Summer’s almost upon us, which means a lot of hot, sweaty feet are on the horizon. It also means a lot of embarrassing footwear faux-pas, as most guys are pathetically out of touch when it comes to which sneakers, sandals and loafers are fashionable and which should be banished to the Land of Dads. Read on and we’ll help you sort out the sick kicks from the rude shoes.
Wear no-show socks, not regular socks
Before we get to the shoes, a word about socks: they should not be seen in the summer months. Show off those ankles and calves, men! Wearing no socks at all is perfectly acceptable for most the summer, even in semi-formal environments where suits and dress shoes are worn (though there are some situations, like funerals and job interviews, where socks are essential).
If you’re the kind of guy who hates the slimy feeling of shoes without socks, grab some no-show socks to slap on your feet. They’re exactly what their name implies: socks that don’t show over the top of your shoes, yet still soak up all the sweat from your soles.
Wear canvas shoes, not tennis shoes
For a good, casual, day-to-day shoe, you can’t do better than a pair of white canvas sneakers. Yeah, they’re hard to keep clean — though it’s easier in the summer, as long as you avoid walking on freshly cut grass. If grime is a problem for you, buy a couple of cheap pairs and upgrade to clean ones once the first pair gets too mucked up. Or get a color like gray or navy blue.
Also, you can try scrubbing dirty sneakers in the sink with warm water and a little bit of soap. Canvas typically comes (mostly) clean with a bit of elbow grease.
Wear boat shoes, not sneaker-dress shoe hybrids
For a look that’s casual but still nice enough to wear on a dinner date, add some boat shoes to your wardrobe. Navy blue is a versatile color. Brown leather is often great, too, but can occasionally come of as a little “old man-ish.”
Remember those no-show socks we told you about earlier in this article. Socks with boat shoes is a big no-no.
Wear classic running shoes, not the latest gimmicks in shoe technology
Summer is a time for outdoor sports, so you can’t wear unsupportive boat shoes and canvas sneakers all the time. When you do have to break out some athletic shoes, make an effort to wear ones that have an understated, classic look to them. New Balance 574s are a great option. Nike Shox are not.
Wear Birkenstocks, not any other sandals
A word of warning: it’s really, really hard to make sandals look good. But there are days when the mercury rises to a point where they’re almost essential.
If you must wear sandals, go for a pair of Birkenstocks. Avoid all other sandals like the plague. Exception: plastic flip-flops are acceptable if (and only if) you’re at the beach.