While women are known to be shoe-obsessed, open a man’s closet and you may find a dismal shoe collection. Or the complete opposite – a lot of ‘stuff’ with not a lot of style to it.
Excluding the luxury sneaker and Italian leather lace-up, there’s a plethora of hideous shoes on the market right now, vying for your wallet. Worse still, many men are buying the right shoes, but their styling and execution is all wrong.
For it’s the shoe type and the way you wear it that gives you points toward your shoe-game. The following six curve balls will determine just how well you fare. Think your shoe game’s strong? Batter up.
#1 You Still Wear Crocs
The fact that Crocs are still a profitable company, means someone (or worse, multiple persons) are buying the hideous rubber clogs and wearing them – in public. Yes, they are ‘comfortable’. But so are slippers and you don’t see grown men wearing these in the city.
Even little kids (who’d make anything cute) look ridiculous in Crocs. For ultimate shoe game, treat Crocs like they’re the casual version of the square-toe dress shoe. A big mistake that never happened. Then, burn them.
#2 You Wear One Pair ‘Til They Die A Sudden Death
Men – as with dogs and cars – form bonds with their shoes. After incessant wearing, the tread wears thin and laces may be threading but you can’t put down those cherished Derbies. Then en route to work, the bottom drops out mid step in the street – and all you feel is cold, hard pavement.
Buying a second of pair of the same shoe will extend its life. Or variations of the same style shoe so you can alternate. This is great for leather lace-ups, especially if the office is dress code-specific and only traditional black Derbies makes the cut.
Otherwise, improve your shoe game by venturing out a little. Add a brogue variety to the lineup or a Derby boot instead of a normal shoe. Both work just as well with suits and you’ll stand out.
#3 You’ve Never Heard Of Shoe Polish
A practice that has its origins in the military must be good for you. Salute sergeant shoe polish. It’s unnatural to think you can buy a pair of leather shoes, wear them for a week, and expect them to look as clean and sleek as when you first unboxed them.
Do cars self-clean? No. And because shoes are technically wheels for feet, those hand-made, vegetable tanned, Made In Italy whatever’s need as much attention as say, a Porsche, Aston Martin or Jag. Here’s a list of shoe polish brands to make those feet sparkle again. Then, use it.
#4 You Still Rock Jeans And Thongs
Jeans are much more than they used to be too: authentic Japanese cotton, rich and raw indigo washes and sturdy selvedge cuts. And they come tapered and slim for an elegant fit, or made-to-measure making the casual jean as sartorially stylish as chinos or trousers.
Unless your pattering around the garden like an old man, or ducking down the drive to collect today’s news, thongs and jeans should never be seen if you want your shoe-game strong. Thongs (or flip-flops) are beach or pool attire but never for the urban streets. Look to sneakers, instead. Got a problem with that? Read on.
#5 You Think Sneakers Belong In The Gym
You’ve been walking around with your eyes closed if the concept of sneakers – outside of the gym – still carries a certain “what?!” factor attached. Lose it. Sneakers are here to stay. It’s all part of the active wear’s insertion into mainstream menswear: cuffed jogger pants, nylon wind cheaters and gym-derived sneakers.
But there are rules. Nothing chunky or clunky looking, keeping the sneaker lean and slim at all times. Then stick to neutral tones – white, beige, navy, brown – with pops of colour to liven up the go-with-everything trainer. Our pick for any time style is the white sneaker.
#6 You Think Loafers and Sandals Are For Women
This shoe rule might be the hardest one to swallow. European men have been wearing loafers since the Thirties, treating them as easy summer footwear to go driving in. Sandals are superior versions of the thong and are unashamedly part of the warmer month’s style arsenal.
Yes, women do wear sandals and loafers. Gladiator sandals, for instance. But the opposite sex also sports sneakers, boots and brogue shoes; are we snubbing these varieties too?
The key to sandals and loafers is styling; opting for a tee or shirt over masculine chinos or tailored shorts. And sandals must always be without socks. No compromises.