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Timeless footwear styles that are a must-have for every man; check details here

Timeless footwear styles that are a must-have for every man; check details here

While trends come and go, there are some timeless styles that are a must-have in any man's wardrobe

While trends come and go, there are some timeless styles that are a must-have in any man's wardrobe While trends come and go, there are some timeless styles that are a must-have in any man's wardrobe

The eyes might be the window to the soul but shoes are a window to everything else. What shoes you wear can say a lot about you. A study done by researchers at the University of Kansas found that people were able to accurately judge 90 per cent of a stranger’s personal characteristics such as age, income, political affiliation and more just by looking at the style, colour and condition of their shoes. While that sounds like the perfect game for when you are out pub-hopping with your friends, do consider what your shoes say about yourself. For instance, if you are wearing dirty or scuffed shoes, others may think of you as someone who doesn’t care about their outward appearance, or maybe is just plain lazy and a slob. On the other hand, someone with conspicuously shined shoes might come across as extremely competent, or a perfectionist.

While different styles of shoes come and go, there are some classics that are a must in any man’s wardrobe. Take for instance, the Oxford. A classic Oxford will get you through more moments in your life than any other men’s shoe possibly could. You can wear them to work (and interviews), weddings, funerals, dinner dates, and everything else in between. A symbol of timeless sophistication and elegance, the classic shoe has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Originally called ‘Balmorals’ after the Queen’s castle in Scotland—a particular style of Oxfords are still called Balmorals—the shoe style was an evolution of more primitive footwear. Supposedly invented by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria who wore lace-up boots for hunting, the first time the term Oxford shoe appears in writing is around 1846. The key feature of Oxfords is their closed lacing system, which gives them a sleek and formal appearance. While the traditional black is the most classic option, you can also opt for brown or tan variations.

For the smart-casual or semi-formal look, the loafer is a must. Its history is in keeping with its style statement—casual and non-fussy. Originally inspired by shoes worn by Norwegian fisherman in the early 20th century, the modern loafer as we know it was popularised in the US in 1936, when it was introduced. With its slip-on design and comfortable fit, it became an instant success.

For less formal occasions, you could invest in a pair of monk straps. With a simple buckle strap closure in lieu of laces, these are the best option when a loafer won’t do and a lace-up seems too choosy. Monk straps are perfect for casual Friday dressing or dinner with friends on weekends. You can even wear them with denims.

Brogues and Chukka boots are also iconic styles. Blending elegance with a dash of ruggedness makes these shoes versatile. Brogues have their roots in the fields of Scotland and Ireland, where they were initially designed as sturdy work shoes for the working class. The name brogue is derived from the Gaelic word ‘bróg’ which means shoe. The early brogues were made of untanned hide and had perforations in the leather to help drain out the water as farmers and labourers waded through the terrain. Over time they underwent a transformation and in the 19th century became popular among British aristocracy. Perforations which once had a practical purpose became a design statement and today they give brogues their distinct look.

Chukka boots—ankle-high boots with two-three eyelets and a simple unadorned design—trace their origin to the deserts of North Africa. British soldiers stationed in Egypt during World War II were introduced to these boots, often worn by the local populace. They started referring to them as ‘Chukkas’ in reference to a period of play in polo. They became extremely popular post the War as they bridge the gap between casual and formal, making them extremely versatile.

And of course, no wardrobe is complete without a pair of sneakers, irrespective of whether you lead a physically active lifestyle. While the history of sneakers it rooted in practicality and athletic performance, they are more of a go-to shoe today than anything else. It was in the late 19th century that vulcanised rubber soles were developed, leading to the first rubber-soled athletic shoes. However, the term ‘sneakers’ only became popular in the 20th century as wearers could move quietly and ‘sneak’ around. Today they are a global fashion phenomenon with some being sold for several thousand dollars. Luxury sneakers such as those by Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton are blurring the line between casual and formal, making them shoes to live in.

Dressing up from the bottom to the top can make all the difference. So go ahead, put your best foot forward.


Published on: Nov 08, 2023, 4:05 PM IST
Posted by: Priya Raghuvanshi, Nov 08, 2023, 3:45 PM IST