There are some things we SHOULD all own in life, from a set of screwdrivers to the box set of Breaking Bad. The same rule applies when it comes to your wardrobe. A sign of a good wardrobe is the space reserved for the essentials, the pieces which don’t date and are worn more than you think – like that plain white crew neck that’s always in the wash. In this space you’ll find a good, solid mix of footwear that incorporates all your needs in one neat little collection (but it doesn’t have to be little).

A lot of footwear styles have their own stigmas attached to them, ‘Brogues are only worn on special occasions or for interviews’ or ‘Trainers can only be worn with jeans or shorts’. Well throw that rule book right out the window. Don’t hold off on ever owning more than one pair of smart shoes because you’ve never felt there’s occasion for them. As I’ve said before, what you wear on your feet never goes unnoticed, it’s one of the first things that are noted when you’re being weighed and measured by a stranger. However we understand that shoe shopping can be a fairly daunting task, with such an expansive range of styles and colours out there. So we’re going to knock it down to a manageable handful of key footwear styles for you, all of which will cover most of your needs.


Any suiting-wearing-sartorial-loving-man will own at least one pair of these. But don’t judge it as purely a special occasion shoe or suit shoe, it looks great with jeans, chinos and even shorts. It’s classic design with the punched holes and sewn leather soles make it a true investment piece. If you were to buy only one colour, it would have to be tan – that little bit more versatile than black when it comes to mixing it up with jeans and shorts. The Grenson Stanley is everything you need in this category.

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I’m not going to specify whether suede, canvas, leather or rubber, that’s entirely up to you. However during the warmer months a set of Swims rubber loafers are always a good idea. If you’re thinking something a little more classic, then look no further than Bass Weejuns. Their leather penny loafers will be right up your street.

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Now these really could be reserved for the more smarter occasions, not saying that they still don’t look cracking with jeans, but they look ever better with a full suit. Maybe it’s the shine that makes them appear smarter more sophisticated, but even so a pair of Paul Smith lace-ups will be right at home in your wardrobe.

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Whether it’s low tops or tennis shoes, white canvas trainers are never a bad idea for the summer. Even if you’re not really a ‘trainer kinda guy’, these are probably the most versatile of the sportswear styles. You can mix it with your tailoring for that sports luxe look, throw them on with shorts on holiday or pair them with jeans for the pub. Creative Recreation, Lacoste and Cruyff always deliver in this department.

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Everyone should have that one unusual, trend-driven, contemporary piece. Whether it’s a pair of wedge soled Creepers from Grenson or the innovative Y3 boost trainer, every season something new and exciting comes out that adds diversity to your style.

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