STAMINA STRENGTH: The New Heavy-Hitter Dress Shoes: How Stylish Guys Wear Them

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Friday, September 30, 2016

The New Heavy-Hitter Dress Shoes: How Stylish Guys Wear Them



This season’s functional lug soles—dress shoes with thicker rubber soles—call for a style balancing act. Here, three ways to pull them off
THE BALLAST’S IN YOUR COURT | Weighty soles are being added to more formal shoes. Sid Shoes, $380, grenson.com
 
LAST FALL, while navigating a wet patio in slick leather-soled shoes, Nick Wooster landed on his butt. Though he walked away with his bones and dignity intact, the fall was sufficiently unnerving that Mr. Wooster, men’s fashion director of Dallas store Forty Five Ten, swore off smooth soles for good. “I value my limbs too much,” he explained. As a man of style, however, he wasn’t ready to swap his Church’s wingtips for ungainly orthopedic sneakers. Instead, he invested in a sharp pair of multi-tread rubber lug soles—a style that’s literally big this fall. “They give me a buffer against the elements without [forcing me] to wear something ugly,” he said.
The elevated look of a thick lug sole may remind some of punky Dr. Marten’s, but despite their brawny base, modern lugs are more posh than mosh. Tim Little, owner and creative director of 150-year-old British shoemaker Grenson, described its lug soles as a mix between a traditionally rakish British dress shoe and a casual sneaker: “The upper is very dressy and formal and classic.” Like many in fashion today, he’s using “casual” as a synonym for “comfortable”; lug soles are a godsend for men who wish their work brogues felt more like the New Balances they lace up gratefully come Saturday.
‘You can’t just wear anything with them or they’ll dominate the look.’
“A larger, more shock-absorbing sole translates into a more comfortable fit,” explained shoe designer Paul Andrew, who included several dressy lug-soled styles in his debut men’s collection this season.
Given the shoes’ heftier proportions, you can’t wear just anything with them or they’ll dominate the look. For instance, a skinny, lightweight suit can’t compete with their visual weight, but baggy pants are too much. To help you find lug-soled equilibrium, here are three smart ways to style them.
Wallace & Barnes Bomber Jacket,$248, jcrew.com; Sweater, $150, Rag & Bone, 212-219-2204; Jeans, $185, saturdaysnyc.com; Paul Andrew Shoes, $695, barneys.com
Wallace & Barnes Bomber Jacket,$248, jcrew.com; Sweater, $150, Rag & Bone, 212-219-2204; Jeans, $185, saturdaysnyc.com; Paul Andrew Shoes, $695, barneys.com Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas
For your heavy party schedule
These sturdy soles are definitely rooted in punk but resist the temptation to go full Sid Vicious. For a smart off-duty look, pair lugs with a bomber jacket that has its own presence and slim jeans that will streamline the silhouette. It’s an edgy look that would have gotten you through the door at CBGB in ’77 but won’t get you bounced from a cocktail bar today.
 
Sweater, $990, dunhill.com; Pants, $195, us.burberry.com; Dries Van Noten Shoes, $885, barneys.com
Sweater, $990, dunhill.com; Pants, $195, us.burberry.com; Dries Van Noten Shoes, $885, barneys.com Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas
For substantial weekend style
A thin Merino-wool sweater and thick lug soles are aesthetically at odds. Get yourself a chunky sweater, advised Dexter Peart, the co-founder of Montreal accessories brand Want Les Essentiels de la Vie. Mr. Wooster cautioned that pant hems are key. Roll those khakis so they have a 2-inch cuff to mirror the elevation on the sole
.Donegal Tweed Suit, $3,545, Brunello Cucinelli, 212-334-1010; Shirt, $195, sunspel.com; Shoes, $775, us.burberry.com
Donegal Tweed Suit, $3,545, Brunello Cucinelli, 212-334-1010; Shirt, $195, sunspel.com; Shoes, $775, us.burberry.com Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas
For throwing your weight around at work
Flat textiles like gabardine can make lug-soled shoes look too chunky, said Mr. Wooster. When you’re pairing a suit with them, he prefers beefier suiting fabrics like flannel or tweed which are emphatic on their own. Said Christopher Fisher, the head buyer at Oki-Ni, a U.K.-based e-commerce website: “If a lug sole is the one twist, it might stand out a bit too much.”



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