Well after a week in London, it finally happened: a day with no rain. And, as you of course know, that means new shoe day. I have a pair of driving loafers I got at the end of last summer during the sales that I have patiently sat on for almost 9 months now, and today was finally the day. They left their box, their dustbags, and their fresh, unsoiled form behind in favor of my feet and some dry asphalt. And I’d like to think they couldn’t be happier – I certainly couldn’t be.
Driving loafers are for me one of the greatest joys of summer dressing. I know you can wear them year round, but to me wearing them with socks feels only one step better than sandals with socks and I just cannot bear it. Some men can’t wait for their bucks, some men for sandals (we won’t even touch on that subject), but for me, the shoe of summer is the driver. Ironically enough, I don’t drive, but now I digress.
The wonderful Ralph Lauren specimen I have unearthed is the one you can see above, although mine are navy rather than black, but sport the same blue and red grosgrain ribbon. Nautical in influence, nautical or urban in function, they are always appropriate, and always comfortable. Slipping out of the house feels like an afternoon in slippers, and when the temperatures soar, less is really more in footwear.
The driving moccasin far predates Mr. Lauren’s models though, taking its heritage back to the not-so-distant 1960s. Italian brand Car Shoe claims to be the original driving moccasin, patented in 1963, and as far as I can find they claim so authentically. These are tough to find outside of Italy, but they are fabulous if you can get them.
Tod’s, probably the company most well known for their driving loafers, also produces sublime examples dating back to the 1970s created by current CEO Diego Della Valle. If you haven’t already read the article regarding Mr. Della Valle in The Rake, I highly recommend you do. He created their famous Gommini sole, with its 133 little round pebbles, and all Tod’s shoes today are still made right in Le Marche, Italy where they always have been.
I was lucky enough to spend a summer living in Le Marche two years ago, and could kick myself for not knowing at the time I was only a half hour or so from the factory. I might just have to visit some old friends and brush up on my Italian.