The Wonderful World Of Slip-On Shoes

September 10, 2015

The Wonderful World of Slip-On Shoes

The weather has been so miserable lately. Everyone is waiting for fall to arrive, but with temperatures being in the mid-90s, things still feel like the middle of summer. I’m still lounging around these days in chinos and linen shirts – and the occasional linen suit when I can bear it. The perfect kind of footwear for this weather? Slip-on shoes – simple, carefree, and supremely comfortable when you’re trying to just stay cool. Here are some of my favorite styles:

  • Penny Loafers: An all-American classic, these can be as casual or dressy as you want them to be. Something like these round-toe Rancourts will go well with jeans, while sleeker designs are sometimes better for casual suits and sport coats. Just keep them away from dark business suits, as they can be considered too casual in some circles.
  • Tassel Loafers: A little more aggressively trad than their penny loafer cousins. I mostly wear mine with Shetland sweaters and corduroy pants in the fall, but they also go really well with casual suits in the summer. I prefer American brands in this case, such as Alden and Allen Edmonds.
  • Camp Mocs and Trail Mocs: Another American classic, although casual enough that you’ll only want to keep them to chinos, jeans, and shorts. Mine come from Oak Street Bootmakers, but you can also find them from labels such as Rancourt, Quoddy, and Eastland (stick to the higher-end Made-in-Maine line). Arrow and Town View can also make you camp mocs with cushy crepe soles.
  • Turkish Slippers: For a more casual style, check out Kilim slippers, which are made from Turkish tapestries. They’re available at Kilim Arts. For a slightly quieter style, Sabah has a slightly modified version of traditional Turkish slippers. Gear Patrol did a nice feature on them a while back.
  • Minimalist Slip-Ons: No fuss, all leather slip-ons can be had through Singh & Sons. Their site is under construction at the moment, but you can check their Instagram to see photos. The Japanese label moto also has great looking leather slip-ons, but they’re hard to buy in the US (try going through a proxy).
  • Espadrilles: The style we associate with an easy life on the French Riviera. Best worn with shorts or slim chinos, ideally at the beach, by the poolside, or when just generally lounging. Check Ropey Soles, A Suitable Wardrobe, and No Man Walks Alone. For an espadrille alternative, try Rivieras Leisure Shoes (I like the ones with tighter weaves).
  • Huaraches: Like with Panama hats, some of these sandals are made with such fine weaves, they approach art. This guy maintains a blog, webstore, and directory just dedicated to the style. There’s also a beautiful documentary about a huarache maker here.
  • Driving Mocs: Great for quick errands, but you don’t want to walk too long in them – those soles just don’t last long on hot concrete. On the upside, they have a bit of sophisticated Italian cool, especially if you wear them with slim-tailored trousers and shirts. Ones from Car Shoe can be found on sale pretty easily for about $250/ pair. For other options, check A Suitable Wardrobe, Rancourt, and Arfango on Yoox.
  • Birkenstocks: A crunchy, neo-hippie shoe that has recently been adopted by the fashion crowd. The Arizona and Boston are the most popular models. See Pete’s recent Real People feature for style inspiration.
  • Vans: A classic skate shoe that has been endlessly copied by fancier labels. These Engineered Garments x Vans collabs have been my go-to sneakers this past summer.

(pictured above: Ernest Hemmingway’s collection of penny loafers)