There is not much room for creativity and personality when it comes to a standard male wardrobe. Often, clothing and style for men changes very little with the seasons and decades. Some consider this to be ideal; others wish for more self-expression.
During the summer, many men struggle to find footwear that is comfortable, fashionable, and season-appropriate. Sure, sandals work when you’re at the beach, but what does a fashionable man wear during the summer while he’s at the office or on a date? This is where summer dress shoes come into play. Surprisingly, there are many great options for men to choose from. I’ve outlined my favorites here:
- White Buck Shoes – These shoes, as the name suggests, are always white or off-white. The term “buck” comes from the original material that was used to make the shoes: a soft deerskin (also known as “buckskin”). This is definitely a shoe with a long history—is has been worn by men since the late 1800’s! This shoe rose to its full prominence though in the 1950’s and 60’s when dress shoes, and white shoes in particular, where very popular for men. This is a common shoe and you should be able to find a version of in many brands and at many different price points. One important point: keep the shoes clean! No one wants to be seen wearing dirty white shoes.
- Boat shoes – This is the classic summer shoe, but be careful, as this shoe can look too casual if too old or worn with casual clothing. Think of this shoe as the natural footwear to choose if you were to go sailing or if you were to spend a fancy evening on a yacht. Most of the time these shoes come in leather, but sometimes they come in canvas. The canvas varieties tend to look more casual, so be aware of that. It is the lace up fronts and sides that give the boat shoe its iconic look, so make sure you choose a stylish pair with quality laces.
- Loafers – Loafers are the shoes you see every business man wearing from January to December. It really is an all-season staple, as long as you’re not trudging through snow. This is a completely slip-on shoe with a rubber soul that is almost always made of leather or suede. They sit low on the ankle and have a small heel. Usually you see two kinds of embellishments on loafers: a cutout strap across the top (often called a penny-loafer), or a couple of all-leather tassels (often called a tassel loafer).
- Saddle Shoes – These are very distinctive shoes, and can be very loud and statement-making, or a lot more quiet. They are like a loafer, but the shoe comes up a little bit higher on the ankle and there are laces on the top of the shoe. The term “saddle” comes from the distinctive way the shoes are stitched together, with one piece of leather over the top of the shoe, which holds the heel and toe together. This piece of leather has the shape of a horse saddle. Sometimes, the shoes are high-contrast with the heels and toe being one color (often white), and the saddle portion being another color(often black). This look can feel a little young though, so buy with caution. Most of the time, the entire shoe is constructed from the same leather. This shoe looks great with suits and nearly always looks formal. There are some suede varieties that can be dressed down, but most of the time this is 100% a dress shoe.
When you’re purchasing your summer shoe, choose a shoe that is light and comfortable. More importantly, make sure you switch to thinner, summer dress socks to help from getting too hot in your new shoes.