What does summer mean to you? Does it mean long, lazy days? Warm nights in far-flung places? Sparkling waters and bright blue skies? Or something completely different? For many of us, summer is an elusive, ineffable idea; an ungraspable concept. But, with its latest sun-soaked campaign, Duke + Dexter has not only defined this sense of summer, they’ve laced it up in style.
The British brand’s SS22 ‘Time + Place’ campaign is inspired by leisure — by the greenery of an old school country club, the wild aesthetic of the eighties and nineties, and that sense of freedom that can only come from pressing play on a summer soundtrack with the roof down. It’s a soft-stepping, easy-living collection; and a range that the Duke + Dexter team captured the summery spirit of by jetting off to the US.
In a free-wheeling, good-natured showcase of the range — everything from the traditionally-styled, tennis-inspired ‘Stadia Sneakers’ to the new nautical-flavoured ‘Hardy Boat Shoes’ — these casual shots were captured in California. And there’s no polished aesthetic or professional models here. Instead, Duke + Dexter relied on its designers, photographers and loyal friends of the brand to model its fashionable footwear.
Even members of Los Angeles’ Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club stepped up and stepped into some of the brand’s latest collection — a range that itself is pushing for change in an industry that increasingly relies on fast fashion. It’s this eco-approach that continues to drive Duke + Dexter, and that steps the shoemaker in a sustainable, summery direction. We’ve rounded up our favourite of the brand’s styles below…
The ‘Ritchie Sneakers’ stitch sunsets onto your shoes
As one of Duke + Dexter’s most versatile, timeless styles, the ‘Ritchie Sneakers’ can be laced up in over 20 different designs and shades — from paint-dripped patterns to bold, block-coloured versions. But our pick of the pack is this warm ‘Rosa Oakland’ style; like a soft sunset stitched into a sneaker.
And soft is the right word. With extra internal padding and a custom-made sole (one which is three times lighter than other shoes with similar levels of durability), the ‘Ritchie Sneakers’ boasts an upper that blends water-resistant Italian suede with a cotton and linen basket weave fabric for utmost comfort.
Duke + Dexter also has its eyes on those eco-credentials with these warm-coloured kicks. Perfect for laid-back summer evenings, each shoe is crafted using recycled components — and 94% of all wastage has been eliminated during the construction process.
The ‘Stadia Sneakers' are traditional tennis shoes
Or, at least, these sporting trainers are inspired by some of history’s most iconic court sneakers. The perfect way to lace up that ‘Time + Place’ spirit of late-eighties sports clubs, Duke + Dexter’s most athletic offering captures the vintage-tinged, retro aesthetic of old school country clubs — and gives it a modern update.
Though they may only be available in three different designs — a far cry from the reams of ‘Ritchie Sneakers’ styles available above — there’s no justifiable place for vivid, vibrant colours here. Instead, staying true to that sporty shoe style, the ‘Stadia Sneakers’ shoes stick to a tennis-playing palette of whites, greys and creams.
And, while they talk the tennis talk, they also walk the athletic walk. Standing on a vulcanised base — created by fusing different layers of natural rubber — this style has more comfort, grip and shock absorption stitched into its sole than you can shake a racket at. Throw in some perforated side panels, and you’ve got the most capable kicks for the court — and beyond…
The ‘Hardy Boat Shoes’ are plain-sailing summer staples
These ones are all about ease. Simple to slip on, effortlessly elegant and endlessly versatile, Duke + Dexter’s timeless take on the classic boat shoe is an unexpected treat. For a brand renowned for its loafers and sneakers, this is an accomplished, well-fashioned footwear design — that make every step look easy.
It’s built on a boat-worthy base; a TPR rubber sole that’s as soft-stepping as it is durable. The upper is particularly impressive, crafted from supple, water-resistant nubuck and lined with natural Italian leather — which is finished with a technical mesh side panel for breathability.
It’s one of the brand’s most flexible shoes — in every sense of the word. But, while it may span dress codes from smart-casual to beachwear, this navy style is also one of the most traditional. Although Duke + Dexter also offers a handful of bolder spins on the style, including the ‘Marine Camo’ and multicoloured ‘Prima’ designs.
Hardy Boat Shoes
The ‘Club Sneakers’ are durable, do-it-all options for summer
One of the latest launches from Duke + Dexter, the casual ‘Club Sneakers’ are the perfect everyday choice for summer. Landing in early June, they’re dropping just in time for those tricky mid-year months; the warm weather weeks when our wardrobes begin to feel the pressure of rising temperatures.
Thankfully, Duke + Dexter’s easy, breezy trainers are as breathable as they are simple. There’s an airy technical mesh that promises to keep your feet feeling fresh — and this pairs perfectly with water-resistant Italian suede for a touch of tactile style.
The sneakers are also exceedingly comfortable. Whether it’s the cushioned, natural leather lining — which shapes and moulds to your feet the more you wear them — or the part-sturdy, part-soft TPR rubber sole, the ‘Club Sneakers’ are a durable, do-it-all option for summer. And, to add even more versatility, you can pick them up in a trio of colours; white, navy — or the dustier ‘Sahara’ shade pictured here.
The ‘Wilde Loafers’ are a radical reinvention of a classic style
And so we come to loafers. Duke + Dexter’s bread and butter, these trimly-tailored slip-on shoes are the cornerstone of every collection for the British brand — and the style with which the label made its well-heeled name back in 2015.
The classic ‘Penny’ style has been a staple of modern menswear for decades, but the brand’s ‘Wilde Loafers’ are a radical, two-tone reinvention of the iconic traditional style. Available in three colour combinations (with a further three block colour options available) these striking loafers are made using a premium ‘Boanil’ glace leather, with a wax finish.
And, while they’ve got that summery aesthetic locked in, these loafers have a life beyond the warmer weather months. Even once winter sets in, the custom rubberised crepe soles and full leather linings will keep you stepping softly and looking sharp all-year-round.