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Sandals for Men Gain Ground

Stuffed shirts out there, hear us out. We know your opinion: Uncovered man-foot should never walk among us in bustling metropolises (unhygienic), blue-chip offices (emasculating), formal events (disrespectful) and where others are eating (appetite-killing).

Certainly, sandals on men can be all of those things. But perhaps it's time for a more open-minded approach to the mandal. Don't your feet need a breather after having been shackled up all winter in duck boots and thick, circulation-depleting socks?

Lucky for you and your vitamin D-deprived tootsies, many designers this season placed themselves in the pro-mandal camp, suggesting that men wear sandals with tailored trousers and suits, not just casual shorts. On the spring runways was a throng of bethonged-feet that, in most cases, looked pretty snappy -- for instance, when paired with crisp and colorful cuffed pants at Hermes or with smart dark jeans at Valentino.

'The current [predilection for a] mash-up of dressy and casual in menswear explains the 'mandal' moment we're going through,' said Gilt's vice president of men's editorial and creative, Tyler Thoreson. If you need proof of that, just consider how the sneaker has dressed itself up in the past few years. Still, Mr. Thoreson feels there are times when lines shouldn't be blurred. 'I wouldn't recommend wearing sandals to work, unless you play bass in a Jimmy Buffett cover band,' he said.

Not every man takes such a staunch view. 'A nice leather pair would be okay to wear to the job, if you work in an industry that would be accepting of such practice,' said Mac McMillan, co-owner of Pierrepont Hicks, a Minneapolis-based men's specialty shop, which sells boat shoes (no mandals). Mr. McMillan, however, restricts his sandal-wearing to the beach.

'Men are initially a little afraid of sandals, in general,' said Clay Reeves, owner of Clay + Bros., a new Atlanta-based outfitter that specializes in spare, utilitarian sandals, made with slim rubber soles and parachute cord-laces that tie around the ankles. Mr. Reeves explained that, while sandals typically have a feminine reputation, his male customers are 'man's man' types. (His website recommends wearing 'Clays' for outrunning rogue elephants.) 'The reality is that men who have worn sandals -- Jesus, David, Achilles -- are a pretty formidable lineup,' added Mr. Reeves.

Of course, none of the above ever set foot in an office or attended a summer wedding. To enter these spheres in sandaled feet, the uninitiated should take baby steps. First, there's the choice of the sandal. For beginners, the simpler, the better. Keep them classic, best in black or mahogany browns. The basic leather thong is infallibly stylish and handsome, as is the wide-strapped criss-cross or the Birkenstock-style double-strap. Tread carefully with actual Birkenstocks. Rarely appropriate the office or dinner out, they're best with ultra-casual shorts or rolled-up jeans. The flip-flop is usually a no-go in such settings, too.

The advanced sandal practitioner can opt for less traditional styles. Spanish designer Alvaro Gonzalez does these new shapes quite well -- and in a way that still feels somehow familiar. See his asymmetrical thong, pictured above. He also offers less expected colors, like forest green and aubergine.

Pair your ideal sandals with dark jeans or any color of chinos and a button-down shirt for summer Friday at the office. If your workplace is more creative, you might also wear them with a lightweight suit midweek. For evenings, think belted linen pants, a shirt and a tie. For a daytime garden wedding, perhaps a smart seersucker suit.

But ultimately, it's the feet, not the shoe, that make the mandal. Without argument, a pedicure should be your first move. 'I've never understood the point of view that a man's toes are somehow inherently repulsive,' said Gilt's Mr. Thoreson. 'If a woman can wear open-toed shoes, why can't a guy?'




“时下人们喜欢将正式的和休闲的单品进行混搭,这就解释了男士凉鞋为何风靡一时,”Gilt男装编辑与创意副总裁泰勒·托雷松(Tyler Thoreson)说。如果你需要例证,只要想想帆布鞋在过去几年是如何登堂入室的。同时托雷松也觉得有些时候着装界线还是不能模糊。“我不推荐穿拖鞋去上班,除非你在翻唱吉米·巴菲特(Jimmy Buffett)的乐队里弹贝斯,”他说。

并不是每位男士都持有这么明确的观点。“如果你所处的行业能够接受这样的尝试的话,一双不错的皮凉鞋可以穿去上班,”麦克·麦克米伦说,他是Pierrepont Hicks的合伙人,这家男士专卖店位于明尼阿波利斯(Minneapolis),也销售船鞋(而不是凉鞋)。麦克米伦仅把凉鞋的穿着氛围限定在海滩。

“总的说来男士最开始都有些害怕凉鞋,”克莱·里夫斯(Clay Reeves)说。他是Clay + Bros.的老板,这家新成立的运动用品公司位于亚特兰大,专门生产简单实用的凉鞋,由薄橡胶鞋底和降落伞绳材质的鞋带制成,鞋带绕过脚踝进行固定。里夫斯说凉鞋通常给人女性化的印象,然而他的男性顾客却是“男人中的男人”。(他的网站推荐穿着Clays鞋来追赶野生大象。)“事实上穿过凉鞋的男人──耶稣(Jesus)、大卫(David)、阿喀琉斯(Achilles)──都是非常强势的人物,”里夫斯补充道。


高级别的凉鞋穿着者可以选择不那么传统的款式。西班牙设计师阿尔瓦多·冈萨雷斯(Alvaro Gonzalez)设计了优秀的新鞋型,但看起来还是似曾相识,参见上图的不对称夹脚拖。他还推出了较为少见的颜色,比如墨绿色和紫红色。





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