Pretty much any trainer he wants, it honestly doesn’t matter. But – let’s get real, there are trainers and trainers. Trainers you wear everywhere because they are comfy and trainers that you do sport in.
On a man I’m not crazy about a fashion trainer – I wouldn’t recommend an ice white or Adidas Superstar, but if that’s what you want, knock yourself out. Personally, I like a clean, modern sports trainer. Giles has a pair of Nike Fly Knit in lurid orange and I think they are fabulous. For actual running or sport, boys need something hardcore by Aasics or Reebok that can be kept for getting muddy and shredded.
The key thing for men to understand – (as so much of changing the way you dress is about changing a stubborn mindset) – is that it’s okay to have a pair of trainers that you do not do sport in. They are a legitimate item of clothing these days, it’s *fine* to buy a pair that never see the inside of a gym.
2 Desert boots.
Desert boots are a stealth item in the manner of the Spike favourite H&M khaki shirt. They are soft and comfortable, they go under the radar. They are just… stealth. You can wear them basically anywhere except to meet the Queen. And even then, I bet she’s seen some desert boots in her life. Prince Harry has got a pair in blue – NOT CAPSULE – but P-Haz can do what he wants.
These are from Clarks, which means they are outstandingly comfortable, non-sweaty, but no-one will know they are from Clarks – because they just won’t. At £95 these are reassuringly expensive. When Giles set off last year round the world with that hotels show, I told him to get a pair – he did and they were brilliant. Forget about exploding pens and anti-venom chewing gum: these are what James Bond really needs.
I really like these Mulos – they’re a sort of souped-up espadrille, with a sturdy sole and upper. These are all-purpose and worn correctly will not make you look like a failed Love Island auditionee (is this a word?). I bought some for Giles last year and they didn’t at any point make him look like a massive tool.
I guess if your boyfriend is a 16 stone fireman this might be a hard sell. Though actually I am picturing now a 16 stone fireman and he might look sort of amazing in these? Have a go anyway.
Giles managed to trash these in one summer by wearing them in the rain and barbecuing while wearing them – but if you don’t do that, I don’t see why they wouldn’t last.
4 Deck Shoes
Someone was having a good old moan about deck shoes on Twitter but I kind of like deck shoes. Don’t dismiss them!! Summer smart casual pay dirt! But look I appreciate that these might have the kind of class or style connotations that just don’t work for you as a family if not the man as an individual. But if you have dismissed them roundly and generally as a horror then maybe reconsider.
DO NOT BUY CHEAP ONES. A well-made classic, particularly these Timberlands, in the right circumstances look absolutely right and proper. 14 million Sloanes can’t be wrong.
Giles bought these Arizona Birkenstocks for himself, which I’m surprised about, considering his massive horror of anyone getting their feet out. But it’s also a good thing because it is really important in life, just generally, to change your mind about things.
To not change your mind about things, to simply blunder through life holding the same boring opinions and prejudices about the same boring shit is awful and very ageing.
And the thing that Giles would never do is get a pair of Birkies. BUT NOW HE’S GOT SOME!!! If you really genuinely hate them and you’re not just posturing then don’t encourage it, but if you don’t mind they’re not a bad idea. I think they have become in the last 5 years a classic shoe.
They are especially good on a tall man or anyone with a long back because a bad back is no fun and these will help.
I have had several requests for good shoes for big feet – I have sent various people to Elephant Feet in Brixton with loads of success, but I think they might have closed down now because I can’t find any evidence of them online.
There is a website called Magnus, which I suppose you may already have tracked down if you have a man with big feet and have done a cursory Google search. But if not I think it looks quite good. I like these blue trainers.
Tomorrow! Shirts and t-shirts!
Tom B says
3/5 already in the wardrobe get in!
My husband spends a fortune on shoes from places such as Churchs and Lobbs for work and then bulk buys Timberland deck shoes (not joking, he has a pair in a box waiting for his current pair to wear out) so his feet are pretty good. He’s as soon make quiche as wear Birkies but at least he’s got a nice pair of Havianas so I can’t complain too much so that’s day one passed – waiting to see how he fairs for the rest of the week!
I love all of these Esther and my husband has a few with one exception. I CANNOT (sorry) get my head around men in espadrilles (women fine) literally the thought makes me want to VOMIT and run for the hills. No idea why just cant cope with it. Love the desert boots though never thought of these as an option so thanks for that (feeling bad now). Also totally agree about it being a healthy thing to change your mind about things. I change my mind about things on a daily (hourly) basis . Nothing worse than people who never change their minds and usually think (wrongly) they are right about everything X
Thank you OF COURSE desert boots are the answer to the rubber-soled-needing deck-shoe-hating husband … I will redouble my efforts despite recalling a conversation only a few weeks ago where he said ‘oh I don’t really need a pair of desert boots’. Maybe royal blue is actually the perfect colour here?? (Also guaranteed to horrify my in-laws; always a good thing)
Sarah K – my husband did a 180 about Birkies which I find extraordinary and amazing for a 44 year old stuffed shirt. He still calls them lesbian shoes but will sport them at home with colourful socks and cords. Hilarious. Sadly he won’t wear this combo to his parents’ house but I live in hope. And I agree about espadrilles, sorry Esther!
Desert boots. He needs DESERT BOOTS! Genius. Thank you!! And I probably won’t let him read this after 15years of me shrieking ‘trainers are for running in, NOT Waitrose’!!! Last thing we need is smug Husband face before 9am!! x
CERTAIN SORTS of trainer. so you are right… kind of…
Rachel Williams says
Desert boots are going on the list. The amount of times we’ve looked out the window (this summer in particular) and gone “yeah fuck it, welly boots it is” even to go shopping. I know deck shoes are meant for boats and the seaside etc but they are rubbish in the rain.
yes they get very squelchy
Please can someone clarify the sock position on these to me? I see that birkenstocks and espadrilles are no socks (I very much HOPE) and the desert boots are with socks, but what is the serving suggestion for the trainers and the deck shoes? Are plain black ever ok or do they need to be a bit more jaunty? And does it make a difference if it’s with shorts not trousers?
(Alas, the husband has proved in the last resistant to desert boots but this has given me the energy to try, try again)
Tom B says
Socks optional with deck shoes I’d say, not with shorts though! Nothing wrong with plain black, but John Snow style socks are quite tempting never comedy ones though IMHO
My husband is a bit of a socks pest and has graduated over the years from the very thick brightly striped cotton socks to much finer, thinner, single-colour wool or cotton socks, which are hard-to-find and expensive (but a standard automatic present – quite handy) which delineates weekend/holidays nicely for a man in his mid-forties. He doesn’t wear trainers but jaunty socks with casual shoes and trousers, no socks with ditto and shorts. For me, I have found trainer socks in a colour that doesn’t fight with your skin tone (ie, for me, pale blue, pale grey etc) better than stumpifying navy which kind of cuts the leg off abruptly; I assume this works on men too. Sorry Tom, but black socks in summer – as I write pouring rain with the heating on! – always a no-no. Goes with standard British male summer kit of black t-shirt, black shorts, black shoes……
SOCKS PEST 🙂
Thanks everyone! I was stuck for birthday present ideas anyway… jaunty socks it is
The mecca of jaunty socks. Gamarelli is the Pope’s sock-maker. I die.
Tom B says
You have done a very bad thing there!
My wife sent me this. 4/5. Obvs. Boat shoes are indefensible.
They should really call them Brexit shoes, since there’s nothing wrong with boats.
Was kind of hoping for a brogue – very attracted to men in brogues for some reason!
Good idea about the desert boot – I’ll suggest it after supper – he’s more amenable on a full stomach.
Have to concur with others on the men in espadrilles front. They’re just so …. unbecoming.
This is for summer! Brogues are autumn and winter… x
When I met my husband he used to wear Nike Air Max and Vans (yuck) which I have gradually banished. Upon my encouragement that he start dressing more like a grown up, he reluctantly started wearing New Balance suede trainers. He is a total convert and now owns them in various colours (red, dark blue, black). I always think that they look very smart and a little bit Ivy League preppy as they can be dressed up with a shirt/jacket or down with a t-shirt/cardigan. They are definitely every day trainers and he never wears them running or to the gym.
Yes New Balance suede trainers are really nice good idea x
I can’t bear anything but trainers on men. Sorry. I am still a 17 year old indie girl at heart – I like my men in converse!
don’t apologise! this is not a You Must, this is a Maybe Try
What about Toms slip on espadrilles? Are they acceptable or should they only be worn by children? One of the guys I went on holiday with wore them around the pool and to the beach, and I thought they looked great (N.B. He is 6ft7 and mixed race so could probably have worn his daughter’s sparkly, pink jelly sandles and still have looked super hot).
Lololala, you have nailed this – it really depends on the man and how he wears them but in principle I don’t see the problem
I like boat shoes in principle, and I’m sure they are very useful, but I have to say in reality the men who wear them always seem vain and a bit Talented Mr Ripley. Perhaps we need to change that perception, one adorable dad at a time. My husband has Nike Roshe Runs which seem to do him for everything except running, and Superga pale tennis shoes for warmer weather. I wonder if I could tempt him into a Birkenstock. I have to be tempted out of mine.
Sasha B says
2/5 for Mr B so not too bad I suppose.. (Birkies & Deck Shoes – TICK). Unfortunately, we’re still battling with the “sporty/grubby running trainers with anything if I want to wear something comfy” issue. Brooks running trainers do NOT work with three quarter length multi pocket shorts. But on this, we differ every year. And the smart(ish) navy and white lace up type pumps/trainers I bought in vain one year, lay gathering dust in a basket somewhere. Argh!
Agree with other posters on the espadrilles on men thing. Eek! Nope. Not even smart ones. Sorry Esther!
Don’t apologise! None of this is personal!
Tom B says
One or two points of order here…..it’s Giles’ slip on espadrilles not mine (am going to seek out a pair as this is all about trying new ideas). I do have boat/deck shoes and am the least talented Mr Ripley person I know! Quick note on Converses (other sneakers [ugh!] are available) they take an age to get on and make your feet sweat like the devil – a friend told me!
My husband has one pair of work boots and one pair of DCs and that is it. Formal occasion? Work boots. Going to the park? Work boots. Out for dinner? Work boots. Actually going to work? Work boots. Pub? DCs. AND IT DRIVES ME MAAAADDDD. So thank you for this, I intend to throw better shoes at him and hope for the best.
What are DCs – do you mean DMs?
No, they’re a brand of skateboard trainer. I like them in moderation. Possibly less now he’s 33 and never been on a skateboard in his life.
My husband has those exact Timberland deck shoes. His little face lit up when I showed him so maybe, just maybe, I can get him to try out your other advice….
Love espadrilles on men, but deck shoes? *shudder* connotations of old men in red trousers, braying loudly, kill them for me. Desert boots are very popular in this house too!
Sad to see no speeded up Giles vids… 😂
I know he’s being a bit shy
cindy fried says
My husband lives in either black Chelsea boots or brown deck shoes. The end. I have bought him Birkenstocks – no luck. He will not countenance slippers under any circumstances and around the house wears a truly disgusting pair of grey moulded plastic ‘slip-ons’ that he bought in Spain some years ago for the beach. But they are NOT slippers, geddit?
He also finds Mick Jagger, who is otherwise very stylish, let down by wearing trainers non stop in his 70’s (hub is 67, so feels entitled to pass this judgement).
My husband thinks he’s still 24 and insists on wearing shitty knackered converse with everything. Some of them in garish colours. He laughs when I tell him I can’t bear the look of them anymore. Last night I sent him the link to this shoes bit and he replied with a link to some canary yellow converse high tops. Argh! In the end he agreed to me ordering him some TOMS (not the ones with the really flat sole). Hopefully these may be a gateway shoe.
Ginnylou this is really exciting news x
Love the suggestions and options for the bigger footed, my husband is a size 13. I bought him some Mulos last summer and they lasted approximately three weeks – one week in Cannes swanning about on yachts, then two or three weekends at home, then they fell apart. To be fair to Mulos, when I emailed they said to send photos and I never got round to it, so I’m pretty sure they would have replaced them. Also he’s 6ft 7 and quite hard on his shoes, but nonetheless for the price they should have lasted longer.
All over the desert boot suggestion! He’s got converse and Vans (back on trend), which means he’s slowly moving away from Merrells (🤢), the larger-footed man’s very dull friend.
Oh NO!!! That sounds very unlike Mulos – Giles ran his hard and they’re still alright (just really dirty)
We recently went to a wedding. Me – outfit all sorted weeks before. I even bought husband a new shirt, which he decided to try on 2 nights before the event, with his suit – last worn at a wedding 4/5 years ago and assumed would be OK. WRONG! Shirt looked great. Suit was dreadful! ENORMOUS. He genuinely looked like a clown. Huge baggy trousers and boxy jacket down to his knees. I sent him off to Next the next day for a quick fix (we live in rural Warwickshire – that’s the best we have) and he got a half decent navy suit with a nice tailored jacket and slim trousers.
My question is about shoes. He made do with his old brown brogues. We have another wedding next year and I need to sort him out! He is 58, thinks he’s trendy but doesn’t want to look stupid.
Wedding shoes for men are very tricky – good ones are so expensive and you really don’t want to be spending that kind of money if you’re not going to wear them often. You know I think his old brown brogues sound okay? definitely not?
I’ll just buy him some new brown shoe polish then! 😉