Shoes without laces! There is something to be said for the feeling of easing into laceless footwear. What is that feeling? A Deliberate Hug; Deliberate as no shoestrings imposing them around your feet. Find a good one — and what starts as “A Deliberate Hug” eventually takes on the shape and movement-wear patterns from the owner.
Long gone are the days when shoes without laces were central to the age-old philosophy of “me time“. Exquisitely comfortable, louche, and with occasional technical-wear influences, today’s most notable footwear exports are shoes without laces, elevated enough to slip in with—almost—any modern closet. We’ve reached this point because, by and large, convenience wins.
Brands of all stripes have cottoned on to the laceless’s appeal translating to styles best for formal occasions to leisurely strolls (because fashion loves classifying). After all, what’s not to like about a shoe you don’t have to fuss with any laces, hooks, or other trappings that require effort to stow ’em on your feet?
And don’t forget to keep in mind the versatility of shoes without laces. Name another type of shoe that goes with both a sweatsuit and, well, an actual tailored suit? Prepare yourself for laceless shoe ownership with our comprehensive guide that’ll hopefully make things a little clearer as we break shoes without laces down to different styles, construction, history, and everything in between.
Why & When We Begin To Slip In?
Here at BestShoe99, we study one of the most profound cultural changes of the 20th century: the rise of shoes without laces. We study laceless shoes as they evolved on the beaches of Miami. We study laceless shoes as worn by Mr. Kanye West and by Princeton undergraduates, but our bread-and-butter as a connoisseur is the “Why” and “When” our sartorial standards went from eyelets to laceless!
Today’s shoes without laces have a special vocabulary of their own – as the laceless market is flooded with options to mix and match to create a personal style. And that diversity, in fact, reflects their various historical roots. So for purposes of clarity, we subdivide the history of the shoes without laces based on types. . . while maintaining a rough timeline!
The origins of shoes without laces lie in Ancient Rome, where it was the mulleus calceus (a red or purple shoe worn by the three highest magistrates) originally worn within the bedroom, but contemporary appropriation refers to it as a Mule are not just laceless. . . but backless and usually closed-toed!
Laceless shoes are a sartorial way to display the wealth and power of The Mughals in India as well. . . but the approach is a little more ornamental! The Mojari originated during the Mughal rule; in keeping with the Mughal flair for opulence, those slippers were quite ornate, often woven with gold-silver zari (thread) and encrusted with jewels.
The Mughals were the first to patronize them, and they were immensely popular among the kings and queens of India’s richest period. Rajasthan, in particular, was a center for the creation of these wonderful shoes. The mojari was designed as a slip-on shoe, with the side and back of the foot almost bare.
This aspect of the shoe is more evident in the era with which it’s most often associated, the 16th century. As depicted in paintings such as “The Swing” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard or “La Toilette” by François Boucher, mules and mojari function as potent symbols of a sophisticated king’s culture. If it feels like you’ve got some reading to do on Mules – WSJ nicely theorized their history!
Although one could argue, that what was supposed to be one of the first shoes without laces does have laces – but as purely a decorative element rather than for tying! At the center of this “Laceless” revolution were Moccasins, a genre of footwear that broke “the functional” element of laces—maybe to redefine and set the base until laces are fully assassinated.
Arrived in the U.S. around 30,000 years ago via the Bering Sea from Asia, the Moccasin was, subsequently, adapted by Indian tribes, and due to different climates and habitats across North America, various versions of the moccasin evolved, each suited to the climate and terrain of its tribe’s origin.
So how did this Moccasin leap North America and transmogrify into silhouettes that became the baseline for dressing? Who were the style setters from music, film, and TV who helped them along? Things get interesting as Europeans, especially shoemakers courting The Royal Family, encountered the Moccasin around 1615 in North America, and within 100 years, the soft Moccasin eclipsed the hard versions, which are ultimately. . . Laceless!
As far as the journey from there is concerned, various major milestones mark the path. Various communities around the world have forged their own way (and reasons) of un-lacing shoes, but much of the laceless we wear today finds its origins in the royal residences. After all, from whom to expect the bold move of getting through laces?
There is significant evidence to believe that one of the first shoes without lace is, in fact, a Boot! Designed by Queen Victoria’s bootmaker, Mr. J Sparkes-Hall in 1837. It was said that he created the pair of ankle-height boots with elastic inserts on either side, to make them easy to pull on and off for her majesty. However, this boot would not have been made possible without the prior invention of vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear.
By far, the ancestor to the modern-day laceless shoes was born. But those variations were left in relative global obscurity until the early 1920s, thanks to the ambition of Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger – a shoemaker from Norway where local peasant villagers “Tesers” — unique, yet functional leather slip-ons—vivify the nerds of English sportsmen.
Tveranger’s passion for shoemaking evolved during his seven-year stint in North America, where he learned the craft and found design inspiration from moccasins worn by the Indian tribes of the Iroquois.
After merging his experience, North American Indian footwear design, and the design of traditional moccasin-like shoes worn by the people of Aurland, he created the “Aurland moccasin,” later known as the “Aurland shoe.” His early iterations were patented as early as 1920.
As the century progressed, in 1926, Wildsmith Shoes founder’s grandson—Raymond Lewis Wildsmith—was commissioned by King George VI, to make a country house shoe that he could wear mostly indoors with his shooting hose.
Raymond came up with a low-heeled design that did not include laces and which could be comfortably slipped on and off.
The construction of this shoe had a lot in common with the moccasin, though it’s unknown whether Raymond was familiar with that related style, or if he came up with the design based on the very specific instructions he received. This design soon appeared in Wildsmith’s ready-to-wear collection as the 582 (later the Model 98). Today, the style is known simply as the Wildsmith Loafer.
Various magazines were working out how to capitalize on the vast potential of laceless shoes – bringing them to the masses, rather than a privileged few. G.H. Bass, a shoe company that began to work in 1876, would later be contacted by both Esquire and Rogers, Pete & Co to produce a new version of the “loafer,” called the “Weejun.”
It touted a more American appeal due to G.H. Bass’ location, Maine. The first Weejun ad appeared in The New York Herald Tribune on May 27, 1936, and was sold in the Roger, Pete’s & Co store.
Their design included a distinctive strip of leather (the saddle) of the shoe with a diamond-shaped cutout. Bass gave their loafers the name “Weejuns,” to sound like Norwegians – a nod to the Norwegian roots of the shoe, and to differentiate them from the Spaulding loafer. The Prep School students in the 1950s coined the term further “penny loafer.”
The success of the shoes without laces was further intensified, as so many things in fashion do these days, with Gucci. In 1953, Among the agenda-setting items, the ambitious Italian family sent down the runway was a loafer with a new touch, Italian flair, and attention to detail that sophisticated men slip-on to show off their wealth.
Gucci’s Horsebit Loafers are one of the very few ways to disguise social class. Well into the 1970s, Various sneaker companies have taken this spirit of laceless to its logical (and approachable) extremes. Vans come up with Style #98 (now commonly known as the Vans Slip On) in 1977. Style #98, based more on a boat shoe silhouette but soon adopted a more similar build to the previously mentioned Era, has become the epicenter of skateboarders but quickly navigated beyond skateboarding.
As the concept of “going to the office” has fundamentally changed, companies get more results-oriented than process-oriented, and life gradually turns less formal—another dimension of the shoes without laces unfolds: designers have added newfangled tweaks to old-school casual laceless shoes – curved into a dressier silhouette that works with a suit.
The ’90s are recognized as the transitional phase of laceless shoes from the bedroom to the boardroom. Laceless shoes with a bit more volume and formal materials are a fun way to tackle the sartorial shift that differs from average slip-on.
But the main tastemaker responsible for the shift to slip-on shoes is surely Mr. Kanye West, a man known for his flair for creating footwear marmite. From the foam runners to the 450s, most of the artist’s notable outputs for the Yeezy brand are slip-on by design; orthopedic spaceships designed expressly for comfort, clout and to elicit anger from people on the internet.
One of the most recent examples is the Yeezy Knit Runners: fuzzy, sulfur-colored sneakers that sit somewhere between squashed lemons and house slippers, they are nonetheless some of the most interesting, buzzed-about shoes in the world right now.
Most recently, the slip-on craze has moved beyond Kanye and sneakerheads and straight into the arena of mainstream pop culture. In Netflix’s hugely successful South Korean drama Squid Game, contestants in a fictional gameshow battle to stay alive and win a life-changing amount of cash, while wearing a uniform of green tracksuits and schoolyard plimsolls.
This seemingly small styling detail caused a 7,800 percent uptick in the sale of that particular model of white Vans, made last-minute Halloween costumes a cinch, and cemented the slip-on shoe as one of the biggest trends of the year. And it’s not just Vans that have slipped into the wider discourse. Even the most derided of slip-on shoes has experienced a celebrity-endorsed revival of late, with shares in Crocs soaring 200 percent in the past 12 months.
It probably hasn’t hurt that Mr. Nicholas Braun, star of Succession, wore Crocs for the 2020 Emmys and that this year and Questlove sported a gold pair to the Oscars. There’s something satisfyingly unserious about it; shoes that are easy to wear, that combine the cultural clout of fashionable sneakers with the comfort of house slippers, and the nonchalance of sandals.
Our taste for shoes without laces shows no sign of abating either. From established brands to high fashion houses (luxury labels from Prada to Gucci have cashed in on the public’s desire for laceless shoes), the options are now endless. With such a plethora of choices, it’s the best foot forward, the options all comfortable, the directions fresh.
Untying Classic Ways To Get Laceless
The other night I put on my best lace-ups and went out for a grocery run. Sounds absurd, I know. Even the most dedicated lace-up-only person craves something a little easier to get around in, something that could be worn all day without exhaustion, something, well, laceless – which is really as it should be. But there are many ways to trade in those endless strings for a beautiful, classic laceless style.
Over the decades, brands have met perennial demand with a dizzying array of offerings, leaving no color, material, or finish unturned. With a bit more volume—shoes without laces are presented beautifully and appropriately for a dressed-up crowd signaling that the world has progressed far beyond what anybody but the most visionary laceless fanatic ever imagined.
But despite the scale of options, there are those strikingly universal shades that men keep coming back to – from loafers to mules, here, a dozen classic styles with that certain something loyal masses can’t get enough of. It’s curated not just by our enthusiast editors but professional shoemakers and five brands that serve great laceless experiences but are staffed by people who may know enough about them.
In this segment are clear-cut explanations of various expressions of shoes without laces. This segment decodes traditional styles that, even though they have been around for centuries, have not been well understood or explained, as well as styles that have been rejuvenated or invented in the last 20 years, like mules, mojari, and espadrilles.
Though the “shoes without laces” revolution struck hard in the 1980s and ’90s; What’s magical cropped up in the past ten years that laceless theory has seen an almost rocket-like acceleration around the world? Why are laceless gentlemen far more confident than their laced companions for even dressier duties? Gentleman, the world, after all, is not blindly devoted to the Loafers!
Yes, it’s the humble loafer, the comfiest, most versatile smart-casual men’s shoe (without laces!) going around. Well, the world found them interesting. Largely because it’s no longer just lazy folk’s best friend – Loafers have been having a real resurgence lately—and in the form, they now find themselves—arguably overtaking their laced-up cousins, the Oxford and the Derby.
Pound the maze that is Ginza, Tokyo, and you will instantly get a feeling for how a loafer is not just a laceless shoe! If white socks offend you, steer clear. Partly that’s down to comfort, being a slip-on shoe, but it’s also thanks to the loafer’s ability to look good in almost any situation. Jeans, chinos, suit pants, cotton shorts, whatever.
The ubiquitous loafer takes on many forms and names, undergoing a remix of sorts: from chunky silhouettes with lug soles and souped-up platforms to eye-catching embellishments, and daring colors. But, of course, timeless loafers will never fade away—include iconic Penny loafers, supple driving silhouettes, and minimalist shapes, all coming in luxurious leather and suede.
Today’s superstars can indeed trace their taste in loafers back to the birth of moccasin-style slip-ons in Norway, but the full story of loafers – in particular – is longer and more complex. All in all, what ties them all together is that they are slip-on, no-fuss shoes intended not just for people who loaf but for easy living and, well, loafing around in style.
Such compressed words are not enough to convince that you need a pair—or five—in your rotation! We won’t admit how many loafers we have collected or how many styles we currently have hearted on BestShoe99, but we happily recommend our guide to loafers – that many blame for defining loafers to create a permanent place in readers’ heart (and their shoe collection).
Shoes without laces have been having what we in the business call “a moment” for a while now! Sure, you look great in ’em, but what about the masculinity that you lace up with those boots? As broadcasting much of your feet earns that bad rep – just ask sartorialists. Despite changing that century of heavy-handed gender stereotyping, in 1837, a robust silhouette finally arrived in the laceless world.
Ditching the laces—not the expression of masculinity—with elastic inserts on either side: It’s, in fact, Queen Victoria’s bootmaker, Mr. J Sparkes-Hall, who’s credited with creating Chelsea boots. Fast-forward 165 years, the Chelsea Boots now come with a varied collection of associations, from the blue-collar credibility of Australian workwear to the aristocratic trappings of jodhpur boots.
So why is the world drawn to Chelsea Boots? The great sartorial pleasures as how simultaneously utilitarian, streamlined, and sometimes even edgy the Chelsea boots are! Though, For us, they masculinize the laceless world. And for the best Chelsea, It makes sense to seek advice from more experienced people, except that advice is often uncomfortably specific for a quite vibrant space.
But How do you know if a Chelsea is good for you? We’ve been making this case for years, and the answer seems equally obvious: Unlike most of their laced (and laceless) paisan, Finding the right Chelsea is not as effortless as this boot visually looks. In fact, how the boot will visually look depends on how well you red the proportions of your feet and align ’em with the service of the boot as it rolls around.
Standing laceless implies standing helpless on the insteps of Chelsea, as only side panels are flexible. It depends on the form-fitting quality of lasts, and how nicely uppers are ‘blocked’: both elements come at a premium! There are services to match most budgets, but if you want these boots to look exactly how the world narrates them, then go quality or go home.
After years of indulging truly great Chelseas, not simply to enjoy ’em, but to understand what qualities made some of them exceptional: a great Chelsea by its nature is still mysterious! We understand a lot about it, and yet so much is unresolved. But we’re not immune to the magnetic attraction that occurs after anchoring the right pairs. Give a read to our regularly updated primer on Chelsea to feel all the corners of the Chelsea world.
It’s entirely possible to go through life eating nothing but the most familiar foods, reading books by the customary best-selling authors, or listening to a stock set of composers. Taking great pleasure in the same things over and over is not a bad thing. Similarly, many people are content to slide in only well-known slip-ons. Why not? They satisfy again and again.
Alas, shoemakers around our country learned years ago that they could exploit the desire for the familiar, lasting lot of loafers, Chelsea, and other international silhouettes, regardless of the local traditions, to appeal to a global market. I understand the thinking, yet our lore has something more to offer. It is donning laceless the really old-fashioned way: Mojari
Neither the heritage of being simple everyday wear of the past nor pride for being one of the first styles which gave the world (the Mughal empire especially) to sip the pleasure of slipping into a laceless shoe was enough for Mojari to withstand the introduction of Western styles to India. The silhouette still draws a diverse clientele curious to learn more about the culture rather than owning ’em as a part of their closet.
This particular style may not have proper feet (left or right) distinction, there are less aggressive Jutties that humbly appeal to the females of the royalty and upper classes. Made from the finest buff leather with simple blake construction (in cotton threads) convey a historical style and appeal enough for photo shoots and press appearances: Mojari has made real progress since then.
Finding Mojari in India even five years ago would have required a trip to Punjab or Rajasthan, a northwest enclave where cobbler shops would cater as best they could to the tastes of their local clientele and recent immigrants. Mojari is in many respects considerably more versatile and just not only ornamented than it once was. It’s all about the synergy between the form and the event.
By the time it taps your wardrobe, they require an experienced, or at least educated hand. In fact, the biggest reason is a lack of assembling skills when donning a Mojari to an occasion could garner unwanted attention — a feeling of otherness. Slip it in the right way, and the masculine plain leather Mojari feels empowering; and also something that needs to be protected a little bit!
Romantic loafers and Chelsea often get the lion’s share of attention (and sales) in the laceless segment, another isle with quieter charm awaits a mere 8000 Km away in Spain. A country that brings to mind the world of Espadrilles: A laceless silhouette that become popular in the 50 years since Americans first became aware of them. Regardless of when people found ’em, though, the concept itself is ageless.
The techniques behind today’s Espadrilles go back a very long way; in fact, the addition of a practical rubber sole (as that rope makes them terrible with water) has been the only improvement from the original footwear’s documented appearances dating back to the 13th century. Since then, shoes have never been one of the trickiest areas for clothing in the summer.
There’s something deeply pleasurable about walking on the braids of dried esparto grass that makes up their sole attached with a single piece of canvas or cotton fibers wraps over the top. It moves against your feet, almost massaging them. And crunches in a satisfying manner. We take for granted the ability of shoes without laces to affect us emotionally.
And none of the laceless styles addresses how they make us feel quite like Espadrilles, which ultimately is the most important thing about ditching laces. Often that sense of comfort is felt through nerves and sinews tied directly to the soul. Espadrilles generally work on another level, liberating knots of feelings derived from more adult experiences.
Like a cozy sneaker developed with science to aid in shock absorption, the best espadrilles—with their malleable woven soles—are a low-tech wear-all-day shoe. A classic Espadrille is undeniably comforting, but what we prefer to pair it with is highly individual. Polo shirt and linen trousers, for instance. And the bottom three would all be fine with shorts.
As in easy, simple, and stylish. And yet they could also be worn with relaxed tailoring. Simon Crompton wrote in more detail here about his love for Espadrilles. But it’s far harder, however, to put one’s finger on what it is exactly about the way where Espadrilles will catch unwanted attention. After all, it’s an expression of ‘sprezzatura’, the art of dressing artlessly. At least seemingly so…
Not for just our guide on shoes without laces; today, it’s pretty hard to imagine a world where sneakers didn’t exist. This special style, as we are lucky enough to own many, occupies an exalted place because they set benchmarks and stretch context as they surprise and astound, almost, every week. Yet, there’s no style of footwear quite as egalitarian as the sneaker.
We asked some designers and editors to weigh in on how the laceless genre absorbs our current sneaker zeitgeist. The introduction of, or we should say the “abolition” of, laces exhibits that there are few boundaries for sneakers anymore. The concept of being “laceless” actually flares another way for designers to deploy sneakers in cool (and easy) new ways for an already massive US$72.72bn market.
Designers unlaced an explosion in diversity that has blown apart the once-simple-laced framework of sneakers. Today, brands, as varied as AMIRI, Bottega Veneta, and TOM FORD, have offered up their singular versions of the slip-on; but it’s fair to say that without the patronage of urban skaters, laceless sneakers would probably never have achieved their level of popularity.
And a special mention must be given to Vans – one of the biggest names in skate attire – for bringing the style to the fore. Its classic canvas slip-on, which now comes in countless variations, was first introduced in 1977, and anyone who has donned a pair will know their worth when it comes to comfort. . . the ultimate lazy man’s dream! As the century passes, now there are slip-ons that offer inspiration to every taste!
From the foam runners to the 450s, most of Mr. Kanye West’s notable outputs for the Yeezy brand are slip-on by design. Givenchy recently dropped its suitably named Marshmallow clogs, a futuristic shoe fitted with fuzzy shearling uppers, while Reebok’s Beatnik clogs are like puffer jackets for your feet. We largely detour designs that felt as if they were created for a moment instead of a lifetime.
Still, some new iteration seems like we can’t really ask for much more than these, and by the moment we thought we’ve seen it all, Nike wows with an all-new way to quickly and easily get into your shoes: Nike Go FlyEase! Though these shoes might test your pairing skills, they’re ultimate in convenience! The bi-stable hinge allows them to bend in half and avoids you from having to tie any laces.
The entire point of sneakers is to remain comfortable, and the elimination of laces has extended those qualities even further. But beyond just comfort, performance shoes are essentially about function. Most sports enthusiasts, admittedly, will neither want nor need such changes with their gears. After all, tying laces isn’t a hassle when the moment demands a perfect fit!
Sports shoe shows (and performs) best in custom-ly tied laces, but thanks to the massive wave of the “laceless” notion – we do have a laceless version which we might pay more for, probably, every sports shoe today! While subculture groups and the rise of casual have done much to popularise the shoes without laces, the athleisure powerhouses of the world launched the cult of laceless into the stratosphere.
Combining distinctive details and the crème de la crème of materials, there is definitely a bit of technicality that goes into making a practical laceless sports shoe, which the athletes and professionals are roaring for ’em. . . but only in the promotion studio. Laceless versions hardly sniffed the pitch, with some pairs seldom leaving the collector’s shelf, through genuine fear of scuffing them.
Shoes without laces offer an ideal — many ideals — that have influenced the world of footwear. Far better to absorb and consider rather than stamp a foot in lacing annoyance. But no matter how much they soothe – performance shoes might be the only segment that hasn’t acknowledged the unstoppable march of non-laced shoes. In fact, it feels like a change that nobody wants.
How To Choose The Right Laceless Pair For You
Let Me Explain.
For many folks, shoes without laces are the least aesthetically disturbing thing they can slip on; ensuring they don’t walk out barefoot! But for us (and many like us), laceless is pleasure and conviviality, it is culture, and it sweetens how we present ourselves to the world. It’s less on creating a statement for the people than creating an experience for ourselves.
Such leisurely sense has classically been associated with shoes without laces that further aged and evolved over many years, silhouettes that touched emotions, inspired contemplation, and provoked discussion. But is the impression of extravagance comes with every laceless pair? Is the name “laceless” the guarantee of quality? Yes… they were!
At least until the concept of going laceless remained a way to disguise the wearer’s social class. Once they pass the mark of opulence and brands made laceless available to anyone who chooses to put ’em on: the classic laceless experience that develops and enhances comfort and ease tends to be rare and increasingly expensive, which, in fact, a few people have access to!
Ditching laces, perhaps now more than ever, is in short supply; and that, in fact, is a reason to exercise caution. Over time we have learned a few things that ought to come as a relief to all who sweat the task of unlacing… in the right way! Unlacing from what to look for in pair to pairing it with your needs, along with the best language to use when talking about the shoe in-store (or at their website)
Give Them A Thought!
A genuine leather loafer or a cemented Chelsea might be, conveniently, far better than, say, a 12-eyelet balmoral boot, but neither of them improves with time quite like Goodyear Welted shoes without laces in calfskin, whose every wear is a story. To muck this up, you will have to try really hard. Even if you do, everything will still turn out fine. . . initially!
In general, people come to leisure status to neutralize the intensity of modern life. A state where we let loose a little on the style front by either binging on burgers, TV, and oversized bottles of wine or fine-tuning to the sounds and sights of the outdoors. A laceless shoe is an extra pleasure. Even if those pairs are not so great, it will not matter.
So are shoes without laces simply a means to an end? Whether a weekend pleasure? A “casualized” world effect? or a convenience delivery system?
As with that, in their minds, it’s not worth much reflection beyond selecting an affordable pair. But if you find shoes intriguing, and would like to slip in a better laceless experience. . .
. . .one of the easiest and most direct methods is to adjust your mind-set. Not a physical or mental point so much as a psychological one. Apart from those who ever indulged in the deeper and richer experience of a quality laceless pair – too often, people never make this leap. After all, shoes without laces are designed to be enjoyed without the burden of anxiety, Right?
With the barest effort, you can simplify the entire procedure of selecting a quality laceless pair while feeling even better about it. It’s simply a matter of solemnity. A matter of thinking. That is, the way you think about the concept of being laceless, in fact, affects what you choose to slip in and how you generally approach your leisurely stroll or dressier calls.
“There’s been a rise in client interest in slipping into laceless shoes in recent years,” says Robin Lefcourt, founder of Laceless Selections. But most of ’em happily slide into whatever is served, Robin says. Endure the spirit of making informed and measured decisions and you’re likely to find pairs that are more interesting, more durable, and ultimately a better laceless experience.
Which Shoe Are You?
What once endured just by those who were busy relaxing, now has a new, improved, and diverse reputation build over the virtue of serious designers demonstrating their worth. Today’s laceless concept is far more in tune with what a social and formal calendar can bring.
The world has unlaced almost every piece of footwear needs to please the sluggish convenient nerds, but each such version has a deeper meaning—or we should say—a distinctive purpose – according to the people who designed them.
It’s equally convenient to slip-in Adidas Yeezy Foam Runner, John Lobb’s Penny Loafer, Vans Style #98, or Bridlen’s Chelsea Boot; though each is perceived differently by the world! The way you unlace reflects on your identity, personality, or values.
Who says the sartorial part of laceless dressing doesn’t have to be difficult? Because let’s face it, we are no longer relaxing and effortless as laying out at one in villages in which we’re known personally by its people; you might as well make the desired statement then!
But trying to master the vast array of laceless shoes from almost all corners of the earth is a long, though fascinating, slog. We reconsider the laceless subject periodically, but still penetrating the potential pleasures of the laceless world, still trudging along that endless route ourselves.
It’s better to slip into a pair that best reflects who you are, what you need (or your environment need), and most importantly, what message you want to convey, at your leisure, of course! Gentleman, read on to discover What Laceless Shoe Are You. . .
To Let Loose On Style
So you’re into (or slipping into) the laceless concept purely for, well, the purest purpose for which, in fact, the whole world has ditched laces: Grounding something that complements the mere act of respite and relaxation!
The thing you wore exclusively in your most lethargic moments—without resorting to flip-flops.
At home, a thoughtfully designed espadrille can create a calm and composed feeling and serve as a special laceless pair for after-work drinks, celebrations with family and friends, hungover in a college lecture, picking your kids up from soccer practice without ever getting out of the car, or simply spreading on the couch.
That notion doesn’t mean espadrilles are never something for true public consumption. With the right pair—i.e. jute fabric that is hyper-soft but still has some structure, with the coiled rope sole crafted in a way that accentuates your feet instead of drowning them—you’ll be able to cruise through the week without ever changing your bottoms.
Though espadrilles encase all the abilities to answer any question your social or formal calendar might have, if you reserve one solely for the leisurely moments: it shows that you care about the proper way to relax, having an experience when you’re, actually, at ease. That can go public without looking lazy.
For Vogue Mavens
If you like your trendy fashion niche, with as much quirk as substance, then the world of shoes without laces delivers more than you might expect! Definitely, these are more status symbols than just convenient slip-on, with some pairs seldom leaving the collector’s shelf, through genuine fear of scuffing them.
We revisit this subject periodically because we believe that, unlike other segments of the laceless world, the choices in “the hype” range continue to expand. Especially during fashion month, several street style stars gave slip-ons a chance to see more of the world when they wore them to shows around the globe, from New York to Paris.
A perennial staple in this category is, of course, the slip-on sneakers for the connoisseur, beloved for their unique yet flattering silhouette and their range of stylistic opportunities. Oversized, cropped, suede, mesh, or leather, the best slip-on sneakers are a prized piece of smart-casual outerwear.
Though the classic sartorialist still doesn’t understand the potential pleasures of hundreds of “hyped” versions, those chic lads still don’t settle for a better (and equally convenient) way to have a bit of fun with their style. The trendy notion never settles for easy conclusions; and that, really, is the beauty of slip-on sneakers!
For Extra Sophistication
First, the “casual” movement happened, and everything changed. Then a full-blown pandemic hit, and everything really changed. Finally, our workplace no longer drags us into situations where we (have to) put a lot of care into our outfits. Though we didn’t make it to flip-flops yet! Or it’ll be impossible to differentiate your “work self” and “weekend self?
But shoes without laces went from sheer weekend attire to formal essentials the world took important board meetings in and ran to a close confidant wedding to replenish the relationship pool—all in the span of a couple of hours. But it’s one that does require a level of finesse (and not vans kind). Things are not that straightforward here, gentleman!
Laceless shoes in the workplace can be a tricky topic to tackle, specifically, it’s about figuring out which laceless shoes look best—and under which suits. The best loafers, one that strikes a balance of stylishness and sophistication, can abide by nearly all office dress codes, whether casual or corporate. Or instead, do the same, but better through Chelsea Boots!
Its clean and seamless lap around your feet tunes up with any formal attire without drawing too much attention with just the right kick of au courant and not-trying-too-hard grunge. Chelsea boot is a laceless variety that to my knowledge, consciously or subconsciously, colleagues will respect, and clients will appreciate. Here are all the more reasons to slide a Chelsea when you’re pitching for business.
A Little Bit Of. . . Everything!
So your closet is, in fact, a pantry of staples. And to add a laceless piece: you don’t want endless esoteric silhouettes each for a specific event. A concisely designed laceless artifact that even in the busiest, barest, dressiest, most anxious of circumstances can be used to construct a quick, satisfying presentation of yourself.
Sartorialists know they will dress well if they always have certain fundamental laceless pairs o̶n̶ h̶a̶n̶d̶ in feet that will complement just about any outfit. Such assurance does not require a vast “cellar,”. You simply need to have a loafer, well chosen. A silhouette with a pretty decent reputation when it is about covering a little bit of, well, everything!
Indeed, we love the refined, contemporary pleasure in those special pairs: but the leather or suede loafers we might slip on every day are actually the most connected shoes without laces in our lives, just as the art we live within our homes is ultimately more meaningful than what we might see on an occasional visit to a museum.
Just as comfortable with your civvies as they are your tailoring, loafers have a special ability to convey a semblance of an effort, while simultaneously projecting that you haven’t even made an effort at all. Let your loafers tackle every occasion, and the pleasures extend well beyond just convenience. Read on for more – here
Now Slip Into Your Wallet
We love to know that, by far, you’ve chosen to focus on something of interest, a touch of nuance or complexity that would repay the gift of your attention. Now, open up to me about your feeling around money. What, my friend, is the worthy amount that you’d happily pay to escape from the hassle of shoestrings?
“If fewer people see them, the less sense it makes to splurge.” this notion is firmly advocated by those who, from the classical lens, still associate laceless shoes with spare moments that call for subtlety and convenience – with barely any public consumption. And if you fall in this group, there’s no shame in chasing the cheapest laceless options, despite their future credentials aren’t assured.
In fact, the whole point of slipping into the laceless concept is to experience the convenience they offer – and that experience intensifies if embracing such concepts feels financially convenient as well! Luckily, we’re living in a golden age of affordable shoes without laces. Never before have there been so many reputable, high-quality laceless versions available for so little dough.
But make this a case only if you wore slip-ons, exclusively, in your most lethargic moments. Don’t accuse the quality of your sub-₹2k laceless shoes if you are pushing too hard or testing their abilities in every public setting. So, either begin to lace up again or begin to expect less from your affordable unlaced versions!
The Price Of A “Proper” Laceless Lesuire
While good, distinctive lace-ups can be found at every price, the odds of finding great values in the laceless ones are most in your favor if you commit to spending ₹7k-to-₹10k a pair. A “proper” laceless pair in that range cost enough (barely) to finance conscientious shoemaking and to expressly design pairs that make a delightful activity even better. Once you get below ₹5k, compromises are inevitable.
Now, we know someone, somewhere, is saying: “₹7k for shoes without laces? Nobody has to spend more than ₹2k”, thus, what is available at the low end of the price spectrum? After all, it’s not that laceless can’t be consumed affordably. . . but “affordable” are not complex epitomes that show the extent of laceless shoes’ potential.
You’ll have a laceless shoe, either way, but it costs to slip into something that enhances the unlacing experience. You do not get to know stiffeners, say, or the last definition, or anywhere else, really, by chasing the cheapest options. Many serve as an introduction to a particular style. If you like them, you might consider someday exploring more deeply, at a higher cost.
We would never fault people for the shoes they choose to wear, or for not making good shoes a priority in their lives. But if it’s not that your wallet can’t keep up with your eyes, you should care about a “Proper” Laceless affair. After all, your soothing escapes are too short to waste on inferior shoes. That is true no matter the price.
Consider What Determines Quality!
Over the years, we’ve defined shoes (without laces) most often by construction, occasionally by material, and, once in a while, by popularity. But many readers have suggested that we look at laceless pairs by price, demanding a more straightforward reflection on how much to spend. We, classically, associate Price to spot value in a pair.
After all, not every ₹7k pair is going to be good. Most often, this ₹7k-to-₹10k range is built on variables that might have little to do with the shoe, like markup, marketing, and supply and demand. Even the cheapest pairs, fresh off the box, have had at least a few degrees of sweetness to them. But it’s less about what they are and more about what they will become!
The best way of increasing your odds, Gentleman, is to know What will that splurge get you? Reading about elements that make a laceless pair great? At BestShoe99, we’re fortunate to be surrounded by sartorialists, shoemakers, and 1276 explored pairs of shoes to know exactly what quality shoes without laces ought to have!
Though it’s not a dynamic subject that demands revisiting periodically, in fact, quality is still based on century-old (barely changed) principles to develop comfort and ease with footwear. This is the natural environment of laceless pairs, where they will fulfill their function of delighting convenience that enhances as it ages. Here’s the classic definition of quality shoes without laces. . .
“What are you wearing?” It’s a question that typically invokes designers, brands, and trends. Little consideration is given to the materiality of what we wear. The material in our laceless shoes tends to operate with inappreciable fanfare — often serving as artistic intermediaries. Give them their due. . . and you’ll unlace gorgeous moments of grace!
And if you believe that the retailer you are buying from knows where things are coming from and will theorize the materials in a way it should: in actual fact, many sellers (and even some shoemakers) lost that ability quite a long time ago. It is very rare today for shoe retailers to both be able to trace their full supply chains and be willing to disclose them.
A far better approach, we think, was to know them yourself. This may seem intuitive because we have been taught to think about fabrics casually and to describe them in terms of comfort and durability. But the best value comes from discoveries rather than from pursuing the tried-and-true. We can evaluate material by asking simple but important questions.
Is the material backing a laceless frame? How does it feel? and looks? and crease? Where and how they’re supposed to be worn? How nice it breathes! How finely (or poorly) it ages? How often to attend them? In a wink, such observation becomes a pleasurable learning experience, which does not mean investment in every material.
Though there are ways to approve your selection before slipping in your cards, reading a good material guide is a laudable effort to democratize the distinctions and differences. There are thousands of material varieties in the world and even more kinds of shoes made from them. So what? It epitomized how shoes without laces are evolving.
We are drawn to many of ’em, but still, prefer (and recommend) to slip our skin under a real skin. Nothing allows a laceless pair to unfold its best aroma over time. . . quite like leather! There’s something about leather shoes without laces: as soon as you slip one on, you instantly become a more rebellious, alive version of yourself.
Quality leather is worth searching for, though it’s getting harder to find; but, even when you found the one: don’t expect magic from the first second. Canvas-made slip-ons might not surprise you in the “break in” department, but the ah sensation of your first step into canvas pair certainly will. Sneaker designers deploy different materials to add extra variety to the mix!
We’ve had the privilege of slipping in many shades over years, but pairs made from buttery, supple, and oh-so-soft suede left the most lasting memories. Made from the fuzzy underside of the thinnest hides available, suede just looks luxe, no matter what color it comes in and no matter what price you’re paying for it: nothing feels quite so right for shoes without laces, right now, like suede.
Those materials will take a pounding, but nowhere more than in their soles. We need something more resilient to keep it going and in the ever-rising “laceless” universe – things have moved beyond leather and rubber outsoles! Designers are finishing every laceless silhouette with coiled rope to crepe soles. The material underneath greatly influences the shoe’s abilities and the wearer’s experience.
Perception and feeling are subjective, and material experiences are subject to an enormous number of variables. Don’t be hesitant to ask for information though! Using modern tools might be a better solution than relying on personal experiences. You could follow along with many articles intended to help answer the question around materials.
With the world’s labor markets reshaped by globalization, there isn’t much that can’t make just as well, and more cheaply. Thus you can deploy the best materials with brilliant designers envisioning a beautiful shape, but if it’s not made in a factory that’s able to respect those elements: you’ll have something to slip in but not an elusive treasure that encourages you to do so!
The materials can shape the character of the laceless shoes, though it’s important not to put too much stock in critics who rate what laceless should be made with! The quality of the shoemakers is always more important than the character of the leather, suede, or canvas they work with. It’s a definitive route to assess how good a shoe is! Too often, people never make this leap.
We’re more likely to be drawn to the color, the pattern, and how nice a laceless pair will look on you; rarely is your first thought how it was made. We take that study very seriously; it’s a straightforward reflection of greatness and quality while, essentially, there is nothing too complicated about exploring the construction of shoes.
The contemporary (trendy) slip-ons aside: designers have found ways to describe classic shoes (without laces) as trendy too. But not much has changed in the way quality shoes are made. It is still a 220 steps process. We are fairly vocal about our fondness for this complicated process and dedicated pages providing full breakdowns of exactly what makes them so special.
Fine laceless shoes evoke ease and convenience, but that’s a case for the wearer. . . not for one who craft ’em! Indeed, the same shoemaking principles guide the laceless versions, but with no space for smart sacrifices. It is about championing time-honored techniques as well as translating them for modern man’s exaggerated expectations!
What Makes A Good Upper Unit?
Years ago, we went to the expert shoemakers to find out what, on paper, the laceless upper should be like and how can we spot a good one! And it turns out a matter of two questions; First, How open the silhouette is? Sartorial authorities involve this to rate the dressiness, but for the shoemakers: The less it covers the feet, the more intensely imposing the upper should be.
Second, How firm the material is? It’s not just about the workability but how nicely it’ll preserve the shape and silhouette. You wouldn’t think material would be able to be manipulated that much, using steam and pressure to turn a straight piece of canvas into the shape of your feet. Thinner or less dense materials are either heat molded or machine lasted pitching an enticing first appearance. . .
. . .but such laceless pairs, it was said, had no capacity to age and aren’t for those who live (and pay) for the stiff and structured look. For such gentlemen, thicker denser materials are hand lasted before being blocked for weeks (if not months) to seal the shape and silhouette for years (if not decades). Such shoes without laces have a long arc of evolution.
Shoemakers from the upper echelon ensure an extra flourish and finesse. They often arrange the proportions in a way that stitching haps exactly where the shoe creases. Use leather stiffeners or overlays that ensure you a return, in terms of wearability, durability, and support. Those are uppers assembled for pairs to pass down the generations, along with the estate.
Best Treatment For Laceless Soles
With no shoestrings to support the structure makes the laceless uppers-making process a bit different (and a bit difficult!) from all genres of footwear. But there isn’t anything special for the laceless shoes’ sole executions, besides, for shoes without laces: there is no single sole treatment that can be ranked as The Most Appropriate. . . these are personal choices!
Bottom-making units are noisy, hard to see, and the results are often hidden – either because the result of traditionally crafted sole packs some pretty complex details into a small space or it’s just a smooth cementing finish. Most of us haven’t engaged with the sole construction, yet, in the same way, we consider the look and feel of the upper. Needs a little explaining. . .
The Goodyear Welted Soles
One of the more stubborn prejudices in Classic Shoes is the notion that it must be “Goodyear Welted” to be any good. Along the sturdiness and resoling-ability, it’s a received idea that has an element of the self-fulfilling prophecy about it: the finest dress shoe brands won’t risk trying to sell their best models in a different kind of construction. . .
. . .since they know a large proportion of its potential scholarly clients will not even consider buying it. It is probably best thought of as a cult method of bottom making, which means – on the one hand – that it enjoys a passionate following among a small number of people but – on the other – is perhaps not for everyone, or at least takes a little time to appreciate.
So what do those followers like? What makes it unique? The most obvious thing is that welted soles last longer. A welt is a ribbon of leather that runs around the edge of the upper and is used to hold the parts of the shoe together. A lockstitch through the upper, insole, and welt, while an entirely separate stitch is used to attach the outsole.
After you have extracted the last mile out of the leather/rubber outsoles, a cobbler can easily remove and replace worn soles without compromising the integrity of the aged upper, so you won’t need to write off your best loafers as landfill for years to come. It’s certainly indulgent – plus efficient and expensive – plus we’ve dedicated articles on ’em, in case it feels inductive!
The Blake Construction
For longer than I can remember, Blake construction has been a sole treatment many Welt consumers love to hate. One of the oldest ways of attaching soles and, by far, the most popular among the men in Italy’s big cities, praised as a sartorial quirk that blends perfectly with distinctly Italian sleek and simple looks. An Italian just knows.
As opposed to the welted pair’s double-stitch reinforcement, in blake construction, the shoe’s upper is folded over at the edge and sewn directly onto the sole making the blake stitched soles just more delicate and a little less durable than the Goodyear-welted sole. But a Blake sole conjures a laceless silhouette in a way that no other way seems to manage.
A blake stitched sole can be cut a lot closer to the upper, leaving less of a lip that’ll most likely resonate the last perfectly: inherently reaches with a sleek profile, that sartorialists would value far more in a laceless situation than the sort of paunchiness that comes with, even, the perfectly executed Goodyear soles. Fewer layers, than a Goodyear welt, make the blake sole more flexible.
Either way (Goodyear or Blake) leaves a telltale line of stitching. In the welted shoes, it is between the outsole and the welt around the perimeter of the boot that can be seen from even a few feet away. But it’s hardly visible on a blake sole, until a snob will, instead of admiring the uppers, turn it over where it will usually be displayed via an open channel.
The stitched masterpiece may stretch the mind, enlarging our notions of what laceless shoes can be, yet the Welt-powered sole represents a tiny fraction of what’s produced and consumed. The most vocal component of the “sewing construction” movement comes to be summarized as “Anything but cementing,” or ABC, even as it applied in principle to shoes of all sorts.
What accounts for this discrepancy? Instead of sewing the upper section of shoes to the sole, in cementing, manufacturers use glue. While adhesives, earlier, aren’t strong enough to hold long enough the shoes’ sole and, eventually, sartorialist soul. This discrepancy has far more to do with cementing’s image than with cementing process itself.
While the footwear industry has not done enough to entice the sartorial authorities to sing the praises of cementing, their more advanced adhesives will challenge what some of ’em think they know. Their new reality reflects something that never fails to make an initial impact. That barely required any time to break in.
A construction that presents chances to affordably slide-into luxury silhouettes. Of course, completely unlined shoes without laces with cemented soles will always be the lightest – as with the ever-popular Sagans – but they always sacrifice something in terms of support and longevity. Your laceless cravings will be fed with minimum fuss. . . for sure!
Isn’t it difficult when there are no strings to support the artifact’s shape after it leaves the atelier? A laceless silhouette creases promptly and boldly. A little extra grind to accommodate all of those different sizes and it’ll end up on the boxier side. Still need some material-science breakthroughs to stretch out in the right spots!
It has been said that laceless shoemaking involves a thousand small decisions. Among those: Who is to say what a “fine construction” for laceless shoes is? Is it one that needs laying down in the water for weeks? One that is Goodyear Welted? One that is stored horizontally on supermarket shelves? One that costs more than ₹10k? There is, of course, no definition.
In fact, it’s a personal article to shop for! The needs of the moment dictate the sorts of material and construction we choose, and how those elements meet and contribute to the moment is a measure of greatness. Understanding the purpose of the material (along with the construction method) and its meaning to you is crucial.
A pair for your rather careful tailorings, for example, will generally be a different type of material and construction than a shoe chosen to go with a leisurely moment on a Sunday evening with your spouse. You might only have one goal for your new “laceless” shoe: for it to be comfortable. So singular was these objectives, in fact, that every decision revolved around them.
For the most comfortable, many people experience greatness in cemented suede pairs that don’t necessarily fall under the classic definition. I know I do. A Blake-stitched canvas pair is a chance to escape the misery of your everyday existence. It isn’t. And if your ethos extends further than just those moments that are supposed to be relaxing. . .
. . .under those circumstances, the Full-Grain Goodyear Welted Chelsea might be the far better choice for the dressiest occasion. We’ve been sniffing and sliding our way around the world’s shoemakers for one decade, and we still haven’t got the “The Best” equation. Nor shall I. Change the material or the way it’s made: nothing deteriorates, it just shifts the way a pair should be indulged.
That is the magic of the laceless universe: ever-changing, varied, steeped in history, complex, yet gloriously simple. The trick is to arm your taste buds with enough information to make a lifetime of informed decisions. We tend to imagine that all shoes without laces are evaluated on a universal scale of quality, but in fact, each occasion has its own scale.
The best pair for one sort of event can be very different from the preferred pair for another. Such medleys are now sought, studied, and cherished by shoe lovers, Yet, there is nothing like going straight to the source for an answer for which professionals in the brand’s PR team and retail merchants are skilled at translating emotions to shoes.
Simplify. . . By Picking A Brand!
If you cannot confidently scan your cravings: then communicate them to the people who are skilled at translating emotions to laceless pairs. We would never suggest that this is a compulsory procedure, but if you care about a satisfying laceless experience and want to slip in better and more confidently. . .
. . .the best thing you can do is align yourself with some labels and cultivate a close relationship with ’em. It’s not, like, admiring everything they’ve done brand-wise. Through a little experience, experiment, and engagement with a particular shoe brand, look how quickly you get used to a certain brand’s wares, manufacturing techniques, cuts, and overall ethos.
It’s an effortless way to look like you’ve gone the trouble of thoughtfully accessorizing, without, well, the effort and trouble. This is no bad thing. In fact, it’ll ultimately make it easier when it comes to shopping, both for oneself and for others. For inspiration to plan your next shoe selections, we’ve pages on the best brands worth exploring.
And it suffices to say that interest in that particular brand is only set to increase if you’ve picked the most connecting side. Then if you like one thing from a particular label, chances are you will like another. The only issue comes when identifying which particular brands are going to work for you.
How To Pick A Brand?
We’d have theorized our reflections by going straight to the source for the answer with a list of 10 Best Brands For Laceless Shoes. So, What’s wrong with that method? Nothing, if you are a connoisseur with the goal of identifying shoes without laces in blind tastings. But there the consensus begins and. . . ends! Because, when it comes to brand selection, perfection is personal.
What I might want from mine (like best materials), you may not need from yours. And we don’t want to ruin all the interest and aroma, we’ve so far assembled, by imposing our thoughts. This approach is a little off from all the chat about must-try brands! We have been making this case for years by addressing the obvious question: How do you know if a shoe brand is good?
We will offer you a framework and a way to think about brands, but for the folks who just want the upshot without getting into the weeds, you can bet on brands that specialize in Shoes. Rely on shoe-focused brands because they simply have more experience. For these brands, it is not just an afterthought to help round out a seasonal collection!
Brands that make the same models year in and year out are always making tweaks—sometime imperceptible—to improve the product. To refine your brand selections, it pays to examine its total offering. For shoe connoisseurs, a brand serving slip-on shoes with suede jackets stocked aside from a frame of leather belts and wallets is like posting a sign: “Find Another Place.”
Good laceless shoe brands offer a great assortment of distinctive styles. But that doesn’t help if examining a selection of styles is baffling rather than revealing. Is the brand stretching it too far to every footwear class ever envisioned? That’s a negative sign, indicating a strategy to isolate the customer to just one ecosystem.
Labels like Nike, Vans, and Adidas are great for experts and novices alike, and they serve a worldwide clientele through just the sneaker and performance niche—despite enough technical (and financial) resources to make it to almost every footwear segment possible. We are confident that you’ll enjoy associating with brands far more focused on a few niches.
Never Use The Price Range
It would be foolish (and a little gouche) to place a brand on the ladder of greatness just because it broke its client’s credit cards, or how cheap would a label go on a pair of laceless shoes? It’s not about where a brand is operating on the price spectrum, but the value they offer will be a consideration!
Which brand stocks the best-value laceless pairs then? It’s a common question and depends, of course, on your definition of good value. Regardless of the formula, it’s been our experience that the greatest concentration of values for shoes can be found in the ₹7k-to-₹10k range. If it’s the bottom line that matters most to you. . .
. . . the answer at the moment is probably Pelle Santino, Adidas, and PLNK, which has the best range of sub-₹10k pairs in the country. As inflation bites, more of us are filling Bata and Red Tape slip-ons: then, What do these brands have that other markets do not? Fine material over a sturdy structure at rock-solid prices, that’s what.
Neither offers the same fanfare experience as other brands, none of that matters, though, given the value they offer. There are always the same models (on which they work every year), and the few staff know everything about that. Crafting the popular styles, then placing all their business with a single producer, using the direct-to-consumer model to drive prices down.
It’s a struggle to find anything worth sliding in for ₹6k or less, but it can be done. It’s not just the mass-market brands that are fuelling the sub-₹6k sector either; Vans has a cracking ₹4k pairs, see best buys, and SeeandWear has revamped its ₹2k formal range and its ₹1k casual collection, with decent laceless shoes to be had from both.
There is nothing suspicious about those brands, nither anything special to raise expectations unrealistically. Brands of that caliber have provided memorable thrills that have helped to shape the way we think about laceless footwear and its possibilities. These brands have less to do with glitz and flash than with more elusive shoe qualities.
Of the pairs we’ve indulged so far, for our money, though, we’d say it’s Nike and Bridlen that have fared the best. They cater to customers who not only want to live the best laceless experience but understand that quality fabrics and manufacturing come at a premium and are curious about how the shoes without laces were made and the people behind them.
Added cost comes from more conscientious, labor-intensive material emulsion and painstaking shoemaking. It comes from smaller production, often family operations, and it comes from ateliers that have something to offer. That is, they are brands chosen because of distinctive qualities transmitted in the shoes.
You can tell a lot about such brands simply by walking through the door or, even, exploring their website, even if you don’t know much about laceless shoes. Such brands are much more interested to take you behind those beautiful pairs, reflecting the hours of painstaking work that went into crafting your pairs, or the intense research and design decisions that happened along the way.
They endure the “manufacture” status, meaning brands that craft most of their components in-house with exacting hand-touch applied to the tiniest part as icing on the cake. By that standard, more producers in recent years have stepped off the accelerator and embraced more moderate methods of making laceless shoes, which seem far more in tune with many individuals.
What’s The Best “Laceless” Fit?
What sort of laceless pairs should I be wearing? By far, we’ve tried to answer it through the lens of your personality, purpose, budget, and lifestyle. Of course, they are what you build and coordinate with: but pieces that’ll get your nerves animated are one informed by your feet’ shape, one that works for your proportions, and one that fits and sits effortlessly. . . perfect!
Fit is everything. Once you’ve decided you want a Dark Brown Calf Suede Goodyear Welted Chelsea boot in leather soles (nice choosin’—it sounds like a winner), you’re ready to focus all your attention here. It doesn’t matter if your laceless pair costs ₹1k or ₹10k; if the thing fits like a garbage bag (or it’s so tight that your co-workers can count your feet bone), it won’t look good.
Sartorial enthusiasts will get pretty heated when it comes to the “fit” discussion. What material molds your feet in the most delicious way? What spots to accentuate? And which to camouflage? What’s that perfect blister-free pull that won’t slip off? What is the benefit of true bespoke versus a really good (or even expensive) off-the-rack pair? Does one promise better quality than the other?
What we’ve come to believe — through we visit this subject periodically — is it should feel as if you’ve already had the item for ages, as though it already belongs to you.
Shoemakers say, “when you know, you know”, which is actually (annoyingly) true. Even if it doesn’t get your heart racing per se, it feels more familiar — like an extension of your feet.
Fit Is Subject To Some Variables
Material & Construction — If anyone doubts the conclusive effect that these variables have already had on the aptness of the laceless genre, ample evidence was on display on the abundant Web sites dedicated to the obsessive pursuit of perfect laceless shoes, which, in most cases, online connoisseurs define as something very close to the model Bridlen and Nike crafted.
It’s worth understanding the ‘effects’ of material and construction on the shoe’s fit and anticipating how a pair will make space for your feet and how nice (or worse) that fit will evolve as it ages. There are several distinctions in leather that make it entirely unique from other styles crafted from 100% canvas. Canvas Slip-ons are traditionally woven with elastane to give the famous anti-fit look.
Most canvas slip-ons, with cemented construction, have streamlined the fit. But the leather once (especially with welted soles) isn’t immediately enjoyable and delicious. Those pairs deemed superior fit will develop as you wear the shoe. The insole soften-up and beds down into the cork filler, which takes an impression of your foot, and eventually, it senses like a custom footbed.
Switch to suede and let real wear do the job of distressing your laceless pairs. Buy pairs in sanded leather if you cannot stand to break in shoes that initially fit as if they had been cut from a refrigerator box with a utility knife. Remember the rule: Cemented pairs with canvas upper should fit effortlessly right off the box. Whereas, don’t allow any space for the stitched pairs in leather.
A Laceless Shoe Has The Greatest Fit Potential.
Really, footwear should be the easiest fit and style choice a guy has to make, Right? Offload all such duties on just one question: Which shoes work best with the context and your feet? And that’s that! In most cases, you can get through footwear’s fit without too much complication – and that makes sense – aren’t things complicated enough already?
It’s lucid to fall in love with the laceless concept, but the finest laceless experience — the comfiest ever — is not for the persistent devotees of a streamlined shoe fitting process. In fact, a few footwear genres seem quite as baffling and mystifying to fit as those with no laces. The subtleties of fit shouldn’t be a matter of style and fashion, but laceless shoes clearly have the greatest fit potential.
Such fitting potentials do not make them any less desirable. Because to the lover of that laceless shoe’s ah sensation, it all makes perfect sense. After all, what other shoe can a man wear with just a whip of an index finger (even though we always urge a shoe horn to slip in) that is so built up, shaped, and structured – almost carved around your feet – creating whatever image you desire?
What actually introduces these complications is the craving of not introducing the support of laces in the “fit” equation! With laces goes the potential of adjusting the fit of an off-the-rack laceless pair not made for you but 5,00,000 people kind of like you. Fitting into something not aligned with most ancient shoe-making cultures seems like a bit of…
The Dimensional Aspect
While a lace-up takes a little more time to put on, there is nothing quite like sliding your feet into a proper laceless pair. It hugs, reclines, and squeezes in just the right spots. We just love that sensation but it’s the sort of thing that we’ve experienced with top-end made-to-measure, True Bespoke, and when we’ve seen 500 pairs and narrowed them down to two!
“Everyone is different,” who knows it better than a bespoke shoemaker? They are passionate to cater for the idiosyncrasies of your need and feet. What starts as a sculpture—An idealized form of your foot in the shape of a wooden last— The skill of then making them is, in fact, an amazing combination of strength and delicacy. And the resulting laceless pair. . .
. . .feels (and fits) like a second skin! But it costs to assert our individuality. And it becomes even harder to muster up the courage to open your wallet wide enough to swallow the cost of true bespoke – when mass-market brands have everything that not only looks similar – but is affordable. However, they are investors and business mentors – who typically seek economies of scale!
So, from a 30,000-foot view, how a shoemaker addresses the “shoe fitting” notion can be broken down into three Dimensional categories. The bottom-end shoemaker manufacture and tags shoes on lengths: the only dimension mass-market care for! They are, in fact, trying to cater to everyone, I mean, every foot! Most such brands do it through wider boxier shoes.
Not all shoes are expressed in length, however. Plenty of shoes without laces, if not most, are mass-processed… length-wise! And that might be the most inconvenient context if pursuing that perfect laceless fit. Those sorts of laceless shoes are often less expensive as well, as automation is a cheaper alternative to more conscientious brands considering the second dimension: Width.
While a “Good Fit” never comes from sizes based on just one dimension, even if you go very size specific! The odds of finding a great lace-up fit are most in your favor when two dimensions are wrapped. As the leading performance shoe brands learn more about fit (while athletes about its importance), iterations of their shoes naturally map in widths.
With the right length and width, you’re just a string-knot away from that second skin sensation, but What when we pull out those laces? Even the two-dimensional approach isn’t the right set to slip in. That sensation on a laceless silhouette demands much more attention in the third dimension. Often that perfect laceless fit refines when the volume of the shoe is recorded through the last.
The Last is the three-dimensional model the shoe is “literally built—or lasted—around, which lifts the fitting dimensional from a flat surface into something that fits beautifully and effortlessly! Barely any brand in our country reflects that echelon or dares to give a fairly good description of the last they use. Maybe ’cause, most people didn’t care about the intricacies of what they slip in, as long as it doesn’t slip off.
List Of Areas To Examine
Nailing the perfect fit would be so much easier if we could rely on sizing alone. Most of us think we know our shoe size, but few of us know how best to enfold it. Since brands size their shoes slightly differently, forget what you think the numbers are – and pinpoint the shoe’s proportions and spots to make the most of what you’ve got (and what you haven’t).
What’s wrong with a size-steered purchase or great about the qualitative method? Everything! Size-pitched shopping is a great way to deny that the overall aesthetic works as it is about looking at just one dimension. Understanding the shape is complicated — even difficult — but it’s part of the beauty of perfect fit. A good starting point if you are ready to pay. . . attention!
Relax, we wouldn’t urge you to spend ₹20k on bespoke shoes. This approach is not about anything you will wear. It’s about everything you will wear, for evermore. It will change the way you shop for shoes. It will change your relationship with the shoes already in your wardrobe, and it will probably — for all the right reasons — end your relationship with some of them altogether.
It is about acquainting you with your feet — your real proportions, not your idea of it — like never before. Big promises, but a feet-mapping session is that good. Let’s start with a simple one: a normal lace-up! After fully tightening the laces or fastening the straps of a pair you think is of the correct length and width – if it feels tight at the back and loose at the front… you’ve got the fit, Right?
There are plenty of shoe fit guides in existence, each “fits” differently though, but we believe fit is ultimately subjective. It’s obviously not by measurement or dictation of an idea. Length and width will echo a base for further fittings. It would be much easier to settle a great fit sensation – if the pairs inherit some modifiable attributes.
The problem with shoes without laces is that, depending on the style, they have to work on many different areas of the foot. Laceless shoemaking may be a supremely logical field, with the shoemakers diligently designing and assembling a complicated frame that effortlessly comes to life and pulls you in in all the right places without tugging across the wrong places.
A question that has intrigued shoemakers and wearers: How sophisticated the components for a perfect laceless fit could get? We’ve been fitting shoes for more than 8 years and What we’ve come to believe is that complexity in the fitting process is dictated by… exposure! And by “exposure” we mean how s̶k̶i̶n̶ r̶e̶v̶e̶a̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ skin-embracing a pair is?
Remember that “Three Dimension” concept? Laceless styles that barely lift above the second dimension (Slip-ons, Loafers, Espadrilles, Sneakers) actually eradicate the fitting sophistication of some rare laceless masterpieces that nurture your entire feet, stretch the mind to fit the feet, enlarging our (and the shoemakers’) notion of How complicated laceless fit could be!
On more exposed laceless shoes: a heel counter securing a close fit will keep them from falling off while keeping enough room at the front for the toes to move freely… and the odds of getting a good fit in a more exposed silhouette are most in your favor! Though it has enough fit subtleties you can focus more on, we jot down a few refined pointers!
This attitude of refinement and simplicity in fit dissipates as the style evolves more “three-dimensional”. Slipping in extends beyond the whip of your index finger; demand a little tumb drag to actually get into such pairs as the shoe’s opening is not, well, that open anymore. The closer it gets to the ankle, the less likely it gets to feel the shoe all around your feet.
Maybe shoemakers have taken up the challenge of making moderately priced laceless high tops. But the benchmarks that connote greatness (and a glove-like fit!) command prices in high five figures to… well, the sky’s the limit. That is, of course, an awful lot of money to slip in. But don’t put ’em in the echelon of taste and status. they are more than just that!
Most such shoemakers did not overthink their prices. Many steps were commissioned even before the idea of that glove-like fit became a tangible thing — steps that ultimately led to its being priced around ₹25k and not ₹2.5k, which is roughly 80 percent labor and 20 percent materials. Still, it is tough to assert our individuality on an RTW laceless shoe.
Even if you’re lucky enough to get an off-the-rack high-top laceless shoe that fits perfectly for the foot and ankle, there are chances it won’t allow enough space to get the former through the space for the latter. And if you don’t have a credible “shoe-care” milieu, leverage some evident allowance for the creasing – though it has a certain relaxed, dégagé elegance.
In all honesty, getting into the perfect laceless fit is as complex, or as simple, as you choose to make them. You can devote your life to collecting certain laceless art pieces, researching their every detail or you can just decide to add a bit of convenient character to your life purely for the alternative style that it brings. There’s no right or wrong approach.
Are We Losing Just The Laces?
A doctor, an engineer, or, let’s face it, pretty much anyone involved in organizing anything or holding down a relationship – complications are unwelcomed! We seek to get through life without too many complications – aren’t things complicated enough already? Despite the hassle, the grind can actually arrive and set up, so—at least—the sartorial part of the process doesn’t have to be difficult, Right?
So in this “complicated world”, it feels like shoes without laces are something that – no one should be without! Anything that takes footwear beyond the business of tautening and tying– displaying a trend, masculinity, or simply effortlessness – is classed as “pièce de résistance”. And, yes, the pandemic has opened the door even wider for shoes without laces.
These are footwear that speaks to the moment. In sync with the current sartorial mood in menswear is rightfully a bit “meh, do whatever you want”. What not to appreciate about the comfort that menswear currently offers? I still remember my arches aching from the boots that I stuffed my feet into—but I’d have zero regrets about it all. And it turns out, I’m not alone in this sentiment.
A recent straw poll of stylish women and men in the Bestshoe99 offices would support my theory by nineteen to five. You’ve got the best laceless shoes that hug your feet perfectly well. Why on earth would you need to think about the hassle of lacing then? This is maybe not the corner of the internet for you if you reside firmly in the latter group, but after this segment perhaps even lace-ik will understand when we slip in, we’re ditching a whole lot than just those shoestrings. . .
A Serviceable Fit
Shoes without laces insinuate casual! However eyebrow-raising it once was, laceless styles are officially in style with growing popularity that is both celebrity and men-approved. The laceless’ recent rise to fame makes sense, especially given that its backing comes from the rising desire to be unrestricted, which drives beyond the casual life and style.
But it doesn’t mean shoelaces are dead. If it really were the death knell for the staple mechanism of footwear, then surely the designers of the best running shoes would have replaced ’em with some woven mesh pliable upper or even some shorts? Despite the recognition shoes without laces compiled from all the lazy lads around the world – the laceless isn’t elevated enough to replace the functional element of laces!
They may be the perfect footwear for Leisurely Strolls, but the laceless philosophy didn’t contribute enormously to performance shoes. With 26 bones apiece, feet are biomechanically complex beasts. The zone where the shoe dilates/supports along with other fit subtleties like arch length and foot volume creates a difference on a court, pitch, field, diamond, or on-street performance.
In addition, we humans have an incredible diversity of foot sizes and shapes. Thus, even with myriad advances in laceless shoe technology and design, athletes still prefer to lace up over slip in! Lionel Messi is shown holding laceless boots in PR images while he only wears laced boots. The downside? Not as firm and supportive base as the laced companion.
For performance shoes, laces are vital to achieving a fit that keeps the foot stable and still within the shoe but not without any movement. Because of the excessive movement, sports shoes without laces are almost always—if not always—a big no! Though stiffeners may sprinkle those much-needed supportive qualities into laceless shoes – at the cost of a snug lock fit and excessive weight.
And, while we enjoy the convenience of loafers that can be swiped on with ease; when shoes contribute to the moments that matter – lacing up should not feel like a hassle! So however tech-forward sports shoes have recently become, at its core it is a tried-and-true lacing mechanism with more functionality than their counterpart, shoes without laces.
That Sensory Clutch
The newfound flexibility in our working lives, that we fell back on at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, brings greater choice in the way we dress. And for those years or so, my shoe—like so many other people’s—has been extremely casual. In fact, I don’t think I wore anything but laceless shoes for months. Who would I be lace-up for, anyway?
But if we’ve learned anything from our bouts of Zoom fatigue, stiff necks gained from working at the kitchen counter over the past two years, and hours in those li̶f̶e̶l̶e̶s̶s̶ laceless opuses—is about a lifestyle that leaves very few ways for me to have fun, make a statement, and strike a balance. With those slip-ons, I subconsciously embodied the typical qualities of loafing chap. . .
Rewind to the start of the next day: when you woke up in the morning, did you reach for a cozy slip-on, or did you lace up a smart derby that made you sit taller (and confident) during a Zoom meeting?
Your choices were already decided for you, courtesy of the unique interplay between fashion and psychology. It is very complex when we think about how shoes affect the way we feel!
Lacing up is not a physical or mental pleasure so much as a psychological one. Renowned psychologist Karen Pine penned this concept in her book, Mind What You Wear. How one can wear shoes without laces continue to proliferate, in both professional and personal moments, but they’ve yet to claim the authority, elegance, and mastery of a profession associated with their laced companion.
We believe our sartorial regime stops being interesting when we aren’t actually putting any effort into it. Even if those laces look messy, it’s always going to be beautiful even if it’s not visually perfect as people can see the investment of love and time instead of just sliding into a much cleaner pair. These are some inevitable differences and we believe that’s the most life-affirming thing about a laced shoe.
Add to this the fact that the pressure laces exert on our feet has long been a core pillar of well-being in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. So, how does it work? Muscle fibers are like straws, if you placed them on a table they would roll away as they didn’t have any structure. However, wrap those same straws tightly in cling film and they will hold shape and stay in good alignment. And that’s what laces do for your feet.
They Wouldn’t Hear You!
The invention of shoes without laces is one of the neatest there is. Especially to those who think of footwear in purely functional terms and will invariably see these few little twists of the laces as an unnecessary chore. No laces also mean a less obstructed view of the entire silhouette, which is good news if you’re the kind of guy who loves clean aesthetics.
But what about footwear that gets all the power and stoutness it needs simply by being used as intended? We feel somehow connected to such footwear. Yes, they’re not as straightforward as laceless shoes. Yes, they’re generally a bit (or a lot) fierce silhouette. But they seem so much more… alive. Shoes without laces are largely self-sufficient objects, which draw their power from flexible uppers.
Laced shoes, on the other hand, are powered by the wearer. Leave ’em undone for a moment, and it’ll simply stop your movement.
Indeed, if laceless are like dogs, leaping into life the second we give them any attention, then manual movements are cats – they require greater investment. Enough of the theory. The key complaint about laceless shoes is that the fit is too tight or too loose. . .
. . .because you are relying on one fit to serve a multitude of gentlemen and foot shapes. There is nothing other than the upper materials to keep you locked into the shoe. At least with a standard laced release, you have the opportunity to personalize the fit using the laces. Tighter to pull the upper around your foot, looser to accommodate wider fits.
Laced shoes are less mechanically complex, so in theory, there’s less to go wrong, and the fit is a little more personalized to your feet’ shape. If a tweak is needed in any area, those strands can be individually repositioned, without affecting any of the neighboring strands—something that can’t be done with a laceless shoe.
We’re not saying laceless shoes didn’t fit well, but there are good data to support that things would be much better if we add laces to the equation. Much of the detail that makes the hassle of lacing shoes worthwhile will be hidden under the bonnet. The shoe strings, which give the shoe its form, will be free-modifiable rather than fused into the material – to better mold your unique feet’ shape.
Only The Best Will Do
Here at BestShoe99 studio, My team and I did what we felt we were both privileged and obligated to do: We threw ourselves headlong into shoes. And every once in a while, our team makes its way through a segment that is almost too good for words (allow us a little hubris here). That’s what we think we’ve done with this article. But this sentiment is not one that only we share, either.
Whether hitting the streets, heading to an event, or even going to work, shoes without laces are the favorite footwear choice thanks to their unique breed of convenience. Just type for a random deep dive on Google, and you’ll find every bit of the web is wax lyrical and breaking shoes without laces down to its component aromas and elegance.
Indeed, all that is perceptible! But only when we’re approaching laceless shoes through the lens of the best pairs which are the marks of careful craftsmanship instead of smart sacrifices!
As shoppers are buying boatloads of laceless stuff, it means that brands are swarming the market to sell you their products.
And to make a shoe that you can slide your foot in and out that fast is about challenging time-honored techniques of getting (and upholding) those shoes around your feet as well as translating them for the modern man’s wardrobe. Not most laceless shoes for men lean as good as we might expect. . . those “Alternative” are definitely not!
Two decades into the 21st century and with the world’s labor markets reshaped by globalization, there isn’t much that shoes can’t make just as well, and more cheaply, anywhere. It’s notable, then, at a time when we always get our money’s worth on whatever figure we spend on lace-ups, that laceless is still something worth saving (or splurging) for!
You can’t beat a slip-on when it comes to convenience, but behind the stage, many design and technical elements contribute to that satisfying laceless experience. And if it’s made in a factory that’s unable to envision those elements – they’ll soon start to stretch out over the ankle. That’s not the result of too many Netflix sessions though!
You Might Also Like
How can we improve GearLab? Got feedback?