Some Summer Dress Shoes You Should Try

For most men, there has not been a great deal of change in our dress shoes for decades. If you work in an office job, go to the occasional wedding, or even just have them stashed in a closet, the standards are black or brown lace-up oxfords.

But, with the weather getting warmer and different contexts for formal events coming up, now is a good time to re-evaluate those old standbys. Here, I want to talk about expanding your repertoire of summer dress shoes to give your look a more contemporary edge while keeping you looking sharp.

The first new summer shoe I’ll recommend is the penny loafer. Here, three things matter to keep the style updated and along the lines of well-accepted mainstream men’s fashion. First, make sure that they are penny loafers, not tassel loafers: the tassels date the shoes to the 80s. If that’s the aesthetic you’re going for, fine, but keep in mind that this also makes them much more casual. Second, construction. I’m all about shoes that last forever, so spend as much as you can reasonably put into a pair of shoes for these and make sure they can be resoled. My current favorites are on their third pair of soles, and they look better than when I bought them.

Finally, think about experimenting with color: a brown with a touch of burgundy in it can add some depth to an outfit that it didn’t otherwise have. That’s one of the best things about summer clothes: they tend a little more casual anyway, so you have more room to play around with patterns and colors.

Second, consider some suede oxfords. Not many of us would consider suede shoes in the winter or fall, since rain and snow trash the material in a hurry, but now that it’s summer, trying out this type of leather on shoes makes a lot more sense. Here, I recommend going for a light brown or tan pair; navy can be a good choice for the slightly braver than I. Once you do have a pair that you like, get some suede protectant and spray them with several coats. You’ll thank me later when your plus one spills red wine on them.

Finally, summer is a great time to get a pair of Chelsea boot. Suede is great for these slip on, but so are smoother leathers as long as they’re full grain. These boots are super versatile, going from a suit to jeans in a snap. I’ve been wearing and getting compliments on mine, consistently for about three years now.

With all of these, I recommend additionally getting cedar shoe trees: being able to keep the moisture out of the leather not only cuts down on smell but will help your shoes last much, much longer.

Summer is an excellent time to try out some new styles, so why not impress at the next wedding or night out?
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Garrett is a writer and commentator based in the South. His areas of expertise lie in cooking, fashion, and the outdoors among others. He has been writing and educating professionally for years, and enjoys creating online discourses around positively masculine spaces.

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