Shoes, shoes, shoes! Without them, we wouldn’t be allowed to enter into various public establishments. Without the “right ones,” we could be seen as stylistically challenged and unworthy. I know that feeling all too well. Once upon a time, I worked briefly at a men’s fashion magazine and while in a meeting with the Editor in Chief, he sized me up but paused on my boots. In the moment, I thought they were cool because of how beaten up and dirty they were.
He clearly did not think so.
It was in that moment of silent shame that I began to understand how important shoes actually are.
To say the footwear business is big business would be an understatement. Steve Madden Ltd., Foot Locker and Wolverine World Wide Inc. brought in over $4.5 billion dollars in shoe sales last year. Reminder: those are just the profits made by three companies.
I’m a victim of impulse shopping so I’ve contributed in my own way but we all know that many impulse purchases end up sitting in our closet hidden away from us and the world for a damn good reason. I don’t wear most of the shoes I have because I just don’t like them.
A few months ago, I decided to become more strategic about how I approached my wardrobe and wanted to go back to the beginning, learn how to master the essentials and grow from there. That’s why I’ve created the Build Your Best Wardrobe series so continue reading for four must-have shoes that every dude needs to have in his wardrobe.
MUST-HAVE SHOE #1: THE SNEAKER
I have never been a sneaker head. As a teenager, I only wore the adidas Superstar because those sneakers were easy and went with everything. As an adult, I am realizing there are even more fun crayons in the box to play with. With Nike set to release a self-lacing sneaker this year, I’d be foolish to stick with one crayon.
Speaking of Nike, their Free 4.0 Flyknit sneaker is a pretty great option for when you want to pull off that cool, dystopian look or when you’re actually at the gym. It’s comfortable but looks great which are the two elements you need in a sneaker.
MUST-HAVE SHOE #2: THE BROGUE
There will come a time in your creative life when you need to clean up and make someone say “Slaaaaay, kween!” when you walk in the room. Be it a job interview, a second date (that’s really when you need to make their jaws drop, by the way) or if you simply like being more put together than the next guy, a brogue will be of great assistance.
You can get a brogue in a low-heeled shoe or a boot but both versions will be designed with perforating and serration. When on the hunt for your brogue, you might encounter the wingtip, the semi-, the quarter and/or the longwing. These will be housed in the “dress shoe” section of your footwear store but a brogue can seriously elevate your jeans-and-a-tee look every time.
MUST-HAVE SHOE #3: THE SLIPPER
No fuss. No laces. Just slip it on and GO. Sometimes (read: most times), that is all I want to do in the morning when it comes to what’s on my foot. I don’t want to have to tie or untie laces, I don’t want to retie my laces because they’ve come undone and I don’t want to retie them because they’ve been tied to tight. Slippers, or loafers, are seriously the perfect shoe because they get the job done in very little time.
I recently read in GQ that a guy felt like the slipper was still an old man shoe and I want to tell that guy to go away and never come back…unless he’s returning with a pair of slippers on his feet. Just like with the brogue, we are at a place where even the slipper works in both a casual and formal environment. Just know that your sex appeal goes up when you wear a slipper with the right outfit.
MUST-HAVE SHOE #4: THE BOOT
If I had my way, I would just wear a pair of chelsea boots every single day of my life and have that be that. Many times, people associate boots with the winter season or at least cold-weather but they are so wrong that it hurts my beating heart. Boots are a year-round staple that should be embraced more than Beyonce after she dropped “Formation” on the world.
Don’t get me wrong, they are incredible during the winter because boots can be both stylish and incredibly practical. Some have a grip below that helps you stay balanced as you Naomi across patches of ice. Everything above gives you every ounce of style needed to hold your head high even if you do end up slipping and falling.
What are some must-have shoes for you? Let me know!