To be clear, I’m not telling you to climb a fourteener in leather boots and no socks. That’s silly. But you should know about a crop of new, non-sandal shoes that are so light, breathable, and supple they don’t require socks. Wear them on hot summer days in the office or steamy weekend nights around a barbecue. Here are four of my favorites.
Native AP Mercury Liteknit ($90)
“Fits like a glove” is so cliché, yet so accurate for these shoes. Thanks to ultra-stretchy knit uppers, they conform to and hug every angle of your foot for a comfy, never-prone-to-blister fit. The knit construction also allows for airflow to keep your dogs sweat-free. Don’t use them for a ten-mile weekend run, but do throw them on for long days on city streets or mellow afternoon hikes in the hills.
Nisolo X Huckberry Travel Derby ($130)
Somehow Nisolo has taken rough cowhide, sprinkled some kind of magic fairy dust on top, and come away with the softest, most skin-pleasing suede you’ve ever felt. Wearing these office-appropriate shoes is like wearing a massage. Bonus points for the light but supportive soles and the pack-flat construction that facilitates easy transport in your bag.
Sabah Slip-On ($200)
Yes, these shoes have a heavy dose of Euro styling, but pair them with your favorite rolled chinos and you can walk into any summer party with total confidence. They cost $200 because they’re cut from premium cowhides, handmade by Turkish craftsmen, designed to be infinitely re-soleable, and ready to take on a patina over time that makes them uniquely yours.
SeaVees 08/63 Hermosa Plimsoll-Standard ($80)
I agree these shoes have a stupidly long name. But here’s why: it’s a reference to one of the first organized skate contests, if not the very first, back in August 1963 next to California’s Hermosa Beach. This modern, textured linen version nods back to those OG skaters but builds in plenty of forward-thinking comforts, like a brushed chambray liner and antibacterial footbed.