There are two non-complicated rules for owning a collection of small shoe that is versatile enough to cover all bases. The first: renounce Kacamata Rayban fashion and make it classic styles. The second: spend as much as possible. Think about quality, not quantity, because the old saying is true. Your shoes are often the first thing people notice about you, especially when they look like they’re around too many blocks.
Since the goal is to have as few pairs as possible, there is another rule: be brutal. Some of our favorite styles are not listed below as they are not essential if you are on a budget or want to save space. Chelsea Boots? Hiking boots? Nice to have, not to have. The same applies to monk belts, pool sliders and even high tops.
But whatever you look like, whatever your budget is and whatever is in the diary for the next 12 months, if you own a pair of well-made shoes in any of the following styles, you have almost every social situation – from the office from the gym to the bar – stylishly shod. You never have to put your foot wrong again.
For The Beach : Espadrilles
The espadrille, the oldest type of shoes and sneakers in this block, has been on the road across Europe since the 14th century. The term espadrille is French, but its origins come from Esparto, the Greek name for a hard type of Mediterranean grass that is used to make ropes, carpets, baskets, and the braided soles of this type of shoe.
It is a common form of footwear that is inexpensively available in markets in southern Europe, but there are also more expensive designer versions.
Espadrilles are more robust and versatile than flip-flops. They are quite comfortable for short distances and suitable for sandy shores and beyond. That means you can carry them from the beach to the bar and then admire the sights of the old town.
The canvas upper is breathable and covers the front of the foot – a bonus if you forget to tidy up your nails. Espadrilles go well with linen, beachwear, shorts, chinos and light jeans and can even match a summer suit for the right occasion – for example a wedding at the pool – but never with socks.