Ask Alex: Top 6 Essential Men’s Footwear Styles
Our resident footwear expert and writer extraordinaire, Lime street store manager Alex, has contributed to the blog this week with a fabulous guide to staple footwear styles every man should have in his wardrobe.
As a salesperson, you find yourself talking a lot about why people need to invest in good footwear. After doing that consistently, I have come to the conclusion that there are absolutely no downsides to having a good pair of shoes. None. I’d say it’s a belief of mine, but beliefs can be challenged, debated and argued against – it’s not a belief: it’s fact.
‘But Alex’, I hear ye cry, ‘how on earth do I get started? What shoes should I buy, and in what order?’
A fair question, my friend. Ultimately, it depends on what you do for a living and your lifestyle. However, in the interests of being benevolent, I’ve assembled a list (because we all love a list) of 6 shoes that should see you right in almost any situation, in no particular order.
1. Black oxfords
You’ll find this particular shoe in every ‘list of essential shoes’ you can find on the Internet and beyond, and that’s because everyone at some point in their lives is going to need a pair: interviews, formal events, funerals (sorry), client meetings, black tie galas… I could go on with this list-within-a-list, but the point I’m chaotically coming to is that a pair of black oxfords will be appropriate for all of those. In a way, they’re never really inappropriate for anything, apart from rock climbing. I personally prefer a plain design, such as a toecap (see our classic ‘Alfred‘) or a wholecut (feast your eyes on ‘Berkeley‘) as the whole point of this shoe is its elegance. Get a good pair, keep them nicely polished, and they won’t let you down.
2. Brown brogues
There’s not one shoe that will go with everything you own, but the closest you’re going to get is a brown brogue. A slightly darker shade will go with anything apart from black (but that’s why you’ve got your black oxfords) and the brogue design lowers the formality of the shoe, meaning you can wear them with your jeans as well as your suits. If you’re lucky enough to live in a more rural area, you may want to opt for a heavier style brogue with a rubber sole, such as our Hythe or Avon models. If you’re after something a little sleeker, our Islington or Arthur models should float your boat. So, next time, before you reach for those grotty trainers with your casual outfits, give the brown brogue a try and marvel at how much better you look. For slight variation, give suede or burgundy leather a go. Nice.
3. City boots
Formal boots are having a bit of a resurgence because of their versatility, added protection, and how damned brilliant they look. An Oxford balmoral boot such as our Brixworth predates the Oxford shoe in terms of design, and will instantly add a subtle individual look to your outfits, from your suits all the way to your jeans. The added height will give you extra protection from the elements whilst maintaining your sartorial swagger. Guaranteed compliments and the general feeling that you look the business comes free with every pair of formal boots.
4. Country boots
Sometimes you just need a city break, one where you can amble along cobbled streets, go for walks through the countryside and finish it all off with a nice pint in a beer garden somewhere. Your go-to item of footwear for this is simple: a sturdy, rubber soled boot. Nothing comes close. The durability of the construction and materials on boots such as our Tweed or Pennine models mean they’ll keep you safe (but also looking great) through pretty much anything the weather throws at you, apart from maybe acid rain or volcanic magma. Still in the city? Put these on when you need to get things done. No one will dare stand in your way.
Another popular choice, especially in the summer months, is the trusty loafer. Perfect for those muggy days where the last thing you want to do is tie leather around your feet – slip them off under your desk, slip them back on whenever anyone important approaches. If you’re not keen on loafing around your office, opt for a suede pair for the ultimate in comfort.
A versatile shoe for the man looking for something versatile. As they are more casual by nature, they have a brilliant ability to make your jeans-and-t-shirt ensemble look better than you could have possibly anticipated. Slip them on with a nice suit or separates and you’re ready for that first date you’ve been worrying about for ages. Don’t worry. You look fantastic, plus you won’t have to concern yourself about your shoelace coming undone and tripping up after a night on Chilean Chardonnay with a potential romantic interest. You’re welcome.
Post written by Lime Street Store Manager, Alex Pardey [Instagram @shoes_maketh_man]