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The Essential Men’s Shoes For Summer

From sandals to sneakers and slides, these are the best shoes to see you through the season

Men’s sandals: for or against? If we’d posed this question a few years ago, chances are you’d be firmly “against”. But recently, the idea that men are also entitled to expose their feet during summer has gained traction. So, rejoice! Your toes are finally free, and you may now go forth to the pub or park unfettered from the confines of closed-toe shoes.

But, even in this new enlightened age, summer footwear doesn’t end with sandals or slides; there are also smarter circumstances such as work or weddings – where the sight of a bare ankle, let alone a pinky toe, may not quite fit the bill. As a result, your warm-weather footwear collection should rival what you wear the rest of the year. The good news is MR PORTER has hundreds of pairs to choose from; the bad news is… MR PORTER has hundreds of pairs to choose from. So, to help you make the right choice, we’ve narrowed it down to just the essentials. Read on for our guide to the best summer shoes for men.

Sneakers

Whether Converse or Common Projects, we tend to become attached to certain brands of sneakers. Our tendency to play favourites means that, like suits or underwear, they become a constant in our wardrobes. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but sticking with the same pair for ages can become tiresome. The argument for switching them out in summertime starts and ends with suede: there’s something about the supple leather that says summer. The diminishing likelihood of rain makes it a more viable option (for all its strengths, suede does not fare well when wet). Either way, it makes an excellent addition to summery looks, especially when rendered in a minty-fresh green, such as here in this pair from MR PORTER’s own label, Mr P.

Sporty Sandals

Sandals have gone from one extreme to the other – in times gone by, even plain, old flip-flops were once considered a bit outré. Then, only a few years ago, they became multi-strapped technical affairs, complete with a surplus of logos and incongruous hunks of rubber. Minimalist Japanese brand Hender Scheme has settled on a happy medium this season. They’re still sporty, as made clear by the inclusion of Velcro, but the tan leather bases and streamlined design make them more sophisticated. Because of their unfussy looks, they’re well-suited to being worn with a wide variety of outfits. Our suggestion? Try them with cargo shorts and a short-sleeved shirt.

Leather Sandals

Three guesses where Yuketen got the inspiration for its Arizonian sandals? The clue is in the name – and who can blame them, when the double-buckled style made famous by Birkenstock is more popular than ever. The design’s versatility gives it an edge: you’ll probably see plenty of double-buckled sandals paired with everything from swim shorts to linen trousers at the height of summer. As they are so adaptable, it also means you’re likely to hold on to them for a good while. You should opt for Yuketen because of the quality of the leather, which, in every case with this Japanese brand, is top notch.

Slides

The slip-on sandal’s popularity has yet to wane. It’s likely to do with the fact that they come in all shapes, making them suitable for both eccentric and more conservative followers of fashion. Sitting at the finer end of the scale is Bottega Veneta’s leather pair, woven in Italy using the brand’s signature intrecciato technique. They’re a grown-up take on the trend, which is another way of saying you probably shouldn’t wear them with socks…

Espadrilles

No summer footwear guide for men would be complete without a pair of espadrilles, being as they are designed for strolling across beaches. Loro Piana’s Seaside Walk pair are somewhat prescriptively named, though. Yes, they’re very much suited to said strolling (just mind not to stray too close to the shore), but are also elevated enough and, more importantly, sturdy enough to traverse city terrain: the traditional jute soles (a 14th-century Catalonian invention that’s survived to this day) are reinforced with a layer of tough rubber, which makes them a practical choice.

Loafers

If ambling around a quaint town in Cornwall sounds like a summer well-spent, then Edward Green’s Polperro loafers from our Best of British capsule will be right up your street. Unlike more traditional penny pairs that you might don to the office, these are softly constructed, meaning they have a form comparable to slippers and, better still, are almost as comfortable since they require a lot less breaking in. While we wouldn’t exactly call this a smart loafer in the strictest sense, it’s still ideally paired with tailoring – an unstructured linen blazer worn with chinos or pleated trousers would be our first choice.

Driving Shoes

Often imitated but never bettered, Tod’s Gommino driving shoes are a bona fide summer classic – the style’s fundamental design hasn’t been tampered with since it appeared in the 1970s. Nowadays, they come in a kaleidoscopic array of colours, but this biscotti-toned suede pair feels especially suited to summer outings and is unlikely to clash with the broader palette of your warm-weather wardrobe.

Boat Shoes

Owning a pair of boat shoes does not necessarily correlate with the ownership of an ocean-going vessel, though it does, of course, help. If you’re the kind of man who whiles away the summer on the polished deck of a sun-soaked yacht, you’re probably all set when it comes to deck shoes. But if that scenario is but a distant dream for those of us anchored to our desk, don’t fret. On the days you escape from the office, roll up your sleeves (and chinos, while you’re at it) and slip into Quoddy’s Downeast pair to capture the same carefree spirit, safely and on dry land.