How to Pick Men's Formal Shoes

by April Reinhardt
(last updated January 13, 2017)

The best gauge of a well-dressed man is the footwear he chooses to accessorize his formal attire. It avails you nothing to have a well-tailored suit or tuxedo if you are only going to wear scuffed or worn shoes. Although there are many considerations when choosing men's formal shoes, the most important is that of style. Trends come and go, and since most formal shoes are worn just a few times each year, it is best to choose a classic style that never goes out of date. Here are some tips for how to choose men's shoes to compliment that suit for your formal occasion:

  • Categories. Formal men's shoes are divided into two categories; slip-ons and lace-ups. While slip-ons are regarded as more casual, there are certain types of slip-ons that can be worn as formal wear. However, it is best to choose a classic lace-up variety of shoe for most formal occasions if for no other reason than the money it will cost to buy them. Since you will most likely wear formal shoes only a few times each year, and since the lace-up variety will be an appropriate choice each time, opt for the lace-ups.
  • Styles. Men's formal lace-ups come in several varieties: cap-, plain-, moc-, and split-toes and wingtips. The majority of split- and moc-toes are considered less formal than cap- and plain-toes, with wingtips recognized as the most formal shoe. Choose the most formal shoe for extravagant events such as a night at the opera or participating in a wedding party, with less formal shoes reserved for charity balls, Proms, and funerals.
  • Fit. When choosing formal lace-ups, consider fit. Lace-ups are divided into two categories; blucher and balmoral, with the latter presenting a closed-throat vee-shape, while blucher is a open-throat lacing. If you wear insoles or have a high instep and arch, choose the blucher lace-ups since they provide more room on top.
  • Color. All formal events require black formal shoes. Period. There are some who would argue that a brown wingtip is just as stylish as a black pair, but formal wear dictates black shoes. From within that color, however, you may choose a matte finish or patent leather. Most wedding formal attire requires a shiny black patent, while less-formal occasions deem a matte black finish as entirely appropriate.

Be prepared to spend quite a bit of money when buying men's formal shoes. Most quality shoes start at more than two hundred dollars. Considering the fact that you will only wear them a few times a year, meaning that they will last five years or more, it is a wise investment in the long run.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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