Dress shoes are an important component of men’s formal wear. They add the “final touch,” while complimenting the rest of your outfit. But many men feel lost and confused when choosing dress shoes. While there are dozens of different types, we’re going to explore some of the most popular choices.
Oxfords, also known as Balamoral, are among the most timeless dress shoes for men. They are available in countless colors, with brown and black being the most popular, and usually feature a 100% all-leather construction. Some of the heavier, more durable oxford dress shoes are known as Brogue oxfords. They look similar to traditional oxfords, but with a larger and bulkier design. Because of this, Brogue oxfords may not be ideal for formal events and occasions.
Another popular choice for men’s dress shoes is derbies. Derbies look similar in appearance to their oxford counterpart, but have one distinguishable characteristic: open laces. While oxfords typically feature closed laces, derbies have open laces. You’ll see the eyelet/lacing sewn into the upper part of the shoe without any type of stitching running over them. The presence of open lacing allows for a more casual appearance when compared to oxfords. You can still wear derbies for formal occasions, though the open lacing makes them less dressy.
A third option is loafers. The term “loafer” refers to any slip-on shoe with a low, lace-less design. Because they are slip-on, however, loafers typically lack the formal appearance of their oxford and derby counterpart. You should choose loafers only for business-casual or semi-casual occasions.
Plain vs Cap Toe
Something else to consider when choosing dress shoes is the toe. Whether they are oxfords, derbies, loafers or other dress shoes, most feature several different toe styles from which to choose. Plain toe, for instance, features no additional styling in the toe, while cap toe features a small “cap” around the toe. A cap toe doesn’t offer any functional benefits, but rather it’s used strictly for aesthetics.
Other common toe styles used in men’s dress shoes include wingtip, medallion, apron, and split toe, each of which has its own unique characteristics.
These are just a few of the most common styles of men’s dress shoes. Feel free to experiment with out styles to see what works best for your outfit. Who knows, you may find a new favorite style.