Style Guide: Top 5 Shoe Styles Every Gentleman Should Have in His Shoe Collection
Given that you’re on your feet for most of the day, it’s certainly worth every buck investing in some quality pairs of shoes! In the words of bespoke shoemaker and designer - George Glasgow, people should invest heavily in beds and shoes because “they are in one or the other for most of the day.”
Your shoes are arguably the most convincing statement of personal style. A shoe collection is a great thing to have, allowing you to show up at any occasion looking dapper. However, knowing what shoes to invest in to give you the best bang for your buck is essential.
Without further ado, let’s explore the top five shoe styles every man should have in his collection!
Whatever your style, these are five men’s shoe styles that will never go out of fashion:
The quintessential footwear for formal and semi-formal occasions, Oxfords (sometimes called “Balmorals”) have been around for centuries. Oxfords are perfect for black-tie events, weddings, and job interviews, especially in plain style with no broguing.
For the uninitiated, broguing refers to the decorative perforations and saw-tooth patterns that run across parts of the shoe that are stitched together.
There are several types of Oxfords to choose from for several modern-day outfits:
Cap Toe Oxfords: These types of Oxfords have straight stitching across the front part of the shoe with a full toe overlay. Mostly without brogue detailing, they are great Dress shoes for men that pair excellently with business suits or tuxedos.
Semi-brogue Oxfords: Semi-brogue Oxfords (also known as half-brogues) have broguing along the seam and centre of the cap toe. They can be paired with a blazer and jeans or chinos for a “laid-back” casual look.
Wholecut Oxfords: A staple in the shoe collection of sophisticated men worldwide, Wholecuts are some of the most elegant dress shoes out there. Ideal for formal occasions, they feature clean lines, narrow shape, and extremely sleek look with minimal stitching. Wholecuts are statement shoes for men who prefer to look effortlessly stylish.
If you’re buying your first pair of Oxfords, it’s a great idea to get them in black or dark brown. These colours are quite versatile and work well with plenty of outfits. For a trendy look, tan oxfords work well with blue jeans, while black or coffee brown oxfords are great for chinos. Finish up this look wearing a pinstripe or polka-dot shirt folded at the sleeves and a matching-colour blazer. For a “gentlemanly” look (e.g., to a formal event) you can pair dark-coloured oxfords with a full-wool two or three-piece suit.
Monk strap shoes are named after the original wearers – European monks that donned them hundreds of years ago. Monk straps are similar in construction to an Oxford, but rather than a lace-up closure, it has a large swath of leather stitched across the top, right over the arch of the foot. This strap can be fastened with one or two buckle closures.
Monk straps are versatile shoes that you can wear with anything from suits to cuffed jeans. Our Italian handcrafted Monk straps are great for formal dressing to proper occasions and casual dressing to social events.
Loafers are your go-to shoes when you’re aiming for a look between semi-formal and casual. Unlike Oxfords and Monk straps, loafers have no special fastening mechanism. Rather, they have a simple, slip-on design with flexible soles for maximum comfort. Some designs have a strap across the middle of the shoe that could be plain, ornamented, or with a slit (as in penny loafers).
You can pair tanned brown and burgundy penny loafers with several casual outfits for that refined and minimalist look. The right-sized loafer should fit snugly around your foot – this is essential as these shoes tend to expand slightly with regular use.
Boots are a staple in the shoe collections of fashionable men all over the world. They are sturdy yet practical shoes you can pair with old denim and a suit to give off an air of subtle masculine confidence. Men’s dress boots typically have rugged soles that give them excellent traction and grip, perfect for the colder months of the year. There are a host of boot styles you can match with your outfits for whatever occasion e.g., Chelsea and Chukka boots. Worn correctly and carefully maintained, they can last you for many years.
Our Halls Chelsea boots with your formal outfits and our Duke Chukka Boots with your semi-formal or casual clothing make for excellent additions to your wardrobe. For a casual look, you can wear dress boots with jeans and a t-shirt. For a smart-casual look, you can pair your boots with a dress shirt and a blazer. Dress boots are perfect for the colder seasons of the year and can be worn with winter jackets.
Last but not least, no shoe collection is complete without a pair of sneakers! Sneakers are your go-to shoes for casual outfits to social events. Sneakers soles are typically made of rubber, making them more comfortable than dress shoes (a good reason why they’re favoured by athletes all over the world). Sneakers are made of fabric or leather and come in a variety of colours.
Leather and suede sneakers are easy to maintain and can be worn throughout the year. Make a statement with your casual clothing wearing sneakers featuring a 360-degree hand-stitched construction and sleek profile. You can pair low-top sneakers with blue jeans and a t-shirt for an effortlessly casual look (think white sneakers for an all-white ensemble!). For a sophisticated look, you can pair your sneakers with leather pants, blazers, and denim or leather jackets.