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Men’s dress shoes come in many different shapes, materials, and are designed for many different purposes. Depending on the style you’re after, the comfort your feet demand, and the type of use—there’s a perfect shoe out there for you!
There’s plenty of considerations to make before you pull out your wallet though. Price is always a factor, but understanding what you’re paying for is tricky. Warranties, materials, designer names vs. regular brands—these all come into play.
On top of that, things like understanding basic dress shoe maintenance can help your shoes last longer. So buckle up (or lace-up in this case) and prepare to learn everything you need before you buy your next pair of dress shoes!
There are a surprising number of choices when it comes to men’s dress shoes. So many choices, in fact, that it can be downright frustrating to choose a pair for that upcoming formal event or your next job interview.
However, the awesome thing about variety is that you can personalize your shoe style to match each event and match your taste—there’s more to men’s dress shoes than choosing between brown and black!—but first, you have to understand the difference between the available styles. So let’s take a quick look at the most popular dress shoe styles for men
The most basic, popular, and classic of all dress shoe styles, the Oxford shoe is rounded at the toe and features closed lacing. Balmoral Oxford’s are perfect for formal business events and are best worn in a plain black color. Black Oxfords are the ideal shoe for men to wear with a tuxedo.
These shoes are slip-ons, which automatically give them a less formal appearance than lace-up alternatives. Loafers that are to be worn in a business setting should wither have a metal link in the middle of a buckle (known as monk straps). Penny loafers are also acceptable with the band of leather on the top.
Another type of dress shoe that is considered less formal than the Oxford is the Derby. Also known as the Blucher, this shoe style features open lacing like the Oxford and can be paired with everything from a formal suit to more casual outfits that are dressed up with a blazer. Derby’s can be made of leather or suede, although the leather is preferable for formal attire.
Other Dress Shoe Quick Tips:
Black is considered more formal than brown, tan or cherry brown shoes.
Sleek shoes are considered more formal than chunky or bulky alternatives.
Lace-up shoes are generally more stylish than slip-ons for formal events.
How to Care for Dress Shoes
Once you find that perfect pair of dress shoes that complement your wardrobe, look professional yet somehow manages to be comfortable, you don’t want to risk ruining them with improper care.
Dress shoes require a lot more attention and care than your sneakers or casual shoes, and taking care of shoes is the key to getting more mileage out of them. If you have no idea what is involved in shoe care, we’ve got you covered! Here are some basic shoe care tips to help ensure your dress shoes live a long and happy life:
Let Them Breathe
Unlike street shoes that can be worn day in and day out without breaks, dress shoes should be given a chance to relax in-between wears. Ideally, your shoes should be allowed to air out for 24 hours or more before being worn again. Depending on your schedule and dress code at work, this may mean that you should own at least two good pairs of dress shoes if you want to take proper care of them.
Invest In A Shoe Tree
Using a shoe tree helps your shoes maintain their shape whenever you’re not wearing them. Shoe trees can prevent the leather from warping or cracking, especially when drying after being worn for several hours. Cedar is the preferred material for shoe trees because it actually absorbs the moisture in your shoes, and aromatic cedar will leave your shoes smelling fresh for the next wear.
If you spend the money on a good pair of leather shoes, you can spend a few minutes its take to polish them every 3 or 4 times you wear them. Polishing removes basic spots of dirt or scuffs and can prevent damage from the sun and moisture.
Use A Shoe Horn
Keep the backs of your shoes in perfect shape by always using a shoehorn to put on your dress shoes! Shoe horns are cheap to purchase and improve the longevity of your shoe.
Dress shoes are meant to elevate one’s style for certain occasions. They are inherently presumed to be a step-up from one’s normal style. That means it’s important to take a step up from one’s normal shoe maintenance routine (you have one, right?!) to ensure you’re always making a good impression. The tips here should help get you started but, if you’re still left without a clue, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll walk you through it!