A Guide to Men’s Dress Shoes- Different Types with a Size Chart

guide to men's dress shoes

Handmade shoes take time. During the Industrial Revolution in both the United Kingdom and North America, a terrific breakthrough came about in the mass production of footwear thanks to an African-American man Jan Ernst Matzeliger. His patented machine could produce 700 pairs in a day, around more than 10 times that a skilled footwear master could churn out. This brought footwear into accessibility by the common man. And now we are spoilt for choice in the exquisite and bewildering range which to choose from. This humble men’s dress shoes guide will attempt to chart a path through. Please read on.

A Complete Guide to Men’s Dress Shoes

The styles are a vast assortment and each has its own place. Of course, the option of types of shoes, style, and color is one’s personal choice, but the purpose of this guide is to help you along in how to choose. There are certain ground rules here worth being aware of both when purchasing a pair as well as donning it on a particular day. In general, for a more formal wear look, the shoe needs to be sleeker. The hierarchy is closed lacing, then open lacing followed by slip-on.

Types of Men Dress Shoes

1. Oxfords


These pairs are considered the Gold Standard among dress shoes. Featuring round toes, closed lacing and usually capped. They are the most formal as formal can get. They are of the best leather, the instep kept low and always with a thin-sole of leather. Cap toes are a common adornment in these classic formals. The rule of thumb still applies; the sleeker the silhouette, the more formal it gets.

2. Brogues or Wingtips

Brogues or Wingtips

This unique shoe is found commonly in the four closure styles, Oxford, Derby, Monk, and Ghillie. And cap styles too; full or wingtip, semi. Quater and longwing. That’s versatility at its foremost. The more broguing a shoe has, the less dressy it becomes as tradition decrees. They are less adapted to your best tailoring as some mention but in all are the thing in smart-casual attire.

3. Derby Shoes

Derby Shoes

A close cousin of the Oxford, the Derby has one distinctive difference; the external lacing. This makes it a shade less formal than the Oxford closed lacing. They are also referred to as Bluchers and can be found in a line-up of colors and materials. The spectrum of styles encompasses brogue, non-brogue, wing-tipped, cap-toed and so on. For such a fine shoe, it is tagged as semi-formals shoes and that is a crying shame.

4. Loafers


Loafers are sporty chaps. You can wear them as dressy or casual formal shoes. Now for toppings, you can throw in tassels, snaffles or the leather strap as in Penny loafers. They are singularly flat-heeled. Darker colors, less adornment, and sleeker designs push them into formal wear provided you wear socks.

5. Monk Straps

Monk Straps

This is a design dating back to monks. They most certainly are pretty remote from asceticism. They come in one, two and even three in the strapping. If you are donned in Monks, your taste is pretty obvious and so don’t shy away from the attention. You called for it.

6. Dress Boots

Dress Boots

Combat boots can go and take a hike. This glam number outclasses by a mile. Go by the-rule-of-thumb, the plainer, the more formal. Dress boots are replete in many styles, are ankle-high and exotic in their appeal. Too much-detailing spoils the look and best match dark denim, dress trousers or a suit. 

7. Dress Shoes the Leather Types

At the end of the day, personal choice The right heading to sail on is the objective. Glossy leather is the leader, elegance personified and a must wherever a suit is a requirement. Suede is simply super as an in-between. It can notch the formality bit down and still look suave.

You will get a detailed discussion of different types of Men's Dess Shoes here. 

How Are Men’s Dress Shoes Supposed to Fit?

● Take off with your usual size. Remember the style you are opting for would usually be a good fit. All the same, don’t shy away from experimenting if things don’t feel good.

● Both feet are not peas in a pod. Usually one is different. If it is larger, go by it.

● Buying laced men’s shoes? Zoom in between the eyelets. A wide V signals narrow shoes. The converse, wide shoes. A slight V shape is just about right.

● Try the shoes on with your usual socks.

● The afternoon is the best time for trying out shoes. Feet swell naturally towards the end of the day.

● Feeling the pressure in any particular area on the feet, or bunching of leather which points out that we have not quite arrived as yet.

● All said and done if instinctively you realize you have found what you are looking for, snap it.

Size Chart

A size chart may come in handy to help you in choosing the right sized shoes. Read this article to know how to tell if the shoes are too big

Size Chart

Caring for Men’s Dress Shoes

Looking after your shoes comes with the deal and well worth it. Clean with a dry, damp clean cloth to clean those shoes first. Leave to dry. Apply the polish generously. Leave it for 15 minutes. Using a shoe brush, shine away.


1. What type of men’s dress shoes are in style?

The styles in focus here are essentially eternal. Everything is an evolutionary process. Many of these styles are of the Victorian era. So stand firm.

2. What shoes are formal wear?

Formal is a term that dictates not only a style but a social obligation. Oxford is the obvious ultimate formal wear as far as footgear is concerned. Any of these classic styles are office wear.

3. Are cap toe shoes still in style?

They never went away and I don’t see their disappearance in the near future. It is an additional strengthening of the toe which apart from style imparts a factor of safety for the wearer. 

4. Are wingtip shoes still in style?

Yes, they sure are. It has an aesthetic appeal that is incredible. But, if you have bunion issues, you should wear toe separatorsto get rid of this discomfort. 

5. Are almond toe shoes still in style?

Why not? It is the most popular toe shape although much unpublicized. It is not square or rounded or pointed. The cap is well, like the name says, shaped like an almond. It renders a softer, more tapered point to its toe

6. What type of socks is good for me? 

You can wear any pair of socks that match your shoes and is made of quality fabric. You can also try a pair of protective socksif you have ever gone through an injury. 

Wrapping it up

Shoes make the man. Nothing original in that. Shoes encapsulate style, warmth, comfort, elegance, and so much more. Hopefully, this men’s dress shoe guide lights up your path. A good pair on your feet is much, much more than simply a style statement. It lightens your step literally. Things appear different and your productivity will be on an uptick. So do take the trouble to get yourself attired appropriately. Best of luck.



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