Long a product of the highest craftsmanship and design, shoes are your link to the ground and a sign that you care about the little details (or not). If you invest in a quality pair and take good care of them – cleaning, polishing, and storing them on a cedar – they will last for years, with occasional repairs.
While there are strict guidelines in some circles as to what qualifies as formal shoes, we take a more holistic approach: if they are beautiful and you like to wear them, well, then wear them. But it’s best to start your search for your next dress shoe by type – starting with the pillars and working your way up to something more noticeable over time. Be practical: try an Oxford or Brogue right off the bat, but then set your sights on a loafer or mule. However, we made it easier to find it all. Find below three options for each type of dress shoe: brogues, oxfords, bluchers, derbies, moccasins, mules and monk straps.
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The oxford is characterized by lace eyelets which are attached under the vamp, as opposed to the open flaps as with the derby. This leads to a closed seam above the tongue and a neat, neat look.
An all-black oxford that goes just as well with jeans as with a black suit.
Nisolo’s Everyday Oxford pairs a tone-on-tone upper with a tone-on-tone sole.
Park Avenue Oxford Cap-Toe
Park Avenue Oxford is a classic – and for good reason. Can’t you tell?
Derby with wedge sole
Tezo’s derby isn’t super wild, but it does have a wedge sole, which makes it fit in a sea of â€‹â€‹similar dress shoes.
Derby shoes from Dunham
Grained leather has a polished look but also a lot of texture – a two for one, in my opinion.
Michael Derby Shoes
Not your usual derbies, Paraboot does it with a single toe and a taller, tighter lace construction.
Decorative and elaborate meets robust and traditional with the brogue. It is mainly characterized by its low heel and multi-piece construction, which gives it a layered and detailed look. The perforations may not work to drain water on a foot through the swamp like they were originally intended, but they will certainly attract attention.
Brogue Bourton Derby
When I think of the Brogues, the ones from Tricker’s come to mind: classic, simple, and made from soft (but strong) suede.
Grenson gives his Archie Brogue a raised studded sole.
This shade of suede will match any suit: brown, blue, patterned tweed, textured cord; your call.
Mason Horse Horsebit Loafers
From Blackstock & Weber’s FW21 collection, these two-tone horsebit loafers are traditional luxury with a contemporary twist.
New Townee Moccasins
Sleek and simple, these moccasins from nascent brand Vinny’s aren’t too stiff to look cool.
Viberg calls it a slipper, but it counts as a moccasin to me.
Alden Orange Brown Longwing Bluchers, only available from J.Crew.
Blucher with plain end
Grant Stone’s Plain Toe Blucher gives you the look of an Oxford without the bulk.
These Alden Bluchers are unlined which means they will be lighter, more flexible and more breathable in warmer environments.
Don’t be afraid of broken lace. The distinctive strap replaces the laces of these new style shoes. Like the buttons on the suit jacket you’ll wear with them, the monk’s shoe comes in one and two-buckle designs.
Rich chocolate brown double strap shoes by John Lobb. Say that six times quickly.
Detroit Double Monk Strap Shoes
These immaculately clean dress shoes from Church’s will stand out with a matte suit and go great with a tuxedo.
Double Monk loafers
Santoni here merges two types of shoes: moccasins and dress shoes with double monk strap. The result is an interesting and incredibly sophisticated hybrid.
The mules have a moment. The slipper style was born out of the habit of squashing the heel of your shoe, whether that be because it made them easier to put on and take off or that they gave you blisters. But it’s been around, and especially since Gucci launched their fur-lined slipper in 2015. These days, brands are adding larger, more durable soles to their mules, making them something you can wear all day long. without worrying about getting burned through the outsole.
The Ellis pays homage to our collective bad habit. You can wear it with the heel down or up, and I have found even after a few highs and lows that it still holds its shape.
These Ferragamo slippers have a sizeable sole, although the shoe as a whole is rather understated.
Viberg gives his Dublin Mule a boot-like tread and sturdy all-leather upper.
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