Modern menswear has a lot to thank the Duke of Windsor for. Aside from popularizing Fair Isle, the Windsor knot, and generally teaching us a few things about personal style, the Duke also brought us one of the quintessential spring shoes – the buck. In the early 20’s during a visit to the states, the Duke, (still the Prince of Wales at this time) showed up to a polo match on Long Island wearing a pair of brown bucks. Already looking to the Prince of Wales for stylistic cues, the American public became enamored by the shoes and by the next summer they had already became a casual favorite.
Bucks were first produced in 1870’s, using Brazilian and Chinese deerskin, which is where the shoe’s got their name. Buckskin had the right weight and texture for a casual warm weather shoe, but it was the shoes small details – the rubber sole and eye-catching colors, particularly white, that really set the buck apart. Just like the Duke of Windsor, the Americans were drawn to the buck as a summer shoe that broke from the formality of an oxford, yet still remained understated. Bucks became the go to spring shoe popping up at tennis courts, city streets, and suburban lawns across the country. As an easy to match, striking shoe the buck has remained a cornerstone of any warm weather wardrobe for decades. Here are a few options for the months ahead: