Every man needs a good pair of dress shoes in their wardrobe whether they need them for work or for a night out on the town. Dress shoes are great to take a casual outfit up a level without going overboard. They are great when you don’t want to dress too dressy but also when you aren’t sure if casual is ok. A great pair of dress shoes will go with almost every outfit you have and work for every occasion. If you do require them to work then, of course, they become that much more valuable.

 

I recommend that you own a black pair of oxfords which are the foundation of any men’s dress shoe collection. You can then begin to explore other colors and styles. Some other colors I would recommend are a cognac or dark brown and a lighter brand color. As far as styles they come in many options:

Oxfords – Oxfords are commonly mistaken to as a dress shoe though not all dress shoes are oxfords. Oxfords are a very common type of dress shoes. They have stitches where the flaps meet the vamp. A vamp is leather that goes from the toe to the lacing flaps. The photo below explains what this means visually.

Whole cut Oxfords – These are your oxfords that are missing any extra stitching that fancier styles have. They are oxfords that are cut from one single piece of leather.

Simple Cap Oxford – An Oxford that has closed lacing and a line of stitching that stylizes the front of the shoe. This makes the toe of the shoe look capped. These are known as the more simpler dress shoes and are usually very sleek. Go for this style when you want a dressier look.

Semi-Brogue Oxfords – These are the oxfords that come with a lot of fancy holes that accentuate the side, back, and front of the shoe. They were used in the old days to help water out from the shoe since they were used by people to walk through wet fields. In today’s world, they are the dressiest shoe available. They also have lots of layers of leather and have some sort of medallion on the toe. They are definitely flashier.

Wingtip Oxford – These are similar to your semi-brogue oxfords. The difference is the M design on the top of the toe. These make a wing tip like design that accentuates the front of the shoe along with the holes and extra leather.

Plain / Cap-Toe Derby – These aren’t oxfords since they are open-laced. These types of dress shoes are known as derbies. This is probably the most common type of dress shoes and is widely used. They are less dressy.

Single and Double Monk Straps – Monk straps forego the laces all together and are secured by a buckle and strap. They are newer in terms of fashion but are definitely popular. They are known to be less dressy but can be worn with a suit.

Semi-Brogue Derby – Combine the Derby with the characteristics of the Semi-Brogue and you have this combination. A dressier version of the plain / cap-toe derby.

Longwing Derby – Like the Wingtip Oxford, this shoe has the M design on the top of the toe and also has the fancy holes and extra leather of the semi-brogue styles. The difference is that the wingtip continues and wraps all the way around the back of the dress shoe.

Below that I have included the top 7 dress shoes I would start with if you are looking to improve your dress shoe collection.

Top 7 Men's Dress Shoes

1. Allen Edmonds Carlyle Black – Allen Edmond shoes are somewhere in between affordable shoes and expensive shoes. They have good quality yet aren’t so expensive that they cost an arm and a leg. They are in the $200 range for a good pair that will last you a long time. The black shoes are my favorite from this list.

2. Allen Edmonds Carlyle – As mentioned before Allen Edmond shoes are the middle option for most men. They are somewhere in between expensive and cheap on both the quality level and the cost level. They have an immense selection on their site and were founded in 1922 so you know they have the history to back up their product.

3. Aldo Thunder Dress Shoes – Aldo shoes are one of the more affordable men’s dress shoes out there. They do not have the best quality but they are the go to option when you are watching your budget. A normal pair of ALDOs goes from $80 – $140 and come in a variety of options.

4. Aldo Men’s Craosa Oxford Cognac – The cognac Aldo dress shoes are one of the more common dress shoes. Like the shoes before these are more affordable and range in the $100 bracket. As mentioned before the quality isn’t the best but they are cheap and a quick go to when you are strapped for cash. I recommend having both a black pair and a light brown pair.

5. Cole Haan – Another global brand on this list, Cole Haan started out as a small shop in Chicago back in 1928. Since then it has grown to become a widely known brand for men and women. Their dress shoes hover around the $300 mark but their quality is exceptional. I recommend every man own a pair of Cole Haan dress shoes in their closet.

6. J. Crew – J. Crew has a lot of great dress shoes for men looking to look their best in the work place. They have versatile options from oxfords to chukkas which will spice up most outfits. Since they are the go to brand for most middle-income guys, J Crew can’t go wrong.

7. Kenneth Cole – Another affordable brand of men’s shoes, Kenneth Cole has some great options in the $100 – $200 range though they have many options for cheaper. Their oxfords are my favorite and are always a brand I have in my closet.