Spring is one of those transitional seasons. It’s not quite the gloom of winter, but it’s not piña coladas on the beach weather, either. As such, men’s spring fashion tends to be flexible. Lighter layers are the way to go. You start to see more loafers and boat shoes on people’s feet, and the colours transition from blacks and greys to lighter blues, khakis, greens and white. If the weather’s looking really good, you might catch a glimpse of someone’s ghostly pale winter legs. Always a fun surprise.
In this article we’re going to run through some of the best footwear choices for spring, how to style them, and when to wear them. It’s your men’s spring fashion guide.
Suede and Nubuck Boots
After a winter spent stomping around in military boots, Chelsea boots and Chukkas, it’s time to swap out traditional leather for something more interesting: suede and nubuck. You need to keep an eye on the weather forecast for this one (rain and suede are not best friends), but spring is the perfect time to bust out those khaki DEXTER Chelsea boots, or maybe a navy IDAHO desert boot. Styling these guys is easy, too. Just layer up with some light indigo denim, or a neutral pair of cuffed chinos. Throw on a button-up shirt in white or light blue, and you’ve got a versatile smart casual outfit, perfect for wineries, pub lunches, or dinner with friends.
Men’s suede shoes usually veer towards the casual end of the spectrum, but suede loafers are one of those flexible footwear choices: these guys can go from semi-formal cocktail party, all the way down to fish and chips on the beach. It’s all in how you style them. For more formal occasions, take a Horsebit loafer like the CANDELA, or some COLLEGE suede penny loafers, and match them with ivory dress chinos and either a tailored jacket or sharp utility blazer. To keep it casual, go with some CAVARRA loafers, chino shorts and a khaki linen shirt. Remember, suede loafers usually work best with invisible socks (check out our full loafer’s guide for more info).
Boat shoes are one of our favourite spring footwear choices – and they don’t even require a boat. When it comes to spring boat shoes, don’t be afraid to play around with colour. Some navy or tan HATCH boat shoes are obviously the safe play, but a pair of navy blue HATCH boat shoes can really shake up a stale outfit. Boat shoes work great with chino shorts, obviously, but if the spring weather’s looking temperamental, try cuffing some neutral chinos and pairing them with a linen shirt, or just a loose crew tee. Throw on some vintage sunnies and a sharp watch to keep that coastal vibe going strong. Also, the sockless rule goes double for boat shoes: they shouldn’t really be worn with crew socks. Invisible ankle socks are the way to go.
Driving shoes represent the middle ground between low-top sneakers and loafers. They’re in the loafer family (no laces is the giveaway) but they’re much more casual-friendly, not to mention incredibly comfy on your feet. If this is your first foray into moccasin territory, start with a neutral, flexible style, like the BALFORT 2.0 or CALIFORNIA. Both of these guys work well with cuffed, slim-fit jeans – not skinny, and definitely not bootcut. All you have to do is finish with a loose-fitting crew tee, or maybe a breezy linen shirt. Men’s driving shoes work best when the rest of the outfit flows naturally. You don’t want too many heavy layers, or anything fitted and tight. Keep it simple. Keep it light.
A lot of guys like to protect their sneakers in winter, especially their pristine white leather sneakers. But in spring, low-tops are your best friend. They straddle that line between casual and semi-formal, and they’ll work with pretty much anything in your wardrobe. Guaranteed. For laid-back spring suiting, try a khaki or light green suit with some RUDY or DECO 2.0 sneakers in white. For everyday wear, don’t be afraid to branch out a bit more. Some light grey or mushroom nubuck sneakers are a killer transeasonal look, or you could go some nubuck DECO 2.0 sneakers in dark grey. Either way, keep the rest of your outfit simple and sharp: cuffed indigo jeans, clean chinos, well-fitted crew tees and tonal polo shirts are the way to go. Don’t use sneakers as an excuse to get sloppy. Your basics can really determine your spring outfit.
Don’t neglect your spring accessories, either. They’re an easy way to sharpen up your outfit. In spring, we usually see guys lighten up their leather accessories, with tan belts and wallets becoming more popular. Overnight bags like the MONTORO are also super handy (your social calendar will fill up fast in spring, so check out our bag guide for more info on what to pack, and how to pack it). Try colour matching your accessories to your outfit, too. With lighter colours and more tonal dressing coming into play, you might try a green iPhone case, or even a slim briefcase for work. It's all about getting out of that black-with-everything winter mindset. Spring is the season of colour and optimism: you want to dress with a bit of personality.