With the British summer continuing its upturn after a less than impressive start, dressing for high summer has certainly come to the fore. Combating a rising Celsius isn’t an easy task, and doing it in style is even harder.

By now you will have hopefully started to take full advantage of man-made fibres and ditched the heavy wools and polyesters in favour of lighter weight linens and cotton. With temperatures reaching heatwave consistency, summer-proofing your style is imperative and encapsulates everything from your choice of head wear to footwear.

Today we attempt to navigate the forgotten and often faux pas-ridden land of the leather sandal. Disgraced by sock pairings and shamed by its Velcro-strapped cousins, the sandal has been all too readily dismissed in recent years. Billed as feminine and un-stylish by many, during high summer the sandal should be seriously considered as your off-duty go-to.

The Leather Sandal

An extremely lightweight footwear silhouette, sandals are the most qualified option for keeping your feet as cool as possible during the heat. More appropriate than flip-flops, more breathable than boat shoes and arguably more versatile than espadrilles, sandals (particularly leather versions) are a refined choice that can adapt to a wide variety of scenarios and occasions.

Not only that, they are also easily packed and will take up very little room in your suitcase, making them a superb option for holidaying or weekends away.

And yet, with all that in mind, the sandal still has a certain amount of stigma attached to it. Thus, good styling is critically important when stating the case for this high summer essential, and it is something we’ll be addressing today…

How to Wear: Leather Sandals
Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Sandal Lookbook

allsaints ss13h&m ss12allsaints ss12minimum summer 2013minimum spring 2013reiss ss12he by mango spring 2011he by mango spring 2011bershka april 2013he by mango ss12he by mango summer 2013CALIBRE ss13
Look One: High Summer Casual

Casual and comfortable is definitely the required approach when the weather hits heatwave levels.

Yet comfortable doesn’t mean sloppy or un-stylish – keep the fit on point then you’re more than half way there. That means trouser breaks shouldn’t pool at the bottom (check out Will’s recent article on Paying Attention To The Details & fix with our DIY Tailoring guide) and your shirt or tee shouldn’t be billowing at the sides.

Pair your simple leather sandals with lightweight cotton or linen trousers. For this look we’ve opted for navy sandals and brighter blue trousers, incorporating the season’s biggest colour trend in an effortlessly stylish way. Navy remains an underused colour for footwear but it should be considered just as versatile as more traditional tones of black and brown, whilst it will also help subtly separate your look from the crowd.

Up top, utilise another high summer essential: the vest. Although an item that will undoubtedly divide opinion, when styled right and worn appropriately the vest is a casual summer staple that is perfect for those looking to stay fresh and cool and unafraid of showing a bit more skin.

However, when done wrong the vest conjures ‘wife beater’ and ‘LADS abroad’ images that aren’t at all flattering. The horizontal stripe patterning on the version below taps into both the nautical and stripe trends for SS13 and also complements the blue tones present throughout:

  • Allsaints Mirach VestAllsaints Mirach Vest
  • Reiss Ashcroft Soft Washed Chino MineralReiss Ashcroft Soft Washed Chino Mineral
  • Asos Sandals With Cross Over StrapsAsos Sandals With Cross Over Straps
Look Two: Holiday in Style

Great holiday style should always take into account the practicality of transporting your chosen attire to your destination and being comfortable enough for a day of sightseeing etc. As previously mentioned, sandals are a solid footwear option that are not only easy to pack but will keep you cool and comfortable in even the most extreme heat.

A neutral pair of tailored shorts is the definition of refined, chic summer style; they’ll take you from the beach in the morning to the restaurant in the evening and everywhere in between.

On top, a lightweight shirt or polo presents a versatile option for a day full of activities – it is easily unbuttoned when on the beach and smarter than your standard tee when stopping for a bite to eat. This knitted variant offers a tactile element you don’t often see during summer yet the lightweight construction will ensure you don’t overheat:

  • Topman Red Knitted Short Sleeve Polo ShirtTopman Red Knitted Short Sleeve Polo Shirt
  • Orlebar Brown Norwich Cotton ShortsOrlebar Brown Norwich Cotton Shorts
  • Allsaints Azrou SandalAllsaints Azrou Sandal
Look Three: Smart-Casual Sandals

There’s no disguising the fact that sandals are a predominantly casual footwear option. That being said, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paired with seasonally-appropriate tailoring during the summer, especially when it’s of the shorts suit variety.

Shorts suits have seen their popularity soar over the last two years and for SS13 they have been backed by both high fashion designers and high street retailers alike. Combine this key piece with the current statement tailoring trend by opting for a coloured shorts suit. It’s a bold, weather-appropriate take on tailoring that will have you turning heads for all the right reasons.

A short-sleeve shirt may have a somewhat contentious reputation (even though measures have been taken to repair that this season), but it makes the perfect middle layer here and offers a heat-beating option in comparison to its long-sleeved counterpart.

With the shirt being short-sleeved it also means that by removing the jacket you instantly change the entire complexion of the look – moving from smart-casual suiting to off-duty casual:

  • Alexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Short-sleeved Cotton-blend ShirtAlexander Mcqueen Slim-fit Short-sleeved Cotton-blend Shirt
  • Asos Slim Fit Cotton Suit In BurgundyAsos Slim Fit Cotton Suit In Burgundy
  • Greenwood Kurt Geiger London BrownGreenwood Kurt Geiger London Brown
Men’s Leather Sandals
  • Asos Sandals With Cross Over StrapsAsos Sandals With Cross Over Straps
  • Kg Kurt Geiger Fusion SandalsKg Kurt Geiger Fusion Sandals
  • Camper X Romain Kremer Black Leather SandalsCamper X Romain Kremer Black Leather Sandals
  • Collezione Leather Weaved MuleCollezione Leather Weaved Mule
  • H By Hudson Leather Gladiator SandalsH By Hudson Leather Gladiator Sandals
  • Dune Icarus Leather Gladiator SandalsDune Icarus Leather Gladiator Sandals
  • Dan Ward Leather Mule SandalsDan Ward Leather Mule Sandals
  • Asos Gladiator SandalsAsos Gladiator Sandals
  • Ancient Greek Sandals Thalos Sandals 143650Ancient Greek Sandals Thalos Sandals 143650
  • American Apparel Mens Original Jerusalem SandalAmerican Apparel Mens Original Jerusalem Sandal
  • Dan Ward Leather SandalsDan Ward Leather Sandals
  • Alvaro Buckled Leather SandalsAlvaro Buckled Leather Sandals

The sandal is always likely to divide opinion; for some it’s the ultimate faux pas whilst for others it’s the ultimate in laid-back, refined summer style. Versatile, comfortable and as seasonally-appropriate as it gets, it’s about time the sandal’s merits were taken into account.

But now it is time for your opinion:

  • Is the sandal your summer style saviour?
  • Or a definitive faux pas?
  • Have we managed to alter your view on this polarising silhouette?
  • Which of the three looks above appeals the most?

Whether you’re opting for the sandal this summer or not, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below…