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Reader question: Summer shoes

30 May 2012
Edward Green Pimlico, unlined
Hi Simon,

I have been searching the internet but not really found anything that

really helps, unless I have been asking Google the wrong questions.


Anyway, with the weather finally being that of the south of France, going to work is even more of a pain than usual. Of course dressing correctly is easy with the help of a few different clothing choices and cloths, but my main issue is with the lowest part of the body, the feet. What appropriate footwear can a man wear in the office, without feeling like his feet are in a microwave?


Many thanks


Tom


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Hi Tom,

First off, thank you for cursing the good weather. It will now rain constantly until October.  

On the off chance that it doesn’t, my best advice on shoes is to try trainer socks – the type that sit just below the level of your shoes and are virtually hidden. Don’t stress too much about them not showing – some sartorialists would say a thin band of sock is actually more stylish – but do make sure they are not the type made for women, which usually finish just above the toes. That will make the vamp of the shoe rather painful. Trunk in London does some good branded ones, as does the ASW store in the US.

Personally, I find that these socks are actually too cold for me in an air-conditioned office. But if your office is as hot as you say, these could be a good solution. Like your wrists, a lot of veins run close to the surface of the skin around your ankles, and so exposing them is disproportionately cooling. Unlike your wrists, it’s not a good idea to run water over them in the sink. Colleagues might complain.

The shoes themselves depend very much on the dress code of your office. Where I work, many men wear trainers or plimsols, which will often be cooler by having various synthetic membranes (with the former) or being made of a cotton canvas (with the latter).

With more formal shoes, the best thing is go for slip-ons over lace-ups, and get them unlined if possible. Edward Greenhas a really nice line of unlined shoes at the moment, in either suede or nubuck (suede Pimlico pictured top). Having them unlined means there is one less layer of leather between your skin and the outside. And leather, being a natural skin, breathes well. Some people say they find suede and suede-type leathers to be cooler on any structure of shoe, but I can’t say I’ve noticed.

The other advantage of a slip-on or suede shoe is that it will look much more appropriate with the aforementioned trainer socks. Black wing tips without socks don’t really work.

If your office is smart enough that bare ankles are not appropriate, try the slip-ons and wear lightweight cotton socks or even linen. Again, ASW has a very good range.

I hope that helps

Simon