Five Footwear Styles Every Man Should Own

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Are you still rocking black dress shoes with blue jeans? If you are, it’s time to fix your style woes.

From the staple Oxford shoe to the trendy Chelsea boot, any devotee of men’s fashion knows you can build a capable footwear selection from a few simple styles. For beginners to fashion experts alike, here are Noose & Monkey’s top five shoes to help you finish off any outfit.

Brogues

What are they?

Brogues are one of the most essential pieces of formalwear. Originally created to allow water to drain in boggy conditions, the modern brogue still retains a perforated pattern known as ‘decorative element’ that now exists for style alone. Originally brogues were designed as a country shoe, but now adorn the feet of businessmen, politicians and lawyers alike.

Each style of brogue refers to the amount of decoration in the ‘toe cap’ area of the shoe. These are:

  • Wingtip (or full brogue) – this style features a ‘winged’ design where the toe cap sweeps back to the ball of the foot. From the front, you can see a ‘W’ design that lends the style the nickname ‘wingtip.’
  • Semi – semi, or half brogues, have a toe cap which is sectioned off by a horizontal line.
  • Quarter – these are similar to semi brogues, but lack any decorative element on the body of the toe cap itself. Instead, the only decoration is on the line of the toecap.
  • Longwing – Longwing brogues are similar to wingtips, but the decorative element stretches back on both sides to meet at the heel.

Why wear them?

Brogues of all variations lend an air of ornamentation to your footwear, creating the perfect combination of business and casual shoe. Arguably the best occasion for brogue-style footwear is when combining them with sports jackets and dress jeans.

However, the more formal the event, the less decorative elements you should wear. When you’re donning a suit, a quarter or half brogue is a more suitable choice. Beware; brogues are never an appropriate choice for black tie style formal events.

Style must-haves

It’s difficult to go wrong with a pair of chestnut or oxblood semi brogues, which work well paired with denim jeans or dark chinos. As winter rolls in, brogue boots are a good choice for social events.

Oxfords

What are they?

The Oxford is arguably the most important shoe a man can own. Elegant, timeless and capable in almost any formal occasion, they’re the discerning gentleman’s choice. Identifying them is a case of lacing – as Oxfords have a closed lace system. Despite the name of the style reportedly owing itself to Oxford University, the shoes are now regarded as too formal for a day on campus. If you have a business meeting to attend, these are the shoes to wear.

oxford

Spotting an Oxford is a case of identifying the three important elements all Oxfords share – a closed lacing system, a low heel and an exposed ankle. But, like the brogue, the Oxford is available in a number of styles.

  • The plain Oxford is the classic style described above and is often available in black for black tie events.
  • The cap toe Oxford is the most popular of all Oxfords, with an extra piece of leather across the toe box.
  • The wingtip Oxford is another name for the wingtip brogue.
  • The saddle Oxford has a strip of leather in an alternate colour across the lace area down to the sole on each side of the shoe.
  • The kiltie Oxford is a rare style, featuring a fringed tongue over the lace area.
  • Finally, the wholecut is made from a single piece of leather. These are popular as high lustre dress shoes. If you’re looking for a pair of shiny shoes for a dance, this is a good choice.

Why wear them?

The Oxford provides the kind of formal staple every man needs. Almost any high prestige event is made easier to attend with a pair of Oxfords on your feet. Confident, elegant and understated, they’re the shoe of choice for gentlemen of all walks of life.

Style must-haves

A plain pair of black Oxfords provides the most ubiquitous choice when it comes to formalwear. If you’re only purchasing one pair, this is the style to go for.

Loafers

What are they?

The loafer is a menswear staple, a style that is just as useful in an elegant leisure situation as it is in the office. They are defined by being lace-less, low shoes with low heels. Loafers do have heels, however, which separates them from moccasins. There are a few styles of loafer, some more recognisable than others. These are:

  • The Wildsmith Loafer and Aurland loafer are fairly similar in appearance, with the ability to be worn with socks and trousers.
  • The Penny Loafer has a strip of leather across the saddle of the shoe that has a diamond cut-out on it.
  • The Tassel Loafer has – you guessed it – tassels.
  • The Gucci Loafer comes from the Gucci brand, including a brass strap across the saddle of the shoe.
  • The Belgian Loafer is more extravagant, often featuring unusual colours and materials to create shiny shoes.

Why wear them?

In the modern day, loafers are a great casual shoe that still keep your fashion reputation in check. They can be worn with suits in an office setting and with shorts when outdoors. Most loafers are paired with socks – it’s only when they’re paired with shorts that going sockless becomes an option.

Style must-haves

Loafers are both casual and formal, occupying a strange place in menswear thanks to their appeal with both sides of the fashion world. The Gucci style crossbar is probably the most versatile choice and pairs well with business suits or trousers.

White Leather Low Tops

What are they?

Nothing truly matches the simplicity of the low leather tennis shoe. Low top trainers are the perfect casual choice for a man’s wardrobe, whether you choose Converse or go with a more niche choice. They sit atop a flat rubber sole and are perfect for wearing on days out, nights in the pub or just for a stroll along the high street.

Why wear them?

No matter how discerning your taste in fashion, every man can benefit from a casual shoe that can do it all. White leather low tops add an ubiquity to your wardrobe, allowing you to own a trainer that you can wear to virtually any informal event. They’re comfortable, versatile and best of all – the cheapest choice on this list.

Style must-haves

We’re only talking about one style of shoe here – so any choice will do, just make sure you select a reputable brand that uses good materials.

Chelsea Boots

What are they?

Chelsea boots started life in the Victorian period during the invention of vulcanized rubber. The elastic design was used to create the now distinctive side of a Chelsea boot, which uses an elastic material to hold together the back and front (vamp and quarters) of the boot together.

chelsea boots

Why wear them?

You’d be in good company. A favourite style of Queen Victoria, The Beatles and the ‘Mod’ movement, Chelsea boots offer a great option for boots that can be worn with almost any outfit.

Style must-haves

Brown or chestnut leather Chelsea boots are the most popular styles. They’re ideal when paired with light denim and a suit jacket. Black Chelseas are better for formal occasions and you can often wear a pair with a black suit for dinner parties.

Ultimately, owning a pair of each of these styles will equip you with fashion staples for every occasion. Paired with good clothing and a sense of confidence, you’ll be noticed for your dedication to smart, sensible fashion.