Some bros think they are a real man because they wear Carhartt, Wolverine boots, and know how to hammer a nail into some wood. However, those same manly men will need to go to their daughter's wedding one day, or a formal dinner party for their wife's family. Every guy needs to know how to finish off their look with the perfect pair of shoes.
Many guys have a few sneakers. Maybe a pair you ball with on the court that you bought 4 years ago at the Nike outlet. Maybe another pair you like to wear on the weekends or at the gym lounging in sweats. Yet, few gentlemen decide to spend good money on a pair of nice "dress shoes". Face it, if you rarely wear a suit, then you only need one pair of suit shoes...NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND (Lee Corso voice)!!! You may not need 14 brown leather shoes, and 5 black suede shoes, and 7 various color driving mocs, however dress shoes should be like an ice cream shop, you gotta have options.
Let us start with 5 essential rules:
- No more rubber soled black slip-ons that leave scuff marks when you drag your feet
- No more squared toe, two-tone lace ups that has the manufacturer logo on the side of them, of which was popular in 1998
- Always use cedar shoe trees (keeps the sweat from killing the leather, and keeps the form)
- Store your nice shoes where they will not get crushed by your 4 year old basketball sneaks
- If they're not comfy, find a new pair
If you are only in the mood to buy one pair of nice shoes, that can be worn for a formal gathering in a suit, or even nice jeans for nice dinner, the classic Wingtip shoe is a must have. Whichever is you color choice, the wingtip shoe was in style when Columbus crossed the ocean blue, and hasn't gone out since. My personal favorite is the Grenson Dylan shoe. Comes in a multitude of colors, including classic brown, cognac, and black. Personally, I am a fan of the cognac as it brightens the day with a charcoal suit, and brings our the color of dark denim.
Buying a nice pair of leather shoes is by no means cheap. When it comes to nice shoes, you get what you pay for. However, there are ALWAYS fantastic deals online. I frequent
. All of which have daily deals, usually nice dress shoes, for a fraction of the price you will pay in the stores. Never pay full price if you don't have to; in this age of iPhones, and online store apps, you never should have to!
If you are not into that Eurpoean style, yet need a great shoe at a more affordable price,
has created a bevy of selections for the modern and common man. They have teamed up with Nike (however, will be short lived as the teaming contract ends this year), to create quite a modern shoe for the man who walks the city streets. With the Nike Air sole, Cole Haan has reinvented the dress shoe look to incorporate street style, and sneaker comfort.
Yet their taste in the classic wingtip, or cap toe, or driving moccasin has not changed for years (dating back to 1928 when they were founded). My favorite shoe that is cost effective (~$100), looks great with everything, super comfy, and suitable for all seasons is the brown leather driving moccasin ('driving moc' for short). It is called the driving moc because it has leather pads on the heal of the shoe. This is because before there were racing shoes for car racers, drivers would wear these types of shoes, and the leather pads on the heal would provide grip for the drivers to pivot their heal from brake to clutch as they were driving. Nonetheless, for us who are not necessarily racing cars, however like to look sharp in some new kicks, the driving moc is a great shoe for shorts and no socks, or in the winter cold.
Finally, my new Best-in-Show shoe. I have recently become quite of fan of this shoe, as it is a classic. Simple, yet formal, and screams nothing but class! The monk strap shoe is the epitome of the dress shoe. You cannot call yourself a Fashionable Man without owning a pair of Monk Straps. Yes, it has a silly name, however these bad boys belong in no
, and make a vow of celibacy quite difficult when the ladies see these bad boys. Coming in either one or two straps, personal preference shall dictate your clasp quantity. They are the 1985 New Balance Velcro equivalent for the new millennium's modern man. Again coming in all the standard colors, and materials, my personal go-to is the double monk strap by Magnanni. There are many fine shoe companies that sell the monk strap, however the Spanish company Magnanni takes the cake for me.
Under a pant leg, these shoes look like a black tie shoe that could worn with a wedding tuxedo. Yet as the pant leg rises, and those buckles are shown, the hardware on these shoes scream manly. Worn with a nice pin stripe suit, or a solid trouser with a sport coat, these puppies should probably remain for use with dress wear (not saying you can't go rouge style and rock these with jeans or chinos...cause you can). Super easy to put on, super comfortable to walk the streets in, the monk strap shoe is my current #1 seed for dress shoes. You seriously cannot go wrong with this shoe.
You are now equipped to tackle the dress shoe world, to go out there, get yourself a good deal, and buy yourself your new best friend! Shoes make the outfit in my opinion. Nothing beats that confident feeling of wearing that new pair of shoes you just bought with that outfit you have been thinking of for a week. A smart idea is to try some shoes on in the store first. Decide what fits your personal style, what color is your favorite, what is the price point you want to hit. Once you have answered those questions, go enjoy the experience of shopping around the best deal.
Enjoy those new kicks! Until next time...have fun, and look good doing it!