The Best Formal Shoes for Men

The Best Formal Shoes for Men

When we dress casual, we can easily grab our trusty pair of trainers to finish the look. However, most men struggle in the footwear department when it comes to dressing formally. So, we have created this style guide to show you the best formal shoes for men.

Check out more Men’s Style Guide features and check out our Store.



Men's Formal Shoes

Dressing smart or formal is genuinely easy to do, but a lot of men get stuck on what shoes are too dressy and too casual. Footwear can make or break an outfit, and they can transform a formal outfit into a casual one, and vice versa. For this reason, you need to make sure you know exactly what shoe to wear and what to wear it with.

This style guide will take you through the best formal shoes to wear, whilst we inform you on how to wear them and what to wear them with. By the end of this feature, you'll have no doubts on which shoes to pair your outfit with.

Suit Shoes

Every man will be familiar with wearing a suit. Whether it's for work or a court case, you want to make sure you look your best. Ok, so the court case was a joke, but in my defence (har har), you would still need to look good. The key to wearing a suit well is making sure you tick every box. It's not enough to just have a well-fitted shirt, or to wear an amazing suit but mismatch a tie. You have to be an all-rounder, and this includes your choice of footwear.

Men's work shoes should always compliment the colour of the suit. If your suit is black, it's best to opt for a black pair of shoes, too. Brown shoes work well with blue suits and a grey suit goes well with both brown and black shoes. When wearing a suit, the best formal styles are a brogue, an Oxford, a monk-strap and a loafer.


Oxfords vs Brogues

This is a question that a lot of men want to know the answer to. What is the difference between an Oxford and a brogue? Once you know the difference, you'll never forget it, as it's pretty obvious. If you were to look at an Oxford and a brogue next to each other, you will notice that the brogue is heavily detailed whereas the Oxford is smooth and plain. Other differences include the lace system. Brogues have open laces where the Oxford had closed laces, also known as the throat of the shoe. In addition to this, a brogue has a heel cap whereas the Oxford only has a toe tap.

Other differences include the lace system. Brogues have open laces where the Oxford had closed laces, also known as the throat. In addition to this, a brogue has a heel cap whereas the Oxford only has a toe tap. Both of these are stylish men's shoes, and the preference is completely down to the wearer. Most men find that an Oxford is a smarter option than a brogue, however, they are still great formal shoes. Every man should own a pair of each, just for good measures.






Men's Dress Shoes

'Dress Shoes' is the umbrella term for all formal styles of shoes. These include derby shoes, which are similar to Oxfords, just without the toe cap. Other dress styles are Oxfords, brogues, monk-straps, loafers and chukka and Chelsea boots. All of these styles are business shoes- the ones that you should automatically think of with formal wear.

Chukka and a Chelsea boot are both a touch more casual than the classics, however, you can still easily dress them up, and they are still considered as formal footwear. If you work in a creative job, or your office is a more relaxed, then one of these boots would be perfect. Why not grab yourself some Chelsea's or Chukka boots in suede? This is a cool alternative for less formal, but comfortable work shoes for men.



The Loafer

Loafers have been given a bad name in the past, but they are now highly in trend and being worn with both casual and formal outfits. You can get a few styles of loafer shoes, including the penny and the tassel. Loafers can be worn with or without socks, and look best with a cropped trouser.

The cropped suit is a trend that has crept into formal wear, and we love it. Loafers work equally well with a smart or casual outfit, making them a highly versatile shoe which every man should own.






Best Formal Shoes

  • There are many styles of formal shoes, each of them loved for their different details. Familiarise yourself with them so you always know which style to turn to.
  • Some styles work better with different suit colours. We suggest you wear brown dress shoes with a blue or grey suit and keep men's black dress shoes for a black suit.
  • Chukka boots and Chelsea boots fall under the dress shoe category. For a more casual look, opt for the suede versions.
  • Loafers are acceptable to wear with a formal style. They are slightly more casual, granted, but as long as the rest of you is suited and booted, you'll be fine.

On That Note

No matter what even you're going to, you should now be able to pick out a style that you like and will suit. We think it's a good idea to stock up on a quality pair of at least 3 of the formal styles mentioned in this article. That way, you will have an option when it comes to dressing formally. A man who is educated on his shoe styles is a very attractive thing indeed.


The Manual

  • Style
  • Life
  • Collective
  • Grooming
  • News
            The Autumnal Style Guide

            The Autumnal Style Guide

            As the leaves slowly dip from bright lushes greens turning into warmer tones of amber and orange, they start to prepare for the changing of the sea...

            read more