Unless you’re considering relocating to the Med this summer, chances are you’ll need footwear capable of withstanding more than the occasional shuffle between sun lounger and swimming pool. Not to mention something altogether more stylish (and better for your health) than those barely-there, floss-like flip flops knocking about in the bottom of your wardrobe. Hence, we’ve mined the web for the best alternatives to thongs, which are perfect for the more discerning gent.
Guess what? Your granddad’s been wearing sandals since the dawn of time. And if they’re good enough for the feet of a man who diced with trench foot during the war, they’re good enough for you. The great thing about sandals’ extended moment in the fashion spotlight is that brands keep coming up with fresh takes on the hippie classic, which includes some killer all-black numbers from Birkenstocks and robust leather pairs from the likes of Dr. Martens and Tommy Hilfiger this season. Smarten them up with tailored shorts or do the summer goth thing by strapping a pair on with your best black skinnies and a longline tee.
Are you going to win any steez points for pulling on a pair of espadrilles? No. But they’re still a strong summer footwear option for men too timid to try ‘out there’ sandals. They’re also a lot more practical than their wildly impractical grip-free sole suggests; lightweight, quick to dry and small enough to shove in your hand luggage, espadrilles are the no-brainer choice for holiday season, and unlike a lot of other seasonal shoes, won’t break the bank either. Throw them on with chino shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for a low-key, coastal vibe.
Today’s society is more tolerant of men looking to show a little footwear flair than ever before, which is why pouring your loaves into a pair of woven slip-ons won’t bring shame on your family like it might have in years past. Also, importantly, woven styles have undergone a serious image upgrade in recent years, with greater attention being paid to creating cool, manly silhouettes in quality materials and supple leathers. Wear yours with a pair of linen trousers and some Breton stripes, if you’re going for a Riviera vibe, or throw them on with denim shorts and a printed tee for an easy festival look.
Alright, boat shoes are obviously in a completely different league to flip flops and, therefore, can’t really be considered a like-for-like substitute. But that’s the beauty of them. Not only does a pair of quality boaters from brands such as Sperry or Ralph Lauren tick the seasonal shoe box, they offer the sort of comfort and visual appeal that a pair of thongs can’t. Not to mention a siped rubber sole, which will ensure you stay sure-footed on deck – whether that be the deck of a yacht or pedalo. Chuck these on with a fresh white Oxford shirt, navy cropped trousers and an air of aloofness.