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A Shoe In: the men’s autumn footwear edit

From derbies to loafers, we select the best seasonal shoe arrivals for men

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It feels like only yesterday the world was debating the dubious Japanese origins of Kanye West’s undersized Yeezy slides. Now, we could only perish at the thought of footwear so frivolous. The time to coolly slide into something so insubstantial has well and truly passed, with our soles now hungrily searching for a weightier home for winter. In addition to the bare necessities – think classic leather derbies as well as tried and true sneakers – this season sees the emergence of some unexpected trends to try from ankle down. From staple sports trainers emboldened with colour and added muscle to linchpin leather loafers, we’ve curated the key shoes every man needs in his footwear arsenal for autumnal days ahead. Follow our lead and you won’t put a foot wrong.  

Loaf around

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Loafers aren’t an accessory; they are a way of life. A luxury essential for every circumstance of the modern man, whether he’s taking his vintage Zagato for a spin, reclining fireside with a single malt, or simply firing off emails whilst waiting patiently for his aeropress. These are classics with timeless appeal and require little modification to enforce their relevance. Add a Gucci horsebit leather loafer to your office look for instant Italianate power, or dress down for the weekend in colour-rich suede.

Put in the training

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Once the sole preserve of athletes and the subsequent street culture spinoffs, the trainer has evolved from practical everyday essential to become the industry’s sporty new squeeze. And it shows no signs of slowing down with sporting stalwarts Adidas continuously adding to their ongoing (and undoubtedly successful) partnership with Raf Simons, to Puma purists straying further into the absurd in a bid to cop the recent collaboration with Han Kjobenhavn. Whilst trending chunky, maxi-sole styles are a firm fixture in even the most luxurious of collections right now, there’s still plenty of opportunities to be a good sport in your Nike Air Max.

Sneak up on the season

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Yes, they’re different. Yes, you need a pair of each. By definition, the sneaker is softer in its appearance and quieter in its approach than its trainer counterpart – something that is fairly easy to achieve when trainers have so clearly found their voice in recent years. But there is something to be said for the simplicity of the mens sneaker. With simple colourways and clean lines, they lend themselves effortlessly to everyday eventualities, including offering themselves up as a more comfortable companion to your office tailoring. Get your kicks for the season in supple caramel tan leather iterations, or (weather permitting) textural corduroy. 

Dress down (ish) with Derbies

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Where Oxfords own the suiting space, it leaves the lesser known Derby (or better known Gibson) to stomp all over the often-ambiguous smart casual space. Traditionally Derbies are less formal than the gentlemanly Oxford shoe, owing to their open lacing – but this only adds to their infinite wearability. Less shirt, tie and Saville Row three piece, more relaxed luxury with a fun side – think Calvin Klein 205W39NYC stripe trim wool gabardine trousers. This season’s derbies, in both classic black and more intense and vibrant dyed leathers, still serve the tastes of the Oxford loving man whilst allowing him the means to undo a few buttons on his shirt come the weekend.

Take a hike

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Boots that were made for walking, and or traversing the urban landscape: this autumn’s biggest mover and shaker has been made with both the hardy hiker and leisurely stroller in mind. This new footwear mood seems bigger, bolder, and clunkier than ever before as the unlikely hiking boot trudges into previously unchartered territories. Now appropriation of the practical is hardly front-page stuff, but fashion that marries form and function? That’s a revelation. Whether butter-soft suede or premium Italian leather, this season’s myriad of earth-tone heavyweights are dense and durable; designed to get their wearer where they need to be. Now. Be it the wily windy moors, the north face of Ben Nevis – or, more likely, the morning commute.