You can tell a lot about a man based on his shoes. Is he going to the office, or meeting someone at the park? Is he making six figures, or more like minimum wage? We know it’s a cliché, but it’s true: shoes – in many ways – make the man. Not only that, more often than naught, they can make an entire outfit. So check out this article below to get a basic sense of what to wear, and when to wear it.
Semi-Formal & Casual Events
Though these events should be a no brainer, some men still have a bit of confusion about what is and isn’t acceptable. Generally the later in the day an event starts, the more formal your attire should be. Loafers might work for a business lunch, but you should switch to lace-ups if the sun has gone down and it’s dinner or drinks. Here are a few shoe suggestions every man should keep in mind:
- Sandals: A practical, (if informal) choice in warm weather. Just know that sandals are all about context; so if you’re nowhere near a body of water, and are doing most of your walking on man-made surfaces, sandals probably don’t fit the bill.
- Canvas Lace-Ups: Vans, Chucks, or Keds, every man should own at least one pair. They’re an unbeatable casual choice, and can be had for next to nothing. Just make sure to avoid fancy patters and stick to classic colors like red, white, and black.
- Leather Loafers: Every man should own at least one pair once they reach a certain age. It’s about the same age that you stop crashing on your friend’s futon after a night of doing keg stands. Loafers are a great choice if you’re just not sure how formal you should go, since they strike a nice middle ground. Inoffensive and versatile, they’re your go-to-shoe for semi-formal events.
Dressing men for formal events can be confusing and frustrating – like sitting through your first sex-ed class and wondering when you’ll get to the real thing. Oftentimes in formal situations the shoes can feel secondary to the rest of the outfit, when really your good look should carry from head to toe. Formal shoes for men can be dead simple if you stick to a few classic choices:
- Patent Leather Lace-Ups: An undeniably formal choice, these black tie favorites look their best with a tux, though you can wear them on more casual outings to add some glam to your look.
- Brogues: Also known as wing tips, these are leather lace-ups with a telltale wingtip design on the toe. A bit more casual than patent leather, they’re still a smart choice for any man. Black for formal events, and brown if you’re going to something a bit more casual.
- Oxfords: A classic lace-up shoe with enclosed lacing and a minimum of fuss, these are a great day-to-day choice, and an inoffensive selection if you’re not in the mood to over-think your shoe situation. With all of the above make sure to keep them clean and well polished.
There’s a shoe for every man for every occasion, so check out our easy chart for help:
- Sandals: The classic summer casual choice, keep them any time you think you’re going to be going to be near water. Trips to the poolside and the beach are ideal.
- Canvas Lace-Ups: Simple, casual choice. Avoid fussy patterns, and keep them for casual events.
- Loafers: A great choice that bridges the great divide between casual shoes and formal shoes. Get a pair as soon as you can afford them. Match them to your belt, with brown for a more casual vibe.
- Patent Leather Shoes: A brilliant, stylish, formal choice that looks its best with black-tie.
- Brogues: A more rustic choice that comes from traditional Scottish country shoes, they’re a perfect choice for lazy afternoons in the country.
- Oxfords: A workhorse of a dress shoe, every man ought to own two, if he can afford it. When in doubt, oxfords never look out of place, and should serve you well if all else fails.
Still need some shoe suggestions? For any problems with your footwear, hit up our comments section for some help from our community!