So, Christmas may now be behind us and we may well be in the depths of winter, for better or worse, but life verily goes on. And that means that birthdays and myriad celebrations and opportunities for gift-giving pop up quite frequently this side of the Christmas season. So, what if you’ve the birthday of the man in your life or of a cherished male relative just around the corner? What’s the ideal present for their big day? Well, how about a pair of terrific shoes? Great idea, eh! The one snag is knowing what sort of footwear will suit them best – and that may well depend on what sort of person, dress-wise, they are…
For the practically minded man – winter boots
Any man about town should be concerned with fashion and style; of course, he should. But, at this time of year, when the weather fluctuates and can deliver wind and heavy rain one day and frost and ice the next and even snow the day after that, sensible footwear should also be a priority. And these two facets of shoe design need not be mutually exclusive because, in many men’s winter boot types, they blend together seamlessly to create a truly beautiful item that’s both great-looking and great-to-wear on your feet during the most hostile time of the year (weather-wise, that is!).
So what winter boot to go for? Well, an old favourite unquestionably are men’s chukka boots, the best-made of which combine reliable wear with enduring style. That said, you might also opt for a dressier option via the traditional Italian leather boot, which tends to look great when partnered with woollen suits and winter coats. These are the winter boots to crack out when you’ve an event to attend and you can get away with wearing a warmer alternative to smart-smart polished shoes.
From a sheer practicality standpoint, though, you might want to look at the manufacture of any boot that catches your eye. For instance, what kind of leather does it contain? Is it waterproof? Does it feature seals to keep the rain out? And how tough is it? Does it have proper toecaps? And how strong is the stitching? Get all this right and you’ll probably find a pair that’s just as suited to romping on a moor as they are to a night out on the town.
For the well-dressed man – monk shoes
Those who like to keep things dressy whatever the time of year will be well served by the versatile monk shoe. Manufactured from high-quality leather, many brands’ monk shoe offerings deliver not just sartorial style, but also support and comfort in abundance (rubber soles ensure they’re ideal for late-night loafing as well as about-town walking during the day).
Something of an exclusive footwear choice no more than five years ago, monk shoes – with their distinctive single- or double-buckle-strap over the top of the shoe’s upper; doing away with the need for laces – are now de rigeur among those who like the idea of injecting a fair bit of style into both their office and smart attire. They go brilliantly with both blazers and smart-casual wear (e.g. dark jeans, a sweater and a dress-down blazer).
Moreover, their affordability today hasn’t seen a shrinkage in quality leather choices; customers being able to choose between the likes of premium leather, burnished leather, suede leather and even sheepskin leather. If it’s true that the most regularly noticed item a man wears are his shoes, then what better reason to opt for a monk shoe?
For the smart-casual man – brogue shoes
Fair dos, not everybody out there is the dressy-dressy sort. Many have, for good and obvious reason, embraced the liberal loosening of styles not just in the workplace but in society in general over the last couple of decades. The result of which being more and more men might be (more or less) described as ‘smart-casual men’. But this does beg the question, what should their default footwear option be?
Well, there are many opinions on this and, of course, every individual should choose the shoe for everyday wear with which they’re most comfortable and which suits their personal style most. That said, one type of shoe that nowadays perfectly fits in the ‘smart-casual’ category is the brogue. Too often overlooked in these terms, brogues – it’s fair to say – are really too informal (thanks to their punch-patterned ‘broguing’ on the top of the upper) for dressy events when compared to proper dress shoes; and, eclectically, they’re rather more style-oriented.
And, while there are certainly exclusive, expensive versions out there, courtesy of the most expensive brands, there are undoubtedly high-quality but affordable versions available too – for instance, men’s brogue boots and more that you can find among our selection here at Mr Shoes.
All good then; but if you like the idea of turning to brogues as your men’s casual shoes of choice, what should you definitely avoid doing? Well, you’re ‘don’ts’ must include not mixing a pair with a black tie (or white tie) suit; for this look, you’ll need a full-out formal shoe – Oxfords at a minimum, for instance. And be careful with wingtips too (the full brogue style, where the patterned toe cap extends all the way back along the lengths of the shoe) because, at the far more casual end of the clothing spectrum, chunky wingtips go well with jeans, but far more stylised wingtips can look a bit OTT when matched with simple, down-to-earth denim.