If the current heatwave has taught me anything, it’s that men in Britain need new shoes for the summer. Look down at your next barbecue, or the beer garden at your local pub, and you’ll see untold horrors: hill walking sandals; worn boat shoes, those dodgy Reef flip-flops with a bottle opener in the sole.
While men may pay close attention to their sneakers and dig into the details when it comes to finding the right brogue, when it comes to summer shoes he seems to go crazy. But there are more stylish solutions for men in hot weather, and none of them are the kind of scary, directional style you’ll only see at fashion week.
First things first: if you haven’t bought any new summer shoes for several years, go into your closet, pull out those €10 sandals you bought in a Greek minimarket 15 years ago when your old ones broke, and throw them in the bin. . Yes, I know you can still put them on your feet, but don’t.
Next, assemble your new summer footwear arsenal, which should include at least one pair of sandals, one pair of appropriate shoes (such as a loafer), and a pair of trainers or sneakers. Stay away from pool slides unless you’re near a pool; the same goes for hiking sandals, unless you’re going for a hike, and sneakers, unless you’re going for a run.
You’ll be pleased to know that expensive doesn’t always mean better. Birkenstocks, for example, are well priced and timeless. Espadrilles, worn by the Spanish since the 14th century, are a safe bet for those who prefer a closed toe. A fancy sneaker with athletic-style socks (avoid anything funky or novelty) will work with most things. For dressier occasions, you can’t go wrong with brown leather loafers.
My last tip? Don’t dismiss the idea of a pedicure. It is basic grooming and no one should show their toes in public without some kind of grooming. You might even enjoy it…
Enter the summer with these shoes
1. The classic Birkenstock
Easy to put on, it can be worn with almost anything and will never be dated. Wear it with socks if you dare.
Two-strap leather sandals, £95, Birkenstock
2. The fisherman sandal
A modern classic with more coverage and support than a slip-on sandal. Choose a grown-up version of the style to wear with rolled-up chinos after sunset.
Leather and grosgrain sandals, £125, Russell & Bromley
3. The espadrille
A rope sole and canvas upper create a laid-back look that’s chic and summery without trying too hard.
Canvas espadrilles, £60, Toms
4. The sneaker
Your everyday summer shoe that can be paired with jeans, shorts, chinos, you name it. Just don’t wear them with black socks.
Leather slippers, £120, Veja
5. The Coach
The so-called “dad trainer” has become a wardrobe staple that nods to the 90s. This style strikes a good balance between nostalgia and modernity.
Sneakers, £100, New Balance
6. The Slacker
For work, weddings and any elegant summer events, decent loafers will serve you well. Suede is more discreet than leather, but always use a protective spray.
Suede loafers, £89.95, Massimo Dutti