A Guide to Men's Dress Shoes
Walking in New Leather Shoes


Men' s dress and formal shoes can be hard to buy because; unlike women's shoes they simply can not be matched exactly to the outfit. Color really determines how formal the footwear is. A black shoe is considered more formal than a brown or beige shoe. The sleeker the shine or finish on the shoe the more formal the shoe is considered. Even if it goes against command sense; the less ornate the design of the shoe the more formal the shoe is considered.
A highly shined black shoe with little design would be appropriate for a black tie event and a light colored shoe with a design may be appropriate for church or work.

The majority of "dress " shoes for men; are made out of leather. Shoes made out of full grain or top leather is the most durable and achieves the highest shine.

Dress shoes that are colored are often made out of "corrected grain leather". This leather is buffed with an artificial grain to cover the natural imperfections in the leather.

Suede is a napped leather finish that is actually softer than top grain leather. This is a durable material that many more "causal " shoes that could be worn for work are made out of.

Ultra Suede is a micro fiber knockoff of suede is less durable but again used in many kinds of shoes that could be considered "causal dress"


Leather shoes come in a variety of colors.
• Basic black which is good for most people.

• Brown that can be worn with various shades of browns and neutrals.

• Chestnut which can be worn with any earth tones

• Burgundy which looks good with dark colors and a variety of grays and muted earth tones.


If you want a good everyday dress shoe you can hardly go wrong with; consider the diverse style of the Oxford shoe. They come in a variety of styles for many different work or social situations.
• Wingtips are common type of Oxford and look like a bird spreading it wings.

• Bluchers look like they were sewn together in segments and give an opportunity to show off different color and texture styles.

• Balmorals are sleek and stream lined and in black can stand in place of the Italian loafer for formality.

• Cap toe Oxfords are less formal and can be used as a formal shoe when the style is not decorated or as an everyday Oxford with decorations.

• Saddle Oxfords have a saddle-shape of leather .They can be worn in dual dark and light colors by the daring.

• Kilties have a tongue with fringed leather . They are often seen as the perfect "school " shoe as they can be worn easily with most boy school uniforms.


The style and price one is going to pay for dress shoes is determined by use. You may consider 'renting' a pair of formal wear shoes for a one time even such as a wedding. This is especially true if the footwear is for a child or teenager. They will have outgrown the shoes long before they attend another formal event. This can also be true of "Easter shoes" . I have purchased my children's "Easter Shoes' at the children's consignment shop as they will only be worn for a few hours on a holiday. Our church encourages the youth to be casual the rest of the year so they do not get the mileage out of converting their "Easter shoes " to "Sunday shoes". It is nice to pass on your Easter shoes to cousins or neighbors who may too only have a small use for special occasion dress shoes.

A good school shoe for boy before they hit the fashion conscience stage is many time a suede running shoe or hiking shoe. They can be treated to be more water resistant than a leather loafer and generally fair well on the play ground. They tend to look nicer in darker colors than plain tennis shoes. They are sort of a practical compromise between a play and a dress shoe for younger boys.

Most men should invest in two pairs of casual dress shoes for work. Switching your everyday dress shoes will give a longer life to both pairs and keep both pair "broken in " and comfortable to wear. It is also probably safe to have a more expensive " Italian " pair of shoes in your closet for unexpected formal events and special dates. Italian loafers are especially timeless in their style and in black with do for most formal events.

A little insight and a sense of your own style can help take the fear out of shopping for dress shoes for most men.