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A Beginners Guide to Men’s Dress Shoes

A Beginners Guide to Men’s Dress Shoes
Mau Briones

We all hear the saying that “The shoe makes the man”… For so many reasons, indeed this is true. A man wearing a nice footwear paired with the best suit leaves an impression that he is classy and professional. In our modern world today, there are a lot of styles and colors to choose from and all you have to do is to find the perfect match for you. From the plainest and simple slip-on shoes to intricately detailed lace-up shoes with fancy stitching, edging, and perforations, you got a lot of options.

Yes, having the best men’s dress shoes is pricey and will cost you a lot of dollars, but in the end, it is worth the investment and with proper care and storage it will last for many years. Before buying a new pair of men’s dress shoes, you have to know its different types and when and where to use them. It is important that each shoe should be worn accordingly because wearing the same type of shoes in going to school, work, and formal events can be quite unpleasant. Different types of men’s dress shoes are meant to be worn for different occasions.

The variety can be a bit overwhelming especially when it comes to which pair to wear to a party, for work, or for formal gatherings, so let’s break it down as simply as possible.

The Styles

Oxford – ¬†An Oxford shoe is identified as “closed lacing” because its eyelets tabs are attached under the vamp. Before, Oxford was just plain formal shoes, but over the years it has evolved with a wide range of styles that would fit formal and casual wear. Oxford is your go-to-dress shoe. You can wear your Oxford shoe with khaki, corduroy, dressier five pockets, suits, and chinos.



Derby – A derby shoe is sometimes called Gibson. It has shoelace eyelets that are sewn on top of the vamp popularly known as “open lacing”, giving a more robust and versatile feel. It is less formal than Oxford, you can wear your rubber sole derby with a casual khaki, corduroy pants, five pocket pants, and chinos. Wear your leather sole derby with suits and dressy pants.



Brogue – A brogue shoe is typically a style of low-heeled shoe or boot. It has sturdy leather uppers and decorative perforations or broguing. Before, the brogue is considered as outdoor footwear and not appropriate for casual and business wear or occasions. But because it has evolved, today brogue is widely used for all occasions.




Monk – A monk shoe has no lacing, closed by strap or buckle – a rakish alternative to lace-up shoes. It has been described as the most advanced dress shoe and often has a cap toe. Monk strap shoe is made with leather and suede; it is very popular nowadays because you can wear it in various settings.




Loafer – Loafers are lace-less and popularly known as “slip-on shoe”. It gained much popularity because you can wear it on casual and informal setting and certainly offer a more laid-back look. It is versatile and comfortable to wear and can be worn for work or leisure. You can pair your loafers with khakis, designer jeans, chinos, suits for less formal occasions, wool, tweed, or cotton dressier five pockets.



Chukka – Ankle-high leather boots constructed with suede or leather uppers, rubber or leather soles, and open lacing with only two or three pairs of eyelets. Normally, chukka boots have a rounded toe and minimal stitching. Chukkas are the least formal dress shoes that can be worn on casual attire.




Chelsea Boot – A close-fitting, ankle-length boot with an elastic side panel and often have a loop or tab of fabric at the back, enabling the boot to be pulled on. Chelsea boots are sleek and comfortable to wear. You can pair this boot with slim jeans and a leather jacket.




The Details

Plain Toe – As simple as it gets and often the most formal, no adorned vamps meaning no toe cap, detailed stitching or brogue detail.





Cap Toe – It refers to the extra layer of leather near the front of the shoes. It is the horizontal stitched line that you see across the vamp of a shoe.




Wingtip Р Featuring a pointed toe cap that looks like wings stretching across the front of the shoe. This toe style often features broguing in the center of the toe and along the seam of the cap.




Broguing – It refers to the decorative perforations in various patterns on dress shoes. It can be longwing, quarter, semi, or full brogue.





Round Toe – This pretty much says it all, quite simple; this is when the front of the upper is rounded. This shape is most commonly worn and is found on every type of shoe and boot from casual to dressy.




Chisel Toe – Slightly rarer than round toe, it has a flat angled side, a sloping top, and a squarish toe and also found on booth shoe and boot.





These different types and styles of men’s dress shoes are widely available in the market, online stores, and you can even go for handmade ones. Consider investing in a great pair of footwear, it gives an elegant appearance to the wearer.

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