Spring Is the Perfect Time for Suede Shoes

From the classic to the fashion-forward, there's something here for anyone looking to step up their footwear game this season

March 26, 2024 7:19 am
Gucci Loafers, Clarks Wallabees and Velasca Barbees
Gucci Loafers, Clarks Wallabees and Velasca Barbees
Gucci, Clarks, Velasca

Suede lace-up bucks are classic, no doubt. However, in the current zeitgeist, there’s a noticeable nod toward a more lived-in, handcrafted and casually elegant aesthetic in suede footwear. A look at menswear trade shows like Pitti Uomo this past season displayed luxury shoe brands and designers with numerous suede iterations of non-leather crepe soles, deconstructed uppers, and/or stitched toes. These hybrids, combining elements of moccasins, loafers, derbies, desert boots and variations thereof, embody a laid-back aesthetic while evoking an artisanal and heritage-inspired feel. Fashion-forward yet timeless, these suede shoes are your versatile go-to for the upcoming warmer months.

Many of these shoes, with their crepe sole or stitched toe, draw inspiration either directly or subconsciously from the classic Clarks Wallabee — a moccasin-inspired shoe developed in 1960s Ireland. As documented in the book Clarks in Jamaica, Wallabees gained prominence through Jamaica’s style culture, embraced by Reggae artists, footballers and the youth, solidifying their status as a cultural footwear icon. In the ’90s, the Wu-Tang Clan displayed their penchant for the crepe sole shoe, and Britpop rockers like Oasis also caught the Wallabee bug. Fast forward to today, and there has been a revival in its popularity in America, with many shoemakers putting their spin on the classic style.

The suede shoes below pay homage to the past while forging their distinct aesthetic. Effortlessly conveying a relaxed vibe and inherent elegance, these versatile shoes can be paired with tailored trousers, jeans, chinos, or even shorts. Whether constructed with moc toes, one-piece uppers, crepe soles, or monk straps, here are nine artisanal options to consider this Spring.

The suede shoes that inspired so many, the Clarks Wallabee, remain a reliable and timeless choice at a digestible price point. Crafted with butter-soft suede uppers, Clarks has updated this icon for spring, presenting it in a pale gray colorway with the proportioned crepe sole left natural.

Launched in 2014, Jacques Solovière is a Parisian shoe brand that has made waves with its gorgeous detailing and ultra-lightweight silhouettes produced in limited batches. Made in Italy from suede calf leather in a one-piece design, this front-pinched effect creates an instantly unique silhouette.

Hand-cut and stitched with natural crepe soles, Yuketen’s elevates moccasins epitomize fashion authenticity. The construction involves flipping Italian full-grain leathers to retain their structure, thickness, and durability, ensuring the smooth grain side of the leather wears pleasantly against the skin. Pair them with light blue jeans in spring and linen shorts in the summer.

These suede moc toe lace-ups from the Italian lifestyle brand Velasca strike all the right sartorial notes. With a Blake construction over a classic crepe sole, these elegant shoes complement suits, jeans, and cords. Crafted from calf leather in a handsome beige colorway, they are built to be admired.

While most of the shoes here are lace-ups, we would be remiss not to include this chic suede loafer from Gucci. With a chunkier silhouette, it borrows the classic Clarks crepe sole but with an elevated wedge shape. This handsome tobacco suede upper comes with the iconic interlocking “G” gold-toned hardware.

With over 130 years of shoemaking heritage, J.M. Weston embodies quality craftsmanship and timeless style. Exclusive to Matches Fashion, these suede derbies feature a beautifully stitched moc round toe with contrasting stitching. Resting atop the classic crepe sole, the taupe brown suede upper complements any trouser.

These gorgeous suede monk straps from Tod’s exude informal elegance and laid-back luxury. The legendary design team at Tod’s has infused this single monk strap with a stitched moccasin-style toe and the highest quality suede that conforms to your feet. If a monkstrap were made for 2024, this would be it.

With each shoe handmade by skilled artisans near Venice, Italy, Marsell crafts the forms and finishes of their shoes through contrasting shades, raw cuts, different textures and unique design elements. These tan derbies showcase artisanal craftsmanship with a pronounced wedge sole, rounded toe, and subtly distressed shading.

Hand-stitched with Italian leather lining, this moccasin-meets-loafer from the London brand Duke and Dexter exudes a rock ‘n’ roll edge. The commando black crepe rubber sole adds extra attitude and grip, while the light tan suede upper softens the overall vibe. The pull tabs and metal eyelets give it extra British cool flair.

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