Wednesday, 27 August 2014

In Search of the Perfect Pair of Men’s Transitional Shoes

When it comes to how manifestations of fashion and style are cherished by men and women, one thing that certainly keeps both genders living in worlds apart is the appreciation of shoes. From my experience and constant interrogation of the role that footwear plays in our daily dressing and accessorising routines, men tend to see shoes as practical ways to protect and adorn their feet whereas women tend to see them as demonstrations of taste and style choices. In fact, I would dare say that most men would rather have one elegant single pair of shoes that they could use for most days of the week and as for many hours of the day as possible (unlike women who generally thrive on the diversity of shoes that they can wear).

With this viewpoint in mind, I embarked on a search for the perfect example of men’s transitional footwear, or that ideal pair of shoes that men could wear on most occasions (ranging from the night out with friends in a bar to a business meeting or a formal social event). Even though it has been popular for quite a few seasons, the monk strap shoe remain one of the most successful styles in men’s shoes, and one that straddles the sartorial demands and expectations of the vast majority of social situations. So much so that there are hardly any footwear brands that do not include a single or double monk strap shoe as a central feature of their seasonal catalogues. In a way, the monk strap shoe is the man’s footwear equivalent of the woman’s Little Black Dress, or that perfect item that can be worn with confidence and comfort throughout the day and during the night.

After researching dozens of monk strap shoes with price tags ranging from the economical to the astronomical, I came to the conclusion that the Dorset Strap Black Leather Men’s Formal Shoes by Clarks is most probably the perfect pair of men’s transitional shoes. Even though Clarks remains a challenging label often identified with ‘dad’s shoes’, a close analysis of its most recent collections reveals two or three models that always stand out for their elegant design, and the Dorset is certainly one of those successful examples.

Combining a tailored look with Clarks Plus underfoot technology and hairsheep lining for comfort, the Dorset features an upper made from smooth black leather burnished to a mid-shine and fastens with a black metal double buckled strap for a contemporary finish. After I got hold of a pair, I was impressed (as I always am with Clarks shoes that incorporate the renowned Clarks Plus cushioning pads) with how soft they felt while walking down the street. For a few days, I paired my Dorsets with dark blue denim jeans, relaxed grey khakis, and even with a black and a navy suit, and I always got compliments. 

If there was anything that I would change to make this the undeniably perfect pair of shoes it would be narrowing the width only just slightly and make the tip a tad less rounded. However, if you are on the lookout for that ideal pair of men’s shoes; and if balancing price, comfort and style is important for you, I would not hesitate to recommend having a look at the Dorset Strap men’s soes by Clarks. You might find yourself not wanting to buy another pair of shoes (at least not for a while…).

Photographs © The Style Examiner / João Paulo Nunes

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