekday tailoring, a tasselled loafer epitomises effortless chic.

But why leather? Naturally smarter and better equipped to tackle the unpredictable British springtime, leather versions can be utilised all year round and are, ultimately, more practical than their suede counterparts.

And with the loafer being a timeless silhouette, if you invest in quality craftsmanship and care for them properly, a leather pair will last for many more years to come, developing character and getting softer with age.

Although there are, of course, many colour ways available on the current market, we highly recommend tan. Whether you opt to wear them with your navy suiting or with jeans and a casual shirt at the weekend, a tan loafer never looks out of place.

Alternatively, for those looking for something rarer and more individual, why not consider a burgundy/oxblood pair? Arguably as versatile as tan, they offer a subtle and modern twist to an all-time classic footwear silhouette.

Spring/Summer Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Tasselled Loafers - Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

pepe jeans ss14fashionbeans man 2011he by mango ss14reiss ss14austin reed ss14he by mango ss14austin reed ss14next ss13Viyella ss14
Example Styles
  • Topman Peter Werth Brown Loafers Topman Peter Werth Brown Loafers
  • Reiss Anstice Leather Tasselled Loafers TanReiss Anstice Leather Tasselled Loafers Tan
  • Tassel LoaferTassel Loafer
  • He By Mango Tassel Leather LoafersHe By Mango Tassel Leather Loafers
  • Asos Tassel Loafers In LeatherAsos Tassel Loafers In Leather
  • He By Mango Leather Tassel LoafersHe By Mango Leather Tassel Loafers
  • Asos Tassel Loafers In LeatherAsos Tassel Loafers In Leather
  • Kg Kurt Geiger Landon Leather Tassel LoafersKg Kurt Geiger Landon Leather Tassel Loafers
  • Grenson Marcel Leather Tasselled LoafersGrenson Marcel Leather Tasselled Loafers
2. The Suede Derby

Perhaps the most appropriate style for the drier months of the year, the suede Derby offers a contemporary take on a classic silhouette. The perfect balance of smart and casual, this style is ideal for all warm-weather occasions, from barbeque to garden party to wedding.

Suede construction makes this shoe temperature-appropriate, with its lighter and more breathable upper ensuring increased comfort while helping counteract sweaty feet and/or odour problems.

Available in a range of bold, summer-appropriate hues, our favourite styles come in beige or navy this season. Both colours will subtly separate your look from the crowd, yet they are versatile enough to be dressed up or down.

When searching for styling inspiration, look no further than Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2014 collection. Head of Design Sarah Burton presented the shoe in a summery off-white colour way and paired them with cropped trousers, loose-fitting shorts and a range of relaxed tailoring.

For your own outfit, we suggest wearing with dark denim and unstructured tailoring for a night on the town or, when wanting to feel a bit more relaxed, rolled up chinos and a button-down shirt.

Spring/Summer Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Suede Derby Shoes - Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

gant rugger ss14gant rugger ss14burton ss14he by mango ss14asos 2014Gieves & Hawkes ss14ted baker ss13digel ss13he by mango spring 2013
Example Styles
  • Steptronic Suede Derby Shoes navySteptronic Suede Derby Shoes navy
  • Ted Baker Tich Derby ShoesTed Baker Tich Derby Shoes
  • He By Mango Contrast Sole Suede BlucherHe By Mango Contrast Sole Suede Blucher
  • Dune Belsit Suede Derby Shoes TaupeDune Belsit Suede Derby Shoes Taupe
  • Alexander Mcqueen Suede Derby ShoesAlexander Mcqueen Suede Derby Shoes
  • Tods Suede Derby Shoes 190594Tods Suede Derby Shoes 190594
  • Kg By Kurt Geiger Greengrass Suede Derby Shoes navyKg By Kurt Geiger Greengrass Suede Derby Shoes navy
  • Mark Mcnairy Contrast-sole Suede Derby ShoesMark Mcnairy Contrast-sole Suede Derby Shoes
  • Selected Homme Suede Derby ShoesSelected Homme Suede Derby Shoes
3. The Two-tone Brogue

First worn by Irish and Scottish agricultural workers of the sixteenth century, the brogue has, over time, become one of the most loved and iconic silhouettes within the industry. Available in a variety of styles and colours, the brogue’s unique selling point is its ability to be worn with pretty much anything in your wardrobe.

However, as most readers will already own a number of pairs, there is one particular design we are advocating for SS14: the two-tone brogue.

A style that began to gain momentum in the latter half of 2013, a two-tone brogue offers a subtle way of separating your footwear from the crowd and is best paired with smarter attire – tailoring in particular – due to its evident detailing and sleek reputation.

With this in mind, we suggest keeping things formal by pairing them with your favourite summer suit. Alternatively, you could try combining with tailored trousers and a casual blazer for a night out.

It’s worth mentioning that although this is an article about shoes for SS14, the brogue can be worn all year round – as proven by the two-tone design trending for AW13. With this in mind, when it comes to making your purchase, it’s best to stick to refined and subtle colour combinations (think tonal navy or brown versions) that will help ensure you can wear them for many seasons to come.

Spring/Summer Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Tasselled Loafers - Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

pepe jeans ss14David Naman aw13he by mango ss14ami ss14Gieves & Hawkes ss14house of fraser aw13ted baker aw13ted baker ss13ted baker ss13
Example Styles
  • Ted Baker Cassius Derby Brogue ShoeTed Baker Cassius Derby Brogue Shoe
  • He By Mango Suede And Canvas Brogue BlucherHe By Mango Suede And Canvas Brogue Blucher
  • Bertie Bayswater 2-tone Leather Brogues Shoes blackBertie Bayswater 2-tone Leather Brogues Shoes black
  • Topman House Of Hounds Black & Navy BroguesTopman House Of Hounds Black & Navy Brogues
  • He By Mango Suede And Canvas Brogue BlucherHe By Mango Suede And Canvas Brogue Blucher
  • Loake Contrast BroguesLoake Contrast Brogues
  • Black Two Tone Draycott Brogue ShoeBlack Two Tone Draycott Brogue Shoe
  • Ask The Missus Planet Brogue Black White LeatherAsk The Missus Planet Brogue Black White Leather
  • Ami Two-tone Wingtip BroguesAmi Two-tone Wingtip Brogues
4. The Luxe Espadrille

If you’re looking for the ultimate summer shoe, you can’t go far wrong with the espadrille. This season it’s all about luxe versions: those made from higher quality materials such as leather, suede, woven cotton or premium canvas.

More robust than its predecessors, the luxe espadrille is smarter, stronger and far more versatile. Whether worn with shorts and a t-shirt when heading to the beach or with chinos and a button-down shirt in the evening, this vacation essential is the perfect shoe for looking and feeling cool during the hotter months ahead.

For styling inspiration, look no further than the SS14 collections from American brands Ovadia & Sons and Ralph Lauren, both of whom paired theirs with a range of smart-casual attire. To create your own look, we suggest combining with tapered, ankle-hitting trousers, a plain white shirt and linen blazer – relaxed summer chic at its finest.

Although we consider the luxe espadrille a must-own this season, it’s important to realise when and when not to wear yours. They are never suitable for the office or formal occasions, but can be dressed up for smart-casual summer events and make the ideal holidaying shoe, taking you from beach to restaurant effortlessly.

Spring/Summer Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Tasselled Loafers - Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

reissel burgues ss13he by mango summer 2013Gieves & Hawkes ss14ovadia & sons ss13ovadia & sons ss13ti for men ss14tesco f&f ss14next ss12
Example Styles
  • Dune Foxtrot Suede Woven EspadrillesDune Foxtrot Suede Woven Espadrilles
  • Fins Eddie Light Blue Suede Plain EspadrillesFins Eddie Light Blue Suede Plain Espadrilles
  • Christian Louboutin Relax Woven Raffia Espadrilles 193652Christian Louboutin Relax Woven Raffia Espadrilles 193652
  • Rivieras Cotton Mesh Slip-on ShoesRivieras Cotton Mesh Slip-on Shoes
  • Castaer Pablo Leather EspadrillesCastaer Pablo Leather Espadrilles
  • Rivieras Sultan Suede Slip-on ShoesRivieras Sultan Suede Slip-on Shoes
5. The Double Monk-Strap

If there is one shoe which has really made itself known over the past few years, it’s the double monk-strap. Seen everywhere from the runways to the high street, this classic design is a modern must-own.

Originally worn by monks as early as the eleventh century – as they offered more protection than their traditional sandals – the monk-strap is a sleek and distinctive silhouette that instantly stands out next to common lace-up styles such as the Oxford, Derby or brogue.

Whether worn with your suit during the working week or with your casual attire at the weekend, a double-monk offers a unique and modish finishing touch to any ensemble. For an added dose of style, we suggest leaving one of the straps unbuckled. This not only gives your look a more relaxed and natural feel, but also shows you are a man who pays attention to detail.

For styling inspiration, it is worth having a peak at our street style pages and recent AW14 London Collections: Men street trends report, where you’ll find a host of well dressed, everyday gents incorporating the monk-strap into their own personal style.

To create your own outfit, we recommend sticking to smarter attire such as slim dark jeans, button-down shirts and lightweight tailoring.

Spring/Summer Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Tasselled Loafers - Spring/Summer Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

reiss ss13massimo dutti nyc 5th avenue ss13j crew ss14digel ss14tommy hilfiger tailored ss14he by mango ss14ami ss14Baldessarini ss14tm lewin ss14
Example Styles
  • Reiss Fife Hand Finished Monk Strap Shoes Ox BloodReiss Fife Hand Finished Monk Strap Shoes Ox Blood
  • Ted Baker Mazzano Double Monk Strap ShoeTed Baker Mazzano Double Monk Strap Shoe
  • He By Mango Leather Monk-strap ShoesHe By Mango Leather Monk-strap Shoes
  • Topman Tan Leather Monk ShoesTopman Tan Leather Monk Shoes
  • Rolando Sturlini Monk ShoeRolando Sturlini Monk Shoe
  • Topman Black Leather Monk ShoesTopman Black Leather Monk Shoes
  • Mark Mcnairy Suede Double Monk-strap ShoesMark Mcnairy Suede Double Monk-strap Shoes
  • John Lobb William Suede Monk-strap ShoesJohn Lobb William Suede Monk-strap Shoes
  • Mr. Hare Leather Double Monk-strap ShoesMr. Hare Leather Double Monk-strap Shoes
Final Word

So, now you know the key footwear styles to look out for this spring/summer, the fun can start in picking your favourite and incorporating them into your wardrobe.

But, which one will you choose? The classic monk-strap? The summery suede Derby? Or perhaps the eye-catching two-tone brogue?

Let us know in the comments section…