Shoes That Shine for Summer

I need help. Honestly, I’ve needed help for a long time, I was just too scared to admit it. But here I am, admitting to the world that I’m addicted to cargo shorts and flip flops. This was not a problem ten or fifteen years ago when such an ensemble was acceptible attire for any time and place for someone of my age and sensibilities. But not only are these different times, but I am different as well, aged and, hopefully to some degree, more distinguished. Thus it is time for me to shed the utility of extraneous pockets and thonged footwear and transition to something more befitting of someone of my seasoned age.

Typically when it’s time to add some new life to my closet, I turn to end of season sales or tried and true traditional wear. This time, I turned to the close friend who pointed out my cargo-pocket addiction to provide some suggestions for summer footwear. The specific charge: send me a few notes on something I can wear casually but can also transition to a nicer setting should the need arise. Take a look at what he sent and then keep reading to discover what I settled on.

“The outdoorsman’s companion.”

My wife loves her Chacos but I never really considered a pair for myself. Maybe that’s because I gave up on strap-in sandals after a long love affair with Reef convertible sandals in my late teens / early twenties. These probably aren’t on the shortlist for me, but they’re a great option for casual wear or short hikes on weekend trips.

“Every man should own some boat shoes and I choose to go against the grain.”

I don’t know if I agree that every man should own boat shoes, but I’m starting to warm up to the idea. In fact, I’m warming up to it so much that I decided to take the plunge and grap a pair of these Sebagos. It’ll be interesting to see if this will be a style that sticks for me, but I’m at least excited about the endless possibilities that come along with being set adrift on the open waters.

Brooks Chariot
“A nice kick-around shoe for those more active days”

A couple of years ago I picked up a pair of New Balance Minimus shoes on clearance and they are my go-to pair for errands or weekend events that I know will involve lots of walking or standing around. The Brooks Chariot are a great option for similar situations and they’ll provide a little more comfort than the Minimus.

Sanuk Casa Barco
“Casual shoe that could be worn to dress up an evening out.”

I haven’t owned a pair of canvas shoes since my Keds in elementary school, so this would certainly be a leap for me. I prefer the nicer look of the Sebagos, so those win out for me, but this also looks like a nice and easy casual option for those breezy weekend errands.

Sanuk Beer Cozy Flop
“They come in many styles, but I think the Beer Cozy is one comfortable flop.”

These are a little out of context because my original charge asked for something other than flip-flops. I’m including them anyway because I actually decided to grab a pair. Even though I’m trying to rely less on flip-flops, my 2 year old (maybe 3?) are on their last leg and I’ve decided that maybe it’s time for a break in my 10+ year relationship with Reef flops. These Sanuk Beer Cozy Flops sound, well, very cozy and they’re not so astronomically priced that I would feel bad ditching them mid-summer to return to my old standby.

There you have it, a plethora of options to get you through a summer full of beach trips, boat outings, and outdoor music festivals.

Slim & Trim

Until Apple fully succeeds in replacing our wallet, we are all burdened with that annoying privilege of carrying our big clunky fold of bills, plastic membership or credit cards, and other miscellany like business cards, loyalty punch cards or – gasp – maybe there are even a few among us who still carry printed pictures of our loved ones around. Fortunately, a bevy of stylishly slimmed down, genuinely smart solutions have emerged over the last few years. These products are evolutions of the age-old wallet that slim down that pocket bulge in two ways – one, by packing contents more efficiently; and two, by limiting the amount of space they offer from the beginning, forcing us to consider how important it is to carry around that credit card we signed up for ten years ago in college just for the free t-shirt.

I began my foray into the slimmed down pocket revolution a few years ago by moving my wares into the J. Crew Factory Outlet version of the magic wallet. The J. Crew wallet replaced a traditional Fossil bi-fold wallet that held up remarkably well despite enabling years of overstuffing abuse. Receipts, credit cards I rarely used, loyalty reward punch cards for places I rarely visited – it was a cluttered mess. The magic wallet imposed physical limitations on what could actually fit and I had to make tough decisions about what I must carry and what I could leave at home. I even returned to pre-adulthood days by moving my wallet out of my rear pocket and back into my front pocket, no longer fearing the ridiculous pocket bulge.

It was fun while it lasted, but I ultimately grew tired of the flip-flop-flap of the magic wallet. I wanted to return to a more traditional style of wallet, but without delving back into a life of overstuffing. I started looking around and I ultimately decided on the Bellroy Slim Sleeve. The downfall of the magic wallet began when I started disobeying the physical limitations of the wallet and it became an unruly mess too difficult to manage. Cards started dropping out when I would go to pay for things, the “magic” bands would get twisted or hung up on something rigid. Looking at the images of the Bellroy, I knew I could fit everything that I needed in the wallet, but still maintain some semblance of a trimmed-down wallet. The Slim Sleeve is not going to win the Slim Clip Award for simplicity or slimness. It is, however, a very stylish and sensible solution for those of us who want to slim down, but still carry around just a bit more. Here’s my currently Slim Sleeve inventory: (4) cards with embossed account numbers; (5) other plastic cards, including my drivers license; my health insurance card; (4) cardstock loyalty cards; and (3) dollar bills. The Slim Sleeve handles all of these items without issue and yet the design itself is inspiring enough to have me consider removing one or two additional items that I rarely use.

Beyond the slimming design aspects of the Bellroy Slim Sleeve, I love the aesthetics and functional design as well. I have the cocoa color, which has standout orange accent stitching. One of the interior card pockets has a pull-out tab to provide easy access to tucked away cards. I love the premium feel of the leather and after a year of everyday use, my Bellroy shows few signs of wear and tear other than an impression of the pull-tab on the exterior side of the wallet, a subtle hint that I might need to take another look at my priorities there.

Buy the Bellroy Slim Sleeve today on Amazon or direct from Bellroy where it is available in a wide range of colors including black, blue steel, cocoa, java, cognac, slate, tamarillo, and teak.