Best Mens Shoes

Finding a good dress shoe can feel overwhelming with so many colors, styles and prices. This guide helps narrow it down to what you need to know.

Shopping for men's dress shoes can be a daunting task because of the variety of styles and prices that are available to choose from. Fortunately though, there are easy ways to find out what shoe you should buy. This guide is written for the no-nonsense guy who wants to buy a shoe that represents good taste, quality, comfort and classic design at a reasonable price.

Price

Expect to pay upwards of $300 for your first pair of real men's dress shoes. You may be able to score a pair for $200 on sale. Why pay extra? Craftsmanship. That doesn't mean you should just shell out money. You will be surprised to learn that major brand names like Calvin Klein don't necessarily make good shoes and what you are paying for is the label. The point is, if you wear dress shoes on a regular basis, you should pay more at the beginning because the shoes last longer and look better over time. Expensive shoes look better and feel better.

Color

Choosing the right color is simple. Once you get a good pair of black shoes, you can buy brown shoes to go with a brown suit or more casual khakis. Black shoes are for formal occasions. Brown shoes are for semi-formal and casual events. Black shoes go with nearly everything.

Styles

Oxford Dress shoes

  • - Round toes, laces, cap toes

Wing Tip

  • More design elements in the leather of the shoes, holes, stitching and patterns at the cap.
  • Tends to draw attention, which is good, but it also means you cannot wear it as often.

Boots

  • - Dress boots tend to be a little more rugged and offer more coverage, making them good for winter wear.

Loafers

  • Slip-on shoes are casual and limited to business casual wear. This includes loafers with tassles, monk-straps, buckles, penny loafers and any variation of the buckle shoe or slip on.

Patent Leather

  • These are shoes with an Oxford style with high gloss leather and meant to be work strictly with tuxedos.

Leather

Buy a leather shoe, and that means full grain leather. This does not mean plastic.

Laces vs. No Laces

Your first pair of shoes should be black, and they should have laces. Closed lace shoes hide the lacing inside the shoe whereas open lacing exposes the laces. Closed lacing is more formal. Open lacing is more versatile.

Shoe profile

Shoes should be light, hug your feet and not clunky. Heavy rubber soles are a sign of a cheaper shoe. Slimmer leather soles are the sign of a better made shoe. Shoes do not have to be thick to be comfortable. A high quality shoe will be more comfortable despite having thinner soles.

Brands

There are okay shoes and then there are great shoes. Allen Edmond, Alden, A. Testoni, Trickers, Cheaney, Loake, Crockett amp; Jones and Edward Green are all reputable shoe brands. Edward Green, for example, makes many of the Ralph Lauren Purple Label shoes as well. These shoes will cost you several hundred dollars.

Cole Haan, Kenneth Cole, and Bostonian? If you wear dress shoes only a few times a year, then it probably makes sense to buy these shoes. They are generally priced in the $50 to $100 price bracket. However, these shoes are not designed for regular wear and tend to give dress shoes the undeserved reputation for being uncomfortable.

Shopping

You can buy most of the recommended brands online but if you want to try them in person, you'll need to find an upscale shoe or department store like Nordstrom's.