Last Saturday we talked about purposeful fashion, about how quality is important, and about how it’s about expression rather than impression. At the same time, we want to live simply but smartly, which is the essence of purposeful living.
That said, for us dudes, if there were five purposeful shoes that we should have, it would be these:
1. Dress shoes
I can’t emphasize any more the importance of having an excellent pair of dress shoes. Of the five shoes I mentioned here, they’re the most versatile: You’ll need them at work and for suiting up to events – but you can also use them in casual use to bring up the smartness of your outfit a notch. Just don’t use them in rough places where they’re more prone to scratching.
You want lace-ups here, as they’re more formal. There are two basic kinds of lace-up dress shoes, oxfords and derbies. Oxfords have closed lacing, or eyelets under the vamp, while derbies have open lacing, or eyelets above the vamp.
You also want black or brown – black is more formal and easier to pair with anything, while brown is a bit bolder and stylish. GQ says that the one shoe every man needs is a black lace-up, and it’s a statement I agree with. But don’t limit yourself.
On the other end of the spectrum, sneakers are always good for casual use – but more importantly, for working out and sports. While there are specialized sneakers or shoes for each sport (I’m talking basketball, football, bowling, and golf), these general ones can get you through your morning workout routine, the occasional ballgame, or a warm summery day. Just please, whatever you do, do not wear running shoes if you won’t actually go running or exercising.
I’ll admit, I don’t have sneakers – I have an aversion to them – but I recognize their purpose (and ubiquity, heh) and so they’re on our top five.
3. Boat shoes
Called as such because they were traditionally worn by sailors, boat shoes, or topsiders, are meant to be used when it’s hot outside. They’re best worn with shorts and no socks (unless your feet end up sweating, like mine, in which case please use bare or below-ankle socks), and are a fine way to go casual without looking sloppy.
Loafers are an alternative, but don’t go too formal or your look might end up a bit silly.
4. Elegant boots
Some boots are made for formalwear, some for casual. This one’s sort of in the middle leaning towards casual – and so should be used for such, or at the most, business attire. Boots have a way of making guys look taller and more confident – and it’s true that a lot of them have higher heels that really add a bit to our heights. Furthermore, they’re usually more durable and protective than other casual shoes, which scores a lot of plus points on our purposeful rubrics.
The most stylish and “in” today is the chukka boot, a mid-cut variant (with the desert boot being one the most well-known examples), but you can also go for a Chelsea boot (non-lace-up and instead featuring an elastic side) or a high-cut, non-work boot.
5. Tough boots
Okay, okay, two pairs of boots in this list, and I’m a boot guy all the way. But seriously, #4 and #5 serve very different purposes, even though boots are generally sturdier. #5 is for the elements – when you’re in the rain or snow, when you’re on mountains or any rough terrain in general, when you need something tough. Or when you want to simply get some work or DIY done. They are strictly casual by necessity and design.
Depending on your needs, these are where the steel toes come into play.
Aloy Chua is the Co-Founder and CEO of TDY. His column, Today, discusses everyday living in relation to TDY’s philosophy of Higher Purpose Through Love. He’s also the co-founder of the Roots Collective, a community hub for entrepreneurs, and a freelance systems consultant and writer/editor, and loves reading about fashion, technology, travel, entrepreneurship, and healthy living. Find out more about living The Daily You on our About Page.