Jul 13, 2022
Shoes are the foundation of an outfit, both literally and figuratively, so choose wisely. I’m here to tell you that you can’t go wrong with a pair from our in-house line. While the uninitiated may associate us more with ties, shirts and tailoring, we’ve been offering a handful of our own footwear styles for some years now, and they’ve come to be a core part of the Drake’s look. For this reason, we’ve enshrined these styles in the newly launched Perennials collection, which will be available year-round.
Our selection of shoes began a couple of years ago with the Clifford desert boot. Our own particular take on the classic style, it was conceived as our ‘go anywhere, do anything’ shoe. Our Creative Director, Michael Hill, has long been a keen advocate of the desert boot (he noted that it was often the only shoe he took with him when travelling, and that it would rise to any occasion), and so it only made sense that we develop a Drake’s version.
Working with makers in Italy and sourcing the finest materials, we cooked up what we felt was desert boot perfection: the Clifford was born, and with it our foray into footwear had begun in earnest. Since then, the Clifford has gained a sibling in the moc-toe Crosby boot (as worn by one Daniel Craig in his role as James Bond in the upcoming No Time to Die), and a pair of low-top cousins, in the form of the Chard and Wayford derbies. As the late, great George Frazier (renowned menswear journalist, and mentor to none other than our good pal, G. Bruce Boyer) once said: “if you want to know if a man is well dressed, look down.” It’s often said that it’s the clothes that maketh the man, but overlook shoes at your peril.
As mentioned above, the first shoe we put out was the Clifford (and if you would like to read a wonderful rumination on the cultural impact of the desert boot, right up to our own contribution to the genre, then be sure to read Faye Fearon’s article here). A suede chukka-style boot seemed the obvious starting point because of its sheer versatility. Few other styles of shoe make the perfect partner to a corduroy suit and worn-in denim, and it’s this that makes them an indispensable wardrobe essential. Remember, our very own Mr. Hill swears by them to take him from the daytime to the evening in seamlessly stylish fashion.
The Clifford is our most classic option, with a plain toe and simple two-eyelet construction. But if you’re in the market for something a little more unusual, then the Crosby boot might be just the thing. Taking the Clifford as a starting point, the Crosby has a three-eyelet construction, and is recognisable by the distinctive moccasin-style stitching around the toe (so distinctive, in fact, that eagle-eyed James Bond fans had spotted Craig wearing them on set before the film was even announced).
Both of these styles have become a big part of the Drake’s look. If you’re thinking of wearing one of our appealingly casual Games Suits, then the Clifford or the Crosby is the safest of bets. Equally, if you’re dressing down, then these shoes still do the trick. And if a flannel suit and tie are on the cards, then you’re still in business with a pair of these. Need I say more?
That takes us on to our selection of derbies. Relative newcomers compared to the styles mention above, the Chard and Wayford lace up derby shoes are the most recent additions to our range of footwear. They share a clear family line with their chukka relatives, the unmistakeable Drake’s handwriting running through them like a stick of rock. The Wayford is a simple, rounded plain toe shoe, taking its inspiration from the unfussy minimalism of the Clifford, while the Chard echoes the Crosby boot with its moc-stitched toe.
Like their predecessors, the name of the game with these shoes is versatility (unsurprising, then, that they’re a key part of our Perennials collection). Here at Drake’s we take a fairly holistic approach to our designs, so that each piece pairs effortlessly with every other piece (more or less). The derby shoes we have on offer are a great example of this. They’re the logical complement to our Games Chinos, and our five-pocket selvedge denim. Ditto our wool flannel trousers, cords, and cotton drill options (even the sweatpants from our collaboration with Aimé Leon Dore, why not?!)
If you’re after something with a lower profile than a chukka, but still want a hardy crepe sole, a premium suede upper, and an elegant, timeless shape, then these are undoubtedly the shoes for you. It’s footwear that requires very little thought – just lace them up and you’re ready to go, no need to worry too much about where you’re going, or the day’s potential weather conditions (they’re as durable as they are versatile; versatile as they are stylish). Like with all the best things they will become an effortless choice as they take you anywhere you need to go.
A great outfit is no good if you’re wearing the wrong shoes, and shoes can become an easy thing to overthink. While it’s true that some of us have countless pairs, each one specifically design for a particular occasion, many simply want a few pairs that do as much as possible. If you fall into the latter camp (or even if you faller into the former – a good pair of shoes is a good pair of shoes), then you are the exact sort of person we had in mind while designing these styles. While choice is always a pleasure, sometimes there is much to be said for relying on one pair of shoes to do it all, and that is the ethos at the heart of our footwear designs, and our Perennials collection more broadly: styles to take you from weekday to weekend, and beyond.