Three Shoes to Survive Summer

Brown suede loafers

There is something special about brown suede shoes. They’re not in the least bit practical, largely because suede is so high-maintenance. Get them wet at your peril; drop anything on them and they’re nigh-on ruined. They’re the Zsa Zsa Gabor of footwear; you can’t treat them like any old pair of kickers/entitled, self-obsessed diva. You have to encase them in fur and shower them with…protective spray.

One of the best things about brown suede is the way the light catches them and brings out the rich colour variations in the material. They have a beautifully matte, truffle-like appearance, which is a fabulous contrast to linen and mohair alike. As a shoe of texture, there are few better options.

Don’t listen to the purists, who insist that suede is only to be worn in the autumn/winter period. They look positively edible when worn with camel linen or mid-blue chinos. Keep away from barbecues.

Off-white plimsolls

One thing is certain about the summer and that is that someone, at some point, will drag you to some kind of competitive, but still ‘jolly friendly’, casual sporting event (probably involving bats or racquets), after which arguments will persist about individual prowess, fine margins and the quality of the refreshments.

What this means is that you need a pair of shoes which are not going to land you at a  sticky wicket. You can’t wear formal leather shoes, and all big-brand training shoes (sneakers) are aesthetically vile, so you need a pair of off-white plimsolls. Think of it this way: if Jay Gatsby had been invited to your little tournament, what would he wear?

Don’t fret, plimsolls aren’t trendy any more. You don’t need to keep them pristine for ‘that really important gig in Camden.’ There simply isn’t a sporting shoe with a better profile. So just roll up the bottoms on a pair of chinos and bowl already…

Red driving shoes

No one’s trying to turn you into Dorothy or anything, but red shoes are ‘where it’s at’ this summer. I recently saw an excellent execution of an ensemble featuring red driving shoes, worn with slim-fitting French navy linen trousers and a crisp white shirt. If the shoes had been any other colour, the outfit would have been unremarkable; that pop of Ferrari red made all the difference.

One of the great things about driving shoes, aside from their wonderful slipper-like comfort, is that they are useful for both casual jaunts to the beach and sampling the catch of the day in some overpriced hostelry on the marina. Warning: may cause stares.


  1. Peter M said:

    Great post, thank you. Can you recommend anything in particular in terms of brown suede loafers? As you say, they are quite fragile, so I am rather loathe to spend a substantial sum.

    June 4, 2013
  2. Winston said:

    The Hugo loafer from Nunes Correa in Portugal is excellent value at 52 Euros. You can order from overseas, although there are higher delivery costs. Also, be warned – they are slow to respond to queries and take ages to deliver anything. I kept having to call the store in Lisbon (which has little to do with the warehouse for web orders) to put pressure on the contact there to respond to my emails.

    June 4, 2013
  3. Julia said:

    I think that these are three great shoe suggestions, but I sometimes find that plimsolls don’t give my feet enough support. Is that just my imagination, or is that a real possibility?

    June 26, 2013
  4. Julia,

    You are correct, plimsolls don’t give much support, which means wearing them for long periods is inadvisable. However, wearing them on the odd, sporty day won’t do much damage.


    June 30, 2013
  5. Hugs & Co. said:

    Grant Harris featured our brand ‘Hugs & Co’ a few months back on Men’s Flair. We offer brown loafers and of course the red driving shoes that you suggest in this article for a very sensible £64.99.

    We also have a particularly cool pair of burgundy tasseled driving shoes that are well worth considering. Do check them out on an let us know what you think.


    July 2, 2013

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