Summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and hopefully the good weather (we pray) is here and our clothing is changing to the lighter materials and colours. Our thoughts turn to holidays and casual clothing, but footwear is a secondary thought to some. Gentlemen now have a dizzying array of shoe choice for summer, everything from design and style to colour.
Therefore, we at PGHQ have come up with our quick guide to summer shoes. We tell you a little about the shoe, what to wear it with and even where to wear it. The guide moves from the heaviest to the lightest shoe styles.
We hope you have a great summer and expand your shoes for summer.
The first and original casual shoe, invented in 1847 by Wildsmiths in London, but then taken a stage further in 1930 by a Norwegian shoemaker called Tveranger. These shoes are made in a variety of materials from leather to suede and various other materials and combinations abound. They mostly have leather or heavy duty soles.
Loafers can be worn all year round especially in a casual or semi-formal setting, though it is in Summer months that they come into their own. As our formal clothing changes to lighter fabrics and softer cuts, sometimes the more formal dress shoe looks out of place. The Loafer fits in.
Generally, the heavier the material you are wearing, the heavier the material of your Loafer. Loafers generally do not come in the variety of colours of the other summer shoes, so the same rules for colour matching apply as they would do for Formal or Dress Shoes.
Comfortable, flexible and stable – the loafer is the dependable all rounder.
The PG says – The Classic Gentleman’s Choice
As with the loafer, they descend from the Native American Moccasin, but they have developed into a major stylish summer shoe subset. They are made from soft leather, such as suede or deerskin, with a rubber sole. Due to their thinner, lighter material and solid sole, they were originally adopted, as the name suggests, for driving. This was so that the driver could feel the pedals with more accuracy, or so the rumour goes.
They have now become a fashion staple of Summer Male footwear. Flexible enough to wear with everything from a summer suit to a pair of shorts, they are the ultimate flexible shoe. They are now available in a vast array of colours and detailing from coloured stitching to tassles.
If you are feeling very daring you can get bold coloured Moccasins to match and highlight your outfit. Most men choose not to wear socks with these shoes but if you want or have to wear them, go with single colour socks that match your overall colour scheme.
The most flexible of all the summer shoes and the most stylish – a staple for your summer feet.
The PG says – The Stylish Gentleman’s Choice
The Boat shoe, as with most Male fashion clothing, was started from practical purposes. Modern Boat Shoes were invented by a gentleman named Paul Sperry in 1935, a keen sailor who was inspired by his Spaniel’s ability to run in the ice and across his deck without slipping. His inspired sole design for the shoe was rapidly taken up by other sailors and his company Sperry Top-Sider was born (hence it’s other name Top Sider).
The shoe became fashionable in the 1980s, stemming from the Yachting culture of the Preppy Universities that was adopted as a look by a number of brands such as Ralph Lauren, who took the style across the world.
Boat shoes traditionally were made with White rubber grooved soles and leather uppers with durable stitching, though now they come in a variety of styles and different soles and uppers. They are quite a traditional shoe and tend not to come in the range of garish colours that the Driving Moccasin does. Like that shoe they are traditionally not worn with socks, though it has started to creep in occasionally. More casual than the previous two shoe styles, they are best suited with very casual trousers and preferably shorts.
The summer casual shoe of the USA and a great choice for traveling as the shoe is hard wearing.
The PG says – The Preppy Gentleman’s Choice
Summer shoes seem to come from history more than any other shoe style. Espadrilles have been made in the Pyrenees since the 14th century, originally worn as peasant footwear because of their easy and cheap construction. It is a flat shoe made with a flexible jute rope sole with a canvas or cotton upper.
Espadrilles are a unisex shoe, though the ladies’ version frequently has straps to secure them to the ankles and sometimes heels. Like the Boat Shoe, the espadrille came to the attention of male footwear when Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) in the globally popular TV show Miami Vice wore them all the time. With this endorsement they spread across the globe.
Traditionally, they only came in black & white or natural colours. They now come in a range of colours but not as wide a range as the moccasin or Loafer. The should never be worn with socks but can be worn with any clothing, dressing down that summer suit or just with shorts to the beach. They are more a holiday shoe rather than a summer city shoe as they will dirty and wear too quickly in that environment.
As very fashion conscious shoe and with a broad appeal, certainly one should pack a pair for that trip to Miami or the Caribbean.
The PG says – The Cool Gentleman’s Choice
Probably the oldest type of footwear in the world dating as far back as 10,000 years ago. There are many different types of sandal, but they all consist of a sole and strap (or straps) that pass over the instep and sometimes the ankle. They are certainly shoes for a summer climate.
A sandal can be made from any number of materials, and come in many styles, shapes and colours, but mostly they come in very plain colour palettes. They range in style from sporty to sophisticated. Generally they should be worn with shorts, casual and semi-formal summer clothing and should match style of clothing; don’t wear sporty sandals with linen trousers. They can also be worn in cities as well as on the beach.
Some Gentlemanly rules for wearing Sandals – Firstly, they are never to be worn with socks (unless you have a medical reason). Secondly, as you are exposing your feet and toes to the world, make sure that you have taken care of them before exposing them – trim your toenails and make sure feet are clean.
These are the classic choice for Summer footwear, a comfortable thing to have at hand.
The PG says – The Classical Gentleman’s Choice
I will not list the thousands of different names that this summer staple is given around the world, but this casual shoe is a flat soled, open toed sandal, held loosely to the foot by a y-shaped strap that passes between the toes.
Though an ancient shoe, it was made popular by American soldiers returning from Japan in WWII with native sandals from that country. They were then adopted and transformed into bright beach footwear in the 50s & 60s. Flip-Flops are completely unisex footwear. These shoes can be made from any material and come in the widest range of colours.
As with the Sandals above, the rules remain; no socks and take care of your displayed feet. They are also not really suitable city/street footwear for the gentleman as they should really only be worn with very casual summer clothing or beach wear, they are not suitable footwear for smart casual encounters.
They are the archetypal beach footwear and one should always have a pair when walking the sands of Waikiki!
The PG says – The Beach Gentleman’s Choice