Style Purgatory

The transitional period between winter and spring is awkward, isn’t it? No longer cold enough to warrant breaking out the big guns – sturdy work and hiking boots – but not yet warm enough to bare your feet in that new pair of burnished leather sandals either. It’s a no man’s land, and you’re just not quite sure what to wear to tread in it.

So what’s the solution? Much like your wardrobe, your footwear collection will benefit from a few key additions to take you through this difficult in-between phase in style. Not only will this add variety to your looks after months of wearing the same chunky shoes and boots, it will also increase your existing footwear’s longevity. Why? The longer you rely on just one or two pairs of shoes, the faster you wear down the heels and wrinkle the uppers.

But before delving into the best transitional options available, it’s worth heeding these three pre-purchase pointers:

  1. Remember that quality will always better quantity, especially when you only need one or two pairs to help bolster your collection.
  2. You really do get what you pay for. Shoes that you purchase from footwear’s most formidable brands like Barker, Church’s or Grenson will always trump high street versions when it comes to durability and comfort.
  3. Take advantage of mid-season sales. With the lion’s share of stores offering discounts to clear stock midway through the season, there are plenty of bargains to be had.

Now that you’re primed, here are the principal styles that should be on your radar for the months ahead:

Desert Boots

The undisputed king of in-between. It’s not quite a formal boot, but it’s not quite a casual shoe either. A classic chukka silhouette that’s traditionally comprised of a suede upper and crepe rubber sole, there’s not a lot that these won’t go with.

Desert boots sit in the smart-casual sweet spot, which means you can team them with a pair of your favourite jeans, a button-down shirt and thick shawl neck cardigan and look considerably smarter than you should – given the little effort it requires. Or, for a slightly more military feel, you can chuck them on with some beat up Dockers chinos, a well-cut crew neck T-shirt and bomber jacket on the weekend.

Even if you already own a classic beige/tan suede design, they now come in such a myriad of colours, fabrics and price points that there’s no reason why you can’t add another pair to your collection.

Transitional Lookbook Inspiration

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

Burton SS15 Banana Republic AW14 Digel SS12 AllSaints SS13 He By Mango SS13 Digel SS15 He By Mango AW13 New Look SS15 Faconnable AW13 Office AW14 Boohoo Man AW13 Massimo Dutti SS15

Key Styles

Recommended Brands: Clarks Originals, ASOS, Kurt Geiger, Ted Baker, H By Hudson, River Island, Mark McNairy

  • Clarks Desert Boots In BlackTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Asos Desert Boots In SuedeTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • He By Mango Suede Desert BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Asos Desert Boots In SuedeTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • He By Mango Suede Desert BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • River Island Brown Clarks Originals Suede Desert BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Kg By Kurt Geiger Suede Desert Boots NavyTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • H By Hudson Cruise Leather Desert BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Kg Kurt Geiger Godfrey Leather Desert BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
Chukka Boots

One of the toughest decisions we all face – no matter the season – is what the hell to wear on our feet for a night out. Unless you’re likely to wind up at a warehouse rave, trainers don’t cut it, but on the other hand, your best brogues/Oxfords are probably slightly too formal and precious for what you’ve got planned.

Don’t sweat it, get your hands on some chukkas. Opt for a classic black or dark brown leather design and you’ll have a pair of versatile, easy to wear boots that will complement all of your going out looks.

Try wearing them with a printed shirt and straight/slim-leg jeans, hems neatly rolled up, if you want to make a statement, or team with a pair of chinos, Oxford shirt and lightweight knit for something solidly smart-casual.

Transitional Lookbook Inspiration

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

Ramsey AW13 H&M 2013 Bellfield AW14 River Island AW13 He By Mango AW12 Next AW14 H&M Spring 2013 He By Mango AW13 Dunhill SS15 John Lewis AW14 AllSaints AW13 River Island Aw13

Key Styles

Recommended Brands: Topman, Ted Baker, River Island, ASOS, Grenson, Red Wing, Dr. Martens

  • Topman Hudson Houghton 2 Brown Leather Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Base London Turmeric Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Asos Chukka Boots In LeatherTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Ted Baker Torsdi Leather Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • John Lewis Chumbley Leather Chukka BootTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • River Island Brown Leather Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Grenson Marcus Suede Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Tods Rubber-soled Suede Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • George Cleverley Nathan Suede Chukka BootsTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
Suede Brogues

Sure, a pair of chunky-soled brown leather brogues is ideal for dashing to the office when it’s wet and windy out, but if all you’re likely to battle is a brisk springtime breeze, do you really want to be lugging around that extra weight?

Swap leather for suede. Suede brogues still communicate the formality of a leather brogue, but are lighter, much more spring-appropriate and will add natural texture to any look.

But with great texture, comes great responsibility. Be sure to care for suede styles by applying a waterproofing stain-repellent spray and regularly brushing off surface dirt with a soft-bristled suede brush.

Transitional Lookbook Inspiration

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

Mango Man SS15 Woolrich SS15 Dune AW14 He By Mango SS14 Office AW14 Digel SS13 He By Mango SS13 Digel SS12 He By Mango AW12 Gant SS14 Burton SS15 Burton SS14

Key Styles

Recommended Brands: Grenson, Church’s, Cheaney, Ted Baker, Paul Smith, Dune, Aldo, Oliver Sweeney, Bertie

  • Asos Brogue Shoes In SuedeTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • H By Hudson Francis Suede BroguesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Ted Baker Hontarr Suede BroguesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Dune Rayman Wingtip Suede Brogues TanTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Ask The Missus Cardinal Brogue Lace Beige SuedeTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Frank Wright Fry Round-toe Brogue ShoesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Oliver Sweeney Ldn Bradley Wc DerbyTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Paul Smith Aldrich Wc DerbyTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • H By Hudson Haddow Suede BrogueTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • River Island Navy Suede Formal Lace Up BroguesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Grand Suede BroguesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Grenson Stanley Suede Brogues 1013856Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
Leather Trainers

Technically, trainers should really go into hibernation for winter (though given their popularity in recent seasons, you’d hardly think it). After all, do you really want to risk covering your brand new pair of kicks in a series of water and snow stains?

Once the worst of the cold weather is over, though, leather trainers should be your casual go-to. A minimal, chunky soled white pair is an essential addition to any style-conscious gent’s SS15 wardrobe and can be combined with everything from sweatshirts and jeans to tailored separates – as plenty of recent fashion week attendees have shown.

Although white trainers are trending, don’t sleep on black leather styles – they are still versatile enough to be dressed up or down (see lookbook below) and are arguably more practical.

Transitional Lookbook Inspiration

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

Banana Republic AW14 Banana Republic SS15 Mango Man SS15 J.Crew September 2014 H&M SS15 Cerruti 1881 SS15 Club Monaco AW14 New Look SS15 Selected Homme SS14 Windsor. SS15 Club Monaco AW14 Burton SS15

Key Styles

Recommended Brands: Vans, Nike, Common Projects, Filling Pieces, Mr Hare, adidas, Nike, New Balance, Converse

  • Vans Classic Slip-on Leather Shoes In BlackTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Adidas Stan Smith Trainers In White And RedTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Vans Era PrmTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • He By Mango Leather SneakersTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Adidas Originals Superstar 80s Trainers In White And BlackTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • New Balance 996 JpTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Mr. Hare Cunningham Low-top Leather Trainers 1014024Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Common Projects Original Achilles Leather SneakersTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Converse Jack Purcell Leather SneakersTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
Boat Shoes

OK, granted it’s a bit of a curveball, but hear us out. While the quintessentially summery boat shoe probably won’t be much good to you right now, there’s no reason you can’t reach for them once temperatures rise slightly.

Not only are they supremely comfortable on your feet, but if you pick up a leather pair in a neutral colour like black, navy, white or grey, then you won’t need to worry about them looking out of place.

While a few seasons ago we’d have advised you to go sockless with boat styles, we’re now spoilt for choice with the range of ‘invisible’ socks for men on the market, which give you the desired bare ankle appearance without the sweat and hygiene issues. That said, a complementary coloured ribbed pair won’t negatively affect your style credibility either, so long as you bear in mind our tips for matching your socks to your outfit.

Wear this silhouette with Riviera-inspired chinos and tailored shorts rather than denim, and round out the remainder of your look by taking inspiration from the shoe’s design – i.e. if you’ve opted for a nautical blue, red and white version, then continue the theme with a well-cut Breton T-shirt. On the other hand, if you’ve chosen a pair in timeless brown leather, try a simple white button-down.

Transitional Lookbook Inspiration

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

He By Mango SS13 L.B.M. 1911 SS15 Tommy Hilfiger SS14 Digel SS12 Ted Baker SS12 Nordstrom SS14 He By Mango SS13 Mango Man SS15 Tommy Hilfiger SS14 Selected Homme SS14 Woolrich SS14 He By Mango SS14

Key Styles

Recommended Brands: Sebago, ASOS, Mango Man, Kurt Geiger, Sperry, Quoddy, Timberland, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, J.Crew

  • He By Mango Leather Boat ShoesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Asos Boat Shoes In LeatherTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • He By Mango Leather Boat ShoesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Kg Kurt Geiger SorrentoTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Kg Kurt Geiger PhillipTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Sebago Docksides – Boat Shoes – ChocolateTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Sperry Top-sider Authentic Original Leather Boat ShoesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Quoddy Leather Boat ShoesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
  • Sperry Top-sider Authentic Suede Boat ShoesTop 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles
Final Word

The start of the transitional season shouldn’t mean having to wear out your winter footwear, nor should you have to start donning summer-specific styles while it’s still a little too wet and windy out.

Look to add one or two of these key footwear silhouettes to your collection and you’ll be ready for anything, no matter how changeable the weather.

What are your trans-seasonal footwear staples?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

Top 5 Men’s Transitional Footwear Styles

Desert boots, leather trainers and other styles for the in-between season

Image: M&S Best Of British SS15

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