Dress Shoes - Q&A
There's no shortage of options when it comes to men's dress shoes. Which pair makes the right choice? Here are some commonly asked questions when buying mens shoes online or in-store.
Which black shoe is for me?
When it comes to black shoes, there is no right or wrong. It simply comes down to the use of the shoe, and what you prefer. Will they be worn with a suit, or casually with a pair of jeans? Are they for summer or winter?
When selecting a pair of black shoes, all these questions must be considered. You’re likely to prefer a light loafer in summer, opposed to a heavy boot. Your wardrobe should consist of several different styles of black shoes. Loafers or leather boots for jeans and smart casual functions; and lace up and slip on's for suits, pants and all formal functions.
All my shoes are black. What other colours can I wear?
Black is perhaps the most common shoe colour in any gentleman's wardrobe. However there are other options. Brown dress shoes are just as easy to match with a pair of dark denim or suits. Navy, brown and tan coloured suits, all work tremendously with brown shoes. In fact, they work better with brown then black shoes.
It's important to think about the contrast in your outfit, black dress shoes work best with black and grey suits. But dark brown shoes, work better with navy suits. There are many variations of brown dress shoes, and a quick search for mens shoes online will reveal your options, so feel free to experiment. Alternatively a dark or burnt red or wine is smart with most colours, including taupe and honey coloured chino's for the weekend.
Wearing the right shoes to a wedding?
However perfect the wedding suit, the wrong shoe choice can (and probably will) ruin the entire outfit. The groom and bride may decide for the groom and his best men to wear the same style shoe, or for the stylish best men to compliment the groom with a different style.
A lot of time is spent on your feet at weddings, so when shopping for mens wedding shoes you need to find a style that is both comfortable and stylish. After all, the camera’s will be flashing!
For formal weddings, compliment the mens wedding suits by wearing a sleek black dress shoe. Both lace up or slip on will do the job, or keep it formal with a black oxford shoe.
If you’re wearing a dinner suit with satin trim, you may wish to compliment it with a patent leather shoe.
As a simple rule, if the suit is black or charcoal only black shoes should be worn. If you’ll be wearing a grey, brown or navy wedding suit, brown or tan leather shoes are also acceptable.
What's the difference between an Oxford and a Derby shoe?
Amongst the most popular styles of lace-up shoes are the; Oxford and Derby. Whilst similar, they are subtly different.
An Oxford shoe is a lace-up shoe whereby the base of the lace’s are stitched to the vamp (front section of the shoe). Once tightened most of the tongue will be hidden. Oxford shoes (also known as Balmorals) are considered to be the most formal men’s shoes.
Derby shoes are similar however the lace holes are not stitched to the vamp (our classic derby style). Thus are often referred to as having an open front, which exposes the tongue. Derby shoes are considered to be less formal because they are easier to put on, this is because the open laces allows the shoe to open wider. Derby shoes are perfect with jeans or chino.
Should I buy a Chelsea Boot or Desert Boot?
Leather boots make a great addition to any wardrobe, however its first important to buy the right boot. You may have noticed there are many different boots available, each with their own styling and details. Depending on your use, one particular style of boot may be better suited for your needs then another.
We start with the Chelsea boot, a classic pull on boot that is designed to reach or sometimes cover the ankle. Chelsea boots do not have any laces and feature elastic siding. Originally designed for horseback riding, Chelsea boots have become extremely popular in mens fashion, and offer great flexibility amongst many outfits. They make for a smart impression, and pair nicely with jeans or chino pants for smart-casual functions. If necessary you can also wear them with your suit. Our Shelton Boot, and Hawthorn Boot are all different examples of a good leather Chelsea boot.
Alternatively you may opt for a desert boot, which are great for casual weekend wear. These ankle length boots, generally feature either two or three eyelets for laces and have a rubber sole. Desert boots are an excellent choice for weekend or casual wear. This suede desert boot is a good example.
Remember that whilst both styles can be worn casually, if you prefer the flexibility of being able to dress them up for smart-casual events, we suggest opting for a Chelsea boot.
Can I wear boots with my suit?
Whilst there are no rules, a slip-on or lace-up shoe is always preferred. They tend to look much cleaner with a suit trouser, as the pant sits much nicer over the shoe. Especially with modern slim leg trousers. As boots cover the ankle, a trouser worn over a boot sticks out and causes it to not sit as well as it otherwise would with a proper shoe. If you must wear a boot; try to wear one that finishes around the ankle, but not above it. A dress boot works well with a pair of denim jeans.
I just bought suede shoes. How do I care for them?
Suede shoes have become increasingly dominant in the casual shoe scene. Suede shoes are available in boots, lace-ups and loafers.
Whilst the thought of caring for suede can seem daunting, its not as complex as you'd imagine. We recommend purchasing a suede specific brush from your local shoe repair store. Be sure to always brush in the same direction, and after each wear. This will help lift the threads, and also clean out any dirt. Most suede shoes come pre-treated, however there is no harm in spraying them with some water and stain protector before use. We recommend spraying regularly to ensure your shoes are constantly protected.
What do I wear my brogue shoes with?
Brogue shoes are a popular choice in men's shoes, and as a result there is no shortage of supply. Luckily brogue shoes are quiet versatile and can be paired with denim jeans, and look equally good when worn with a suit.
The Different Shoe Types
Shoes play a vital role in men’s style. Men are often judged by the shoes we wear, so it’s important to send the right impression. With so many different styles and colours, it may be overwhelming finding the right dress shoe. Stick to the essentials, and invest in several good quality shoes.
Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. An investment in good quality mens shoes will pay dividends if cared for correctly. Whilst you may be tempted to opt for a cheaper alternative, it is important to remember that well made shoes constructed from real leather are likely to outlast most items in your wardrobe. Additionally, as they begin to show wear over time you are able to have them repaired at a fraction of the original purchase price. More importantly however, footwear plays a substantial role in foot and toe problems. Investing in well made and properly constructed dress shoes can help to minimise these problems. This should be reason enough to spend as much as you reasonably can on dress shoes. To maximise the life of your shoes wear them every few days, allowing them to rest every other day.
Oxford ShoesOxford’s are available in many different colours and finishes, and whilst you may prefer brogue details it’s important you cover the basics first. Plain oxford’s may be far too boring or conservative for your liking. Especially when displayed next to a pair of detailed lace up’s or perforated Chelsea boots, but considering they can be worn to; work, formal weddings and everything in between, it’s important to have them covered.
A classic oxford shoe is considered to be the most formal mens dress shoe, and despite this, is likely to be the most worn shoe in your wardrobe. At a bare minimum your wardrobe should consist of at least one black pair. Once you have the black pair covered, experiment with brown tones and brogue detailing.
Derby ShoesEasier to get on and off then the oxford, derby shoes make a great choice for everyday business attire. Derby shoes are extremely popular, and you should be able to find the perfect style with so many different colours and styles available.
Additionally, they make a great choice for smart-casual outfits consisting of; a pair of denim jeans, shirt and blazer.
Mix it up, and add a pair of mens dress boots to your wardrobe. A favourite choice with denim, boots are a stylish alternative that combine comfort with ease. For true versatility, opt for a Chelsea boot.
Chelsea boots are designed to reach (or cover) the ankle, and their laceless design means that they are generally pulled onto the foot. A Chelsea boot is a smart option for most smart casual outfits, especially when compared to the more casual alternative styles such as desert boots. A slightly detailed boot works perfectly with your denim and cotton chino pants.
You may find that you prefer one style to others, just make sure to mix it up and keep them changing. To get the most out of your shoes, give them some rest between wears. Remember you get what you pay for, so don't be shy when purchasing your next pair of mens shoes. The additional comfort good quality dress shoes provide, along with their long lifespan should be enough to part you with your hard earned cash.