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Style Advice

Four shoes every man should own

Four shoes every man should own

It has been said that "you are either in your bed or in your shoes, so it pays to invest in both". Your shoes carry the weight of your body through each day and are supposedly one of the first things another person will look at to find out more about you. A great pair of shoes has the power to make you feel confident enough to smash an interview, blow the socks off a new date, and enter a room full of strangers with gusto. Perhaps all in one day. 

After much ‘sole’ searching with Thread stylist Freddie Kemp, we’ve built an arsenal of four pairs of shoes – from classic derbys to minimalist trainers – to see you through almost any situation. Although we do love frills and fashion, we're sidelining them in favour of timelessness and quality for the sake of versatility. What’s as important as versatility is durability, and so we encourage you to invest in a high-quality pair that will see you through many years to come. Because we know that an inexpensive pair of shoes may look enticing on the shelf, but we guarantee you’ll regret your purchase once you wear out the soles after a few short weeks. And if you’re going to invest in shoes for the long haul, these are the ones worth putting your best foot forward in. 

Black derbys

Comfortably straddling the line between formal and casual, derby shoes are proper all-rounders. They were originally worn for hunting and sporting in the 1850s, only to then be adopted by the stylish at the turn of the century.

“There isn’t anything in your smart casual to smart wardrobe that these won’t go well with. To get the most out of these shoes, go for a rounder toe to dress it down and minimal detail for more versatility,” Freddie says.

Photographed: Grenson Fred (£480)

Brogue boots

“Brogue boots are always going to be cool, so they offer a zero-risk choice. Generally with shoes, the more detail, the more casual – so I would wear these with your more laid-back outfits. If you wear a fair amount of denim, brogue boots offer the ideal pairing,” says Freddie.

Fun fact – did you know the holes in brogues were originally meant to help drain water when walking through swamps? Please try and avoid walking in muck when wearing these today, though. These shoes don’t deserve that.

Photographed: Veja V10 Leather Trainers (£115)

Minimal white trainers

One of the most trusty shoes of all is a simple pair of white kicks. White trainers are off-duty, sporty, and lend themselves to most casual outfits. You can wear them with a casual t-shirt and jeans combo, chinos, shorts, or even a suit to loosen up your formalwear. Veja trainers in particular are becoming iconic for how sustainable they are, but there are so many options out there. Novesta also offers great vegan trainers

“Don’t be afraid to wear them in, too. A box fresh pair of white trainers is a great thing, but I especially love how they look when they’re a little worn,” says Freddie.

Photographed: Clarks Desert Boot (£50)

Desert boots

Desert boots were originally created by the great-grandson of the founder of Clarks, Nathan Clark,who was inspired by the hard-wearing yet comfortable shoes sported by military men in Burma to protect their feet in 1941. Today, they are as popular as ever and, even after all these years, desert boots by Clarks are still some of the best and most comfortable pairs out there – although they’re more often seen at a nice restaurant than in the actual desert these days. 

“These are the only shoes out of my four picks that aren’t everyday shoes, but that also makes them the most special – simply because they’re suede. These are your date night or evening out shoes. Go for a darker colour and be sure to use suede protection to keep them looking better for longer,” says Freddie.


Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Jake Millers
Styling: Freddie Kemp