Summer is a social season full of dates, dinners and parties, and with the warmer months slowly creeping up on us isn’t it about time you started focusing on your shoe game? In our books, neglecting your footwear is a cardinal sin, but we all know how tricky it can be striking the smart-casual balance just right, especially when it comes to what we’re putting on our feet.

Pulling off formal footwear in a casual way is easier than it looks. Formal shoes are versatile, honestly they are, you just need to know how to style them. That’s where we come in. Whether you’re going for a smart clean look look or casual contemporary, the formal shoe has got your back. From brogues to loafers, chukka boots and boat shoes, step up your formal shoe game by wearing them casually.


mens brogues

Brogues are every mans go to when it comes to formal shoes, often seen worn with a traditional suit at weddings or in the office. But there is another alternative for your trusty Oxford’s and we’re not talking about that other suit you own. Try jeans. A shoe that’s versatile and easy to wear, the brogue suits both casual and smart styles. In an array of styles, the brogue really has the potential to switch-up the style of your outfit.

Key Brogue Styles

  • Perforated
  • Wingtip
  • Derby
  • Oxford

How to Style the Brogue

Dr Martens Made in England classic black brogue
SHOP: Brogues

The brogue, traditionally worn with suits and chinos, is the ultimate formal shoe to wear casually. Swap the suit trousers for jeans and keep the wash dark to maintain an element of formality. To keep the look low key, opt for simple t-shirt and pair with a denim or casual jacket to create the ultimate off duty look, perfect for drinks down the pub.

casual brogue outfit grid


mens penny loafer
PHOTO CREDIT: Oxford Cloth Buttondown

Loafers the ideal choice for comfort; they slip on and off easily, go with any outfit, and look great when styled with jeans or slim-fit trousers. The perfect shoe all year round, they are a mainstay of men’s footwear and will never go out-of-style. From the tassel loafer, to penny loafers and drivers, this style can really open up your options for smart-casual style. When styling the loafer, remember simplicity is key to wearing this formal style casually.

Leading Loafer Labels

  • Hudsoon
  • G.H. Bass & Co.
  • Russell & Bromley

How to Style the Loafer

G. H. Bass & Co Penny Loafer

To style the formal loafer casually, opt for a light colour chino and pair with a shirt worn unbuttoned for the ideal Summer holiday evening look. Roll up your chinos and ditch the socks for a really casual, laid back feel.

summer loafer outfit grid

Chukka Boots

mens chukkas

The Chukka boot is a similar style to the desert boot, so named after chukka period of play in polo, the sport in which they were originally worn.

The Idle Man offer a range of  chukka boot variations in streamlined, minimal styles. They are a smart shoe that blur the lines between smart and casual meaning they are both versatile and extremely easy to wear. To style this formal shoe casually, pair with a dark wash denim jean in a slim and tapered fit.

Main Characteristics of the Chukka Boot

  • Rounded toe
  • 3 eyelets
  • Suede or leather upper
  • Thin leather (formal)or crepe sole (casual)

How to Style the Chukka Boot

Hudson Chukka boot
SHOP: Chukka Boots

Jeans are the ultimate way to style the formal chukka boot casually. Pin roll your jeans to reveal the ankle detail of your boots and reveal your socks. On top, it’s really up to you so if you’re feeling casual opt for a t-shirt, but if you want to smarten things up a little go down the shirt route.

chukka boat casual outfit grid

Boat Shoes

mens boat shoes

The boat shoe was originally designed by Paul Sperry in 1935. An avid inventor and sailor, Sperry slipped and fell overboard one day when he was sailing out on long island. Inspired by the way is dog was able to cross ice without difficulty, Sperry patented the technology of carving grooves into the soles of shoes, modeled on those like the ones on his dogs paws, and designed a shoe that could be worn on boat decks without slipping.

The boat shoe is a classic and timeless style and since its inception 80 years ago has rarely been seen out of fashion. The ultimate formal shoe, the white sole and soft leather of the boat shoe means that it can be easily dressed down and is a great Summer option.

How to Tie Your Boat Shoes

There are a million and one ways you can tie the laces of your boat shoes, and most of them are a massive improvement in terms of style on the traditional bow tie. Take a look at one of the most interesting and traditional ways to tie your boat shoe laces.

How to Style the Boat Shoe

Timberland Boat Shoe
SHOP: Boat Shoes

Dress down the boat shoe and wear this formal style casually by opting for shorts and an open shirt, or go for a nautical theme and pair with a striped t-shirt for the ultimate summer look. Team with a classic pair of shades and you’re onto a winner.

summer boat shoes outfit grid

On That Note…

There’s no need to feel limited with your formal shoes; formal footwear can be the most versatile and easy to wear of the lot. Whether it’s denim, shorts or chinos, the options to mix up your formal and casual attire is simpler than you think.


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