The rise of sneakers as an enduring fashion trend has one major side effect: Dress shoes have slipped under the radar. Be it classic Oxfords or leisurely loafers, dress shoes are giving way to casual lace-ups even in formal settings like the office or a soiree. Men themselves are partly to blame, limiting their choice of dress shoes to basic neutrals. But colour is an instant short cut to a standout shoe. As Giuseppe Santoni, CEO of luxury footwear brand Santoni, says, “Colour, together with design and proportion, is a very important element (in shoes)”.
While black and tan dress shoes are traditionally integral to men’s closets, offbeat shades like sky blue, forest green, beige and grey are now emerging. Brands such as Prada and Berluti are experimenting with ombré and tonal techniques; on the other hand, British fashion brand Alexander McQueen offsets minimal black leather shoes with a look-at-me yellow platform sole. Shoemaker Christian Louboutin goes further, elevating his designs with floral motifs, glitter, studs and multicoloured patterns.
At Santoni, shoemakers employ a long-standing signature technique. “We have created a technique where we add different layers of colour to give (the shoes) depth and uniqueness,” he says, adding that colour is the brand’s way of combining traditional craftsmanship with fashion.
The most effective way to wear these shoes? Turn the attention to your feet, and keep the rest of your outfit neutral. Monochrome ensembles or shades of the same colour are big this season—seen on the Spring/Summer 2019 runways of Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani and Acne Studios—and another great way to try the trend.