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7 Formal Shoes For Men Every Classic Man Should Have

“The first time I attended a job interview, I flopped,” the public speaker said to his attentive listeners of young adults. “I wasn’t wearing the right formal shoes for men. And you tell me appearance don’t matter?” He paused then continued almost immediately. “Appearance matters! It cost me a well-paying job seven years ago”

He stopped to look at his audience who were silent, obviously trying to shoulder the gravity of his words. 

Then he continued: “Pay attention to what you wear. Sometimes, when the time isn’t convenient for you to speak, your outfit will do the talking for you.”

The crowd cheered and he continued speaking. Of all the things I learned from that seminar, one remains indelible to me. And that’s the fact that what (and how) we wear matters a lot to our self-respect and societal regard.

When it’s time to chill with friends, every man has shoes compatible with the environment. And when it’s time for job interviews, luncheons, or a busy day at the office, formal shoes are your best bet —nothing less, nothing more.

If you’re looking to shop the best dress shoes for men so you look dapper when you don suits,  business casual, or formal office wear, this guide is for you.

Let’s dive right in.

What are Formal Shoes for Men?

nice formal black shoes for men

As we earlier established, dress shoes are footwear tailored for formal occasions. Apart from work, you wear them to weddings, black tie/white tie events, red carpets, etc.

Shoes are vital fashion items. They have the power to transform your look from a boring one to a well-detailed one capable of making a style statement.

But inasmuch as you’ll love to get a good pair of shoes, you should also be careful while at it so you don’t make a fashion faux pas.

This is because different shoe styles suit different events. While some formal shoes for men are great for some formal events, others would look inappropriate at a black-tie event.

You’ll learn which is great for which event in this guide. But first, let’s see the types of dress shoes for men.

Types of Formal Shoes for Men

1. Oxfords

man wearing black oxford shoe

Otherwise known as Balmoral, these types of shoes for men have close lacing, round toes, and a cap. 

Close-laced shoes are shoes that have the tongue stitched in separately while the inside and outside quarters are stitched under the vamp (the piece of leather that makes up the front of the shoe). 

polished oxford shoes

Oxfords are great for work settings. These professional shoes are a timeless investment as they’d always come in handy especially when the need arises for you to dress smart.

2. Derby

man wearing black derby shoes

Derby shoes are open-laced shoes. That is, the tongue is part of the vamp rather than stitched separately. Also, the quarters are stitched to a tab point on either side of the vamp. 

Derby formal shoes for men are always in vogue and are suitable for both formal and casual occasions. If your feet are big, wear them. 

Men fashion black derby shoes leather on the floor

Furthermore, the soles of Derby shoes can be leather or rubber for durability. And you can wear them with or without socks and pair them with suits or denim.

3. Loafers

man wearing brown loafers

Loafers are comfy and stylish workwear shoes. You can easily wear them as they have elasticated panels on both sides. These panels make it unnecessary for fastenings or laces. 

3 different colors of loafers

Merely slipping them on makes you look dapper. Wear them with or without socks to formal or casual events depending on the style of loafers you have.

4. Brogues

polished brown brogue shoes on legs

Brogue shoes have perforations and separations at the visible edges of the material. They are more common in black or brown but you can also find them in different colors.

brown brogue shoes

Wear your brogues to any formal gathering with a formal outfit such as suits or trousers and shirts. 

5. Chukka Boots

man walking in suede chukka shoes

Chukka boots have an open lacing system just like Derby shoes. They are very durable and give you a welcoming, masculine look. 

polished brown chukka shoes

They’re also perfect with jeans, chinos, etc., and are mostly made of suede or leather material. 

6. Monk Shoes

man wearing brown monk shoes

Monk shoes have no lacing. They usually come with a strap and a buckle. And they’re of two types: 

black monk shoes
  • Single Monk shoes which have just one strap and buckle and
  • Double Monk shoes which have two straps and buckles. 

Monk shoes are great for work, weddings, and other formal or smart casual occasions.

7. Chelsea Boots

black Chelsea boots for men

Chelsea boots are timeless and minimal.  They come in handy when you want to create a blend of a casual and corporate look. 

different color Chelsea boots

These formal shoes for men also have elasticated side panels. And there is a piece of fabric at the back to pull the boot up. This makes the shoes comfortable for you to stay all day in them.

Named after the prominent district of London, Chelsea, the design emerged in the 1850s and became popular in the 1960s. Ever since then they’ve become a wardrobe staple for men. 

What to Consider when Getting Formal Shoes for Men

brown formal shoes for men

Before you buy any pair of dress shoes, consider the following:


Formal shoes come in different colors. But for dressy occasions, go for neutral colors such as black, tan, or brown.


If your occasion is strictly formal, go for Oxford or Derby shoes. If it’s semi-formal, brogues, loafers, and monk straps are a good choice.


The quality of the material used in producing the shoe matters. Whether it’s leather or suede, ensure it’s of high quality.

Furthermore, check the stitches. Quality shoes always have neat, subtle stitches. And they neither smell bad nor have blemishes. 


The shoes you have in mind must fit you perfectly. Try on the shoes with socks. Do they feel tight? If yes, don’t buy them unless you plan to use the tips on how to expand tight shoes.

In addition, if you have broad feet, go for wide-toed shoes that give your feet adequate space. There should be at least an inch of space between your big toe and the shoe’s toe box for easy movement when walking. To confirm this, when you try on the shoes, move your big toe around.

After getting your preferred formal shoes for them, treat them with care. If they stink after a while, use our tips on how to stop stinky shoes to end the smell. 

Always remember, when a man doesn’t present himself well, nobody regards him. Don’t be that man. Command the respect you deserve by learning how to look better as a man. Then apply the tips when it’s time to wear your dress shoes.


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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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