Footwear is by any means at the core of classic menswear. To the layman's eye at least, there appears to be a greater emphasis in equating the silhouette of the shoes, alongside the fineness of the leather to a person's attention to detail. (Often before you can flex your Milanese buttonhole, yes.)
As a matter of fact, it often comes as a surprise to many readers — and myself alike — that the subject of shoe styles is seldomly covered in The Suitstainable Man.
Of course, there were multiple factors contributing to this lack of coverage. Firstly, while there were attempts from my early writing days in introducing various styles of footwear, those write-ups were not written in consideration of sustainability, which is now essential to the blog's identity.
Secondly, and on the topic of sustainability, there is a personal belief that dressing according to one's style and taste is also a means to achieve sustainability, and it would be contradictory from my end to pinpoint what exact style one should acquire for their wardrobe.
Over this long hiatus of 2021, however, I became increasingly convinced there are not necessarily enough resources out there that can aid menswear newcomers (or even more experienced enthusiasts) to make an informed purchasing choice per shoe style, especially from a sustainability angle.
This is where this new series comes in.
A while ago, Alexander, a reader from Australia, came to me with a series of articles on building a quality footwear wardrobe — focusing on different shoe styles — he has been working on.
What is fascinating about Alexander is that his necessity for quality footwear all feels very genuine. Unlike many of us, he has lived in remote locations from Alaska to Antarctica and has spent a decade working as an outdoor educator and guide, leading scientific expeditions in potentially hostile environments.
Moreover, he also has an academic background in environmental science and sustainability education, making him quite the figure to offer insight into the interaction between footwear and sustainability.
So how does this series work?
We will start with a background article deconstructing the environmental cost of the various components used in men's footwear; mainly including the construction, the upper leather, and other materials used. We will also discuss what to expect regarding the quality of these components at three different price brackets.
(As a side note, I will also include this write-up in our existing series, 'Building a Wardrobe from a Sustainability Perspective', considering its scope.)
Taking this consideration on price brackets and quality of components at different levels forward, the subsequent guides will provide some recommendations on the shoe models, handpicked by Alexander (and myself, occasionally).
It's also worth noting that we aim to keep the shoe models (or at least the respective brands) to the ones we have direct experience with where possible, and we are not sponsored by any brands by any means for this series. (Hence, the title of this series.)
We will be dropping our first article — the introduction — this Thursday. Until then, take care and stay safe.