Four ways to stay cool in your summer shoes

On a hot summer’s day, few things feel nicer than throwing on a loose, cotton dress. But what about your footwear?

You can’t usually wear flip flips if you’re heading to the office. Instead you need to find something practical, stylish and cool.

To help you work out the perfect shoes this summer, shoe consultant Susannah Davda shares her top four tips.

Four ways to stay cool in your summer shoes

Shoes can make or ruin your day. How many times have your shoes rubbed on your way somewhere important? Remember having to buy emergency plasters just to be able to continue your journey?

This has happened to me many times, but the worst was a lethal combination of fishnets (on-trend at the time), and brand new hard leather flats. I call this ‘the cheese wire effect’. Apologies if you’re eating lunch.

Not all shoe problems are this extreme, but even a small blister can distract you from more important thoughts. Whether that’s giving a convincing sales pitch, planning your next business venture, or sorting out the logistics of your family life. The world needs your undistracted brain power.

What you wear on your feet affects your mood and confidence. Your footwear choice also impacts how others perceive you. 

When you look down and see a pair of smart, beautiful shoes; you can stride through life in a self-assured way that other people will notice.

The temperature may not cool down until late September, so I’m going to help you navigate these sweaty months in comfort and style.

Here are my four tips for keeping cool and comfortable in summer.

1) Go natural

Despite advances in synthetic material technology accelerated by the increase in people choosing vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, leather is still one of the best materials to wear on your feet for comfort. 

Leather is often spoken about as being ‘breathable’, and whilst it’s true that some leathers do let some air flow through them, I’m going to focus on absorbency.

Leather linings absorb moisture away from your feet, so that your feet feel dryer and more comfortable. Given enough time (I recommend 24 hours between wears), moisture evaporates well from leather. Textile linings often start to smell after a while, as the moisture gets trapped, and bacteria can accumulate. Synthetic linings just don’t absorb your sweat.

How do you know what your shoes are lined with? Here’s your key to understanding the little label on your shoes:

2) Stop the sweat (and the friction)

When our feet sweat, the moisture can cause our shoes to slip. But did you know that the act of sweating also increases friction? When the water from the sweat evaporates, tiny salt crystals are left, and when our shoes move over them, they can irritate our skin.

Wearing thin tights or pop-socks or even discreet plasters can help. If you can find anti-friction foot balm, use that before the skin breaks.

The more straps or separate pieces a shoe or sandal has, the more possible areas of friction there are. Select simple styles, and bring your mini first aid kit (complete with pop-socks) just in case.

3) Let the air flow

When you want to be smart, particularly in a work environment, you may choose to keep your toes covered. If that’s the convention in your workplace, I’d like to offer you some closed toe but cool style suggestions.

D’Orsay or half d’Orsay (see below):

Slingback:

Cut-outs:

Closed front sandal back:

Let your feet breathe, and you’ll feel more chilled all over.

4) A calm, cool commute

Although I mostly work from my home office now, I commuted daily from my various homes to London offices for 11 years. The final 18 months were a 1 hour 20 minute commute each way (on a good day). Walk, packed train, rammed tube, busy tube, walk. As you can imagine, that last commute contributed to my decision to start a home-based consultancy business.

I know how unpleasant a smooth-running commute can be, and how that just gets worse when things go wrong. Here are my recommendations for what to wear on your feet when you’re travelling:

Pick something with a closed toe to protect your feet. I have a reflex when someone treads on my toes, to elbow them in the ribs. Thankfully I’ve managed to restrain the reflex, and I’d love to help you keep your cool too. 

Avoid sandals, particularly mules, slides and flip-flops. Slip-on shoes can fall under trains (‘mind the gaaaaaap!’), and flip-flops have a tendency to get eaten by escalators.

Try cut-out trainers for your commute, or loafers and ballet pumps look smarter. Now you know how to select comfortable options you might even find that you can wear your work shoes on your commute.

We hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you’d like to read more of Susannah’s shoe stories and advice, head over to her website, shoeconsultant.com. You can also find her on InstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

Photo by Blubel