How to wear every fit of jeans
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Footwear can be a blind spot for a lot of guys when they’re making the transition from spring to summer. It seems obvious that you need to swap coats for jackets, heavy knits for light jumpers and – eventually – jeans for shorts. But too often those warm-weather clothes end up paired with the same shoes you wore all winter. That’s a mistake on two counts – comfort and style.
“Shoes are the first thing people notice,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. “Your whole look could be amazing but if your shoes aren’t right – if they feel inappropriate or just don’t fit with your look – it lets the whole thing down.”
Right now, your footwear has to run the gamut from frosty mornings to blazing sunshine, and everywhere in between, meaning you need shoes that work with shorts or trousers. Plus, for every casual day in the park, there’s an important meeting at work or wedding you need to be ready for. Invest in this quintet of essential shoes and you’ll be covered for every occasion, from now until the leaves start falling.
In the 1930s, Paul Sperry, a keen sailor fed up with constantly slipping on deck, cut grooves into the soles of his shoe to mimic the tread of his dog’s paws (who had no trouble staying upright). The result is the boat shoe that is ubiquitous today. “The best thing about boat shoes is that they’re essentially slippers that are appropriate to wear in public,” says Luke. “I like that they’re smart without looking like you’ve come from a board meeting. Plus the current way of wearing them – dressed down with streetwear or relaxed trousers – feels very fresh but also accessible.”
Trainers are an essential at any time of the year, but in spring you can experiment with the kinds of interesting colours that look best under strong sunlight. “They’re a really nice way to add sportiness to your outfit without looking like you’re training for a marathon,” says Luke. “All of the big brands are going through their archives right now and rereleasing some of their classics or under-the-radar styles, which means loads of choice. So you don’t need to worry about matching with anyone else. Plus they’re a great way of introducing colour without actually having to wear colour.”
The loafer, created by G.H. Bass & Co in 1936, was originally designed for ‘loafing about in the field.’ Bass’s inspiration for his world-conquering new silhouette came from a style of shoe worn by Norwegian fisherman, which could be easily slipped on and off. “It’s funny that it started as a fisherman's shoe because it’s got quite a lofty reputation now,” says Luke. “It’s the besy warm-weather shoe that is still a 'proper' shoe. It’s a great alternative to brogues or derbys when worn with a suit, but looks just as good with jeans or shorts.”
The iconic Californian shoe, Vans have been around since the late 60s, and their comfort and practical sole has made them the skater’s choice ever since. But they’re a great summer choice even if you can’t kickflip. “Despite their history, they are surprisingly versatile,” says Luke. “With chinos and a crisp shirt, they suddenly have a JFK-on-a-yacht feel, but with jeans, they’re more relaxed and feel more youthful. The vulcanised rubber sole is great too – it’s been baked on, so is more hard-wearing and means that when they get dirty you can just chuck them in the wash and the glue won’t disintegrate.”
Sandals will always be divisive, but recently, they’ve shaken off their patchouli candle vibe. “It’s been the warm weather shoe of choice since the Romans,” says Luke, “and the modern versions are really comfortable. They’re the shoe equivalent of worn-in denim or beloved leather jacket. The two-strap style is the easiest to wear, especially with an ankle strap too because it adds stability. How you wear them is up to you. They’re great with shorts, but if you want to bring a relaxed vibe to your formalwear, they can look good with a smart pair of trousers.”
Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Jamie Stoker
Styling: Luke McDonald