As a fashion seasons come and go, the style conscious gent will quietly audit his wardrobe to identify any required updates – a key piece here, a fresh palette there.
But he should also have a good look down below… no, further down. Shoes are the foundation of every outfit, the anchor, if you will. Wearing the latest selvedge denim or wide-leg trousers amounts to precisely naught if it's all undone with a pair of old, mouldy footwear. Allow us to break down the six essential shoes to seek out right now.
The sports shoe
Nowadays the 'I-could-exercise-at-any-moment' look is everywhere (thank you, athleisure). As versatility is key, a sports shoe should happily do double duty at a café counter or a weights bench. If you're still rocking chunky, fussy trainers with more neon than a Las Vegas casino update to lightweight, breathable tech fabrics with minimalist style. Nike's Air Zoom Pegasus 33 Shield iD has all this plus the added bonus of letting you completely customise the colours of every element, right down to personalised text…say, your name or "catch me".
The summer shoe
Thongs have pretty much been adopted as Australian national dress ever since we collectively decided that cork-brimmed hats were no longer a thing. Look, we've all got a pair of pluggers in the cupboard, but if they're your summer go-to, it's high time to upgrade. Espadrilles are a brilliant substitute, injecting a more European style sensibility without sacrificing anything in the way of comfort with a light, cool, pliable construction. Soludos has a rather natty smoking slipper version, bang on trend with embroidered motifs including an array of food truck snacks (think tacos and hotdogs) and, our favourite, a colourful French bulldog design.
The weekend shoe
For those off-duty days when casual cool is the order of the day, a classic, lo-rise white trainer hits all the right notes and provides a sharp counterpart to the sports shoe (namely that you wouldn't contemplate scuffing them up through any form of exercise). A leather design in plain white is hard to beat right now. Or, at least, it was until Saint Laurent dropped its Court Classic star-applique kicks. Calling upon a key theme running through the label's SS17 collection, these beauties elevate the humble tennis sneaker with a galaxy of silver stars garnishing the uppers, elevating the minimalist trainer trend with a certain celestial swagger.
The office shoe
If you're harbouring pointed – or square – toed work shoes in the wardrobe, seek a style revision immediately. Likewise, if you've become wedded to the derby or Oxford lace up, it's time to consider a shift away from those safe and sensible choices and look for a modern update. Like any business attire, the office shoe should exude a sense of confident discretion. Enter the monk strap. The clean, lace-free shape features masculine buckle detailing that adds a little more wow (without being OTT) and is a little more 'now' than plainer alternatives. The monk is trending, so it can be found at all price points from Aquila to Gucci.
The dress shoe
When you head out after dark and need to look smart, it's not enough to simply repurpose the office shoe. Even if no one else notices, you'll feel like you're dressing for work. Go for something special like John Lobb or Berluti, footwear that offers a touch of dandy sophistication, namely the evening loafer. To set it apart from its daytime counterpart it should have a heel and leather sole, with uppers in a dark, suitably luxurious textile such as patent leather or velvet. Certainly, this is a look that makes a statement, one that says "I'm prepared to take risks, yet I'm a classicist". Step things up a notch with a feature tassel or hardware.
It's all about the Chelsea boot right now and it's not hard to see why. The signature, elasticised panel makes them easy enough to slip on while also contributing to a fuss-free aesthetic that offers up enviable versatility –they look just as great under denim or chinos as they do with a sharp suit. International labels are offering up their own versions (Common Projects' sand-coloured suede number is particularly slick), but for a go-anywhere-with-anything pair, you can't go past homegrown luxury boot maker, R.M. Williams.
Check out the gallery above to see the six essential shoes for men.