The sartorial dilemmas that men face in summertime are many, but none more perplexing than figuring out what to wear on your feet. We’ve long been lambasted for stereotypical crimes such as socks with sandals, or flip-flops in the office, so what exactly should you be wearing on your feet during the sunnier months? We went in search of the answers, and found that the choices are refreshingly wide and varied – from your standard slip-on, to some incredibly well-crafted trainers. So when you’re not committing crimes against humanity in your flip-flops or sandals, try giving one of these a go…
1. Adidas FW16 Gazelle: £79.95, Adidas
Adidas could conceivably have had three pairs on this list – their Stan Smiths are always a good bet, and the new Ultra Boost Uncaged is a wonderful hybrid of top-class running shoe that you can wear in town. But the iconic Gazelle, reissued in its early-Nineties Britpop incarnation, was always going to be a winner. A suede trainer available in green, grey or a nice bluey-purple, this is quite possibly our shoe of the summer.
2. Adrian Grain Black Trainers: £250, Acne Studios
These are described as a “tennis shoe” but you certainly wouldn’t consider playing tennis in them, they’re far too lovely (and pricey) for that. A strong, sturdy trainer made of calf leather, these are also available in cream (which is actually more of a butterscotch) and white. But if you’re looking to be elegantly stylish, you can’t go wrong with the black.
3. Gregory SP White Leather Trainers: £90, Clae
A classic sport shoe, these look great and are surprisingly light too. The leather is super-supple, and because they’re a very simple, clean and unobtrusive style, you could wear them casually with pretty much anything. Jogging bottoms, chinos, shorts; they lend themselves to most outfits. They are one of the best white summer trainers out there, in our opinion.
4. Farah Vintage Shoe: £54.99, Foot Asylum
Farah used to be synonymous with the legendary Farah slacks that fashionable young guys would wear in the Seventies and Eighties – and they’re still going strong in that sense. But their shoes are catching up too, and these sporty little canvas numbers, in a nice blue chambray, are terrific. They’re lightweight, yet also reassuringly solid. Available in a more muted charcoal too (or “black chambray”).
5. Ted Baker Carlsun Suede Loafers: £105, Asos
For the gent unafraid to experiment with a splash of colour, these loafers from Ted Baker – in a kind of strawberry ice-cream pink suede – are certainly worth investigating. Slip-ons with a suede upper and a good grippy sole, these would go perfectly with some smart shorts, a well-tailored shirt, and an afternoon cocktail or three.
6. Russell & Bromley Cutlass Woven Lace Up: £185, Russell & Bromley
It’s never easy figuring out what to wear on your feet to a summer wedding. In those situations, formal tends to equal quite clunky, but here’s a wonderful solution. They’re smart, they’re incredibly well made (in Italy, no less), but above all else, they’re really comfortable. The leather is soft, and because they’re woven, you’ll get plenty of air to your feet.
7. Tu Navy Canvas High Top Trainers: £18, Sainsburys
Most guys wouldn’t think to do their shoe shopping in Sainsburys, but more fool them because, as a budget option, these are wonderful value. A really lightweight, high-top trainer, with decent cushioning around the ankle, these genuinely look great, and you’ll get change from a twenty.
8. Topman Navy Leather Boat Shoes: £45, Topman
There are lots of good boat shoes out there. M&S and Clarks both do a decent pair, but the best value of the bunch can be found in Topman. Excellent quality, 100 per cent leather with a white rubber sole, these are comfortable and sturdy, and would look very much at home harbourside in the south of France.
9. Vans Classic Slip-On Shoes: £47, Vans
Alongside the Gazelle, this is an all-time great – for years popular with skateboarders, before slowly infiltrating your average biped society, for maximum impact, these iconic slip-on canvas shoes should be worn with pulled-up white sports socks during the summertime (or, if you’re Brooklyn Beckham, with a girlfriend in a matching pair). There are loads of designs to choose from, but the black and white checker is the true classic.
10. Tod’s Raffia espadrilles: £255, Selfridges
Only the most flush sartorial devotee could really be excused for splashing out more than £250 on a pair of espadrilles, but what a marvellous pair they are. Hand-crafted by expert Italian shoe makers (who have been known to make footwear for Hollywood A-listers such as Matthew McConaughey and Leonardo DiCaprio), these are fashioned from smooth suede, and with a rubber sole where once you had uncomfortable rope and corking, they’re a cut above. If you can afford it, go for it; if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up.
You’re genuinely spoiled for choice, and any of the 10 would be a great addition to any elaborate walk-in wardrobe. If you’re feeling flush, the Gregory SP White Leather Trainers are really special and nicely understated, and Tod’s espadrilles are a wonderful luxury. If you’re on a tighter budget, the Vans or the shoes from Farah are very nice. But looming over all of these as the fashionable “now” shoe for the summer, hark back to the early Nineties, and get yourself some FW16 Gazelles.