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The Six Driving Shoes to Consider

  • Kempt Staff


It wouldn’t be Road Trip Week if we didn’t talk about the most important part of your road-worthy wardrobe: the driving shoe.

They come in many forms—some are more loafer-like, some are more moccasin-y—but they’re all united by two things: a buttery-soft leather construction and gummy rubber bottom (marked by a telltale matrix of nubs embedded in a double-thick leather sole).

They’re especially handy on a breezy weekend jaunt, because they’re handsome enough to wear to cocktail hour yet soft enough to loaf around indoors, once you’ve woken up the next morning at your destination. Meaning they’re the only pair of shoes you’ll need to pack if you’re not planning on anything too formal or a round of golf.

Naturally, we’ve rounded up your six best options on the market right now.»

Pennies for Your Thoughts

  • Najib Benouar

via Cool Hunting

The more advanced footwear enthusiasts have been swapping out their laces for something more colorful for some time now, but for the loaferly-inclined, there wasn’t much you could do to punch things up.

Luckily, Benjo’s—the folks partly responsible for the brightly waxed lace revolution—have come up with a solution. Color-coated pennies. We’ll wait for a moment while your mind returns from being blown. Okay, you’ve got plenty of colors to choose from—N.B. Greenberg calls out to us, mostly by name—so don’t be afraid to get bold (this is why you opted for penny loafers in the first place).

And in case you don’t already have a pair, let us remind you of these Allen Edmonds we mentioned yesterday.

Stepping into Autumn

  • Najib Benouar

It would be remiss of us not to alert you to a handsome new batch of Allen Edmonds shoes that have just landed at UrbanDaddy Perks. It’s the first place you’ll be able to get your hands on AE’s newest cognac-hued line of shoes (there’s a couple wingtips and a loafer), made in Wisconsin—at an equally good-looking price. This is how you’ll kick your fall wardrobe into high gear.

Summer on the Crepe

  • Najib Benouar

The crepe sole penny loafer has been quietly gaining traction since they popped up on Yuketen’s Americana-phile shoe rack a few years ago. They’re a bit quirky on first glance, but for anyone who’s enjoyed a crepe-soled bounce in their step, it’s well worth a few wrinkled noses.

This new pair from Oak Street Bootmakers (one of five new designs that have just hit their webshop) is the best-looking incarnation we’ve seen yet. It’s got the heritage-approved beefroll stitching (that extra leather from the top strap that rolls over the toe stitch) and Horween Chromexcel leather. And it’s all handcrafted in the USA.

Most importantly, you can give your desert boots a rest till fall.

Summer of Vintage Love

  • Najib Benouar

The vintage shop beat can be more trouble than it’s worth if you’re not looking in the right places.

One of our favorite places to look: the Brooklyn-based Wooden Sleepers. And they’ve just replenished their stock (both dead and vintage) on Etsy—just in time for your summer weekending to come. It’s a kaleidoscope of vintage anoraks, tassel loafers and brass bookends, so we thought we’d help you wade through the well-curated bins with a look at some of their best new offerings after the jump.

Let’s get vintage-ing, shall we?»

A Little Memorial Day Encouragement

  • Najib Benouar

Memorial Day means many things to many people. To all Americans, it’s a day to celebrate those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect this great land. And to most sartorial traditionalists, it marks the first day we are officially allowed to wear white shoes.

It’s a tricky move, especially when you’re trying to incorporate them into a more formal look. (Otherwise, grab a pair of white canvas sneakers and beat the hell out of ’em.) Herewith, your answer: these white suede loafers from Alden. They’re so pristine, you might shudder at just the thought of them touching city pavement, but with great risk comes great reward.

This will be the summer you learn to stop worrying and love the white suede.

Possibly the Most Italian Shoe We’ve Ever Seen

  • Najib Benouar

Tassel loafers and driving shoes have been getting a lot of love this season—each with their own merits—but this best-of-both-worlds hybrid from the Tuscan cobblers at Arfango is a horse of a different color. You’ve got the suede, unstructured slouchy comfort of the driving shoe paired with the formal finish of a tassel loafer. It’s what you’ll want to be wearing the next time you find yourself tagging along for a semiformal soiree on the Amalfi Coast.

As it typically goes with releases of this nature—midseason, by a lesser-known overseas label—finding a pair of these is going to take a little work (or an Italian translator). So aside from hunting down a proxy, your best bet is to wait for them to wash up stateside—we’d suggest keeping an eye on Barneys, who carry Arfango, but have yet to stock this particular model. Happy hunting.

The Summer Loafer

When summer rolls around, we usually jump pretty fast for cotton sneakers, but there are plenty of other options—and a few of them put your plimsolls to shame.

This one comes from Osborn Design, with cotton uppers and leather soles. The result lands somewhere between a weejun and an espadrille—the kind of thing you’d wear to a semi-formal beach party. It’s also one of the most discreet ways to pull off that loose, sockless, “I’m-almost-barefoot” vibe that tends to surface in July.

Just keep the foot powder handy.

The Dress Code for the Deposed Heir

The red bow tie is hard to pull off, but if you’ve recently lost your fortune and are wandering the city in search of authentic life, you might get a pass.

This snap comes from an upcoming Jason Bateman flick, The Longest Week, currently filming on location on Wall Street. (If you guessed it was a mashup of Arthur and Arrested Development, you weren’t far off.) More importantly, he got his suit courtesy of Doyle Mueser, one of the West Village’s best bespoke shops—together with loafers from Industry of All Nations.

We wouldn’t normally recommend loafers with a suit—but in the case of the fictional idle rich, we’ll make an exception.

The Five Kinds of Camo That Matter

There’s a lot of camo out there—and if recent events are any indication, we’re adding new patterns as fast as we can. It can be a little daunting, so we’ve stripped things down to the bare minimum: the five patterns that matter circa 2011—from digital to duck hunter. So before you buy that elegantly military pocket square, you may have a little research to do.

The world of camo, in five easy pieces...»

The Gaziano & Girling Trunk Show

Gaziano & Girling have been busy.

The Northampton shop first caught our eye as The Armoury’s favorite source for wingtips, but like most cobblers, they’re also in the market for custom jobs. Unlike most cobblers, they’re wont to get pretty adventurous, with tricks like seamless broguing, alligator leathers and what looks to be a whole new species of loafer.

When they stopped by the West Village’s Leffot yesterday, we were able to see the whole batch up close.

See the rest of the shoes…»

Kempt Man of the Hour: Paul William

If you were waiting for the right moment to break out your Barbour…now’s the time.

This particular jacket belongs to Paul William of Goose Barnacle, snapped at yesterday’s Atlantic Antic. It’s a prime example of fall style, right down to the neutral socks and shined loafers—colorful in a muted way that only feels right once October rolls around.

Our favorite touch: a pair of shades to keep the glare out and to remind you it was summer not too long ago. Future’s so bright…