A Footwear Guide: 8 Shoe Styles Every Man Should Own
A Footwear Guide: 8 Shoe Styles Every Man Should Own
There are some shoe styles that all men should have in their wardrobes, as some suits require specific shoes. Here we summarize the best shoe styles for every occasion and we explain some shoe style differences. Sorry, flip flops are not included in this list!
From morning suits, dinner jackets, tuxedos, or tweed suits, Royal Family members have a personal style that they include in most of their outfits. From head to toe, they are usually loyal to a style or a fashion designer. Certainly, they have wide wardrobes, but there’s one men’s and women’s accessory that always seems the same: the pair of shoes. This is the case of Queen Elizabeth II, who has regularly worn the same black glossy shoes for more than 50 years.
Even Prince Harry, who was spotted wearing broken shoes last year, generated a new controversy with his footwear recently. Eagle-eyed Twitter users accused him of wearing the same pair of shoes several times over the past months. One thing’s for certain: Prince Harry has a favourite shoe style – like most of us – and he doesn’t mind repeating the same blue or cream suede shoes over the last decade with some suits.
However, we can suggest other shoe styles to give a nicer look. Some suit wearers can consider including some of these shoes in their wardrobe as a personal investment; ideally, they should match with the clothes that you usually wear. Luckily for us, we don’t need to spend a fortune on a shoe collection and you can find extremely affordable options.
What are the best shoes for men?
Fashion experts highlight that the Royal Family needs to stick to a strict footwear dress code: neutral shoes are more practical when combining different outfits and they don’t seem so eccentric.
There are some shoe styles that are trendy, and always remember a good outfit doesn’t end with a suit. Shoes and men’s accessories are men’s outfit essentials to complete a finished look. But having a collection of shoes doesn’t have to be a luxury, and even those men that don’t like the ‘suits and tie’ combo need to suit up for some special occasions.
There are four main parts of a dress shoe: toe, vamp, facing and quarter. – Dobell
Find out here the different types of men’s shoes and which ones you should introduce in your wardrobe for a gentleman’s style. When it comes to men shoes, there’s a wide range of men formal shoes and casual shoes and most men have a particular shoe style to be worn with a suit.
These are the most popular type of shoes that every man should own:
- 1. Oxford shoes
- 2. Derby shoes
- 3. Monk shoes
- 4. Loafers
- 5. Chelsea boots
- 6. Desert boots
- 7. Moccasins
- 8. Boat shoes
1. Oxford shoes
Examples of Oxford shoes. – Dobell
Description: Oxford shoes are identified by their method of construction. The two leather fins with shoelace perforations that are attached under the vamp, instead of at the top. They are fastened with laces and most of them have five eyelets on each side – there are other models that bring four or even three eyelets. Oxford shoes are considered a true symbol of style and elegance in the UK and many other countries worldwide.
Origin: Although not confirmed origins, this shoe style gained fame in around 1800 among college students; especially at Oxford University. The worldwide fame reached them when the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, wore a pair of full-brogue Oxford shoes on a golf course. As a result of this, men from high society started using them in a wider range of settings.
When to wear Oxford shoes: As the pinnacle of dress shoes, they are usually more stylized and elegant, they are appropriate to wear with a suit or tuxedo at parties, weddings, or proms. For its clean design, the street style has shown other ways to bring these shoes to a casual context. To nail a casual look with Oxford shoes, pay attention to the colour (never black!) and fabric of the shoes and jeans: brownish suede shoes can look great with casual trousers, don’t you think?
2. Derby shoes
Examples of Derby shoes. – Dobell
Description: A Derby shoe style is a boot or shoe which the lateral blades of the cords are stitched on top of the vamp, giving rise to the so-called ears. They give the impression that they are two different pieces, and this open lacing system makes the Derby shoes less confining and adjustable to everyone’s foot size – they can be ideal if you have high arches or wide feet.
Origin: Many point to a Prussian officer as the inventor of the Derby shoe with an open lacing system, as heavy boots weren’t comfortable in the battlefield. It took a while to become popular town footwear, but after the 20th century they had become the perfect everyday men shoe.
When to wear Derby shoes: More informal shoes than Oxford shoes, their use is not recommended for suits or events that require a certain degree of formality. They are ideal for tweed or similar suit jackets.
What’s the difference between Oxford shoes and Derby shoes?
‘Derbys’ are often mistaken for ‘Oxfords’ and vice versa because of their differences can be very subtle. The main variation is minimal and is located in the eyelets. The sides of the blades are sewn inside forming a single piece in the Oxford shoes, while in the Derby shoes the eyelet goes outside, letting the shoe open and adjustable for the foot. This simple nuance classifies shoelaces in one or another category. Technically speaking, a Derby shoe is less formal than the Oxford shoes, although a black pair of Derby shoes could seem too formal as an office outfit.
Both shoe styles, but most frequently Oxford shoes, can be brogued, semi-brogued or full-brogued. The term brogued refers to those small holes or perforations that are in the shoes; in the forefoot or in the strip that separates the toe from the step for the semi-brogued, and a more extensive chopping and a greater degree of detail for the full-brogue.
The main variation between Oxford shoes and Derby shoes is minimal and it locates in the eyelets. – Dobell
3. Monk shoes
Examples of monk shoes. – Dobell
Description: Monk shoes are a laceless shoe considered less formal than an Oxford and more formal than a Derby. They are similar in shape and construction to Oxfords, but instead of an eyelet closure, it has a wide swathe of leather (it can be single or double) fastened across the front of the shoe.
Origin: As the name indicates, monks were the first people to don this style of shoe, as the simple design provided toe protection than traditional sandals.
When to wear monk shoes: Generally crafted out of leather or suede, they can be worn with either formal or casual outfits – you can also opt for casual styles with rolled jeans. This shoe style is now regarded as a very versatile shoe that can be worn with cuffed jeans or the most dapped of suits and they are often attracting the focal point of an outfit.
Examples of loafers. – Dobell
Description: The loafer is a moccasin-inspired shoe that is known for its slip-on style. They often have an ornament or strap, and a feature of some models is an elevated seam that runs around the toe.
Origin: Formerly designed as a casual house slipper made for King George VI of England, it wasn’t universalized until its introduction in the States in the 1930s. In 1953 Gucci added a metal strap in the loafer (in the shape of a horse’s bit), an innovation that elevates the loafer’s status as a formalwear shoe style. American businessmen and lawyers began wearing them with suits in the 1960s and the rest is history!
When to wear loafers: Versatile shoe that pairs with formalwear and smart casual wear.
5. Chelsea boots
Example of Chelsea boots. – Dobell
Description: Laceless clean shape ankle-length boots, with rounded toes and low heels. An elastic gusset identifies these boots, and help to pull on and slip off the shoes with ease.
Origin: These boots were introduced in Victorian times, and they became the alternative to rigid Victorian boots of the age. Chelsea boots experienced a revival with the Beatles and the Mod look, that remained until our times.
When to wear Chelsea boots: Simple and versatile ankle boots which can be worn in multiple smart-casual or casual outfits (suede Chelsea boots and jeans pair beautifully).
7. Desert boots
Examples of desert boots. – Dobell
Description: Desert boots are the pinnacle of casual outfit, and they are ankle-high leather boots with suede or leather uppers, leather, or rubber soles, and open lacing with two or three pairs of eyelets.
Origin: British soldiers in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II wore desert boots.
When to wear desert boots: Desert boots remain an attractive alternative to casual shoes. It pairs effortlessly with denim. It’s almost like they were made for each other!
Examples of moccasins. – Dobell
Description: Moccasins are closer to loafers and boat shoes, only made with softer material and with their stitching a prominent feature of the design – but they are not slippers. Moccasins often have laces as part of their design.
Origin: Probably one of the oldest shoes to date, they have taken inspiration from the modern loafer design, adapting added details such as penny bars, thicker soles and varying materials.
When to wear moccasins: In general, they are relaxed and can fit in a casual outfit. Ideally, don’t wear them with socks. Pair them with a well-worn pair of jeans (recommended slim fit), they’re your casual go-to. Cuff the ends of your jeans to show up your shoes and add more contrast to the look.
8. Boat shoes
Examples of boat shoes. – Dobell
Description: Also known as the deck shoe and top-sider, boat shoes are available in both canvas and leather in a wide range of colours and patterns. They were designed to repel water and to be stainproof.
Origin: Paul A. Sperry designed these shoes in the 1930s inspired by his dog’s ability to run over ice without slipping. He cut his shoe’s soles inspiring the perfect boat shoe.
When to wear boat shoes: They are not just great for boat decks, but also the perfect footwear for summer months. Styled with slim dark denim and a blazer, they’re dressed up enough for a casual Friday at the office.
Don’t forget a good outfit doesn’t depend on the choice of the suit, but the rest of the elements that are paired with the look. Men’s shoes are a good part of the selection and in this guide to men shoes, we showed the most relevant. For example, Oxford shoes can be inadequate sometimes and you would rather wear a pair of Derby shoes. Or you can add a pair of moccasins in a relaxed look (T-shirt and chinos), avoiding flip flops or men’s sandals. Any shoe style depends on each workplace or the celebration and dress codes. Have fun combining them!