Try Some New Treads
It has long been said that a man is first judged on his shoes, then his timepiece. But in this digital age, where every gent has a clock on his smartphone, a watch is no longer deemed essential. As such, your choice of footwear has never been so important; a bad pair of shoes will instantly ruin even the greatest outfit.
No wonder the majority tend to play it safe when it comes to their shoe choice. In fact, you could argue that a man can get by on just three pairs: brown brogues, black Derbies/Oxfords and white leather trainers – but where’s the fun in that?
Having already offered suggestions on alternative summer tops and outerwear this season, today we bring you three footwear styles that will help breathe life into your current warm-weather collection…
The statement trainer has been big business of late and in many ways epitomises the continued blurring of lines between sportswear and fashion.
Regular readers will most likely already own a neutral pair of trainers, which bring a timeless casual slant to any look, but why not consider expanding your repertoire with a bolder pair that pulls no punches?
Menswear is no longer afraid of pattern and colour; it fully embraces it in every department, including footwear. There isn’t a default silhouette, brand or model that you need to stick to here: retro runners are experiencing a renaissance, slip-ons are trending this year and low-tops seem set to reclaim their crown from ubiquitous hi-top versions come 2015.
In short, trainers are a modern must-own, no matter what guise, shape or form you opt for. Your choice of colour and/or print is the only real consideration, yet it’s not something we can answer for you – let taste and personal style dictate. That said, here are some general guidelines to bear in mind:
Floral and camo patterns refuse to go away and, against all odds, have cemented themselves as perennial print trends over recent years. So if you’re searching for a trend-led pair that will stay in vogue for many seasons to come, both of these motifs are safe bets.
If you’re still unsure of patterned footwear, bold block-colour trainers are designed to grab attention and when combined with neutral summer basics, will quickly define your outfit. Textured pairs like the adidas Gazelle or Puma Suede are far less obnoxious than all-leather versions (due to the mattifying effect of suede) yet still offer a welcome injection of colour while keeping things mature and refined.
Finally, look out for limited editions, designer collaborations or retailer exclusives – these are not only rarer and therefore more individual, they come with added style kudos too.
Working best in casual looks, don’t try to dress up statement trainers too much. While suits and lo-fi sneakers are now considered a winning combination, printed/coloured designs often jar and look out of place when mixed with formal attire.
The fashion trainer must be approached with confidence and should ideally be the focal point of your outfit. Putting together an ensemble that incorporates a multitude of patterns and primary colours isn’t the way to approach this silhouette. Instead, for maximum effect, surround your trainers with neutral pieces and let them take centre stage.
Introducing a complementary print or colour via accent detailing works wonders for tying the outfit together, but is far from required. Here we’ve utilised a jacket with printed sleeves that picks out the red trainers, but in high temperatures you can ditch the bomber altogether and your ensemble will still look on-point:
- Son Of Wild Akeem Bomber Jacket With Tribal Print Sleeves
- Topman Cream Cable Short Sleeve Knitted Polo Shirt
- Reiss Boulevard Tailored Turn-up Shorts
- Adidas Originals Gazelle Og Suede And Leather Sneakers
- Nike Festival Pack Air Max 90 Trainers
- New Balance 574 Stadium Jacket Trainers
- Saucony grid 9000 Premium
- Topman Hype Navy / Floral Print Runner Trainers
- Nike Mens Air Force 1 Ac Br Qs Sneakers
- Nike Air Odyssey Trainers In Blue
- Saint Laurent Metallic Leopard Print Skate Shoes
- Raf Simons Raf Simons X Stan Smith Trainer
- Converse 1970s Chuck Taylor Printed Sneakers
- Valentino Camo-print Suede And Leather Trainers
- Nike Orange Mens Floral Print Blazer Mid Vntg Qs Sneakers
- River Island Brown Leopard Print Trainers
The loafer is widely considered the perfect summer shoe. A good penny or tassel design straddles the line between smart and casual perfectly, enabling it to be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. They’re versatile, timeless, exude elegance and class and – if we’re playing devil’s advocate – are a little overdone.
The latter is by no means a bad thing – after all, this could be said about every classic piece of menswear – but sometimes we need to expand our horizons and try something new to ensure our style doesn’t become stale. Especially when you know every other well-dressed bloke at that upcoming summer wedding/office party/dinner is going to be wearing the same type of shoes.
This is where the driving silhouette comes in. Defined by their lightweight moccasin slip-on structure, they’re practical in hot weather, a little more relaxed than their loafer cousin and ooze continental flair. The driving shoe isn’t necessarily superior to the loafer; just different, and certainly a worthy addition to any contemporary shoe collection.
They also come in a wider range of colours, meaning you can make as much or as little of a statement as you’re comfortable with. You may immediately envisage them being worn by billionaire playboys in Monaco, but the driving shoe looks just as appropriate on our sunny shores as it does in the principality.
Driving shoes, like most slip-on silhouettes, are extremely versatile. They’ll take a classic shorts, t-shirt and hoodie combination up a notch effortlessly, yet combine them with a lightweight suit and shirt and they bring a louche, rakish touch that doesn’t feel the slightest bit out of place.
For this look, we strike right down the middle by taking elements from both the formal and casual side of the wardrobe. Unstructured, lightweight separates are ideal for smart-casual summer events such as a wedding reception, and the striking contrast between the cream blazer and navy trousers will ensure all eyes remain on you.
Layer a tee underneath your jacket instead of a shirt to keep this look strictly off-duty – this also allows you to take it down another notch by ditching the blazer for a laid-back yet tailored everyday ensemble:
- He By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Suit Blazer
- Reiss Imperial Raw Edge T-shirt
- Reiss Fairline T Formal Trousers
- Tods Gommino Leather Driving Shoes
- Asos Driving Shoes In Suede
- Lacoste Concours Driving Shoes
- Selected Homme River Driving Shoes
- He By Mango Camo-print Suede Driving Shoes
- He By Mango Suede Driving Shoes
- Topman Selected Suede Loafers
- Tods Gommino Suede Driving Shoes
- Car Shoe Suede Driving Shoes
- Asos Driving Shoes In Suede
- Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Leather Driving Shoes
- Tods Gommino Suede Driving Shoes
- Carshoe Printed Croc Driving Shoes
As previously mentioned, rarely do we deviate from the tried and tested footwear silhouettes. But this safe and conventional way of thinking also applies to our colour choices. Black and shades of brown are the only options many men consider viable when purchasing a new pair of shoes, and a quick glance around your office would back this statement up.
However, over recent years oxblood has slowly begun to intrude on this duopoly, gaining respect within menswear circles due to its beautifully rich shade that is arguably just as versatile as tan or brown. Now, for 2014, navy is looking to get in on the action and become the point of difference within your smarter looks.
Navy shoes aren’t so radical that they require a wardrobe shake up to work. In fact, they marry extremely well with the neutral staples that set the foundation of any successful capsule wardrobe.
Khaki, grey, white, burgundy and other shades of blue go especially well with navy footwear, and you could even pair them with a navy suit or chinos for your own take on the ‘all navy everything’ look that has proved popular here at FashionBeans.
Navy is a colour that carries a lot of weight in the male wardrobe, and for good reason: it’s versatile, smart, masculine, practical, timeless… and any other style cliche you can come up with. So whether you’re a Derby, brogue, Chelsea boot, chukka or loafer kind of man, why not introduce it to your footwear collection this season?
Outfit Inspiration: Smart
A smart pair of navy lace-ups can be just the thing to give your nine-to-five looks a subtle boost, without sacrificing your professionalism. Pair them with any of your daily suiting rotation – grey, navy, khaki, charcoal – and they will instantly set your outfit apart from the rest of the office in a subtle and refined way.
Don’t feel like you have to restrict your new navy footwear to the office only though. If you’re dressing for a formal night out, pair them with a dark suit (like the charcoal one below), classic white shirt and sparsely patterned tie for a smart ensemble that oozes individuality:
- Asos Slim Fit Suit In Herringbone
- Reiss Squire Tab Collar Shirt
- He By Mango Crab Satin Tie
- Paul Smith Ernest Burnished Leather Derby Shoes
Outfit Inspiration: Casual
If you’ve yet to add some suede shoes to your casual arsenal, firstly, you should, and secondly, consider making them navy. More than just summer wear, a pair of suede bucks will see you through any season – just keep them out of the wet and, at the very least, protect them with a waterproofing spray.
During summer, a pair of white lightweight chinos and chambray shirt help create a Riviera-inspired everyday look that works in almost every scenario. When the weather worsens, simply up the weight of your chinos and swap your chambray shirt for a denim version:
- Ben Sherman Blue Plain Chambray Long Sleeve Shirt
- He By Mango Slim-fit Garment-dyed Chinos
- Topman Navy Desert Shoes
- Topman Navy Suede Chelsea Boots
- Topman Peter Werth Navy Oxford Shoes
- New Look Brogues
- He By Mango Brogueing Suede Blucher
- Reiss Anstice Suede Tasselled Loafers
- Asos Brogue Shoes In Suede
- Asos Chukka Boots In Suede
- Kg Kurt Geiger Toni Brogues
- He By Mango Contrast Sole Suede Loafers
- Mark Mcnairy Pebble-grain Leather And Tweed Panelled Brogues
- Mark Mcnairy Suede Derby Shoes
- Grenson Marcus Suede Chukka Boots
With summer slowly coming to its conclusion, the industry’s attention has already turned to the upcoming autumn/winter season – but that’s no reason to let your warm-weather style slip.
With end of season sales still on, now is the perfect time to add to your shoe collection. After all, each style showcased above will transition well into autumn and are set to stay relevant for SS15 as well.
So, what do you think – will you be swapping your penny loafers for a pair of driving shoes? How about giving the white trainers a rest? Or maybe you would prefer to make a subtle style statement with some dark navy lace-ups?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…