While we admit it’s hardly neuroscience, from personal experience, misunderstood ‘resort chic’ invitations and many wasted dollars spent, we can tell you this purchasing decision is not as simple as it seems. From lesser known Japanese brands like Suicoke, suave British manufacturers like Grenson, Moroccan Mirage labels like Casablanca 1942 and haute couture favourites like Valentino and Saint Laurent, there is an abundance of shoemakers to consider.
And that’s before you even get onto staples like Birkenstock, premium offerings like Gucci, Irish-Italian fusions like O’Keeffe, classics like Ancient Greek Sandals and, of course, Prada (recommended by Satan himself).
Not to be outdone, we have also included N. Hooleywood (a hypebeast wildcard), Feit (a stylish Aussie up and comer) Officine Creative (luxury swag), Adidas, Teva and Nike in this list of the coolest sandals for men, proving that what was once just a lame tourist garment is no longer a style sin.
Like your feet cool and your sandals cooler? How about stylish and performance enabled? Established in 2006. SUICOKE is practically a Japanese religious denomination — one known and loved for its wide selection of performance sandals. Anyway: some consider the Black Moto Cab the pick of the bunch, but if you want to delve deeper into the collection, Suicoke is cool enough that the Yakuza won’t tell you otherwise…
While ‘Chadwick Two Straps’ may sound like a young, wholesome American man (Chad means ‘naive young dude’ in US parlance) these sandals are anything but. Made by British shoewear designer Grenson, the Chadwick will make you look suave and sophisticated in handmade Northhamptonshire style. Since 1866, naturally.
Rick Blaine, the elegant hero of the romantic drama Casablanca, would have had a much easier time winning over his old flame had he been wearing a pair of Yako Raffias. Making bad boys like these since being inspired by that very movie — and the question, “What would Rick wear,” — Casablanca 1942 continue to make sandals that look as good (and are as practical) hitchhiking on a dusty Moroccan street as they are on a Parisian runway.
Rick Owens x Birkenstock
Rick Owens x Birkenstock’s Arizona leather sandals encapsulate the heart and ‘sole’ of two premium fashion labels. They also reflect the futuristic edge to the SS19 runway show, enabling a man to strut from the beach to the bar in distinguished style. Cheers and thanks, Birkenstock, cheers and thanks.
Valentino’s Trim Rubber sandals are a wardrobe staple that are really too good to be hidden away in your shoe cupboard. If you’re not acquainted with the legendary Italian brand then all you need to know is that they are masters of intrigue and style — and with a pair of these sandals you will be too (as long as you don’t wear them with socks or a Bintang singlet)
Gucci’s logo-embossed rubber slides may be the footwear of choice of The Rich Kids Of Instagram, but worn a little more tastefully, they can also be the key for a stylish man who would like to invoke a little ‘Italian cool’ into his summer fashion game. Probably not the best sandal of choice for the gym but with regards to anywhere else, we’re sold. Gucci was born in Florence — a Mecca for art, history, luxury and architecture — and these premium sandals reflect that both in aesthetic and price.
Saint Laurent’s Fabrice Suede Sandals rock the French luxury fashion house’s haute couture slant with heel-slapping aplomb. Purchase now or forever hold your Havaianas…
O’Keeffe’s Parashine leather slides are a rare blend of luxury Italian craftsmanship and Irish heritage, resulting in a handsome offering available only in small batches so you will never experience the awkward revelation that the guy on the plane next to you has the same taste in sandals as you (the horror…).
Ancient Greek Sandals
Just reading the words Miltos Leather Beach Sandal makes you feel like you should already be in Mykonos with silica-sand ‘tween your toes. Unfortunately, you are probably on a bus or train right now, hunched over an iPhone. The good news is though, that buying these epic sleds, from Ancient Greek Sandals, a purveyor of some of the most stylish, masculine footwear in the world, will make that Greek Island holiday that much more enjoyable (and photogenic) whenever it is you actually make it there.
Ankle strap sandals run the risk of looking decidedly feminine, and of horrific sunburn. However, if you are confident in your sexuality (whichever way that happens to be), then Prada’s sweet men’s sandal collection is worth checking out. Prada, as we all know, is the devil’s fashion brand of choice, hails from Italy, and shows the world you make a fair amount of coin. Put simply: if it’s good enough for Satan it’s good enough for you…
N. Hoolywood is the brainchild of Daisuke Obana, thunk up after years of wheeling and dealing in the vintage clothing industry. A label of high-end modern menswear, with subtle retro-inspired flashbacks, this is a sandal (and menswear) brand you can’t go too far wrong with.
Inspired by the Japanese Geta flip flop, Feit is a label started by two Australian brothers in ’05, and steadily become known known for its handmade, limited edition shoes that look as good on the streets of Darlinghurst (where they have their Aussie HQ) as they do in New York (where the brand is now based). Rock it with a Vespa and rolled up trousers (or simply adopt that neo-luxury mindset) and you’re good to go. In all seriousness: we really admire these guys for rejecting the homogenised, synthetic goods that have saturated the industry in recent years, helping men get back to their simpler, classier, origins.
If you really wanna ‘walk it like ya talk it’ then Officine Creative — authentic purveyors of ‘modern artefacts’ will put a bounce in your stride. The brand epitomises a unique expression of Italian creativity and if that sounds like something you’d want on your feet then be sure to browse their collection for something tasty.
The iconic sandal of gym goers and football players world over, the Adidas sandal is a piece of rubber that isn’t too show-off-y and won’t let you down. And if you need us to tell you what Adidas as a brand stands for then their marketing team must have been doing something wrong for the last 70 years (they were founded in 1949, in Herzogenaurach, Germany).
Ahh. The sweet smell of leather. A favourite holiday shoe for well off backpackers and business travellers (during the leisure component of their trips) Birkenstocks are a sandal for fashion-conscious explorers. Founded in 1774; to say the perennial German sandal brand knows its stuff would be an understatement.
Teva began in 1984 when a river guide created a shoe that wouldn’t float away. If you need this in your life (or on your feet) then have a gander at this icon of comfort and utilitarian style.
If you don’t know what Nike stands for then, like Adidas, there is little hope for you in this world. Just kidding. Sort of. Anyway: Nike makes some pretty shmick beach and pool footwear, but we wouldn’t recommend you wear them to a hotel launch where the dress code is ‘resort chic’. Trust us: we found that out the hard way… That said if you are a fashion maverick, you could probably make them work with skinny jeans or chinos, a la New Balance or Balenciaga sneakers. But this is a mission fraught with risk.