Are you an Oxford man? A Chukka boot buff? Do you err on the side of espadrilles, make a beeline for brogues or just depend wholly and solely on the same sneakers you’ve been slipping on since 2018?
Whatever your answer, it’s the wrong one. Because man cannot prosper wearing one pair alone. To truly step up your style credentials for 2023, you need to diversify your footwear collection — taking a chance on certain styles, investing heavily in others and experimenting with new clothing combinations. Below, we’ve laced-up and slipped-on five overlooked, underrated shoes worthy of your attention this year…
Smarten up your sneakers with some leather lace-ups
Forget your usual fabrics and foams — because 2023 is the year you should be kicking your old, tattered trainers into touch. Big name brands and sportswear mainstays may have cut it in the past, but sneakers have taken a more subtle turn of late; with burgeoning brands offering up supple smart-casual designs cut from leather.
It’s a material that may not yet be laced into your more casual kicks, but offerings such as Uniform Standard’s elegant ecru sneakers (with many recycled elements) and Aurélien‘s bright white ‘Cambridge’ sneakers prove the hard-wearing hide can stand up to sportier styles. Even Italian titans Tod’s are in on the pebble-grained action, dialling up the retro factor with contrast laces and trim.
Uniform Standard ‘Series 1’ Sneakers
Tod’s Sneakers in Leather
Aurélien ‘Cambridge’ Sneakers
Slip into a smart-casual pair of Chelsea boots
It’s also time to give conventional boots the proverbial. Though the ankle support and sturdy soles may be welcome during winter, those endless eyelets of fiddly laces will take the spring from your step before the year has even begun. Our simple, suave solution? A pair of alluring, enduring Chelsea boots.
They’re the perfect smart casual solution; ideal for work days and weekends alike. And, while designs in classic burnished leathers will always be our go-to for any get-up (look to Church’s for luxury, and R.M. Williams for unrivalled durability), other spins on the style exist — including Aurélien’s slightly sprightlier ‘Voyager’ boots, cut from French calfskin suede and with soft-touch soles.
Aurélien ‘Voyager’ Chelsea Boots
R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Boots
Church’s ‘Amberley R173’ Chelsea Boots
Give loafers a chance — but in a sophisticated suede
On the subject of slipped-on shoes, let’s talk loafers. Because these once much-maligned shoes — still loathed by some and lampooned by others — have more to offer than their tasselled, yuppie reputations might have you believe. Obnoxiously high-polished penny loafers, too, may have had their day, but a pair of easy-wearing shoes in suede could be the key to your whole 2023 look.
They’re useful, too. Of suede loafers’ many fashionable forms, perhaps the driving shoe (such as this pebbled Aurélien style) has the most specific application in the real world. For a more casual take on the shoe, Mulo has stitched together the ultimate snug-but-sophisticated slipper. Or, if you need an adaptable all-rounder, Gentleman’s Journal has collaborated with Crockett & Jones on a black suede, do-it-all ‘Boston’ design.
Aurélien Navy Suede Driving Shoes
Crockett & Jones ‘Boston’ Loafers
Mulo Brown Suede Loafers
Make 2023 the year of the ‘Monk Strap’ shoe
Our 2023 crusade for easily flung-on footwear continues. Moderately formal, the ‘Monk Strap’ style of shoe has its origins in folk legend. It is said that, in the Middle Ages, an English nobleman visited a Swiss monastery and brought the buckled-up design back to London with him. Whatever its true history, we consider the style under-worn by modern men — and think 2023 is the year to change that.
New & Lingwood has the ideal entry-level style; with a simple, single strap and versatile black leather uppers. For a little more of a statement, Cheaney’s ‘Tiverton’ shoes feature double straps, hand-creamed calf leather in tan and distinctive stitch-detailing. Or why not try suede again? Edward Green’s flair-meets-formality pair may have a hefty price tag, but they’ll last a lifetime.
New & Lingwood Single Buckle Monk Shoes
Edward Green ‘Westminster’ Mink Suede Shoes
Cheaney ‘Tiverton’ Double Monk Shoes
Combine style and sturdiness with some hiking boots
For our final footwear pick, we’re bulking up. After a shaky start to these not-so-roaring twenties, it’s high-time we introduced some adventure into our lives. And few shoes have the rugged, rough and ready credentials of hiking boots. Whether you’re taking a louche leaf from the stylish book of Gianni Agnelli or using these heavy steppers as intended, every man should own a pair.
Cut from ‘hurricane hide’, Crockett & Jones’ ‘Ross’ boots feature padded suede collars for contrast and comfort. Russell & Bromley’s slightly slighter pair are more military-minded; lighter in weight but just as versatile. And, all the way from Scandinavia, Stockholm-based brand Morjas offers up a classic hiking boot with a Goodyear welt and weatherproof fold-over tongue.
Crockett & Jones ‘Ross’ Boots
Russell & Bromley ‘Brigade’ Boots
Morjas ‘The Hiking Boot’
Looking for more 2023 style tips? Be the best-dressed man in your office with these 8 back-to-work essentials…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.
Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?
Like the Gentleman’s Journal? Why not join the Clubhouse, a special kind of private club where members receive offers and experiences from hand-picked, premium brands. You will also receive invites to exclusive events, the quarterly print magazine delivered directly to your door and your own membership card.