Men are very particular with shoes. For some, it is the most important piece of their ensemble. But for these men, shoes should exhibit both style and function. They like stylish shoes, classic or modern, and they give premium to comfort. Pretty just like women, men want their shoes to be of the right fit that will enable them to walk or move around comfortably and free from any discomfort.
The importance of a good pair of men’s shoes has been emphasized many times that we actually lost count. For men who want to impress someone, be it a beautiful lady or the interviewer in a job interview, wearing a great pair of shoes leaves out a good impression. Shoes serve as status symbol, which could depict your priorities and lifestyle. It improves you overall appearance. Note that every pair of shoes has a unique impact to your outfit. Some shoes keep your look casual, but even with the same clothing, if you change your shoes, it would result to another look.
When looking out for the perfect pair (or pairs) of shoes, men like to consider quality including the material used and its made, the level of comfort, mobility, and versatility. Men maybe do not have big collections of shoes like women, and this why they value versatile or classic shoes that could go well with any outfit.
With the vastness of the shoe industry of today, it is interesting to know what it was like in the past and learn how we got to where we are today. As for men’s shoes, we have mentioned above that shoes serve as status symbol. This concept is not something new as even during the medieval era, shoes were made exclusive to the aristocrats or wealthy merchants, whose footwear were made from silk and leather. Those underprivileged made shoes out of old ones or using other cheaper materials.
In the 14th and 15th century, men started sporting pike or poulaine, which were characterized by their extremely pointed toes. Meanwhile, in the 16th century, shoes were designed to have arched sole and heel. Men’s footwear were likewise decorated with ornaments like bows, but this did not last long when military-style fashion emerged giving birth to knee-high leather boots.
Between the 17th and 18th century, shoes were designed with buckles. It was also during this time that shoes have become more affordable and accessible to the middle class, as a result of the introduction of new manufacturing techniques and higher work pay. By the 18th century, men’s shoes were all about plain and country-inspired fashion. There were top boots and jockey, as well as, leather pumps, and laced-up walking shoes.
During the 19th century, men wore ankle boots, derby, and oxfords. By 1900s, as factories manufactured more shoes and as people patronized retailers than shoemakers, there was a tremendous increase in the consumption of shoes.
Then, came the 20th century. In 1940s, after the war ended, shortage in leather resulted to a higher demand in fabric shoes. But as the leather industry recovered, men sported oxfordsIn the mid 20th century, production of ready-to-wear shoes was centered in Asia, while exclusive ones were concentrated in Italy. In 1950s, men’s shoes have gotten more extravagant and as youth fashion became a hit, new designs came out like the popular Chelsea boots. Chelsea boots were commonly sported by socialites, musicians, and artists. Other footwear that became a trend in the 50s, which are still worn by men today, include the two-toned brogues and brothel creepers, which resemble the platform shoes of women because of its thick soles.
As the 70s came, men’s footwear was heavily influenced by the decade’s music, Disco and Punk. As soon as celebrities started wearing platform boots, more people turned into such style. And the popularity of activewear at the time had men wearing sneakers or trainers, which continued through the 90s. More so, it was a decade for unisex and androgynous shoes. The 80s and 90s were somehow similar. During these years, men opted for casual and relaxed shoes that men wore sports shoes. They were however unique from each other as the 80s featured rocker-style footwear, while the 90s were about rave and grunge.
With its origin in 1930 primarily to address the lack of practical footwear for boating, this nautical-inspired boat shoes is a stylish and comfortable men’s shoes. It is characterized by its soft rubber sole and the use of canvas or leather on the upper portion. It has a below the ankle profile that is perfect for the summer season. It is very easy and versatile to wear as you can pair it down with chinos or rolled-up trousers for a casual look. You can also wear shorts or jeans with your boat shoes. Again, color matching will do the trick. Choosing a neutral or earthy color will improve your overall look.
There are different types of boots made from various materials. Boots are, generally, ideal for the cold weather, but there are now cool boots you can wear even outside the cold or freezing weather. Among the more popular boots are the ankle boots, which include the all-time favorite Chelsea boots. Chelsea boots, in brown, look absolutely great when paired with jeans that are slightly rolled up on the cuffs. Well, boots work perfectly with slim or skinny jeans, especially the work boots. Its bulky appearance complements the skinny jeans.
The popularity of brogues can be traced to the 1920s. Brogues make a classic investment because of its timeless appeal. They are sturdy, but stylish. Brogues used to be available in brown, but now, many brands offer them in a variety of colors. They scream fashion with their decorative toe caps, which by the way could be a full or half toe cap. But, it could also be a more minimalist quarter brogue with detailing only on the edge of the toe cap. Brogues can be worn with jeans, trousers, chinos, and even suit.
A variation of brogues, Derby shoes, as distinguished from Oxfords, features an open lacing system in two quarters that are sewn on to the vamp. The open lacing system is considered as less formal than that of close lacing system. Moreover, Derby shoes come in plain, cap toe, and wing tip. These allow the wearer to choose which type he prefers as each of them exude a different level of elegance.
For a lighter, comfortable, and casual stroll around the city or to your dream destination, espadrilles for men are great choice. These shoes feature soles made from rope and upper portion cut from fabric or canvas. They are great alternative to boat shoes in case you want to go more casual, but not as laidback as slippers. This means that espadrilles make a great footwear to sport in the summertime.
If you are curious why loafers are such big hits for men, then that is precisely because of its impeccable look and versatility. Loafers exude a timeless appeal, which is the reason for its popularity then and now. If you are starters in the loafer’s fashion, then getting yourself a pair in neutral or earth colors like brown will make it easier for you to mix and match. You can wear loafers with jeans, shorts, chinos, or trousers. Most common loafers have tassel detailing, while there plain loafers available in the market. They are likewise available in leather and suede. The best part of it all? Loafers are shoes for all seasons. Wear yours in the cold season with classic socks.
Now for the semi-formal to formal outfits, complete it with a pair of good-looking monk shoes. Gentlemen of today wear a lot of suits and smart casual to semi-formal wear. This only calls for an equally sophisticated footwear. Monk shoes have either single or double buckle strap. The single strap looks more refined and minimalist, while the double strap is indeed a head-turner because of its unique details. Monk shoes are available in leather and suede. Despite its formal appearance, monk shoes can actually be paired with chinos.
Oxford shoes are another popular type of men’s footwear. They resemble that of Derby shoes, but compared to Derby, Oxford shoes have a close lacing system where shoelace eyelets facings are stitched under the vamp. Apart from the close lacing system, Oxfords are low-heeled and have exposed ankle. There are different variations of Oxfords that include the plain, saddle, kilfie, wingtip or brogue, and cap toe. Moreover, there are wholecut Oxfords that is cut from obe piece of leather, and seamless, which is likewise made from a single piece of leather, but does not have a seam on the heel.
As for men’s sandals, these are go-to casual footwear made even more popular during the summer season. They are made from various materials depending on the purpose. Sandals for hiking or trekking are crafted from durable materials as they are expected to be heavy-duty. Sandals for casual wear, meanwhile, are made lightweight and comfortable.
There is a good number of choices for men’s slippers. Others are available at the usual triangle-style strap that are very ideal when going to the beach. It could also be a slip-on pair of slippers for men who want to pair their casual top and jeans or trousers with a comfortable pair of slippers.
While some men like to dress up in more formal pair of shoes like Oxfords, Boots, Derby, or Brogues, others like to keep their look cool by sporting sneakers. This is especially so for men who are living an active or mobile lifestyle. But we have come to the time that sneakers are not only designed to be worn with jeans. Today, many men in suit have donned up with sneakers for a perfect and cool contrast.