When the sun starts to blaze, there’s nothing nicer than setting the out of office and the feel of sand between your toes. Unfortunately, unless you’ve won the lottery, chances are you only get to do that for a week or two, and the rest of the summer months will be spent pounding pavements – shoes firmly on.
So what are you supposed to wear when the mercury rises without resorting to the dreaded socks and sandals combo? We’ve compiled a list of the five proper pieces of footwear that every man should have in his rotation – flip-flops not allowed.
Suede Penny Loafers
Flitting from work to the beer garden is a common hobby in summer, as is going from barbeque to bar and sightseeing to dinner, so the key to nailing warm-weather footwear is to opt for something versatile.
Choosing a classic penny loafer (also known as the ‘Weejun’ after its Norwegian heritage) over a more relaxed tassel design is the key to keeping a smart-casual vibe that’ll work with all outfits, be it shorts and a T-shirt or a lightweight suit.
“When shopping for a summer loafer, go for something in a light suede. This will work with all shades and textures of clothing, and suede is a better option than leather in the warmer weather,” says the design team at Ted Baker. “Team them with chinos and a blazer for a smart-casual daytime event, or tailored shorts and a shirt for some city break chic.”
As a general rule with loafers, the trousers should not touch the shoes (also known as having ‘no break’) so that the footwear is fully visible. If flashing your mankles, it’s also advisable to opt for a pair of invisible socks as suede shoes absorb sweat more readily than their leather counterparts, which isn’t a good look (or smell) – whatever you wear them with.
- Romney Penny Loafer In Tan H By Hudson
- Office Franco Penny Loafers Grey Suede
- Dune Ruling Penny Loafers Tan
- Oliver Sweeney Penny Loafers Chocolate
- J.m. Weston 281 Le Moc Suede Loafers
- Suitsupply Sand Penny Loafer
- Trickers James Suede Penny Loafers
- Tods Suede Penny Loafers
- J.m. Weston 281 Le Moc Suede Loafers
- Asos Penny Loafers In Tan Suede With Leather Heel Detail
- Dune Breeze Suede Loafers
- Zara Brown Leather Loafers With Brogueing
Call them what you want, but thanks to the astronomical rise of the athleisure trend, trainers/sneakers/kicks have made the transition from gym gear to appropriate all-round footwear, especially in the warmer months.
“Every guy needs a pair of understated, smart sneakers these days,” says Flavio Girolami, co-founder of cult minimalist trainer brand Common Projects. “It used to be the case that you’d only wear them when nobody would see you, but now, investing in a pair that goes with everything means you’ll always look on-point.”
Unfussy white leather kicks now get a pass at almost every summer event, so it’s worth buying a pair that will last. Common Projects’ Achilles model is the blueprint, but if you don’t fancy dropping that much on logo-free footwear, the high street has some great alternatives. Just keep any decorative elements to a minimum and invest in a decent cleaning kit to keep them sparkling white.
- Vans Vault Og Old Skool Lx
- Kg by Kurt Geiger Phoenix
- A.p.c. Jean Tennis Sneaker
- Adidas Stan Smith
- Converse Chuck Taylor 1970s Ox Leather Triple White
- Adidas Gazelle Off White
- Officine Generale Leather Sneakers
- Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
- Saint Laurent Sl/01 Leather Sneakers
- Reiss Gregory Reiss X Clae Sneakers
- Suitsupply White Sneakers
- Selected Homme Leather Sneakers
Ignore their frat-boy connotations, boat shoes (or deck shoes for the landlubbers) are one of the easiest shoes just to slip on and go. Breathable, comfortable and available in a wider range of colours than most other summer footwear, the design that hasn’t changed since 1935 is sailing back into the mainstream this season.
“They’re preppy, classic and just a little bit fun,” says Topman creative director Gordon Richardson. “They’re ideal first date shoes, too – not too try hard, not too sloppy. And doesn’t everyone fancy a bit of sailor fun every now and again?”
Despite their nautical heritage, avoid designs with excess toggles and laces; just because they’re supposed to be worn on the deck of a boat, doesn’t mean that they should look like flotation devices. The ideal pair should fit and feel a bit like a slipper, so all that excess baggage is wasteful.
If snubbing traditional canvas variants for something a little more durable, bear in mind that sturdy leather boat shoes will require a period of breaking in, so don’t go buying a pair in the airport lounge and expect to be able to tread around town without some hefty blisters.
As for what to wear them with? “No popped collar polo shirts, or you will look like you’re off to a frat party. And steer clear of the Breton stripe – it’s not fancy dress,” adds Richardson. Instead, combine with lightweight tailoring for a Riviera-inspired high-low combo, or slip them on with jeans as an everyday substitute for sneakers.
- Sperry Topsider Authentic Original 2-eye Washable
- Polo Ralph Lauren Bienne Ii Classic Boat Shoe
- Sperry Topsider Authentic Original 2-eye
- Bertie Battleship Nubuck Leather Boat Shoes Navy
- Dockside Boat Shoe In Brown/nubuck Sebago
- Kg Kurt Geiger
- Ask The Missus Deck Boat Shoe
- Quoddy Downeast Nubuck Boat Shoes
- Timberland Boat Shoes
- Topman Beige Leather Boat Shoes
- Dune Belize Leather Boat Shoes
- River Island Boat Shoes
On account of pairing just as well with tailored trousers or chinos, sandals (and we don’t mean flip-flops) have made the switch from the beach to the everyday. So to pick up the poolside slack, look to a pair of espadrilles. Light, comfortable and easy to pack, they’re a holiday no-brainer.
“Espadrilles are the ultimate chill-out shoes,” says Blake Mycoskie, founder of philanthropic footwear brand Toms. “Wear them with a linen suit for Miami Vice cool or shorts and T-shirt for laid-back casual.”
Usually made from canvas or cotton with a jute rope sole, espadrilles are not the hardiest of shoes, so if there’s even a hint of rain, keep them tucked firmly in your suitcase.
“Stick to darker shades if you’re going to be walking through cities or on grass, as they will get dirty quickly,” adds Mycoskie. “But if they do, don’t panic – get an old toothbrush and some washing powder and scrub away. Just be careful not to get the sole wet, or it will expand and you won’t be able to wear them again.”
- Castaner Pablo Suede Espadrilles
- Castaner Pablo Canvas Espadrilles
- Acne Studios Jose Grosgrain And Leather-trimmed Canvas Espadrilles
- Suitsupply Blue Espadrilles
- He By Mango Suede Espadrilles
- Loro Piana Seaside Walk Suede Espadrilles
- Ned In Beige Kg Kurt Geiger
- Office Devon Espadrille
- Suede Espadrilles
- Frank Wright Slip On Espadrilles Shoes In Brown Leather
- Kg Kurt Geiger Ned Fabric Espadrilles
- Tom Ford Barnes Suede Espadrille
Unfortunately, not all summer days will be spent on the beach or at the park. For those occasions that require something smarter, look to the cooler cousin of the more formal Oxford: the Derby.
“For summer, there are [a couple of] options that you should consider,” says Tim Little, owner of heritage shoemaker Grenson. “If looking for something more adventurous, go for a woven pair. If, however, you’re looking for a multitasker that’ll be suitable for everything from weddings to work summer parties, stick to classic suede.”
A well-made pair of Derbies may pack a punch in the pocket, but if cared for properly, they will be a worthwhile investment. With that in mind, it’s essential to regularly treat the uppers with a spray protector. It’s also advisable to keep a suede brush handy at all times, as the textured nature and open pores of the material mean it has a tendency to pick up stains all too easily.
To get the best cost-per-wear ratio, choose styles in beige, light brown or tan as these generally pair better with a summer palette than darker chocolate shades or black.
Derbies look their best combined with sharp summer-weight suiting or smart-casual separates – think slim-cut chinos and trousers, linen shirts, cotton blazers, pique polos and tailored shorts.
- Common Projects Cadet Suede Derby Shoes
- Trickers Robert Suede Derby Shoes
- Red Wing Shoes Postman Suede Derby Shoes
- Frank Wright Burley Tobacco Suede Lace-up Derby Shoe
- Bertie Pugg Round-toe Suede Derby Shoes Tan
- Reiss Amerson Suede Derby Shoes Brown
- Grenson Finlay Suede Derby Shoes
- Walk London Darcy Derby Suede Shoes With Crepe Soles
- Hudson London Hayane Suede Derby Shoes
- River Island Brown Suede Smart Shoes
- Zara Beige Shoes With Rubberized Sole
- Clarks Originals Tan Suede Desert Shoes