Shorts and sneakers may be hard to beat come high summer, but before the weather gets too out of hand why not shake things up in the footwear department? Casual boots come in many shapes and silhouettes, and could be the ultimate way to finish off a laid back look, but which styles are best and what should you wear with them? GQ Middle East has the answers.
Common Projects Suede Chukka, $195 at End clothing
Perhaps the easiest style of boot to wear, the chukka is an inherently casual design. It features a rounded front, two or three eyelets and a not-too-intimidating mid-height ankle, making it perfect for those wanting to venture into boot territory for the first time. The Desert boot is a chukka too, although its defining feature is its lightweight crepe sole. Both designs are usually made from soft leather or suede, meaning they’re extremely comfortable straight out of the box and the ideal, do-anything weekend shoe - wear yours with tapered chinos and a knitted polo shirt and you’re good to go. These from Common Projects are an excellent casual example.
Grenson Brady Full-Grain Leather Boots, $335 at Mr Porter
Proving especially popular over the last couple of years, designers have been turning to the hiking boot for its rugged appeal and chunky silhouette. The most attractive designs are based on those worn by mountaineers in decades gone-by - look out for all-leather uppers, metal D-ring eyelets from toe to ankle and chunky commando soles. Hardly the smartest of boots, the hiker is best reserved for workwear-inspired casual looks and, of course, actual mountain treks. Grenson’s lightweight hiking boot uses a UVA sole, keeping the boot’s weight extremely low, making it ideal for warmer climes, and climbs.
Dr Martens Leather Boots, $188 at Level shoes
Similar to hiking boots, the appeal of work boots lies in their functionality. Although available in a range of variations, from moccasin styles to plain, round-toe designs, work boots are usually made from stain-resistant, oil-tanned leather, have slip-resistant lug soles and speed hooks for easy lacing while wearing gloves. It’s reassuring to know they can get down and dirty if you need them to, but we’d be lying if we said we’d use them for any actual work. Incredibly easy to wear, work boots look best with slim black jeans and a bomber jacket.
There really is no better boot in this category than Dr Martens. Robust, tried and tested and now, having a style ‘moment’ again.
Commando Sole Boots
Gucci Lace-up leather brogue boots, $1112 at Matches fashion
Chunky commando soles have been one of the biggest footwear trends for some time now, infiltrating previously slender shoes such as Derbys and even penny loafers from brands spanning Gucci to Crockett & Jones. It’s easy to see why - hard-wearing and built to last, commando soles give any shoes, especially boots, a militaristic (and more casual) edge. Look for usually smarter styles of boot - Oxfords, Chelseas or brogues - that have been given the commando sole treatment, taking them in a more laid back direction that would pair well with denim jeans and a leather jacket.