When it comes to shoes, men are simply blown out of the water by women. But that doesn’t mean that shoes are any less of an important factor in male outfits, quite the opposite actually. Men don’t accessorise nearly half as much as the fairer sex, and their options for customisation are limited often to a top, bottoms and their shoes. Making up a third of the outfit, shoes play a very important role in male fashion and without the female penchant for large shoe collections, men often have a small number of shoes to address a whole host of different situations.
Image courtesy of Sean Davis, Flickr
Loafers enjoyed huge success in the 1970s and 1980s but were all but gone by the time of the new millennium. Their low, lace-less variation on the moccasin shoe was a love or hate design, hated for a good twenty years before they recently enjoyed a revival. Loafers are incredibly versatile, an expensive make can be seen as the height of male fashion and even the cheaper carnations are successful in high street chains, tying in nicely with another recent resurgence in skinny jeans. Loafers can be shoes to quickly slip on for a trip to the shop, but they can just as easily be passed off in bars and clubs if they’re incorporated into the right outfit.
King of Casual
Casual shoes are those worn most frequently, often for comfort or informal style. Most men will own a pair of trainers that they consider casual, but quite often they make the mistake of letting them become tatty and damaged. Casual footwear doesn’t have to be cheaper or of a less attractive style. Trainers should be for the gym, the plimsoll is the new King of Casual. With low slung sides and back, the plimsoll is an elegant solution to the problem of comfort versus style. Securing a dark colour can often get you out of those sticky situations when you can’t find your dress shoes!
Image courtesy of Youaremycookie, Flickr
Run to the Hills
Anybody who has ever gone for a jog in an ill fitting pair of trainers will never make the same mistake again. Running shoes are designed from the ground up for comfort. Our feet need to breathe, especially when put under the strain that jogging subjects them to. Not just to avoid an unpleasant smell, but our feet are surprisingly sensitive and we can develop a whole host of nasty disorders if we don’t take care of them. Running shoes should be of a thinner and more flexible fabric than most shoes, and they should be punctuated with air holes to allow a good circulation both into and out of the shoe. The laces are particularly important on athletic shoes, too loose and your feet will move around in the shoe (affecting your gait,) too tight and you could negate the purpose of the air holes.
Dressed to the Nines
Every man needs a pair of statement shoes. Although they’re not about to have the effect that six-inch stilettos do, a well-polished and well-cared for dress shoe can say a lot about a man. Leather is the only foot to put forward in this department; high-quality leather shoes kept buffed to a shine will turn any average suit into a tuxedo. The great thing about stylish formal shoes, is that once they’ve inevitably become scuffed or their shine has faded; they can drop down a peg and become the smart casual shoes reserved for those nights when you’re not quite sure what to wear – all bases covered.
Image courtesy of Looking Glass, Flickr
A contentious inclusion on this list and men have moved to distance themselves from boots. Ankle boots still enjoy success in business, as a comfortable alternative to formal shoes but outside of America and the hiking community, boots are suffering from more than a little neglect. The truth is that the right boot, executed correctly can be a fantastic and unique addition to an outfit. Obviously they’re not to be combined with jogging bottoms or shoes, but brown leather boots with beige chinos lend a certain ambience of sophistication. Old, scruffy boots with drooping tongues and frayed laces are the perfect complement to distressed denim.
Building a capsule shoe wardrobe is essential to ensure you have a shoe option for every occasion that arises. A stable shoe closet for men should ideally include a pair of smart shoes, casual trainers and mid levels smartness shoes for everything in between smart and casual!
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