Men's Guide To Dress Shoes | Types Of Men's Dress Shoes – LIFESTYLE BY PS
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Men's Guide To Dress Shoes | Types Of Men's Dress Shoes


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This is a long, insightful guide to men's dress shoes and types of men's dress shoes.

This guide will help you understand all types of various dress shoe styles and how to go about shoe shopping and taking care of your dress shoes. 

So, let's begin... 

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men 

Some men sign with their hand. Others leave a signature with their feet.

And men who want to pull off the latter must be well versed in the art of wearing the perfect shoes.

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But that is not as easy as it sounds.

For shoe shopping is not just shoe shopping, it is shopping for that one item of the outfit that can complement everything worn with it and yet have an individuality of its own.

But one must have faith. The world is full of good soles. And if you are indeed set out on a quest to find some for yourself, this guide is your bible.

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

Anatomy of a Dress Shoe

What is that punctured design near the toes on a shoe called?

How do you ask for a shoe with a polished middle when you don't know what that middle is called?

There are a few terms that should not be alien to the buyer when he goes shoe shopping.

Otherwise, it becomes very difficult to understand whether the pair one is buying is at all good.

Anatomy of dress shoes for men

Image Source: RMRS 

Here are a few terms straight from the cobbler’s dictionary that the buyer must be acquainted with.

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There are four basic terms which are:

  1. Toe: the first quarter of the shoes’ length that covers the toes.
  2. Vamp: The second quarter between the toes and the place where the laces/buckles/ straps are.
  3. Facing: the third quarter where the laces/buckles/straps are till the ending of the shoes.
  4. Quarter: the area that covers the heels and the ankles.

Apart from these basic terms, there are three others that one should know when they are buying Oxfords, Derbies, Dress boots or Sneakers (basically any shoe with laces). These are:

  1. Eyelets: the holes through which the laces go.
  2. Throat: the joint in the leather in the facing from where the eyelets begin.
  3. Tongue: the piece of material (suede, cotton and very rarely leather) that is joined at only one end, i.e., the throat, and is free at the other end. It lies beneath the laces and covers the mid-feet.

Men's dress shoes terms

Apart from these terms that are imperative for shoe shopping, there are a few others that can come in handy. These are:

  1. Lining: the inner surface of shoes. Always ensure that the lining is even all through, without any bump near the heel or the toes. The lining near your foot’s arch generally has a little slope for a better fit.
  2. Broguing: the small perforations made on a shoe for a design. These are mostly seen in dress boots.
  3. Top line: the edge or mouth of the shoe that encircles your ankle or the end of the legs. Sometimes top line is also used to refer to the sewing around the mouth of the shoe through which the feet enters.
  4. Heel: the slightly elevated platform near the heel of the foot. The heel, although higher by definition from the rest of the shoe, must always be uniformly high. There are chances of being unable to keep balance or walking strangely if the heel is not uniform.
  5. Waist: the point where the heel begins.
  6. Outsole: the outer surface of the shoe at its bottom. Much like the lining, the outsole should be observed carefully. The outsole generally has some sort of pattern on it. The more intricate and uniform the pattern, better the grip of the shoe because of the greater friction. A good outsole always reduces the chances of slipping. It is best to avoid a shoe with a thin outsole because these are generally not long-lasting.

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Types of Dress Shoes

All dress shoes are not Oxfords. Patterned derbies do not complement tweed jackets. Loafers in pastel shades are not in.

The many misconceptions attached to shoes really do not help. To begin with, shoe shopping is a tough business.

No one will contradict the argument that it is rather difficult to find the perfect shoes for themselves.

Knowing the features that differentiate one dress shoe from another is imperative if one wishes to find the perfect pair.

Types of dress shoes for men  

Here is a guide to sailing you through.

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Oxfords

The Oxford is timeless. The Oxford is elegant. And the Oxford is versatile.

In short, if there can be a granddaddy of the shoe world, it is the Oxford.

These have been rocking business meetings and farewell parties and charity nights for more than two centuries. And they are here to stay.

There are two things that must be kept in mind when buying an Oxford: one, too much experimentation with something so traditional and classic will ruin it.

It is best to buy black or dark brown ones. Even dark magenta-coffee shades in Oxfords are frowned upon.

Two, oxfords are the dressiest shoes featured on this list. But that does not mean that it is restricted to black-tie events.

They are just as good for Sunday brunches as they are for a fundraising dinner.

And no man should shy away from wearing them with a crisp shirt, jacket and jeans.

There are four major types of Oxfords, and they each have a particular type of look that they complement the most.

  1. Cap toe Oxfords features a line where the toes begin.
  2. Wingtip Oxfords: features a ‘M’ shaped line where the toes begin.
  3. One-piece Oxfords: Sewn from a single piece of leather.
  4. Plain toe Oxfords: the leather from the mid feet till the toes features no line.

Of these, only the one-piece Oxford is specific to certain outfits. All the others complement almost every variation of formal attire.

The one-piece goes better with semi-formal looks. If it is strictly a black-tie event, it's better to skip this one.

Oxfords shoes for men. men's guide to dress shoes #dressshoes #mensfashion #fashiontips  Oxfords shoes for men. men's guide to dress shoes #dressshoes #mensfashion #fashiontips

 

Oxfords shoes for men. men's guide to dress shoes #dressshoes #mensfashion #fashiontips  Oxfords shoes for men. men's guide to dress shoes #dressshoes #mensfashion #fashiontips

The Derby Shoe

Even fashion aficionados confuse Derbies with Oxfords. In their defence, the difference is rather subtle.

Oxfords always have a closed lacing whereas Derbies feature an open lacing.

They are the second most formal shoes, and even though their honour has not been as high as the Oxford’s, Derbies have walked the ramps of history triumphantly.

Born half a century after the Oxfords, it took Derbies very little time to monopolise formal evenings, weddings, and business tours.

Derbies have one advantage over Oxfords though.

Because of the open lacing, they have a wider space in the middle.

Most men who have wider feet prefer Derbies over Oxfords for this very reason.

These have three types:

  1. Cap toe Derbies: features a line where the toes begin.
  2. Wingtip Derbies : features a ‘M’ shaped line where the toes begin. 
  3. Plain toe Derbies : the leather from the mid feet till the toes features no line.

Since there is not much difference between the Oxford and the Derby, if you have wider feet choose this one.

It allows more space and comfort while keeping it utterly formal.

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Opera Pumps

Perhaps the most popular of the few remnants of the Victorian era, opera pumps are the staple wear of the utterly formal yet fun parties.

Even during the Victorian Era, they were considered to be a slightly whimsical yet impactful fashion statement.

Therefore if there is any event for which you have a ‘full dress’ (in other words an outfit that is very fashionable and simultaneously formal) go for the opera pumps.

They have a grosgrain bow which adds a zing to the entire outfit.

And it can be safely said that you would make quite a few heads turn if you can carry it off with confidence

Opera pumps men's guide to dress shoes for men #mensfashion The Monk Strap

No one knows how Monk straps actually got their iconic name, the story of monks inventing them might be a complete hoax.

But history and etymology apart, Monk straps are infinitely comfortable.

If the general narrow-tipped ones are avoided (because they grip the toes too tightly and look disproportionate against the wider middle) these are the most faithful shoes in terms of cosiness.

The added bonus is that one can confidently wear one to an office, to a club, to a party and many such gatherings/events which are not strictly formal.

The Monk straps also come in a number of colours, so experimenting with burgundy, coffee, chocolate or raisin coloured ones may not be that risky, depending on which event they are worn to.

There is, of course, one unspecified but strict dictum of the Monk strap: never wear these if your outfit comprises a bow tie.

There are two types of Monk straps:

  1. Single Strap
  2. Double Strap

Of these, the former is more versatile. They have even been spotted complementing bomber jackets and jeans. Double strap is a little less casual.

Single monk strap Men's guide to dress shoes #mensfashion #fashion   Single monk strap Men's guide to dress shoes #mensfashion #fashion

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The Dress Boot

The dress boot is somewhere in between the Derby and the Oxford.

The only difference between these and the dress shoe is the longer shaft.

These were once the only option for men before and during the Victorian era, until Oxfords came along and rescued men (and their feet) from the monotony.

Now dress boots are worn during the day because they have been mostly replaced by the newer types of dress shoes.

Admittedly, they are a little passé. But they still have their charm in tea parties and formal lunches.

It is best to avoid them if one is heading towards parties near a coast (or any sandy area) and pools.

The reason is that dress boots always come with some amount of broguing near the wingtip.

If there is sand and water in the place where they are worn there are chances that it will get inside the shoe through the pores.

And there is no inconvenience greater than walking in moist or sandy shores.

Dress boots for men #mensfashion #fashion #style

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The Chelsea Boot

Originally custom designed for her majesty, the queen of England, Queen Victoria by J. Sparkes-Hall,

Chelsea boots became a rage because of the comfort that they provide. The elastic siding that replaced the inflexible sewing of leathers made it very easy to slide one’s feet in and out of it.

Its ability to offer convenience, formality and panache made shoe designers bring it back in the 1960’s. It gripped pop-culture, and how!

Especially because of the lack of the broguing and sewing, these have a sort of minimalistic charm that is both sleek and classic.

The rounded tip makes it all the more comfortable for the toes.

There are two types of Chelsea boots:

Suede: these are smarter casual than formal, so wearing them to formal events is not much of a smart move. Keep these restricted to jeans and jacket outfits.

Leather: for the sake of a safe yet appreciable change in the outfit, one may confidently experiment with leather Chelsea boots. The trick is to choose safer colours (black or dark brown) to not make a faux pas in a formal event.

Experimental or not, Chelsea boots are a major fashion statement.

Not only do they break the monotony of a formal look, they add a sort of freshness that appeals to the onlooker.

Plus, who wouldn't want to walk in the same boots as John Lennon?

Suede Chelsea Boots   Leather Chelsea boots for men #mensfashion #style

The Chukka Boot

Unofficially known as the polo player’s best friend,

Chukka boots are ankle length dress shoes that are made of both soft suede and leather.

The suede ones give the softest hug possible to the feet.

The lace-up closure ensures the perfect fit and although they are ankle length, they are so cleverly tailored that they never make the trousers bunch up near the ankles.

Although most office goers ditch these and go with the Oxford or Derbies, Chukka boots may actually be a far smarter alternative, especially in a cold weather.

The chukka Boots

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The Loafer

No shoe was more appropriately named. Laid back and easy, casual and chic, the loafer is the shoe of dichotomies.

One may wear them to the office, one may wear them to a brunch. One may wear them to the Club and may wear them in a formal party in their own home.

Although they are frowned upon by the previous generation of designers, it is difficult not to love them.

Comfort is one of the chief advantages of these shoes, and it retains the cosiness of the moccasins from which it was inspired.

Much like the Chelsea boots, loafers are blue bloods. They were designed originally for King George the VIth of England.

The characteristic features of the loafers are an elevated seam, a saddle, and sometimes tassels. There are three types of loafers:

  1. Penny Loafers: simplistic, with only a saddle.
  2. Tassel Loafers: Features a single or double tassel on the quarter.
  3. Bit Loafers: features a chain or leather strap on the quarter held on two sides by a buckle.

Loafers have a smart-formal and slightly casual vibe about them.

It is one of the safest shoes to try when one has an outing with colleagues. They are not much of a hit in a boardroom meeting.

Bit Loafers Men's Guide To Dress Shoes #mensfashion #fashion #style  Penny loafers Men's Guide To Dress Shoes #mensfashion

Loafers Men's Guide To Dress Shoes #mensfashion

The Mantra of Shoe Shopping

Comfort, budget, class.

As difficult as it is to get all three in the same shoe, it is not impossible, once this mantra is learnt by heart..

Armed with this mantra, buying shoes will not just be easy. It will save precious time. So here are the five commandments of shoe shopping.

1. Fix a Budget before you go to the store.

As old school and/or miserly as it sounds, having a budget in mind beforehand is the best way to make sure one's expenses are balanced. Plus, it saves time. 

2. Carry/wear the trousers with which the shoes should match.

Even if there is more than one outfit that the shoes should match, carry the trousers from those outfits to the store.

It is not important to carry the rest of the outfit because once the shoes fall in line with the trousers they almost always complement the rest of the outfit.

Keep the shoes on the trousers and examine them.

3. Know the Shade you are looking for.

This might make it easy: black, dark brown, dark burgundy if it is a black-tie event.

Experimentation with the darker shades of ochre is also allowed. Green shoes in any shade are most unwelcome in events.

Dark navy blue shoes make a fine impression in a fundraising dinner or coastal parties.

4. Don't let the salesman pinch your shoe to your feet.

Many salesmen do this to give the illusion of a perfect fit.

Make sure to walk in the shoes you are about to buy within the store, no matter how little space there is in the store.

The true test of a shoe is how comfortable it is when walking.

5. Check the grip of the outsole.

Falling down anywhere, let alone a formal occasion is embarrassing beyond measure. Always check the grip of the outsole.

The grip depends on the intricacy of the pattern on it, and in the number of spikes if any.

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Taking Care of Footwear

Dress shoes are made of two different materials: suede and leather.

And they have particular ways in which they must be cared. There are however four generic rules that must be followed for all kinds of shoes.

  1. Do not keep shoes in a cramped space. Leather, cotton, suede and every other material require space to breathe. A clean, spacious and dry space is the best ambience for shoes.
  2. Make sure there are no pests where the shoes are kept. Before randomly spraying a pesticide, ask the shoe store if the pesticide is safe for the shoes. Otherwise, empty the shoe rack completely and then spray the pesticide. Put the shoes in after 24 hours.
  3. Don't give a new/expensive pair of shoes to a new shoe maintenance store. It is best, to begin with a cheaper, older pair. If they ruin it, it won't be much of a loss. If they do not, the better pair of shoes will be safe with them.
  4. Use a shoe tree. Shoe trees are a block of material kept inside the shoe to keep it in shape when the shoe is not being worn.

The specific rules are as follows:

1. Suede Shoes

These are more delicate then leather shoes and must be handled with more care.

Firstly, it is best to avoid suede shoes if the destination is moist, or if it is a humid day. Moisture is the nemesis of suede shoes.

If they get wet accidentally, they should be first put in a dry place (preferably in the sun but not directly under heat) and should be stuffed with paper balls.

Paper quickly sucks in moisture.

Secondly, avoid polishing suede shoes yourself.

Make sure the shoe tree used for suede shoes does not have very sharp edges. That only deforms the shoe.

2. Leather Shoes

Since these are stronger, polishing them yourself is not much of a risk. Carry the shoes when buying the polish for them.

Make sure the polish matches both the shoes texture and colour. Take off the laces before polishing and clean them separately.

Polish in round circles while applying some pressure. Always wash the brush after polishing.

If there is any broguing on the shoe, stuff a newspaper inside it such that the newspaper blocks the entrance of anything through the pores.

In the epilogue, a man who worships his feet is not considered narcissistic.

Good shoes mean two things: healthy feet and great fashion.

And if you are going to make a statement with your feet, you might as well make sure that people remember it.

That's a wrap, guys. I think the guide helped you level up your dress shoes game. Now to make things, even more, easier for you, we have this amazing Infographic from ties.com which explains each type of dress shoes in a super simple way.  

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The Ultimate Guide To Men's Dress Shoes 

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

And also to help you nail your dress shoes game, we've curated some amazing outfits you can wear with your dress shoes. 

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

Men's Guide To Dress Shoes. #mensfashion #fashion #style

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==> Get This Entire Guide In .PDF for easy future reference. Click here to download now

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The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

The Ultimate Dress Shoes Guide For Men  #MENSFASHION #dressshoes #fashion

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