Mens Dress Shoes

Mens dress shoes and the various styles are an essential touch to any gentleman's attire. They can make or break a fine suit or fashionable night out. Poorly chosen or cared for, they can be the quickest way to destroy an otherwise wonderfully planned and executed outfit.

When it comes to wardrobe staples, every man should have a couple pair of dress shoes in his closet. Dress shoes for men are commonly defined by leather uppers cut below the ankle with leather soles. It is not uncommon to have alternatives to leather for soles such as rubber. However, better quality will be found with leather soles.

Mens dress shoes typically fall into one of two categories with varied style options at the instep and toe. The two primary types are Lace-ups and Loafers. Lace-ups or otherwise referred to as oxfords are considered dressier than loafers and are often found serving a well dressed man.

  • Oxfords:

    Lace-ups or oxfords are most commonly categorized in two ways:
  1. The Balmoral shoe has leather uppers that lace together evenly yielding no perceived flaps over the tongue. The lacing brings the shoe together perfectly and is often considered dressier than the Blucher.

  2. Blucher
  3. The Blucher or Derby has leather uppers that come together with laces and flaps over the tongue. Although Bluchers are an informal shoe, they are often used in some casual dress manners for smart casual or business casual. It is however perfectly acceptable and common for Bluchers to be worn with business suits

  • Loafers:

    Loafers are simply mens dress shoes without laces that slip on the foot. There are 6 styles of loafers that make up nearly 90% of the loafer offerings
Plain Loafers
  1. The Plain Loafer is easily recognizable by it's plain toe & upper with very little if any seams or decor. The plain loafer is just that, plain and simple, no frills, just elegantly simple

  2. Penny Loafer
  3. The Penny Loafer identified by the signature plain band of slotted leather over the instep. A "penny" has been known to find it's way into this slot from time to time
  4. Tassel Loafer
  5. Tasseled Loafer, a style of loafer easiest to identify with the tassels adorning the top
  6. Kilted Loafer
  7. The Kilted Loafer is a variation of the tasseled loafer with a fringed tongue over the instep commonly accompanied by tassels
  8. Monk-Strap Loafer
  9. The Monk-Strap loafer has a leather strap over the instep, fastened with a decorative buckle
  10. Bit Loafer
  11. The Bit loafer will have a brass or other metallic decorative piece of hardware called a bit covering the shoe top

  • Toe Styles:

    Toe styles vary widely across the spectrum of mens dress shoes and can be found on either Lace-ups or Loafers. Below are the top 5 most common.

    Plain Toe Plain Toe

    Mock Toe Mock Toe

    Cap Toe Cap Toe

    Split Toe Split Toe

    Wingtip Wing Tip

With all these mens shoe styles and options it may seem a daunting task for a man to properly select his dress shoes. Don't be intimidated, keep these simple rules in mind. Lace ups with suits: In general you won't go wrong wearing either a balmoral or blucher with a business suit. Although loafers are "suit acceptable" they do create somewhat of a more casual look for the business suit. For a professional and top notch look, balmorals with suits is your best option.

Business casual or smart casual you can't really mess up with either a lace up or a loafer. If you follow the next two rules you should not have to worry about screwing up your bus/smart casual look.

Keep your dress shoes as dark or darker than your trousers.  This is a general rule that when followed should never lead a man astray
Keep your shoes polished. If this rule is followed most men's dress shoes bluchers, balmorals, loafers etc. will fair well on a temporary basis with many suits

Read Shoe Absolutes and check out our article on "mens shoe tips" for even more shoe knowledge and be sure take your game up a level

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