Laces are great, but in summer you need something less… tied down. A shoe that can be slipped on and slipped off. Kicked onto the sand. Worn under formal shorts or cuffed chinos. A laid-back, breezy sort of shoe. These are the slip-on shoes, a family that includes boat shoes, driving shoes, moccasins, loafers, sandals and espadrilles. (Don’t worry, we’ll break down the differences below).
You can think of slip-ons as ‘summer casual shoes’. Some are good for day-to-day wear, others are better for cocktail parties, or the beach. All of them are ridiculously comfy.
So, ready to feel the breeze on those ankles? Let’s dive into our men’s summer slip-on shoe guide.
Moving one step up the formal ladder, we have the ever-reliable men’s loafers. These have been a staple of men’s summer footwear for decades, and there are plenty of styles to pick from: the traditional horsebit loafer, the playful tasseled loafer, or the timeless penny loafer. Some guys think loafers should only be worn with suits, but that’s really not the case. A smart ALBERTO loafer under some high-cuffed tan chinos (and no socks) is a great smart-casual look for summer. You can even wear loafers with shorts. A pair of MATIAS slip-ons, or DAMIANO penny loafers, would work nicely with some tailored shorts and a crisp linen shirt. We recommend playing around with colours and textures, until you find something that feels comfortable.
In terms of fanciness, driving shoes probably sit somewhere between boat shoes and loafers. You can definitely wear them day-to-day, but they send a slightly more formal message, and they tend to look best underneath well-tailored shirts, or even formal shorts. The general rule here is to stick with neutral tones of leather and suede: taupe, khaki, tan and navy are all safe bets. After that, it’s up to you. Try something fancy, like our leather BALFORT or MARANELLO driving shoes, or dress down with textured nubuck or suede (the SALAMANCA and LENOX are both great options here). And this probably goes without saying, but you don’t need a classic ‘60s Cadillac to wear driving shoes.
Boat shoes are also known as deck shoes, and no, they don’t require a yacht or any sort of nautical accessory. Originally designed in the 1930s, they’ve become a lasting style icon, with a sturdy rubber-grip sole and oil-treated leather upper (for fighting off sea monsters, obviously). When it comes to styling boat shoes, cuffed chino shorts are going to be your best friend. Take some invisible socks (or go sockless altogether), throw on some burgundy VERMONT boat shoes, and some well-tailored chino shorts, and the world is your oyster. Bonus points if you try something more colourful, like our green nubuck REGIS boat shoes. This is a great look for summer pubs, garden parties or even day-to-day casual wear.
Nothing says summer casual shoes like men’s sandals. But you do need to know how to style them. Think of ROLANDO sandals as a natural upgrade to flip-flops. You get the same slip-on, slip-off comfort, but with the added benefits of a rubber sole and soft leather upper. When it comes to styling men’s sandals, think breezy. Pants, even cuffed beige chinos, are generally not a good look. Stick to board shorts or chino shorts, preferably in dark colours (white shorts and black sandals are a fashion no-no). Complete the look with an open-collar shirt over a crew-neck tee. Boom – you’ve taken a beach footwear staple and turned it into something bar-friendly.
We try not to play favourites when it comes to men’s casual summer shoes, but it’s hard to go past the classic espadrille. They’re one of the best slip-on shoes going around: built for long spring days and hot summer nights. Espadrilles have a distinctive woven sole and soft-leather upper, and you can generally find them in several colours. A pair of tan or navy espadrilles will look good under almost anything. Cuffed light denim, some sharp khaki chinos, blue chino shorts – they all match well with espadrilles. When it comes to shirts, think French Riviera in summertime: take an olive green or pale blue linen shirt, unbuttoned at the top, and throw on some vintage Ray Bans. All that’s missing is the yacht and the martini.