See Now, Buy Now: The Best Casual Summer Shoes are the Quoddy Canoe Mocs

Man’s best friend … and summer’s best shoes? Possibly.

Do you ever come across a pair of stylish summer shoes that just seem to check all the right boxes — and then some? For your Brooklyn-based author, those particular shoes at the moment come from Quoddy, a Maine heritage footwear maker with a storied history of making some of the best summer shoes — the very best way possible. In fact, if you feel like you need to round out your rotation as we roll through summer — perhaps as you pack up for yet another upstate getaway — then perhaps, the Quoddy Canoe Mocs are going to come in mighty handy in the clutch. As sold by my pals at Huckberry, they’re some of the best summer slip-ons, blending a sense of throwback style with the rugged construction you’ve come to expect. As it were, the the Quoddy Canoe Mocs blend a straightforward silhouette with premium leather that’ll break in handsomely over time. These are the kind of shoes you’re going to look forward to wearing at the end of a long day, or after you’ve finally arrived at your cabin for a summer weekend — how can it get any better? Well, actually … it can. You see, Quoddy relies on its Maine heritage to handcraft shoes that go above and beyond — in this case, that means the Quoddy Canoe Mocs feature the brand’s breathable REVIVE insole and that classic moccasin construction.

SHOP: The Quoddy Canoe Mocs

Classic, casual and easy to wear with the rest of your summer style essentials.

As to  styling these classic summer shoes, well, that’s where the fun really begins. When you’ve got some of the best casual  shoes for men, you can slide them on with simple picks — like slim light wash denim and your favorite T-shirt — as well as outfits with a bit more going on (think a classic crewneck sweatshirt worn atop a breezy chambray shirt with rolled tan chinos or rugged work pants on a summer night). The Quoddy Canoe Mocs are so easygoing, you can even throw them on with olive chino shorts and a classic summer polo without missing a beat. They’re perfect to wear on laidback summer mornings, coffee in hand — that makes ’em some of the best summer shoes for men, without a doubt. And when your day transitions into happy hour? You can keep on wearing these classic moccasin  shoes to enjoy some fresh craft beer — that sounds pretty ideal to me. How will you wear the Quoddy Canoe Mocs for the rest of summer? Let me know over on Twitter.

SHOP: The Quoddy Canoe Mocs

See Now, Buy Now: These Florsheim Oxfords Are The Perfect Summer Shoes

Comfortable, stylish shoes to wear whenever you need them this summer.

It’s hard to believe we’re rolling into July right now, and that means you assuredly need to sort out your summer footwear rotation — start with some of the best shoes for summer from revered American footwear maker Florsheim. Although all of our routines are looking quite a bit different these days, there’s still something to be said for picking up some of the best dress shoes for summer, especially a casual and versatile pair like the Florsheim Highland Canvas Oxfords. They strike the right balance between casual and work day-friendly, particularly helpful if you want stylish men’s shoes that can easily switch from your home office (or regular office!) to the back patio with ease. What’s more, these classic Oxford shoes are a fresh and modern take on the style — it starts with the use of a lightweight canvas upper with leather accents, as opposed to a full leather design (nothing wrong with that, though!). Plus, they come in four cool, neutral colors. That makes ’em the perfect lightweight dress shoes for summer, folks.  Heck, they also retail for under $100 — so, yes, let’s call them some of the best dress shoes under $100, too. But that’s far from it, if we’re being honest (keep scrolling!).

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SHOP: The Florsheim Highland Canvas Oxfords

One of four must-have colors when it comes to these Florsheim Oxfords.

To be more specific, these Florsheim dress shoes are a new era in men’s footwear, a perfect update for your seasonal rotation thanks to the lightweight design. That’s especially the case when worn with easygoing summer style essentials like slim tan chinos and a navy slub polo or a classic slub tee. The use of Suedetec lining makes them easy to wear with no-show socks and rolled light wash denim, too. And let’s not count out the comfort factor, either — the Florsheim Highland Canvas Oxfords are designed with a cushioned EVA sole and feature a rubber heel. That makes them some of the best dress shoes for summer, a time when your daily routine might call for being on your feet for hours on end. When you want to switch out your sneakers or leather loafers, go for the Florsheim Highland Canvas Oxfords — it really is that easy.

SHOP: The Florsheim Highland Canvas Oxfords

The Friday Read: Nothing New Sneakers, the Best New Headphones & Lems Mesa Shoes

Dependable outdoor shoes to wear the rest of the summer — and this coming weekend, if you can swing it.

You see those rugged outdoor shoes at the top of the page? Well, they happen to be from Lems Shoes, and we’re going to be telling you more today about how these tough hiking shoes can unlock some excellent summer outdoor adventures. In the meantime, that’s what today’s Friday Read is all about — summer gear for summer adventures. I’m all about making the most of my time in Brooklyn, seeing as I’ve been fortunate enough to travel everywhere from London to Madrid in pursuit of great rock music, craft beer & coffee this year. Every time I get the chance to get away from NYC, I always appreciate it that much more when I come back. And that being said, it seems there are continual opportunities to explore and enjoy this amazing city around every corner, from delicious craft beer to stellar live music.

In fact, I took the chance on Thursday to see acclaimed indie folk guitarist Matthew Houck (AKA Phosphorescent!) play an intimate outdoor show at 99 Scott Avenue, a suitably fitting and fun space for a lovely Brooklyn evening. This is music that reminds me of years ago in college, and more specifically, about summers spent in my college town — to have that experience in Brooklyn now was pretty special, to say the least. So this weekend, I’ll be resting & relaxing, looking back on that show, working on this blog & likely enjoying a pint at the new Transmitter Brewing in Industry City. What about you? Let me know over on Twitter, and enjoy the best new menswear below in the meantime!

  • Keeping tabs on the pulse of the menswear world isn’t as easy as copping the latest sneaker drops — at least, that’s what I think. And if you agree with me, you’d do well to check out my latest for The Manual, covering the recent launch of sustainable and eco-friendly Nothing New sneakers — if it’s a summer-friendly pair you happen to be searching for, this is a brand that’s got ’em (on a related note, check out another recommendation of mine on the stylish sneakers to wear to the office).
  • Speaking of stylish sneakers, let’s head over to GearMoose — namely, I covered the rugged, travel-ready, go-anywhere Lems Mesa Shoes, an ultra-flexible pair of tough shoes to wear on summer hikes (with camp shorts and a rugged henley), or to your favorite brewery (with classic chore pants and a thermal shirt come fall).
  • Let’s keep things going over at GearMoose, shall we? Namely, we’ve got quite the look at the best new headphones to upgrade your listening experience. As a big music fan and something of an audiophile, you can’t go wrong when you amp up (literally) your listening experience with the V-Moda Crossfade Headphones — that’s a guarantee.

OK, that’s going to tie things up with a bow for today’s edition of The Friday Read. If you’d still like to keep on catching up with the best style essentials for summer, I’ll point you toward the best new men’s chinos to throw on for the weekend (or the work week). Aside from that, you’d also do well to check out my guide on how to wear an Oxford shirt for summer. OK, that’s all I’ve got — happy shopping!

Style Pick of the Week: Astorflex Campflex Shoes

A blend of two classic styles results in one heck of a pair of casual shoes.

On the hunt for stylish summer shoes that straddle the line between office-ready, vacation-appropriate, and perfectly casual? Allow me to introduce the Astorflex Campflex, a pair of finely crafted classic moccasins with just enough personality to take over your entire summer wardrobe (fitting, seeing as it’s Memorial Day weekend and all). Perhaps you’ve already got the perfect summer shirt and a pair of streamlined light wash denim in mind for your next happy hour … but if you want some finely crafted kicks to top it all off, go with the Astorflex Campflex.

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As has often been said here on the blog, that’s just … the tip of the iceberg. Now, you assuredly know Astorflex (as sold by our pals at Huckberry) as a brand that does things the hard way, using sustainably treated, premium Italian materials and killer craftsmanship — all traits that set the Astorflex Campflex apart, mind you. You can find the difference all around you when it comes to the Astorflex Campflex, from the durable wedge sole to the fact that these shoes blend both a chukka and a heritage moccasin for that go-between style that should prove so crucial this summer.

SHOP: The Astorflex Campflex 

These effortlessly cool summer shoes are also available in Stone.

It’s that indelible combination of craftsmanship and utility that makes these shoes so essential — the low profile and refined leather means you can wear the Astorflex Campflex to the office (try them with light tan chinos, a navy blazer and a white Oxford). That low profile and easygoing look means you can also style the Astorflex Campflex with light wash denim, a slub tee and a rugged field watch as you dress for your next summer happy hour. It’s as simple as that.

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Helpfully, the Astorflex Campflex are made to move with you, not against you — these aren’t a clunky pair of leather boots that require a massive break-in time, that much is true. In fact, the brand says you can even wear them sans socks — just be sure to use something like Duke Cannon’s foot and boot powder to keep your shoes and feet fresh (seriously get on that). Simply put, the Astorflex Campflex are the answer to plenty of your summer style questions, from what to wear while traveling to what to slide into for a casual weekend at home. You need only try them to find out the difference for yourself, I’d say.

SHOP: The Astorflex Campflex 

 

Guest Post: #Menswear at Malaysia’s P. Lal

Editor’s note: The world of style is remarkably vast, to put it mildly. It seems no matter where you go, great brands and great finds abound. Returning guest author Mark Lai spent some time globetrotting this summer [much like your humble author] and delivered this dispatch from Malaysia — yes, Malaysia — where shoe fiends who delve deep into the menswear world will feel right at home. Follow him on Instagram to keep up with his style adventures.

A brief peek at what was to come at P. Lal in Kuala Lumpur.

A brief peek at what was to come at P. Lal in Kuala Lumpur.

As far as quality shoe brands are concerned, Singapore is largely a barren wasteland. While establishments like Ed Et Al, Carmina and Septíème Largeur have opened in recent years, the majority of Singapore’s shoe landscape is still dominated by the likes of Hush Puppies and Ecco. There remains a dearth of choice for quality shoes at specific price ranges -for instance, Ed Et Al is the most budget-friendly option, with prices for their (excellent) ready-to-wear pieces starting around $350. [Editor’s note: Check out other budget-friendly dress shoe options here].

P. Lal in most of its shoe-envy glory.

P. Lal in most of its shoe-envy glory.

Fortunately, there remains a veritable perk of residing in Singapore: Kuala Lumpur, home to P.Lal, is a mere 5 hours’ drive away.  For those unfamiliar with it, P.Lal is a family-owned shoe store located on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in the Petaling Jaya district, and has been in operation since 1929. The brands stocked, with their respective pricing points indicated in the brackets, include a range (detailed below) from entry-level to drool-worthy, with a focus on European heritage shoemakers.

A good look at the anatomy of a Goodyear-welted shoe by Loake.

A good look at the anatomy of a Goodyear-welted shoe by Loake.

  • Loake (Entry-level)
    • P. Lal claims to have the largest collection of Loake shoes in the world. Although I’m in no position to verify that, it may well be true since they stock most of the models from all of Loake’s ranges – Loake 1880s, Loake Shoemakers, Loake Evolution, design Loake and L1. (Editor’s note: You might recognize these guys Stateside, as they’re sold via East Dane).
  • Barker (Entry-level to mid-range)
    • I confess that I didn’t have a good look at the models from Barker while I was there, largely because I was in the market for a pair of Loakes, and because I saw a few cemented (referring to the method of attaching the soles of the shoes to their uppers) and corrected grain models, which I wasn’t quite fond of.
  • Cheaney (Mid-range)
    • In addition to their main collection of Cheaney’s, it’s also worth noting that P.Lal has factory seconds of Cheaney’s shoes, albeit in limited sizes and models. At prices similar to or lower than Loake 1880s, these seconds are an incredible deal, provided you can find one in your size.
  • Crockett & Jones (Mid-range) [Editor’s note: Another brand with a recognizable name — they supply boots to none other than James Bond].
    • It’s quite a pity that Crockett & Jones stopped supplying to P.Lal some years ago, ostensibly due to their overly-low prices that Crockett & Jones weren’t agreeable with. A few sizes remain.
  • Gaziano & Girling (High-end)
    • At prices starting from about $730 or so, shoes from Gaziano & Girling remain firmly in my personal “see but don’t touch” category for the time being. Fine, I might have touched them ever so briefly, but that limited touching was rudely interrupted by the drool leaking uncontrollably out of my mouth, induced by the elegance of those beautiful lasts, channeled soles and fiddleback waists.
More Loake shoes on display at this veritable shoe lover's dream.

More Loake shoes on display at this veritable shoe lover’s dream.

I found shopping at P.Lal to be a blissfully serene experience. Unlike most other shops, I was able to walk around the shop at my complete leisure, without the pressure of having a sticky sales associate pushing products onto me. (When engaged however, the sales associates were extremely attentive and knowledgeable, giving me advice on the lasts which would fit my wide-ish feet.) That lack of pressure resulted in me spending two-and-a-half hours asking a ton of questions, trying on multiple sizes in various models, walking around the shop in the shoes I was trying and gazing lovingly at the display shoes as if they were museum exhibits. Left in my trail were two exhausted sales associates, a companion who had mentally checked out long ago and many shoe boxes.

In addition to the wide array of shoes and the wonderful shopping experience, the favorably low value of the Malaysian Ringgit compared to U.S. dollars and P.Lal’s lowest fixed prices guarantee provide two more compelling reasons to drop in for a visit if you’re ever in town.

Lastly, note that orders can be placed via email at plal@plal.com or via telephone (pull out that long-distance calling card) at this number: +60 3 7955 5454 or +60 10 540 5454

Guest Post: The Product Review, Clarks Bushacre 2 Boots

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from Mark Lai, a college student based abroad and a longtime reader who’ll be offering his own take on the world of menswear in the coming months. For further guest posts, click here

Pick up a pair for yourself, take good care of 'em, and one day they might look like this. Photo courtesy of author.

Pick up a pair for yourself, take good care of ’em, and one day they might look like this. Photo courtesy of author.

The Clarks Bushacre 2 in Beeswax Leather was my first pair of #menswear shoes, and indeed, my first pair of shoes purchased with the consideration of quality and style, rather than based solely on a label. I’ve long been on the hunt for a pair of the best chukka boots for men — and the best boots for men, period — and I might have found them. A year and a half later, they’re still looking good, especially considering their cheap price tag. If you want to invest in a pair of leather boots, you can still do that — brands like Alden have long made investment-level boots.

In terms of construction, the Bushacres are made with full-grain leather uppers (albeit of a lower grade than more expensive shoes), featuring what appears to be a fabric lining. The main difference between these and Clarks Desert Boots are the rubber soles used in the Bushacres, which are harder than the soft crepe soles used in the Desert Boots. Due to the pillow-like comfort of crepe soles, many choose the Desert Boots over these. However, I chose these for what should be better durability than crepe. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong with some of the best chukka boots on the market. Besides, the tendency for crepe to become dirty and discoloured was one aspect that I decided I’d be better-off without. As the photos show, the soles are holding up pretty well, with only the back of the heels showing signs of wear. I’m highly considering getting these resoled with Dainite soles after they’re worn down.

Ben Sherman US

Sizing-wise, I bought these as a US 8, a full size down from my usual US 9 shoes. Despite this, I encountered some uncomfortable heel slippage the first few times I wore them out, with the heel counters proving to be especially hard on my heels. They gradually broke in, and are now one of my more comfortable shoes. They run wide, which is perfectly fine with me as that’s how my wide feet like my shoes to fit.

The classic Clarks Bushacres -- different looks and construction than the traditional Desert Boot, but with some added benefits. Photo courtesy of author.

The classic Clarks Bushacres — different looks and construction than the traditional Desert Boot, but with some added benefits. Photo courtesy of author.

Although the Bushacres may draw flak for their (relatively) sloppy, unstructured aesthete and their non-Goodyear welted construction, they’re a great option for anyone just starting on their sartorial journey. I know for one that these taught me how to take care of my shoes, which has served me well in handling more expensive ones.

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The leather uppers are capable of holding a nice shine, but tend to smudge more easily than my other full-grain shoes, which a good buffing will solve easily. Taking care of your favorite boots is crucial, after all.  Also, the insoles are stitched to a layer of canvas, which is then cemented to the sole itself, making these resoleable, particularly if the uppers are cared for properly. In this case, we see two qualities that stand out refreshingly from the vast majority of sub-$100 shoes: full grain uppers and resoleability, as opposed to corrected grain uppers and fully cemented soles. The best men’s chukka boots feature a lot of these qualities nowadays, which is refreshing to see.

Paired with slim (but not overly cropped) trousers. Photo courtesy of author.

Paired with slim (but not overly cropped) trousers. Photo courtesy of author.

Personally, I prefer wearing the Bushacres with trousers that have a wider leg opening (the leg opening of the denim above is about 7.5 inches), as they cover the top of the boots and make them look less clunky. I find that wearing cropped, overly-slim trousers with them like this causes the Bushacres to look disproportional and somewhat high street-ish, or maybe that’s just my obsession with details speaking.

Freemans Sporting Club

As for my care routine, I polish them monthly. I first brush the shoes to get rid of any dust, following that up with the application of a layer of Collonil 1909 leather lotion (Saphir products would do fine as well, as would Kiwi Leather Lotion. After roughly 20 minutes wait for it to be absorbed, I brush them lightly again to remove excess lotion. Another application of Collonil 1909 neutral-coloured leather cream succeeds this, another wait, and finally, another brushing to bring out the shine. I also place shoe trees in them and brush them after each use.

At the end of the day, it boils down to one simple principle: buy affordable men’s shoes made with good materials, take good care of them and they’ll look great. Besides, would you rather your shoes looking like mine or like this?

What have your experiences been  like with the classic shoe? Considering picking up a pair for yourself? Where else would you go to buy some of the best chukka boots for men? Let me know!

Florsheim

Style Pick of the Week: Cole Haan x Todd Snyder Hammond Wing Oxford

Editor’s note: Expect these posts weekly detailing one standout item coveted by yours truly. Sometimes, these fit within budgetary restrictions and other times, they’re expensive splurges worth saving for — sort of like the wingtips below. For more Wish List items from Beau, head here, and to see other Style Picks, head here.

A spring and summer-appropriate suede wingtip.

A spring and summer-appropriate suede wingtip.

The start of spring and summer brings lots of opportunity for mixing in newer, brighter colors and prints into outfits —  but touches of texture shouldn’t be left out either. Suede is a material that works in the fall as well, to be sure, but it’s perhaps no more at home than on a standout pair of dress-casual shoes in the spring and summer. That’s what makese these Hammond Wing Oxfords from the Cole Haan x Todd Snyder collaboration such a stunner. The medium tan suede and darker brick-red sole would sit perfectly well under a pair of crisp chambray trousers and a lightweight blazer for working hours, and this is also the kind of shoe that can pair with lightwash or dark denim and a casual pocket T-shirt, too (if you’re willing to blur the lines between high-low style a bit). The suede wingtip would also work with a lighter grey chino and a crisp polo.

Two other color options are available in the same style — both equally ready for warm weather.

Two other color options are available in the same style — both equally ready for warm weather.

Now, there are certainly cheaper summer dress shoe alternatives out there (like these Kenton Suede Wingtips from J. Crew or an even simpler pair of oxfords from J. Crew Factory). However, Todd Snyder is running a private sale through this Sunday, and it looks like this style (as well as alternative color options like the above Navy or a medium grey Ironstone) get the 30% markdown — with a good range of sizes available, too (just use the code ‘PRIVATE30’ at checkout). In regards to that price, you’re really paying for quality and an innovative collaboration. The noted American designer has carved out a good chunk of his business from pairings with classic, sportswear-minded brands like P.F. Flyers and Champion, so this dressier-leaning footwear collaboration is a nice step forward.  The fact that the above shoes could pair with multiple different outfits (from summer weddings to summer barbecques and the office in between) should hopefully make that higher price point worth it.

Have you picked up any shoes from the Cole Haan x Todd Snyder collaboration? How would you style these?