Looking for the perfect dress shoes? Or simply want to learn more than a thing or two about dress shoes? Then you’ve come to the right place! What you’ll be reading below are a few details about dress shoes and the different types of dress shoes.
First, we will talk about the parts you need to inspect to determine the quality of dress shoes; then, we will talk about the different styles of dress shoes.
Quality of Great Dress Shoes to Look Out For
To the untrained eye, it may be quite difficult to tell whether a dress shoe is of good, great, or impeccable in quality. Luckily, we have laid out four main parts of a dress shoe’s construction which you can look for to determine its quality:
- Stitching: These are one of the things that are always missed out on when inspecting a dress shoe. The best dress shoes are stitched in a fine, well-ordered, and almost unnoticeable fashion. If you notice any irregularities or alignment issues with the stitches, then this is a tell-tale sign that the shoe could not have been made with much care.
- Lining: You can easily feel if synthetic leather is used for the lining of a dress shoe. If the aforementioned material was used then it’s best not to go for that kind of shoe. High-quality dress shoes have a lining which is made from natural leather.
- Leather: The part that everyone notices. It is basically the whole face of your shoe. Never go for anything less than real leather; not only does it look good, it can be easily restored numerous times and makes for a better fit over the course of its use.
- Sole: This part of your shoe may vary in materials, from rubber, wood, to leather. Its construction and alignment will tell you about the shoe’s quality. The sole could be glued or stitched.
Every fine gentleman knows a thing or two about the different types of dress shoes and not every dress shoe is made the same. Though they may seem to be the type of shoe that can be paired for every kind of formal or smart casual wear, one must know that that is not always the case. There would be some styles of dress shoes that may be more apt for your wardrobe of choice. Here is a list of the seven most popular styles of dress shoes:
One of the key characteristics of a Derby is its open lace design. What does that mean? An open lace has the bottom of the facing open; the stitches do not intersect as they run down the end of the facing. This type of design makes adds a dash of sophistication while preserving the whole shoe’s simplicity.
Typically, Derbies come in a wide variety of colors, from dark shades of red to brown. Of course, a suit and tie will be appropriate with Derbies, but this type of dress shoe also matches perfectly with a sports jacket and a pair of jeans.
The brogue is among the most flamboyant of dress shoes. Dawned with serrations and perforations, this decorative stitching has a timeless look and feel. Despite being the loudest by details, the brogue is among the most flexible dress shoe. This can be paired with a neat collared shirt and chino shorts to a tuxedo.
Oxfords, the most common and the most formal dress shoe in the market. Its simplicity captures the essence of grace and class. Oxfords are quite similar to the derby, the difference is that the bottom of the lace is closed and intersects under the vamp. For additional details, these may come with a cap-toe design. It is the ideal men’s business shoes and can also fit perfectly well for formal events.
Much like the design, construction, and form of the oxford, the main difference of monk straps is that they don’t use laces but a buckle and a leather strap. Though its facing may differ from the typical oxford and derby, it’s not less formal. Monk straps are perfect for those who are looking for a unique dress shoe design. Commonly, they may come with either a single or double strap design.
In the league of more casual dress shoe designs, the chukka captures the eye with its two or three-piece construction and a stylish range of material choices; calfskin leather, natural leather, and suede. Those who own their own pair would tell you how comfortable this dress shoe is. Chukkas can be used for casual wear and for suits or anything formal, it would be best to go with a suede set.
Relaxed, cool, and sleek, loafers sit in between the formal and casual spectrum. That is what makes this dress shoe special. They can be used for many different events and style options. What’s great about loafers is that it’s the most convenient to use, since they are slip-on.
No buckle, no straps, or no laces; though others may be decorated with tassels or metal links. What will define the formality of your loafers will be the kind of socks you’ll be wearing. For formal events, you may use argyle socks or plain black ones.
Not all dress shoes are made equally. You may notice that others have a few more details than the rest, while others take your breath away with its clean and simple aesthetic. Here are a few terms to know about a dress shoe’s design in finer details.
Cap-toe: A cap-toe design can easily be noticed by the extra leather that is stitched horizontally at the toe area of your dress shoe. Many consider this a very formal design for dress shoes but cap-toe oxfords can commonly be seen on the feet of many corporate workers and businessmen.
Wingtip: The wingtip design can commonly be found on brogues. This ornamental detail adds flair and a bit of finesse on intricately patterned dress shoes. The “M” shape pattern of the wingtip wraps the toe section of the shoe which runs down the sides.
Tassels: A frequent design trend for loafers, tassels may seem like a superfluous addition to your shoes but it adds a great deal of character to your dress shoes.
When you put your money down for dress shoes, it’s best to know if you’re truly getting what you pay for. It’s also good to own more than a single pair. This gives you more freedom to express and project your personality and style.
Now that you know the different types of dress shoes, you’ll know what to look out for the next time you visit the shoe store.