Men’s Formal Shoes: Your Complete Guide

Samuel Windsor Oxford Shoes

They say you can tell a lot about a man from his shoes, and we cannot argue with that. Shoes say a lot and that is why it is important to style your made to measure suit or fully bespoke suit with the perfect pair of men’s formal shoes, whether you are dressing for the office, a black-tie event, or a wedding.

Here is a quick guide to the most commonly worn men’s formal shoes:

The Oxford

A classic, the Oxford shoe is any type of closed lace shoe. It is an incredibly versatile option and probably one of the most popular types of men’s formal shoes on the market today. However, the Oxford shoe also has an array of sub-genres including a whole-cut (or completely plain) Oxford, plain toe Oxford, toe cap Oxford, and a wingtip Oxford. The different options signify the detailing on the shoe.

For everyday wear, the smartest option is the whole-cut Oxford. Generally, the more detail a shoe has, the more casual it is.

As with all men’s formal shoes, the colour of your shoe will also determine its formality. Black is, of course, the most formal option, closely followed by brown. You can also choose tan, oxblood, and navy for a more casual appeal.

Samuel Windsor Oxford Shoes – Men's Formal Shoes

Photo: Samuel Windsor Oxford Shoes

The Derby

The Oxford in disguise, with an open lace rather than a closed lace, the Derby shoe allows your feet a little more movement. In some cases, they may be more comfortable, however, they are also more casual. Much like the Oxford shoe, they come with a whole cut finish, which is the most formal, closely followed by a wingtip and toe cap finish.

Samuel Windsor Derby Shoes – Men's Formal Shoes

Photo: Samuel Windsor Derby Shoes

The Monk Strap

An increasingly popular style of men’s formal shoes, the Monk Strap shoe is fantastic because you do not need to worry about re-fastening your laces throughout the day, and we all know what a pain that can be. They come with one or two straps across the top with a buckle to fasten. Simple!

You can alter the Monk Strap’s formality with the buckle and colour. Again, black is the most popular choice, giving a very formal finish, however, you can also opt for dark brown or oxblood.

If you’re looking for a slightly more laid back look, choose a Monk Strap shoe with brogue detail for a fashion-forward finish.

The Loafer

One of our personal favourites, loafers can be slipped on easily and are incredibly comfortable. Once again, the loafer shoe has a variety of sub-genres, including:

  • Penny Loafer: Loafers with a leather strap across the front with a decorative shape cut into it.
  • Tassel Loafer: As you may have guessed, these are loafers with tassels attached to the front. They look particularly good on older gentlemen.
  • Bit Loafer: Loafers with a metal bar across the front. Typically, these are considered the most formal style of loafer.
Samuel Windsor Loafers – Men's Formal Shoes

Photo: Samuel Windsor Loafers

The Brogue

“Brogueing” defines the technique of perforating the leather to create a pattern. While the brogue is not its own shoe, the pattern is an incredibly stylish option for a more casual shoe.

Samuel Windsor Brogues – Men's Formal Shoes

Photo: Samuel Windsor Brogues

If you are unsure which men’s formal shoes you should choose for an upcoming occasion, contact us.

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