Your summer work shoe needs to be just like your suit: breathable and light in color and construction. Winter dress shoes are meant to insulate, protect, and survive things like snow and salt. The only thing you're worried about in summer is not soaking them in sweat (or spilled Bloody Mary) on your walk to work.
"For warmer temperatures, a great dressy look would be a fabric and leather combination paired with a cotton suit," says Mark McNeill, Director of Design for Allen Edmonds. This can be anything from a classic leather Cole Haan Oxford to this canvas one from Sperry.
Your leather also doesn't need that dark polish. "Colors for spring go lighter and brighter in shade than what you see in fall," says McNeill, so skip the black and mahogany in favor of tans and cream-colored soles. He recommends finding a serious looking – aggressive perforations help – shoe without excess bulk. But pulling off the right look isn’t just a matter of finding the right shoe. You’ve got to maintain your footwear – more so than even your winter boots.
“If you choose to wear a dress loafer without socks, McNeill recommends wearing a footlet sock to absorb moisture. "If that is not an option,” he says, "use a deodorant spray on your foot to help absorb the moisture."
Whether you can stomach a footie or not, there's something you absolutely need to use to preserve your shoes: cedar. The wood attracts the smell and dampness that can so quickly destroy a great brogue or even boat shoe. “Cedar shoe trees help to suck the moisture out of the lining in your shoe," McNeill says. He uses them to prolong the life of his shoes because having the best shoe for summer doesn’t mean having the best shoe for this summer. It means looking forward to wearing that pair again next year.
Photos by Allen Edmonds