Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Men’s footwear: Gentleman, choose your summer shoes

Not that long ago it was only grandad sandals and cheap backpacker flip flops (which are beyond impractical when worn in the city) that were the only options for summer footwear.

But in recent years men have had a lot more freedom in terms of choice in footwear when the heat is on. From the white canvas pumps craze through to the irrepressible deck shoes and finally resting with last year’s driving shoes, there is now a plethora of comfortable, casual and (most importantly?) cool men’s summer shoes on offer.

Let’s break down the hot favourites and discuss them:

These really are the love/hate shoes out of the category.
With the key features of canvas uppers and woven straw soles these shoes are easy to wear and perfect for park life as well as seafront strolling.
A friend asked me recently what I thought about them as they were considering buying them but were worried they would look scruffy. I think it’s all about how you wear them.
Wear them with clean lined tailored shorts/chino shorts and a classic polo shirt or shirt for a French Rivera cool.
If you go for a white pair make sure you don’t let them get too dirt and avoid wearing them with jean shorts otherwise you’ll look like Wham! Circa 1983.
Espadrilles should always be worn without socks

Deck shoes

The ultimate shoe of choice for the preppy man about town and once much maligned, but the deck shoe (or boat shoe as it’s often also called. They are one and the same) came back like a phoenix from the ashes and has positioned itself as a staple of menswear. These easy-to-wear amazingly comfortable and hardwearing shoes are smart enough to wear with chinos yet casual enough to wear with jeans or shorts.

Traditionally they are worn without socks but I personally think that if you’re wearing them with trousers socks are acceptable and practical in hot weather.

Canvas shoes by Victoria
Simple, washable and versatile. Canvas shoes come in a wide range of designs to suit all tastes. Perfect for park, beachside, poolside and holiday wear these shoes look best with shorts.
For a classic 1950s/1960s gent inspired look why not wear checked tailored shorts with a fresh polo shirt, raybans and canvas shoes.This outfit is really complemented with short white socks for an authentic nod to old world style (think Don Draper on holiday and you’re half way there).
Finish the look with classic RayBans and a straw trilby for the penultimate summer man-about-town style.

Weejun driving shoes, 1964
For the more dashing style driving shoes cut a slick edge. A firm favourite of French and Italian men these comfortable shoes straddle the line of smart/casual perfectly. Often in luxurious suedes driving shoes are defined by their unique soles.
Versions with fringe details or boat shoe inspired cording through the sides these bad boys are great for wearing with jeans, shirt and a lightweight tailored jacket or for a more casual approach wear with tailored shorts and shirt. N.B: Identity bracelet and Italian accent are optional.

Ariel and Shimon Ovadia