He straped his dark brown monk shoes, straightened his tie and stepped out. He felt confident, ready to conquer the day.
Words by Jennifer Papa
Shakespeare, though not exactly a stickler for sartorial exactitude, used the following expression in King John, 1595: "Nay, but make haste; the better foot before." We're partisan of this idiom. Infact, we'd like to think of shoes as an extension of your character and an indispensable card in the sartorial game.
Every man who’s in it to win should have a handful of proper shoes to take him through his week—regardless of opponents and obstacles. To prepare you for game we’ve put down the A-list of smart and timeless companions, sure to take you places.
Need to make a polished impression? Look no further. The Oxford shoe actually derives from the Oxanian, a half-boot with side slits that gained popularity among the students at Oxford University around 1825. As students rebelled against knee-high and ankle-boots then in fashion, the side slit evolved into a side lace that eventually moved to the instep. With time, also the heel and the height of the boot was lowered. In the U.S. “Balmora” is often synonymous with “Oxford”. Despite its origin, these days the Oxford shoe would most likely be seen as too formal for on campus use. HOW TO WEAR: Play the Oxford card when you need to look unmistakably polished and pulled together. Pair your black Oxfords with a double-breasted blue suit to a wedding or look smart at the office in a grey flannel suit.
Double Monk Shoes
This is one of the more popular shoes in menswear today. The history of this shoe actually goes back centuries and originates in Europe where it had great popularity. The monks in particular were known to wear these shoes during this era, hence its name. HOW TO WEAR: The double monk shoe is versatile and you’ll look equally sharp wearing these together with a pin striped suit for the office, as paired with jeans and an unconstructed jacket for a casual Sunday brunch.
The origin of the tassel loafer most likely dates back to the post-World War II era. The Alden Shoe Co claims to have invented the tasseled shoe at the request of debonair Hollywood actor Paul Lukas. After a trip through Europe, Mr Lukas brought with him a pair of Oxford shoes that had little fringed tassels on the end of the laces. He wanted a personalized shoe similar to what he had found in Europe and turned to Alden Shoe Co. After years of experimenting, the classic version of the tassel loafer was finally launched in 1952 and it became an overnight success. It remains a timeless iconic shoe representing casual elegance. HOW TO WEAR: Give an effortless impression on casual Friday by pairing your dark brown suede loafers with a pair of chinos. Alternatively choose a konjac colored suede loafer paired with jeans for the dinner party.
When properly cared for a pair of hard-soled shoes from our list can easily last you several years. Moreover, your shoes will last even longer if you have a good selection of shoes and allow the leather to rest a day or two between use.
So, can you read your fellow man simply by a quick glance at his shoes? Maybe. But what is more important is the way you feel when you step out to seize the day.