Whether you’re still adjusting to the new normal and planning a staycation poolside or booking your celebratory excursions, summer is here. Most of us look at vacations as a chance to indulge our appetites, try new things, and, if you’re like me, buy a few new clothing items for the trip.
But whether you’re exploring your hometown or immersing yourself in the amenities of a five-star resort, chances are you’ll do it sporting a new pair of shoes for your summer frolicking.
They say that the only way to judge a person at the beach is by their watch (we have you covered if you’re shopping for a luxury timepiece) and by their shoes.
Luckily, you can look like a million bucks without spending it with these top 6 picks for summer footwear for men.
Though he bills himself as a style expert for the modern gentleman, Todd Snyder’s ready-to-wear clothing is firmly rooted in the classics of American menswear—denim, tee shirts and casual pieces. From button-downs to outerwear, each has an of-the-moment combination of fabric and technology deeply rooted in classic American casual style.
His partnership with Champion Sportswear took the sweatshirts and gym clothes out of the locker room and onto the avenue.
This summer, Snyder offers a reimagined version of one of the most iconic American sneakers ever made, the Jack Purcell.
Jack + Todd
Jack Purcell was a Canadian badminton player famous for both his badminton prowess and his almost evangelical devotion to spreading the word about his sport. His namesake sneaker is one of the most iconic shoes in American fashion history; it was the footwear of choice for legendary actor James Dean in many of his iconic photographs.
The 21st-century Todd Snyder + Jack Purcell Sneaker features an upper made with organic cotton and a sole of gum rubber, all highlighted by the signature Jack Purcell “smile” stripe across the toe.
The Todd Snyder version works equally well with khakis, shorts and denim. The tongue and laces speak to Jack Purcell’s place in the pantheon of preppy fashion; its pink threads interwoven in the design are meant to evoke the broadcloth pink oxford shirts that are a cornerstone of Ivy League style.
It’s arguably one of the most enduring and recognizable sneaker designs, a cloud white leather upper with a heel accent piece done in a green reminiscent of the plush lawn tennis courts of the old Forest Hills club. Named after two-time Grand Slam winner American tennis icon Stan Smith, the sneaker is one of the oldest styles made by Adidas still in production, dating to 1965.
And it wasn’t originally called the Stan Smith. The first models were named after French tennis star Robert Haillet, and it wasn’t until 1978, long after Haillet’s retirement, that they became called the Stan Smith. Sports business experts hail that endorsement deal as one of the most influential events in creating the modern connection between sponsored shoes and a famous athlete.
A Story Worth Telling
Indeed, it can be argued that without the Stan Smith, there’s no Air Jordan. Neal Heard, author of the cultural history of sneakers Trainers, placed the shoe 6th in his all-time top 10.
Unlike most Adidas shoes, the Stan Smith doesn’t boast a visible three-stripes logo pattern; this shoe instead has a subtle set of stripes that are actually perforations in the upper.
Current iterations of the shoe have evolved to reflect our changing world, too; the upper is made from over 50 percent recycled high-performance materials. Special editions of the sneaker feature logos or characters from such diverse media juggernauts as Star Wars, the Muppets and Disney.
If you like the Stan Smith style, there are a number of options for shoes that draw inspiration from that classic but have been reinvented to offer slightly different selling points. Chief among these is the Royale knit sneaker by Greats, in white with a navy accent.
The Brooklyn-based company also offers a number of other models that are created and inspired by classic shoes like the Stan Smith.
Is there a shoe that announces itself more as a resort and vacation choice than the espadrille?
With ties to the Catalonia and Basque regions of Spain, espadrilles originally featured a woven sole made from esparto rope and a canvas upper. Their basic construction and low cost made them the perfect shoe for one-season wear. Popularized by such figures as Picasso, Dali and John Kennedy, the espadrille just says vacation.
The contemporary interpretation of the espadrille offered by Morjas is built on a slightly higher-than-average jute sole. The higher sole and the soft suede create a sharper impression, making this the kind of shoe that can look sharp as you carry your beach bag across the sand or as you head to dinner walking down Collins Avenue in South Beach. Their navvy blue model in suede looks exceptionally sharp when paired with white linen pants.
You might know agave as the principal ingredient in good tequila. But it’s also a hardy, drought and bug-resistant plant that thrives in harsh climates, making it a logical name to go with one of the world’s heartiest sandals— the Chaco Chillo.
Chillos trace their roots to 1989 when a Colorado rafting guide sought to create a pair of versatile, comfortable sandals for wear in and out of the river. Today, the company offers dozens of varieties of its most popular sandal, each boasting a promise of durability.
In fact, Chaco has a remanufacturing program, dubbed ReChaco, that reconditions sandals with new straps, buckles and soles. Chillos offer a durable footbed endorsed by podiatrists for all-day comfort and wear.
If your style is more Palm Beach than South Beach, you probably already know about the handmade velvet slippers offered by Stubbs and Wootton. The company takes its name from 18th-century English artists George Stubbs and John Wootton, both of whom specialized in painting scenes of gentleman hunting, a tableau of dogs, country manors and tweed jackets.
Their embroidered skull loafers feature a black cotton velvet upper, a leather sole, a stacked wooden heel and a Jolly Roger embroidered on each toe. They are a perfect way to spice up your outfit at a summer wedding and go well with dark jeans too.
The company also offers a bespoke program, allowing you to design your own slippers using monograms, images, nautical flags and initials.
If you get stuck having to go into the office this summer but still want a comfortable shoe to protect you from the city heat, there’s the Alden unlined leather loafer.
These medium brown loafers work well with dress slacks in standard gray, medium blue, and even lighter-colored summer staples like the Nantucket red trouser.
The Alden Shoe Company is one of the oldest continually operating shoe brands in America, and there’s a reason. Their shoes are handcrafted of high-end materials and, like a custom tailored suit, are more an investment piece than a summer seasonal staple.
The company rejected the lure of mass-produced, low-quality footwear and instead chose to focus on hand-sewn high-end shoes. The result is a company that has lasted over a century and still manufactures shoes in Massachusetts, the seat of the once thriving New England footwear industry.
Summer Style Afoot
As we settle into warmer months, the likelihood of needing new kicks to match your summer wardrobe rises. Whether you are sporting the beach look, attending a summer wedding or are simply tired of putting off a pair of quality leather loafers, there are options for every man of style.
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Summer Footwear For Men:
- Todd Snyder x Jack Purcell Sneaker
- Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker
- Royale Knit Sneaker by Greats
- The Morjas Espadrille
- HuckberryX Chaco Chillo “Agave”
- Stubbs and Wootton Velvet Slipper with Skull
- Alden Unlined Leather Loafer