Of all the things that can make or break a first date, your footwear is one of the earliest to come into play. Get it right, and you’ll make a great impression from the off. Get it wrong, and it’s back to eating microwave meals in front of Netflix again for the foreseeable future.

Let’s face it, that hallowed second date probably isn’t going to present itself if you rock up to a high-end restaurant in a pair of gym trainers, is it? What this proves, in case you needed it pointing out, is that each different dating scenario brings with it its own unique set of style requirements. In short: you’ll need to match your shoes to your setting.

Paul Evans is a brand that has carved out a niche for itself, delivering luxury footwear direct to the consumer, allowing you to look the part while sidestepping exorbitant retail markups.

Wherever your first date takes you, Paul Evans has all bases covered – in the finest Italian calfskin, of course. Here are the best shoes to wear for some of the most common first date situations.

A Trip To The Cinema: The Chukka Boot

With the exception of movie premieres, watching a film tends to be a fairly laid-back affair. However, that isn’t carte blanche to rock up at the movie theatre wearing socks and sliders. You’re still going to have to make an effort, especially if you plan on grabbing a drink after.

Paul Evans’ Newman Chukka Boot in oxblood is a surefire winner. Constructed from full-grain, Italian calfskin with a rich, hand-painted upper, they can be easily dressed up or down. Wear with dark denim and an Oxford shirt for a faultless smart casual look, then throw them under a suit for date number two. Which, by the way, you’ve almost certainly secured at this point.

Newman Chukka Boot: $399/£296

The Newman Chukka Boot
The Newman Chukka Boot

A Night At The Bar: The Chelsea Boot

Few things kill the vibe on a date quite as effectively as being denied entry to a swanky cocktail bar, all because you thought your battered old plimsolls could pass for ‘smart casual’. They can’t. The bouncer knows it, your date knows it, and now you’re starting to realise it, too. Save yourself the embarrassment and eliminate the risk factor by opting for what is arguably the ultimate in smart casual footwear: the Chelsea boot.

The Dean Boot from Paul Evans is a prime example. It’s beautifully built, masterfully finished and will work equally well with chinos or jeans. So whether it’s somewhere lavish or just the local, these babies will get you there in style.

Dean Chelsea Boot: $399/£296

The Dean Chelsea Boot
The Dean Chelsea Boot

An Evening Of Fine Dining: The Double Monk Strap

As a general rule when eating out, if you can’t count the number of courses on one hand, you’d be well advised to dress up. Fine dining calls for fancy footwear, so strap up in a pair of double monks and forget about setting a foot wrong.

A slap-up meal at a leading restaurant may be nice, but it would still struggle to be tastier than Paul Evans’ Poitier Monk Strap. The classic, black leather finish will look slick with tailoring, or could even be paired with tonal denim that hits just above the ankle for a laid-back take. Finish off with a light-gauge turtleneck, and you’re ready to order yourself a successful evening.

Poitier Double Monk Strap: $399/£296

Poitier Double Monk Strap
Poitier Double Monk Strap

A Daytime Meetup: The Luxe Trainer

A date doesn’t have to involve an elaborate meal or overpriced cocktails under the cover of darkness. However, if you decide to take your romantic rendezvous out into the broad light of day, don’t let it be marred by subpar footwear choices. Instead, step up your game with some luxury kicks.

Paul Evans’ Carter Mid-Top is a sneaker mixed with the DNA of a smart shoe, making it ideal for almost anything the day could conceivably throw at you. As well as a simple white sole and hand-painted upper, it features a mid-height silhouette and cushioned footbed that makes it perfect for countless hours of standing up playing miniature golf.

Carter Mid-Top Sneaker: $299/£222

The Carter Mid-Top Sneaker - Marrone
The Carter Mid-Top Sneaker - Marrone

About Paul Evans

A leading name in direct-to-consumer footwear, Paul Evans was founded in 2012 and has been saving men money on premium-quality, Italian-made shoes ever since.

The brand is the creation of two former Big Apple investment bankers with a shared passion for footwear, who took it upon themselves to eliminate expensive retail markups by cutting out the middleman and bringing exquisitely crafted shoes direct to the customer’s door.

The label’s founders travelled and collaborated with manufacturers in six different countries before their journey led them to the spiritual home of shoemaking in Italy. Here they found the perfect partners to help bring their vision to life.

Paul Evans New York - How The Shoes Are FinishedPaul Evans New York - How The Shoes Are FinishedPaul Evans New York - How The Shoes Are Finished

Now each pair of Paul Evans shoes is lovingly handmade at an artisan shoe factory in the Gulf of Naples, by highly-skilled craftspeople who have been honing their trade over not just years, but generations.

Melding a New York design aesthetic with the heritage and prestige of Italian shoemaking, what Paul Evans has done is created a range of footwear that perfectly blends classic and contemporary.

If you were in the market for a high-end pair of shoes but found yourself struggling to justify the expense, Paul Evans may be just the label you’ve been waiting for.