Top 6 Men’s Summer Shoe Styles For 2024

What is summer if not the perfect excuse for a full-scale wardrobe revamp? The changing of the seasons brings with it a chance to refresh and renew. And while all aspects of your sartorial selection are important to consider, it’s your summer footwear rotation that lays the foundation for good dressing.

Summer and winter footwear are two entirely different beasts. Of course, there are a few shoes on your rack that can comfortably crossover from rain to shine. But, for the most part, warm-weather shoes are a separate entity.

To ensure you have all bases covered when the sun decides to make an appearance, we’ve rounded up the essential summer footwear styles. Here are the reasons why each one makes up a valuable part of your seasonal selection and a few handy tips on how to style them.

White Canvas Sneakers

Why You Need Them

A pair of classic white canvas sneakers serve as the backbone to your summer casual wardrobe. They’re simple, versatile and even a high-end pair won’t break the bank. They also have the added benefit of looking good with a bit of wear and tear – meaning you can spend more time enjoying the sun and less worrying about wrecking your footwear.

Check out brands like Converse, Novesta and Veja for some timeless options.

How to Wear

The great thing about white canvas sneakers is that they’re about as adaptable as shoes get. This is a footwear style that can comfortably work alongside anything from shorts and a T-shirt to cropped dress pants and a camp-collar shirt. Think of this as your default shoe for off-duty days.

Luxe Espadrilles

Why You Need Them

Sandals are great for making that smooth transition from beach to bar or vice versa, but they’re not for everyone. Luckily, there’s another equally stylish option on offer: espadrilles. These resortwear staples ooze Riviera sophistication and make for a valuable ally when it comes to tackling your summer vacation in style – keeping you cool, comfortable and looking breezy.

When it comes to buying, swerve designer brands and instead look to specialist manufacturers such as Rivieras, Castañer and Mulo, or traditional resortwear labels like Orlebar Brown. Each are producing some excellent styles in premium materials such as suede, canvas and linen.

How To Wear

Espadrilles are best worn with shorts. Think tailored swim shorts for lounging around by the pool, or chino shorts for an evening spent sipping drinks on the Mediterranean coast. If you must wear socks, ensure they’re no-show versions. Up top, go for a polo, camp-collar or a simple linen shirt and accessorise with your favourite sunglasses and watch.

Knitted Sneakers

Why You Need Them

It’s difficult to imagine a more practical summer shoe than a lightweight, breathable, ultra-comfy knitted sneaker. This particular brand of trainer tech has only been on the scene for a few years but it’s already taken the world of performance footwear by storm.

If you want something that works equally hard inside and out of the gym (saving room in your luggage for those that like to exercise while abroad), go for one of the more muted designs on the market by the likes of Adidas, Nike, New Balance and Asics.

How To Wear

How much use you get out of a pair of knitted kicks is largely dependent on the colour scheme you opt for. Whites, blacks and greys are highly versatile and will team well with most hues, whereas brighter shades are best worn with understated pieces. Either way, jeans tend not to be the most effective legwear for pairing with this type of shoe. Instead, stick to shorts, chinos and tailored sweats.

Suede Derbies

Why You Need Them

Suede Derby shoes are a failsafe option all year round. However, they are better suited to the drier half of the year, due simply to the fact that suede doesn’t fair well in the rain. A genuine summer essential, they can be easily dressed up or down to carry you through the entire spectrum of seasonal occasions, from work days and weddings through to alfresco dining.

If you want a pair that is built to last from the highest quality hide, prioritise British brands who utilise traditional manufacturing techniques such as Goodyear welting. The likes of Grenson, Tricker’s, Crockett & Jones, Church’s, Amberjack and even Dr Martens offer a superb selection of Derbies that will only get better with age.

How To Wear

Suede Derbies at that rarest of things: a pair of formal shoes that can be legitimately worn with shorts. To pull it off, go for either tailored or chino shorts and wear with no-show socks. For dressier occasions, wear with a breathable summer suit, a crisp cotton shirt and a seasonally-appropriate tie.

Leather Sandals

Why You Need Them

Flip-flops are all well and good for the beach but they’re certainly not going to win you any style points. A pair of leather sandals offers an excellent compromise when it comes to staying cool and still looking put together. If you don’t already own a pair, now is the time to invest.

How To Wear

Being a smart casual style at heart, leather sandals look best team with pieces that share similar resortwear DNA – think khakis, chino shorts, polo shirts and short-sleeved button-ups.  Try a brown leather pair with tailored swimming shorts and a towelling polo during the day, switching to cotton trousers and a floral print shirt in the evening for dinner and drinks on the marina.

Penny Loafers

Why You Need Them

Dressing for a summer wedding or a sweltering office is notoriously tricky, but the footwear aspect needn’t be when you’ve got a pair of penny loafers at your disposal. The perfect compromise between smart and comfortable, these modern must-owns are able to adapt to the formality of any occasion.

Look to the originator of the silhouette, G.H.Bass, if you want the most authentic (and affordable) version on the market today. Preppy stalwarts Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, produce a number of luxury designs that epitomise the East Coast Ivy League aesthetic that are part of the penny loafer’s heritage. Closer to home, Northamptonshire shoemakers create some of the finest Goodyear-welted versions around, ensuring they will remain in your rotation for years to come.

How To Wear

When wearing with tailoring, the most important thing is to ensure your trousers are the correct length. They should break just above the ankle, never covering the top of the shoe. Once you get that right, the rest will fall into place. Going sockless or not is personal preference and when the sun’s really blazing, they can even be worn with shorts and a polo shirt to keep the sweat patches at bay.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.