There are many lists out that claim to know what shoes a man should own and impress onto you, their arbitrary choice selections, from the complicated numerous example of the ‘the top eleven shoes you need’ (Imagine trying to choose one for the day), to the fashionistas that recommend the same desert army boots ‘that go with everything’ as their peers.
The problem is with these authors is that none of these examples takes into account your style, what you are comfortable with, your age, the climate that you live in or even what is currently on-trend. That’s why this unique list has been cut back to the bare minimalist aesthetic essentials, to create a classic range of options that will suit the five most common situations that a man will need to look his best for: Casual, Versatile, Formal, Sporty, and Fun.
Plus, these five options are timeless and will suit a man from eighteen to eighty-eight, from the coldest conservative mining town of Canada to the humid sparking shores of Italy.
Read on to discover what is missing from your wardrobe.
- The minimalist daily sneaker
We start this list with the simple silhouette white, black or somewhere in between sneaker, that can be worn with shorts, chinos or more. The approach is that they support the outfit that you are wearing, rather than drawing the eye away. The less dazzle the better and we recommend leather over canvas, as these shoes should be regularly maintained with water resistant spray and a good old fashion wet washcloth.
You could choose a brand name, but we find that it’s better to go with a quality bespoke product than wear the new common denominator that everyone else is wearing. Be sure to stay on the current trend and rock these with no (or invisible) socks, showing off those ankles.
An example that we love is the Idrese Franciscos that are minimalist, pure and high quality.
- The versatile boot
There is nothing more flexible than a pair of brown or suede leather boots. They can be dressed up with a suit for a day at a racing carnival or dressed down to remain practical with a pair of jeans. They are perfect for the colder months when you can’t wear shorts but still excellent for a summer business meeting.
Now not all boots were created equal, you will need to look for a pair that is no-nonsense detailing, with a smooth exterior without brogue. A pair of Chelsea’s, or Norwegian Chukka Boots would be perfect. For a more robust look, examine a lace-up pair that harkens to classic military eras. Watch out for any over the top detailing as you might end up with a laughable attempt at a hiking boot.
We love the Idrese Lazaros Chelsea with its classic clean lines, quality leather and rich caramel colour.
- The formal shoe
Now a ‘formal’ shoe is an incredibly subjective choice, but a man should have one pair of shoes in their wardrobe that matches their suit and can easily be picked up for a formal occasion.
This pair of shoes at a minimum would be Plain-Toe Derbies, but we would prefer you to rock a more formal pair of black oxfords at the very least. If you are adventurous you could also consider sporting a trendy pair of double monk straps.
It goes without saying that these shoes must be maintained, with fresh looking laces and a spick of polish. If you don’t have any polish on hand (shame on you!) then a quick brush with clear Vaseline will get you through that big meeting.
We love the look of a pair of elegant Idrese Blood’s, with their no-fuss design and perfect supportive statement for any suit.
- The practical sole
These shoes are needed for a man’s fitness journey, they should be practical with a comfortable sole for running about town and for the fitness playground. This does not mean that you need to sacrifice looking swish and stylish.
These shoes can be branded, but stay away from bright or unusual colours, as they will pull away from your outfit, or if you are at the gym, your growing muscles. Instead look for a minimalist pair of black, white, or navy colours. You can consider going outrageous with your 2nd pair or upgrading to a fashionable high-top.
Plus, with the right pair, they can complete the perfect dressed down casual look.
A pair we admire is the Adidas Swift Run sneakers (or trainers if you are from the UK), that comes in a cool knit and a variety of flexible colours.
5. The fun day out pair
This shoe is best suited for a day out to the beach, a pool party, airy function or best where your outfit does not really include shoes. We fill this role with a pair Espadrilles (originating from Spain for that European touch), flip-flops (or thongs for our readers from down under) or a pair of boat shoes for those days on your yacht. They should be purposeful, simple to remove and carry by hand and quick to dry.
Alternatively, for those in a colder environment, a pair of study practical boots (with all the waterproofing that Gortex provides) with ankle support will be perfect for your alpine needs.
This pair should be your own personal touch, we again recommend sticking to natural colours to not detract from your outfit. You can design your own Wellington, Drake, Belgian slippers as well as boat shoes on our Custom Platform
6. Bonus – The adventurous loafer
Now, the first five shoes in this list are good for the various scenarios that a man will find himself in, but if you want to take it to the next level we would a suggest a suede loafer or a moccasin to complete your autumn and springtime looks.
Situated between ceremonious and relaxed, but not as heavy as a boot, these shoes are great for dressy summer engagements, travelling (There are no worries for you to take on and off at the airport) and casual afternoons.
A pair that will go with everything is the Idrese Xions. Be sure to wear them with hidden socks to complete the look.
Have we covered the essentials? We challenge you to write below a situation that we have missed!