Statement Shoes for Men
Men tend not to put too much thought footwear, but the right shoe can put an exclamation point on your style statement.
A year ago, I sat on a terrace in Lake Como, Italy, hoping that if I lingered long enough George Clooney might sail by on summer holiday. No George, but as I enjoyed my Macchiato, a gentleman wearing a white linen Animas shirt and trousers walked by. His Mediterranean charisma caught my eye. As he reclined in an andorak chair and casually crossed his legs, his trousers lifted, revealing luxurious gold leather shoes.
Amused, I thought, “That is a confident man to [tastefully] pull off sparkly shoes!” The pair were a perfect punctuation–an exclamation point—to this Euro-man’s style statement!
I ran to catch him for the sole purpose of asking about his shoes. This individualist style guy had impressively put together a summer suit paired with a tan leather slip-on that looked like a cross between a dress and athletic shoe.
Turns out, that’s exactly what the shoe was: a Nike’s Cole Haan, a business casual shoe (available locally at Harleys).
Women pay attention to shoes (so much so, some will even chase you down over them!). Employers, clients and colleagues pay attention to shoes, too. YOU should pay attention to your shoes.
Thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, women and shoes are “a party on heels,” but men, do you feel the same affection for your footwear? Women “get it” that shoes aren’t only objects of function—they‘re wardrobe treasures.
According to Kate Blake, proprietor of Shoo, ”the definition of footwear,” a boutique store with locations in the Third Ward and Madison, men shop differently than women. Men are pragmatic. They need shoes, but they don’t necessarily want to shop for them.
Men, you’re missing out.
Designers provide a wide range of choices from funky to retro to western to new twists on traditional. So what should be among the fashion-forward man’s favorite “must have” pairs?
Most men’s closets have a sturdy standard dress shoe in both black and brown (with matching belts). If the shoe rack has space, a gray and tan pair may make it in.
But who knew there’s an array of colored shoes like gold, Elvis’s blue suede, red, orange, and combinations of a rainbow of shades? A splash of color makes a nice impact on your overall impression.
Dress shoe styles range from classic lace-ups, loafers, oxfords, wing-tips, and upscale versions of the bowling shoe (worn with or without the bowling shirt). To name a few, but by no means all, there’s Allan Edmonds, Hugo Boss, or Donald J. Pliner. Match your socks with your pants, not your shoes. Socks used to be considered essential, but today’s modern Mad Man seems completely comfortable going ankle-naked.
Some shoe styles can walk both sides of the dress or casual line, like the T & F Slack dress shoes from the Spring/Summer 2012 Collection.
Athletic & Sports Shoe
This may be the exception category to the men don’t like shoe shopping rule. Beyond the all-purpose Nike, men are more likely to have a specific shoe to fit their sport.
A masculine flip-flop or summer shoe like Ecco‘s Yucatan sandal simply work.
So flash back to me in the Third Ward.
By the end of the day, I encountered yet one more unusual shoe in my sole-search.
At the table next to me, a guy was wearing a whacky pair of somethings that could not be ignored called Vibrams. “The theory behind the design,” he said, “is that barefoot is better.”
I don’t know if Vibram qualifies as shoes, they look more like flippers with toes, but they got my attention!