How to Pick Men's Formal Shoes

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated February 3, 2020)

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and since most formal shoes are worn just a few times each year, it is best to choose a classic style that never goes out of date.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. ...


Replacing a Deadbolt

Although replacing a deadbolt is generally easier than installing one, some models may be slightly different than your ...

Discover More

Cleaning Travertine

Travertine is a high maintenance stone, formed from limestone deposits. When used in kitchens and bathrooms, care must be ...

Discover More

Removing Dirt and Mud from Clothing

The number one rule when trying to clean mud or dirt from fabric is to allow it to dry before attempting to clean the ...

Discover More
More Beauty Tips

Classic Women's Shoes

While women are known for having a plethora of shoes, a woman doesn't really need 50 pairs to fit her basic needs. Here ...

Discover More

Flattering Shoes for Evening Wear

When you're ready to go out on the town, you want everything to look perfect, and that includes your shoes. Here's how to ...

Discover More

Fashion Guidelines for Shoes

Shoes are a vital part to your sense of style. If you're stuck with shoes, remember these simple tips and you'll be able ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)