Now the temperature’s started to rise, we’re starting to think about what we should be wearing on our feet. By now, you should have comfortably switched out your cosy winter layers for a lighter, more minimal look. To make this transition that little bit more straightforward, our advice is to start with your feet.
It sounds strange, but this helps you to pull your outfit together much quicker than from head to toe. After all, when you’ve switched your woollen trousers for a lighter cotton/linen pair, your heavy brogues and chunky boots won’t cut it any more. Never skimp on investing in a good pair of shoes either. It’s false economy, plus a poorly made pair will get noticed (for the wrong reasons) while a quality pair teamed with the right look will quite literally have you going places.
To guide you through these transitional months, some of the pitfalls and offer up some solutions to the summer footwear dilemma, here is our take on the five styles you’d be foolish to ignore if you want to be on top of your shoe game this season.
1. Manolo Blahnik Dasio Loafers
If any man appreciates the power of good shoes, it’s Mr Blahnik. His offering for men hits a menswear sweet spot: his designs are finely balanced, beautifully made from superior leathers with welcome touches of eccentricity and colour. This fine pair of navy leather fringed loafers will not only keep your feet well shod this summer, but you’ll be ahead of the game come autumn, as fringed loafers are on their way in next season. This pair’s blue-brushed calf leather is a versatile alternative to black, the semi-brogue detail adds a degree of formality, while the kid leather lining will be kind to your feet, with or without socks. Team these with a pinstripe suit (with cuffed trousers) for business, or give them a nostalgic casual twist with pleated, high-waisted trousers and a knitted polo shirt.
£695, shop now
2. Crockett & Jones Cranleigh Chelsea Boots
You’d be hard pressed to find such a well-made and adaptable summer boot, than these handsome Chelsea boots from Northampton’s finest, Crockett & Jones. When you pair back a boot like this every detail counts – and these don’t disappoint. They’re easy-to-wear, yet supremely elegant, thanks to their handsome unlined top-grade suede uppers (don’t forget suede protection), smooth lines and their practical lightweight rubber city soles. Moreover, these soles are a relatively new innovation for C&J, designed to be light, flexible and comfortable to wear in warm weather. Dress these with slim-fit cotton chinos in navy, olive or tan, or introduce a pair of slim white denim jeans with a Breton striped tee, finished with an olive cotton patch-pocket utility jacket.
£370, shop now
3. Doek Oxford Sneakers
Come summer, you really can’t go wrong with a classic pair of white or cream canvas trainers and this pair from Doek are going to be hard to beat. Based on traditional tennis shoes, they’re made in an historic textile factory in the Kurame region of Japan, with obsessive attention to detail. Despite their lightweight appearance, the Kasuri canvas is hardwearing, taking around three months to be woven thread-by-thread. The vulcanised natural rubber soles are hand finished, as are the shoes’ naturally breathing cork foot beds, which help to eliminate sweaty summer feet. Team with loose wide-leg trousers, tailored cotton chinos or a pair of shorts. These really do cover all the bases, and if you’re particular about keeping them in pristine condition, opt for the darker but no less chic navy colour, instead.
£145, shop now
4. Cheaney Hugo Penny Loafers
Mr Cheaney established his eponymous workshop back in 1886, and the fact it still acts as a benchmark today for superb British-made shoes testifies to his dedication to the shoemaker’s craft. This fine pair of suede penny loafers are an instant classic with their Goodyear-welted soles, which become more flexible and mould to your feet over time. Team the rich brown suede colour with a lightweight navy wool suit and open-neck ice blue shirt, or strike a casual note with a pair of cotton tailored trousers or rolled-up vintage denim.
£350, shop now
5. Tod’s Espadrilles
The simple satisfaction of wearing well-made espadrilles shouldn’t be overlooked. This simple style bridges that tricky gap between a casual trainer and smarter leather-soled loafer, and we can see why brands are making this their summer go-to shoe. Tod’s holds a monopoly on the ultimate slip-on, thanks to their iconic collection of driving shoes, so we wouldn’t expect anything less than perfection from this versatile take on the humble espadrille. Made from smooth navy suede, their classic woven jute soles have been reinforced with a rubber grip, making them hardy enough for city streets as well as for soft sand walking. Team these with a pair of dusty pink pleated shorts or a pair of navy cotton chinos for a fashionable hit of nautical style.
£298, shop now