Springcourt - tennis shoe simplicity and comfort.
As seasons change, so do trends in footwear. I may not update my jocks as often as I should but I am all over what goes on my feet – just as long as it's not a pair of thongs. And so at the risk of rousing yet another surge of podiatric patriotism, I thought I would give a shout-out to some of the key footwear styles available to men this summer.
Australian men have had a relatively easy time when it comes to choosing their shoes, alternating between the polar opposites of sneakers or dress shoes. Thankfully, as more men become aware of the importance of sartorial details and develop an appreciation for design and craftsmanship, we are finding ourselves with an ever-increasing variety of these two basic forms. The upside of which is that we may never need to resort to thongs ever, ever again.
Footwear should never be the sole focus of a man's outfit. Loud, athletic-inspired runners might be great for the gym but when you're not grunting to bad trance music or perspiring like a sprinkler, clean and simple is the key and French label Springcourt has this in spades. The original tennis shoe, Springcourt (pictured top of page) are designed with a unique ventilation system that keeps your toes aerated and fume-free – in other words, the perfect summer weekend shoe. Best of all, because they're made from Egyptian cotton and vulcanized rubber, should they get a little grubby, simply throw them into the washing machine and they're as good as new. Another option, budget willing, is the Achilles Lo sneaker by Italian label Common Projects (above). The epitome of less is more, Common Projects is a sleek, gentlemanly alternative as your weekend sneaker.
The dress shoe
A good Derby can go a long way when pulling together an outfit. Casual enough to be paired off with a pair of shorts yet still great for the office, these are the ultimate versatile shoe for men, a true timeless classic.
One of the best styles available to the well-heeled chap today are The Jim from Australian label Meandher (above). Made with nubuck leather uppers and full leather outsoles, The Jim is handcrafted by master leatherworkers in Portugal and made so well that they're as comfortable as your favourite slippers from the minute you've got them out of the box. Designed to get better as they age, the Jim comes in two colours – either a traditional matte black or, and the perfect option for summer, a cobalt blue.
Another option would be the Kentucky Derby in either black or ash grey from Melbourne-based crafstmen Wootten (above). Hand-made onsite at their Prahran studio and workshop, these are shoes designed for men who see their footwear as an investment. Not only to their wardrobe, but also their bank balance as the quality and longevity of this shoe is such that you'll be able to pass it on to your children as part of their inheritance.
Loafers are a truly underrated option when it comes to the men's footwear scene. A perfect mix between formal and casual, loafers can be pulled off with pretty much any outfit. Jeans, chinos, shorts – even a suit, if you have the courage. And while the Mr. C by Australian label Mere may not technically be a loafer according to standard methods of measure, the woven leather details and relaxed uppers definitely give it more of an edge in that department than as a traditional Derby. The Mr. C by Mere (above) – based on Sydney's Northern Beaches – is a great shoe for the man who wants his footwear a little outside of the ordinary without being overwhelming.
What shoes will you wear this summer (that don't include either thongs or Crocs)?