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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Ask the MB: European Vacation Walking Shoes

Ask the MB: European Vacation Walking Shoes
Q: I'm heading to Europe this summer for a few weeks of tromping around. I need some footwear advice - I'm looking for something that can support LOTS of walking around being on my feet all day, and doesn't scream 'American Toolbag'. Bonus for something that works with pants and shorts, but I'd be willing to get two pairs to cover both ends of summer bottoms. Thoughts?
—Peter


A: Peter, a trip to Europe is definitely time to heed Tom Ford's five easy lessons in how to become a modern gentleman and leave the shorts at home. You might not scream "American Toolbag" in them, but unless you're at the beach or in the midst of a 5-setter you definitely scream "American."

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. For previous questions regarding European travel we've endorsed getting your American on — your feet — and for your excessively ambulant vacation we suggest you get into a pair of Cole Haan Air Mercury lace oxfords.

They don't have the pedigree of some more iconic trailblazers in the casual sneaker field — Chucks, PF Flyers, Tretorn T56s. But if you're doing lots — and especially if you're doing LOTS — of walking, we recommend the Air Mercurys. There's a reason why America embraced car culture so enthusiastically — walking in Chucks can turn your feet into bloody stumps even faster than Jigsaw or Freddie Kreuger can. Go with the Air Mercurys and you should be good for at least 15-mile days if necessary. (The black ones are on sale at colehaan.com for just $59.95).

As for that other pair of shoes you offered to pack, definitely bring along some loafers for after the sun goes down.

Earlier: Ask the MB: French Honeymoon

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010
Last week we had a shorts-with-shoes question and answered the first part. Now for some shoe suggestions.

First, some guidelines:

1.) Clear some room at the end of the bench for Chuck and Jack this summer. They've been playing non-stop all year and could use a breather.

2.) Sneakers that you plan to wear with shorts are one item where we give more leeway than we usually do to bright colors, patterns, and logos. Don't go crazy though. If Turtle from Entourage would wear it, you've probably gone too far.

3.) Sticking with white or gray is your best bet for picking a shoe that can work with a wide variety of shorts. (Important note: If you're a size 12 or over, do not go with an all-white shoe unless you're trying to pick up work as a clown at children's birthday parties.)

4.) If you're dying to incorporate red velour into your wardrobe, a pair of sneakers is the only place to do it.
Topman

Topman Grey Jersey Plimsolls
$32

If the world must have sleeveless t-shirts, we like to think that all those amputated sleeves go to some greater style purpose -- like adding a textural twist to classic gray plimsolls.
ShoeLab

ShoeLab Dark Brown Sneaker
$49

The sneaker scientists at the UK brand ShoeLab get the overdying just right on these. They look nicely faded and disheveled, but stop short of trying too hard.
Tretorn T56

Tretorn T56 Canvas
$55

The T56s offer timeless style. Our great-great-great-great-great-grandkids will be wearing these in 2210. In 2010, they're the shoes we reach for when we know the evening's going to involve some furious table tennis action.
Superga

Superga 2750 Classic
$65

"Leave your socks at home," the Superga website enthuses, because the interior of the 2750 feature finished inseams. We like that touch but we're not going to go that far. For all summer sneaker-wearing we recommend the Banana Republic no-show socks.
Williot

Williot Gabardine Wool Sneakers
$79

Williot is a Spanish brand that made its debut in the U.S. market last summer. If you want to look sporty but not athletic -- i.e., you aren't planning to do anything more strenuous than mixing cocktails by the pool -- these are a great choice.
Lyle & Scott

Lyle & Scott Canvas Plimsolls
$85

Scottish brand with a golfing heritage, founded in 1874. Just like Scottish singer Susan Boyle, these plimsolls are built a little more solidly than many others on the market.
Cole Haan

Cole Haan Air Mercury Sport Oxfords
$98

Why are we recommending these Chuck clones and not the real thing? Thanks to the hidden Air Nike technology hidden in the heel, they're one of the few Chuck-style shoes that you can play basketball in and not sentence your feet to a lifetime of Bill Walton-like pain. When your day involves anything more strenuous than a J. Crew photo shoot, wear these.
TST

TST
$125

Designer Seishi Tanaka hand-draws the sketches for the TST line and it shows. This model leans toward the more athletic end of the athleisure shoe spectrum -- we think we could actually play some touch football in it -- but it has an organic quality not found in the hyper-engineered footwear of, say, Nike or Reebok.
Pataugas

Pataugas Rock
$138

If you want to add a Gallic touch to your Fourth of July barbecue, try these sneakers from Jean Paul Gaultier's shoe line, Pataugas. (You can pick up last year's slightly different model at yoox.com for only $89.)
Prada

Prada Velour Sneaker
$295

For those with the bucks, deluxe Chucks. "Red velour" and "understated" aren't words that usually go together, but we think they apply here.

MB Deal of the Week: Tretorn T56 GTOs

MB Deal of the Week: Tretorn T56 GTOs
Does Sweden still have an army? Yes, apparently, and according to Wikipedia, it's currently around 2160 soldiers strong. We found a picture and suspect these troops may be doubling as Ikea salespeople, but that's not why we're delving into Swedish military history today.

We're doing so because the Tretorn T56 GTO, a washed leather version of a style that debuted in 1956 as a training shoe for Swedish infantrymen, is on sale at 6PM.com. For just $24 (regularly $80). Meaning you could shod the entire Swedish Army for just for just $51,840!

We don't think you could win a tetherball match in them, much less a war -- comfort-wise, 1956 shoe technology leaves much to be desired. But if you're looking for a "new classic" alternative to the ubiquitous Chuck Taylor, these fill the bill nicely.

UPDATE: That super-deep discount is temporarily suspended; now they're $48 a pair. A decent price, but unless the Swedish Army decides to make a run on them, we're pretty sure they'll be back down to $24 eventually. Hold your fire until then.

Ask the MB: Pedicure Alternative

Ask the MB: Pedicure Alternative
Q: If you have nasty feet and shouldn't be wearing sandals, what do you recommend with shorts? Some Pumas with low socks? Thanks.
--Chris


A: Over the last three decades, thousands of Vietnamese immigrants have journeyed across oceans in boats we'd be afraid to board in a wading pool just to make your feet presentable in sandals. Get a pedicure! And if you think that sounds kind of girly, do you know who else gets pedicures? Lions! Well, circus lions anyway. And if it's man enough for them, it's man enough for you too.

And what if you have some kind of physical deformity a pedi can't cure? You're on the right track. We prefer anything vintage from Puma, Tretorn, Adidas, with no-show socks or none at all. You'd have a hard time going wrong picking just about anything from Classic Sport Shoes' Adidas Originals page.

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