said: Was wondering if you could give me a recommendation on an everyday casual or preferably semi-casual shoe? I'm a college senior who is looking for something other than Sperry's and am unsure if a driving shoe could handle the amount of wear and walking I do everyday. Thanks
A few suggestions:
There are a couple of options here. If you’re looking for something truly casual you can stick with a moc-toe construction. It looks like a loafer from a distance and wears like a moc, but gives you the go-anywhere versatility of a boot. I had a pair of Eastland Made in Maine moc-toes during my junior and senior years of college that held up extremely well. You can also check out similar boots from Rancourt, Oak Street, Russell, and Quoddy.
The classic chukka design is also a nice go-to. I have a pair from Ralph Lauren (Allen Edmonds) that I am about to break out again for the fall/winter months. You can find the classic chukka from pretty much any shoemaker on the planet, with the cheapest likely being Clark’s and (one of) the most expensive being Edward Green. In between you can have a look at Loake, Meermin, Rancourt, and Crockett and Jones.
A slightly more polished but equally versatile boot is the Chelsea. I like Chelseas because they give you the ease of a loafer with the versatility of a boot. Plus they pair seamlessly with jeans, chinos or wool trousers. I’ve had my finger hovering over a pair from Meermin, but haven’t pulled the trigger for any number of reasons (likely because it isn’t yet boot season). I hope to get a pair soon. You can find yours from pretty much all the same brands listed above. I’ll also add RM Williams who makes, in my opinion, the quintessential Chelsea — not too polished, not too rugged.
The Ranger Moc/Trail Oxford
If you’re looking for a casual shoe that can be worn year-round, it’s hard to beat the ranger moccasin (also called camp mocs or trail oxfords in certain circles). While many people will tell you boots can be worn with shorts, I’ve never really bought into the idea. I find my boots are either too sleek or too rugged and wintery to be worn naturally with shorts. Ranger mocs, on the other hand, can be worn exactly as you would a boat shoe, but look a bit more utilitarian and masculine to my thinking. Check out Rancourt, Oak Street, or Quoddy.
The Penny Loafer
The penny loafer is the most classic option I can suggest. For a more casual look I’d stick with a Blake construction moc-toe shoe and shoot for a more rugged-looking material like Chromexcel, waxed flesh, shell cordovan or Scotch-grain. Like chukkas, pretty much every shoemaker on Earth has a penny loafer, but I’d pay attention to details in styling as you start your search. All too often penny loafers can have a sleeker last or lighter construction, making them a bit more formal and less versatile.