Jun 07, 2016

5 Essential Shoes Every Man Needs This Summer

created at: 07/08/2015

Newsflash, ManMakers: It's hot out. Like, super hot... the kind of hot where you can't quite pretend you're not roasting and just wear your standard uniform from the rest of the year. It's easy to dress well in the fall and winter. Every man looks great in boots and sweaters and layers and patterned button-downs. But, in summer, it's just too hot for those things, and you simply gotta embrace the shorts.  And with the shorts comes the question: well, what shoes do I wear with them?    

created at: 07/08/2015

First, here's what you don't wear with them: sneakers and ankle-height white crew socks, Dad. And unless you're within 20 feet of a body of water or a swimming pool, no flip-flops. Seriously, those are not street shoes, and they'll make you look like a nine-year-old in that awkward phase shopping with his mom, or a college football player scarfing down calories at the dining hall. Unless you're about to swim on hop on a surfboard, flip-flop are NOT for public consumption.

So, then: what shall you wear? Here are five great options. 

 created at: 07/08/2015

The Boat Shoe: These should be your summer go-to with shorts. They're the leather boot- equivalent for summer: they look great on everyone, and you can wear them with just about anything. They keep you as cool as any shoe, and have a classic look that just looks what a guy should be wearing when it's hot out. They slip on as easily as flip-flops, so they can serve as your easy choice for everyday, casual use.

Sperry Top-Siders are the standard here, so start there with the A.O. (Authentic Originals). They'll last for decades, and will look as stylish seventy-five years from now as they do today... and they did 75 years ago when they were invented.  Land's End also makes a solid option.

You can wear these without socks, but on especially hot or long days out, consider a no-show sock for all the benefit of the sockless look, sans swamp toes. 

ManMade Recommended: 


created at: 07/08/2015

The Canvas Lace-Up: The low-height works great with shorts, and works when you're going for a little more casual look. I'd also opt for these over a boat shoe if you're doing some serious walking - on vacation, a day exploring downtown, etc.

There are a millions options, but the original Vans were invented for that SoCal beach-y look in the 1960s, so you gotta figure they've work well for that sort. The Authentic Lo-Pros and Core Classics start at $45.00, so you could get two colors for under $100. Oh, and I'll admit it - I have no problem ripping out the little branded tag for a sleeker look. 

ManMade Recommended: 

created at: 07/08/2015

The Hiking Sandal: Let's get this out of the way: these are not attractive shoes. They look silly. But, these shoes keep your feet cool and supported. These are intended for real adventures: summer hikes, desert exploration, kayak trips, walking from the cabin to the lake, and the like.

The most supportive pair of shoes I own are my Chacos, and sometimes you need support when its hot out. They're definitely not stylish, but they're not designed for style; they're designed for protecting your feet in all kinds of real outdoor situations. Flip flops can't do that...and at least they look better than Tevas. You can skip this one if you're not doing any adventure travel or recreation this summer, but if that's the case, I'd revaluate your priorities. That's what summer is for, and there's a whole world out there, and the days are long.

Note: do not grill in these, or any open toed shoes. Those falling coals are hot. #speakingfrompersonalexperience

ManMade Recommended:

created at: 07/08/2015

The Brown Leather Penny Loafer - Cause even though it's hot, you still gotta dress up.

This guy becomes your go-to for the summer wedding,  the work party, or warm weather date night. You can wear them with or without socks (or with a no-show), and if you choose brown, you can pull them off with shorts. Give it a shot with a long-sleeve button down and some trim 9" inseam-ers. Wear 'em with a suit and brown belt for formal-ish occasions for lighter but still dressy summer vibe. 

ManMade Recommended: 

created at: 07/08/2015

The WildCard - This is where you get to be you. For some, it's a trail runner, cause that how they spend the long days. For others a canvas slip-on, a espadrille, or for the snazzy, a white leather oxford shoe. Mine's a clip-in bike shoe, cause that's what summer is all about for me. Yours could be an okay-if-it-gets-muddy for summer concerts, a Keen water shoe, a pair of hiking boots, a skate shoe, a proper running shoe. a rubber boot for gardening. Just buy it for a purpose, buy one that will last, and get out and enjoy the season. Just as long as its not a flip-flop. 

ManMade Recommended: 


Enjoy your summer!



 This ManMade post was originally published in July 2015. We're sharing it again because it's summer!


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Mark on Jun 19, 2016:

If you like Chacos, check out a sandal company called Unshoes.  Made right here in the USA, in Utah.  They have several different, innovative styles too.

Antom on Oct 05, 2015:

I don't wear shoes very often, when in shorts, my staple are leather sandals, with groomed feet and without socks, of course :D, that's the point of them.

If I wear shoes, though, loafers are great, with a pair of minimal black or dark ankle length socks, just to protect feet from blisters and friction.

Never wear high socks, because if you are going to hide your legs, might as well wear slacks.

Daniel on Jul 11, 2015:

Nice list. A word of caution about the Onitsuka Tiger's. These shoes run SMALL. I ordered a half size up because of all the comments on Amazon mentioning that they ran small but they're still tight enough that I'm not sure to exchange a half or full size up. Great shoes otherwise, stylish, lightweight and comfortable, if you get them in the right size. 

Thais on Jul 09, 2015:

So funny how one country's norm is different from another. In Brazil, the hiking sandal would be considered gringo stuff, because only foreigners wear that, while flip-flops are the social norm for anything that is outdoors(and sometimes even for indoors, as long as it's informal and social). I guess it's the climate. Warm/hot places tend to favor open shoes. Can't imagine most of my male coleagues wearing tennis shoes or loafers in a constant 35+ celsius. Most opt for Havaianas' styled flip-flops or sports shoes (running shoes) at best. 


The boat shoes are options I see often on my more 'stylish' friends, but even them are not appropriate for the weather here. Too humid, so the leather starts getting crappy. 

bruno on Jul 09, 2015:

Woah. It's not often that I disagree with my friend and colleague, Chris, but I have to speak out in defense of flip flops. You know what my feet need in the summer? Ox. Y. Gen. I'm sure I'm not the only guy out there with hot feet ... but put any sort of cloth/leather/rubber around my dogs in the summer and I will return shortly with smelly, sweat-swamped sacks below my shins. You don't want that, do you?

I hear you, flips flops are kind of lazy-looking and, if your toes aren't in good shape, definitely not nice to others. But penny loafers? Leather death wraps. Canvas lace-ups without socks? Noxious steam-bogs. Chacos are definitely NOT cooler than flip flops unless you hang out at REI most of the day, and anyway, my wife doesn't let me leave the house with them on.

The Argentine Alpargata (or Spanish Espadrille) (similar to Toms, but with a woven jute, not rubber, sole) are a great summer option if you can find some. DO NOT buy alpargatas with rubber soles! That defeats the whole point. Rubber doesn't breathe. Here are two sources I found online:

- EspadrilleStore.com ($85) - these are kind of ridiculous-looking, I'd have to see them in person. The alpargatas I remember my (Argentine) dad wearing as a kid were cheap and had a lower profile.

- Espadrille jute soles ($15) - these are just the soles, you'd have to sew on your own outer cover. I know, what am I talking about? No one's going to do that. But if you do, let me know and I will buy a pair off you.


Anyone know of any other online sellers of woven-jute (not rubber) soled espadrilles/alpargatas? Lemme know.