Escape gear comes in many forms, but we definitely didn’t expect to find it in laces. ITS Tactical’s Kevlar Escape Laces are made of 100% Kevlar and come in 54-inch, 60-inch and 72-inch sizes to fit standard shoes and boots. Sure, they’re strong, providing 360 lbs of tensile strength, are both fire and chemical resistant, and they won’t break. But they really shine if you’re ever in a bad situation and tied up with zip ties or the like, doubling as a friction saw with a bit of ingenuity (i.e. stringing the laces through the zip ties, tying them up between your feet, and basically pedalling for a few seconds until it cuts).
When you combine rich, rugged Horween leather with a clean, classic silhouette, you get a new version of what could be your favorite boot for fall. We’re talking about the Trask Brady Boot, a super-clean take on the more casual chukka. With a leather lining and an Ortholite insole, they combine comfort and style for days in spades. The clay-colored Horween Norwegian elk leather exterior will look just as great after years of wear as it will fresh out of the box, and the stitch-out welt construction adds another layer of durability to a pair of boots that’s ready to wear with light wash denim now and with a crisp wool suit this fall and winter. With styling potential that’s versatile and prepared for anything, this just might be your new favorite pair of chukkas.
Learn more at Trask – $265
A pair with classic black and white is iconic enough. But if you’ve ever wanted to experiment with a larger gamut of colors you’re bound to love these Custom Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. Starting with a blank canvas these shoes can be customized in ten ways, including both individual sides of upper, the tongue, heel strip, inner lining, laces, eyelets, and rubber sidewall most with 25 colors to choose from. You can even change the color of the stitching and add a short message or ID to the heel strip, meaning the odds of bumping into somebody with the same exact shoe is statistically impossible if you put a little effort into customizing yours.
Learn more at Nike – $75
The detailing is fantastic. But it’s the big picture that matters more, and Helm Boots’ Sam puts a dapper finishing touch on your outfit. Each pair is handcrafted in Maine at one of the last shoe factories in the USA using full-grain Tasman York leather for the upper and an oil-treated leather sole for longevity, the latter complemented with Helm’s signature white midsole. Available in black (shown) or original, which features brown Horween Chromexcel leather paired with Cone Mills Denim trim. Wear them and resole them as need be, and you’re bound to have these boots for a long while.
Learn more at Helm Boots – $499
Nike’s Flyknit Elite strays far from the traditional golf shoe, and with some merit. The shoe uses Nike’s lightweight and breathable Flyknit upper to securely hug your foot without building up as much heat as leather, as well as a full-length Lunarlon midsole for soft but responsive cushioning. The former also extends to your ankle thanks to an extra-long collar that adds a sock-like fit on top of naturally keeping out pebbles and dirt. But more radical is the absence of traditional golf spikes, replaced instead by a Traction pattern integrated in the base of the shoe that ensures grip on grass — and adds solidity to the shoe’s overall stability.
Learn more at Nike – $270
Jack Erwin started out focusing on essentials like sleek dress shoes, sturdy combat boots, and lately, a great pair of boat shoes. That focus on taking over your footwear shelf (or hell, closet) just added another point of attack, as the brand’s new Parker Driving Loafer is a welcome change from other shoes in the category in both looks and functionality. Available in an array of eye-catching colors and made on a custom last that creates a streamlined look, the Parker would be a particularly handy pair to have on your feet when hitting the road for a Sunday drive — and for taking a leisurely stroll thereafter. The Italian suede and nubuck are sharp and premium, creating a pleasing visual effect (something for which the brand is known). Plus, eight color options, each suited to warm weather, are going to look even better when combined with a very agreeable price point.
Grab a pair at Jack Erwin – $115
Thick-soled shoes have coddled your feet far too long. The proof of weakened muscles and ligaments? Try running barefoot. Skinners Shoes are probably closer to socks than shoes, but still offer enough protection to guard your feet from succumbing to adverse terrain. They’re hand-made in Europe and boast a durable dual coating of an anti-abrasive polymer underneath that’s affixed to antimicrobial fibre. Admittedly, working up to being able to run a few miles with this style shoe might take awhile, but they’re handy for a multitude of uses since they roll up tiny and are ideal for bringing along as an extra pair of shoes that you can shove in your pocket.
Find them at Kickstarter – $32+
Perfectly suited to either casual or formal wear depending on how you dress it, Taft’s Jack Boot combines an Italian full-grain calf skin toe cap and counter with a natural raw wool upper for a distinguished look you won’t find on shoes in your local department store. A calfskin inner lining adds structure to the upper and is fitted with metal-reinforced upper eyelets to support the cotton laces. They’re rounded out by a leather sole featuring rubber inserts for comfort, grip, and durability, making this a pair of boots you won’t want to take off.
Check out the Jack Boot in brown (shown) and Grey/Oxblood at Taft – $235