A Guide To Formal Shoes for Men

If you’re on the hunt for some new dress shoes or formal shoes for men, you might be after a few tips on how to choose the right ones for you and your circumstances. Part of the confusion arises from the variety of styles out there, so we’ll clear up some of your questions in this article.

How Much Do Formal Shoes Cost?

We need to get this point out of the way first, because your budget for new shoes will dictate what you’ll actually be able to buy.

You would be doing really well if you could find quality men’s dress shoes for under $100. Expect to pay at least this much, and possibly considerably more if you really want quality shoes that look awesome, and shoes that will last.

In reality, it’s actually cheaper overall to invest more money in a decent pair from the outset. If you buy cheap and nasty formal shoes, you’ll find you have to keep replacing them on a regular basis, whereas top quality formal shoes will serve you well for years.

What Are Formal Shoes Made Of?

Genuine leather is by far and away the most common material used to manufacture men’s dress shoes for formal wear.

The fantastic thing about leather is even when it ages, it can be buffed up, refurbished and brought back to life in all its former glory. Leather is highly durable and flexible, very rarely cracks, and you can buff it to a mirror shine.

Another thing that makes these shoes so robust is the fact that the leather upper is hand stitched to the soles rather than glued, so very rarely do the soles separate from the rest of the shoe.

The soles of the shoes can also be redone when required, giving you a few more years wear out of them.

The Captoe Dress Shoe

This is your stock standard style of men’s formal shoe. It’s conservative in design and is really a shoe that works well for almost all occasions. It’s perfect for business attire and comes in black or dark brown as its two most common colors.

The Wingtip Formal Shoe

The wingtip dress shoe has a longer, more elongated toe area. This gives the shoe an overall sleeker look about it. Wingtips are a very common style of formal shoe and, like the captoe, can be used for all occasions.

Captoes tend to suit men with smaller feet, while the wingtip suits guys with bigger and wider feet as a general rule.

The Whole-cut Shoe

What sets this shoe apart from all the others is that there are no seems. As the name suggests, with the wholecut shoe, the upper is fashioned from a single piece of leather, giving the shoe a very clean look and certainly making it easier to polish and buff up. These shoes are perfect to wear with tuxedos and suits, and for attending black tie events.

Long-wing Dress Shoes

Long-wing dress shoes are similar to wingtips, except the wingtip pattern goes from the toes and all the way around the heel of the shoe. With a much thicker sole, they tend to be considered the more casual of the wingtip style of shoe.

The Spectator Shoe and Exotics

Spectator formal shoes are made from two different materials and finishes, giving them both a glossy and matt appearance. The most common combination is a mix of polished leather and suede.

It’s considered a bit of an old school shoe, but has seen a definite reprisal in popularity in recent years.

Exotics are formal shoes made from different animal hides. Things like snake skin, alligator skin, crocodile shoes and various lizard skins. Exotic shoes are often worn as a sign of wealth and opulence

What Is Brogue All About?

The term “brogue” refers to the patterns stenciled into some dress shoes, which is very common on wingtip shoes. Perforations are punched into the leather to create the decorative pattern.

Broguing can really be applied anywhere on the shoe’s upper, but is more common around the toe region, around the sides and on the heel.

Originally a country style of shoe, dress shoes with broguing have become more formal attire these days.

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