Source: Polo Ralph Lauren via Bloomberg

You Are Going to See Floral Shoes on Men This Summer. Here’s the Deal

Why these became a trend, and which ones you should try for yourself

Even if you are not a shoe guy, you will likely notice that a lot of casual shoes for men these days are being made with flowery prints. They might not catch your radar in stores (they are there), but you'll definitely start to notice them out and about as the summer progresses. From mass brands such as Zara and H&M to such upscale cobblers as Paul Smith and Giuseppe Zanotti, designers are churning them out. It's a response to a floral craze from last summer, when fashion houses employed the look on shirts, shorts, and even suits. It was like Prada, Gucci, and Saint Laurent held some sort of secret conference in 2013, in which the takeaway was that men really wanted to look like greenhouses full of exotic blossoms. From head to toe.

Flower power on the Spring 2014 runways at (from left) Prada, Gucci, and Saint Laurent.
Flower power on the Spring 2014 runways at (from left) Prada, Gucci, and Saint Laurent.
Photographer: (from left) Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images; Venturelli/WireImage; Catwalking/Getty Images

Don't be scared. It may seem foreign now, but you can be an early adopter of this trend. Just try to keep the rest of your outfit pretty simple—like a white button-down shirt and some dark denim pants or tailored chinos in a solid color. If the rest of your look is clean, monochromatic, and pattern-free, the shoes will do all the talking. Here are 10 that have something to say:

For the Skeptic

Noncommittal palm prints from (left to right) H&M, Paul Smith, and Marc Jacobs.
Noncommittal palm prints from (left to right) H&M, Paul Smith, and Marc Jacobs.
Source: (from left) H&M via Bloomberg; Farfetch.com via Bloomberg (2)

If you’re still not quite sure about splashing flowers all over your feet, best to take it slow. The palm fronds on pairs from Paul Smith and Marc Jacobs look almost abstract, but if you’re really on the fence, H&M’s leaf-print espadrilles will set you back only $17.99. (From left: $17.99, hm.com; $277.18, farfetch.com; $355.13, farfetch.com)

For the Novice

Source: Polo Ralph Lauren via Bloomberg

Those who’d like to ease into the trend can literally slip into Polo Ralph Lauren’s modestly priced sneaker. The all-over pattern and black background diminish the focus on the blooms themselves, so that all you’re seeing at first glance is a nice jolt of summer color. ($59, ralphlauren.com)

For the Minimalist

Source: Mr Porter via Bloomberg

Yet another way to dip into the floral trend without risking ’70s hippy-dippy is to pick a relatively monochromatic pair. Givenchy’s leather skate shoes smatter small-scale buds in muted tones along a cream surface—subtle and perfectly suited for, well, a casual suit. ($450, mrporter.com)

 For the Color-Crazed

Source: Vans via Bloomberg

Those who aren’t afraid of fire-engine red on their feet should snag these Vans lace-ups. The brand is a classic; the pattern certainly isn’t. And that’s why it works. Wear them to the beach with a great pair of swim trunks and a T-shirt and call it a day. Or at least a summer Friday. ($65, vans.com)

For the Athlete

Source: Zappos.com via Bloomberg

Sure, they’re bold, but they’re also breathable. Adidas Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto delivers on its signature brand of forward-thinking sportswear with these mesh and canvas slip-ons. ($280, zappos.com)

For the Tongue-in-Cheek Geek

Source: Vans via Bloomberg

Who says Yoda and flora don’t go together? Vans’ offbeat pairing calls for closer inspection to pick out the Jedi Master hiding among the hibiscus. ($60, vans.com)

For the Fancy Pants

Source: Farfetch.com via Bloomberg

There are times when the invitation reads “creative black tie,” and these embroidered Giuseppe Zanotti slippers are tailor-made for them. And not much else. Pair them with a black, slim-cut tuxedo and a champagne coupe. ($895, farfetch.com

For the Rebel Without a Cause

Source: Farfetch.com via Bloomberg

 You’re on board with florals, you wear high-tops unironically, and you want people to really notice that you’ve got lilies snaking up your ankles. Meet Pierre Hardy’s limited-edition sneakers, your new best bet for stopping traffic on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Try them with a plain white T and light-colored denim to keep the focus on your feet (not that they need any extra help). ($527.57, farfetch.com)

 Jeremy Allen is the photo editor for Bloomberg Pursuits (his favorite flowers are tulips, by the way). Follow him on Instagram at: @jeremyallen88.

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