Why the plimsoll is the footwear to trust this summer

Each week, Esquire's Fashion Director, Catherine Hayward answers your style conundrums. Tweet your questions to her @chaywardstyle.

I'm holidaying on a canal longboat in France next week which will involve navigating locks. What footwear do you recommend?
Jim, via email.

Let me tell you a story that should help answer you dilemma.

This week: to Italy, in order to photograph a young actor for the Esquire magazine fashion pages.

The plan is simple. Fly at crack of dawn for early arrival at location. Spend two hours shooting the talent on a boat with reputable photographer. Job done.

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But no. Traffic delays, missed flights and extensive road closures in two cities mean a last minute dash in 30 degree heat whilst dragging heavy duty luggage along cobbled streets and then a final heart stopping leap with said luggage into a waiting speed boat to get us across the lake in time to shoot.

Alas, like the wheels on the case, my chosen footwear did not stand up to the task. Our Planes, Trains and Automobiles misadventures resulted in a ripped ankle strap and a wonky flat heel. But my colleague Tom Macklin – the highly organized Entertainment Director of Esquire – had the last laugh as I hobbled up the creaking jetty with a broken case.

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Quite sensibly, he had decided to wear a pair of classic white plimsolls for the journey – a pair of Superga 2750s that held him in good stead as we sped bumpily across the water. 

For the uninitiated, these clever plimsolls – or 'daps', 'sneakers' or 'pumps' depending on what part of the country you come from – have reached iconic status in Italy and are gaining global popularity as the vogue for heritage pieces continues apace.

Cool in high temperatures yet tough and durable for travel, the canvas upper and non-slip vulcanized rubber-soled footwear has been manufactured in Turin since 1911 and comes in a medley of colours although the classic white, navy and black versions are the most masculine.

And if you're planning a last minute boating holiday this summer Jim, well: now you know what to pack.

From £44.99, www.superga.co.uk