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5 Essential Suede Shoes For Summer


Unlike full grain leather, suede breathes. That makes suede shoes not only a stylish choice but also a smart choice for summertime. Instead of locking up your feet in heat-retaining leather dress shoes, try some chilled out suede shoes with your summer suits. Not sure you’ve got the chutzpah to pull off suede shoes? Don’t get cold feet, anybody can do it. We’ll show you how below. Scroll on.

suede loafers

Clifton Softy Sigaro Penny Loafers by To Boot New York
Good for everything from the work week to a wedding to a weekend whistle wetting at your local watering hole, the suede loafer is the mayor of Suede City. What is it that puts these on the top of the heap? When you combine a classic warm weather style (the loafer) with a plush material like suede you get a shoe so comfortable, you’ll want to wear them all summer long.

What makes suede suede?

Most suede starts off as lamb, goat, calf or deer hide. The top layer of the skin is peeled off, like removing a sticker from a sheet. What’s left is a leather with the signature texture of suede.

suede oxfords

Reading Brogue in Brown Suede by Herring
If you want a cooled down version of a dressed up look, an oxford is the suede shoe for you. In a traditional brown, these suede shoes are a textural change-up from your usual brown dress shoe and suit combos. Get a pair in a more adventurous tone, like blue, if you really want to turn the dial to fresh.

suede boots

Terracotta Desert Boots by Clarks
Years ago, British officers stationed in Cairo got suede boots with tough soles from the bazaar and wore them with their khakis. Nathan Clark saw this idea, went back to the UK, and started manufacturing the iconic Clarks Desert Boot. The rest is history. Wear these the OG way, with rolled up chinos and a summer blazer to add rustic summer charm to your business casual (heavy on the casual) look.

What to do if you get suede shoes wet?

First, don’t get them wet! Avoid wearing your suede shoes on days when rain is in the forecast. That’s just tempting fate. If you live in, say, the Pacific Northwest or some other place where rain can’t be avoided, you can waterproof your suede shoes, but this can affect the color so we recommend avoiding it if you can. If you do get caught out there and need to get rid of a stain, use a suede bar and brush to rub away any spots and brush the suede’s nappy texture back to life.

suede driving loafers

Naples Driving Loafer by Jay Butler
Nothing says I got it like that like a pair of suede driving loafers (even if what you’re driving is a Ford Focus you rented from Hertz). Unleash your inner sprezzy gentleman with these shoes that are as laid back as a pair of sandals but infinitely more stylish. Just be sure you watch your mileage. Remember, these are driving loafers, not walking loafers. The soles are made for floormats, not pavement, so if you’re taking a walking tour of Rome, stick with the loafers above. If you’re driving to Cinque Terre, these are your jam.

suede sneakers

Seeley Premiere by Adidas
When the weekend rolls around, kick your suede shoe game into high gear with suede sneakers. These suede sneakers may have been made for skateboarding but even if you haven’t touched a skateboard since junior high you can still make these your weekend knock around kicks of choice for the entire summer.

So there you go, a top-flight selection of suede footwear that’s easy on the eyes and cool for your toes. Have we swayed you to try some suede shoes? If so, tell us how you rock ‘em in the comments below.

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7 thoughts on “5 Essential Suede Shoes For Summer”

  1. Kj says:

    I had been looking for a nice pair of suede shoes to have as a work casual look , I found a comfortable chukka boot that i like but the wife says suede is a spring fall look although I’ve gotten plenty of compliments in july.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      With all due respect to your wife, the chukka boot–with its desert roots–is summer appropriate. They can be made to look more like cooler weather shoes by whatever else you’re wearing, but styled with khaki chinos and a white shirt, they’ll have a distinctly summer-ish vibe.

  2. Stan Rydelek says:

    I live in SC and wear suede shoes year round. I let the color and style determine what season they best fit.

    BTW Gucci just came out with some amazing suede loafers. I just bought a pair in light blue.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Take notes everyone. Beating the Carolina humidity while looking as cool as they come, hats off to you Stan!

  3. Gilbert says:

    Thank you! I lost track of this topic, but I’ll take this advice into consideration. Since I think Brogues look sexier, I might settle with them. But, I’ll keep the Suedes.

  4. Gilbert says:

    Do you think Suede is a practical choice considering my status as of now and this environment I live in?

    First of all, I live in the Philippines. It is very hot around here(I chose tropical weave fabrics for my suit) and leather shoes are very ubiquitous. So, I decided to have my own style which somehow breaks the business formal norm.

    I wear black Suede Monk Straps to school on our “business attire” days with my Charcoal Suit(which is a huge plus in terms of uniqueness, fit, cut, pattern/texture, and the harmony it has with my skin tone). The suede shoes really help my feet breathe even with thick socks.

    Do you think shined shoes speak more authority? I don’t want the style I’m going for to put me down instead. So, I need an expert’s advice.

    To add up, I think this style speaks for myself. First because it deviates a bit from the norm just so I could feel comfortable, second it’s what I could afford for the moment(I bought it for around $10.

    I’ve read somewhere that to look dominant in a corporate environment, I should have shined leather shoes and a watch with a leather band(Most of the watches I have are rubber-strapped). I think this is true because shined shoes are more formal than Suede shoes and leather straps are more formal than tubber ones, hence they’re more dominant. A shined shoes also shows how much I care for myself.

    So, with practicality in mind, what do you think? In the future, when I have the buck, I’m gonna buy custom leather shoes and get some leather watch straps. I’ll keep my current stuff for a relaxed look, though.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      As you might have gathered from our replies to your other comments, we don’t go for the whole clothing = status belief. Yes, there are some clothes that are more appropriate for a business formal setting and some that are more casual, but that’s where it ends. Nobody’s going to take orders from you because you wore full grain leather shoes instead of suede shoes. Your status in the workplace is earned, not forced by how you dress.

      That may sound strange coming from a brand that sells business formal clothes, but if you understand our mission, to help men dress better, live better and pursue better in their lives, you’ll understand that we believe dressing well is about you and your self-confidence, not how others judge you.

      So if suede shoes are appropriate for the environment and you like them, keep wearing them. If not, then get yourself the best pair of full-grain leather shoes you can buy and wear them with confidence. Confidence, after all, will earn you more respect than any pair of shoes.

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