They say you can tell everything about a man by his shoes, which is why you should pay close attention when picking your warm-weather footwear – especially if you’re wearing shorts, when your footwear choice is front and centre.

With this in mind, we’re set to highlight some foolproof shorts and footwear combinations for summer, so you can avoid any unsightly clashes.

Tailored Shorts

Especially versatile, tailored shorts can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion and make the ideal warm-weather alternative to formal trousers for smart-casual events such as garden parties and wedding receptions.

The rule to remember here is that smart shorts should be paired with an equally smart shoe, so team tailored shorts with your finer footwear silhouettes. Brogues, Oxfords and Derbies will all work well, whether you opt for models in leather or seasonally-appropriate suede, while chic loafers and driving shoes in similar luxurious materials will add a more laid-back feel, but still keep you looking unmistakably refined.

Of course, these styles will only look sharp provided they’re worn sock-free. So, if you’re not up to scratch on going sockless, then best brief yourself properly before getting your hairy pins out. Suffice to say, you’re going to need to invest in some invisible shoe liners.

When the mercury really spikes, classic leather sandals (nothing too fashionably sporty) in timeless navy, black or brown will help maintain a refined appearance; while scruffy canvas trainers, flip-flops or other decidedly casual styles will only jar with the sharp, tailored cut of your legwear.

Men's Tailored Shorts and Footwear/Shoe Combinations Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

gant rugger ss15suitsupply ss15calibre ss14gieves & hawkes ss16perry ellis ss14scotch & soda ss15dunhill ss15gant ss14primark ss15reiss ss14charles tyrwhitt 2014olzen ss15

Jersey/Athletic Shorts

With sports luxe and streetwear influences dominating industry trends over the past few years, jersey, nylon and other sports-inspired shorts have become de rigueur for contemporary men that like to dress down, rather than up.

If you’re more likely to be seen in a pair of athletic shorts than sharply tailored versions, you’ll want a shoe that offers the same degree of comfort and breathability.

What better than a pair of trainers? From luxury designer takes and technical runners to slip-on canvas plimsolls and even hi-tops, it goes without saying that the humble sneaker is an ideal match for jersey shorts.

That said, a pair of low-top minimal trainers in black, white or grey is probably the style to settle on if you’re prioritising versatility. Not only will they lend a sleek edge to your shorts, they’ll also act as a handy tool to dress down your suit when you want to put a casual spin on your tailoring.

Fans of the streetwear aesthetic should also consider pool sliders, especially once temperatures rise. A current footwear trend, the more progressive dressers in our midst can team theirs with white sports socks – a two-finger salute to conservative tastemakers. Adidas makes some of the best on the market and they’re guaranteed to get good use for many more summers to come.

Men's Athletic/Sports Shorts And Footwear Combinations Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

zara 2015reserved ss15river island ss15theory ss15RIVER ISLAND STUDIO SS15primark ss15simons ss15American Eagle SS15j crew june 2015sunspel ss15asos black ss15pull & bear black label ss15

Denim Shorts

You’d be hard pushed to find a man that doesn’t already own a pair of denim shorts. Great for holidaying and weekends in the city, they are a fail-safe short choice for last minute outings and days when you don’t want to think too hard about what to wear.

But although it’s easy to style a pair of selvedge shorts with most of your casual shirts, tees and vests – after all, they are the summer equivalent of your trusty jeans – what are the guidelines when it comes to footwear?

Keep it lo-fi. While designers and stylists might be re-imagining denim lately, even working it into eveningwear options, the fact remains that denim cut-offs are unquestionably casual. And unlike sporty styles, they have a little more of a grunge-inspired kick to them, so footwear that’s fuss-free and fashionably offbeat is the way to go.

Try teaming with canvas trainers (rock-affiliated Chuck Taylors being the obvious option here), minimal plimsolls or skate-inspired slip-ons (Vans are the go-to for this style) for effortlessly cool off-duty looks, switching for a pair of espadrilles if you’re planning on taking your denim to the sand dunes.

Men's Denim Shorts and Footwear/Shoes Combinations Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

mango man 2015mango man 2015mango man 2015office shoes ss13Scotch & Soda Amsterdams Blauw Resort 2015selected denim ss14pull & beaR DAILY STANDARDS SS15American Eagle SS15mango man may 2015river island ss15simons ss15scotch & soda amsterdams blauw ss15

Chino Shorts

Unbeatably versatile, a pair of chino shorts is an indisputable summer wardrobe staple. Straddling the line between smart and casual, you’ll quickly come to realise that there are few footwear styles that don’t play well with chino shorts.

For a classic pairing that works for almost any warm-weather situation, team them with boat shoes. Although a casual silhouette, there’s something unmistakably sharp and gentlemanly about a boat shoe that means you can easily sport them for slightly more formal events.

Another silhouette that might not immediately spring to mind is the desert boot – something too many of us mislabel as ‘autumn/winter only’. Boots can work with shorts (we recently debunked that outdated myth once and for all), especially if you opt for suede versions in lighter colourways, which will add a rugged yet polished feel to your ensemble.

Still, if you really want to smarten these up, stick to suede or leather brogues, Derbies, drivers and loafers, which will highlight your shorts’ tailored look rather than the relaxed chino fabric itself.

Alternatively, if you’re hitting the beach or hanging by the pool, espadrilles and sandals will work just as well to keep your summer style on-point. There really is nothing this type of short won’t go with.

Men's Chino Shorts and Footwear/Shoes Combinations Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

mango man spring 2013Scotch & Sodamango man 2015eidos napoli SS15jaeger ss14burton ss15mango man summer 2015woolrich john rich bros ss15crew clothing ss15debenhams high summer 2015pull & beaR DAILY STANDARDS SS15house of fraser ss15sunspel ss15river island high summer 2015American Eagle SS15

General Tips

Short Legs

If you’re a shorter gentleman, opt for low profile footwear silhouettes (nothing above ankle height) with a good sole or slight heel in shades that are similar to your skin tone – all of which will combine to produce the illusion of height and longer legs.

When it comes to your shorts, go for a pair that finishes around mid-thigh or give the hems a couple of folds to emphasise leg length.

Guys With Short Legs Should Stick To Low Profile Footwear Silhouettes With ShortsImage: Eidos Napoli SS15

Long Legs

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have long legs, you’re going to want to opt for footwear styles that have a slightly higher profile. Desert and chukka boots, along with slightly chunkier trainers, brogues and Derbies, would be ideal.

Similarly, your shorts should finish on or just above the knee, in order to break up your vertical lines slightly lower down and reduce the amount of leg on show.

Guys With Long Legs Should Stick To Chunkier Footwear Silhouettes With ShortsImage: J.Crew SS14

Leather Boots & Shorts

For an altogether edgier take on summer dressing, try combining a pair of leather worker boots with your shorts. The key to pulling off this dramatic juxtaposition is to ensure that your shorts are equally rugged – think heavyweight twill or denim styles in straighter cuts.

Shorts and leather boots can work if you stick to rugged materials such as chino and denimImage: AllSaints SS13

Exposed Feet

If you intend to bare your feet in a sandal or flip-flop this summer, spend some time making them look presentable beforehand. That means getting a professional pedicure (there’s no shame in it anymore), or doing a bit of DIY grooming in the comfort of your own home.

At the very least, your toenails should be neat and clean, there should be no unsightly hard patches of skin along the sides or top of your feet, and you may even want to consider trimming any excess hair.


Final Word

Whether you’re packing for a summer holiday or just figuring out simple rules to refine your style this season, sticking to our fail-safe shoe pairings will keep your feet looking sweet as we sail through summer.

What are your personal tips for shorts and footwear styling?

Let us know in the comments section.