The problem with men’s fashion is that most men view clothes practically rather than aesthetically. Example: winter is coming therefore I will buy a warm coat. Style gets thrown to the wayside.
This is most evident when it comes to feet as most men tend to view shoes simply as a tool to get from point A to B. But you’re here, which means you’re different.
You understand that point B may be your workplace or the gym, and that either of these may lead to a date (point C) with that hottie you talk to by the treadmill, and that—if you’re lucky—you may even get to point D (double-points for getting to point D), and that every one of these situations requires different footwear (or lack there-of).
You get the point. Shoes complete your outfit and with these 11 styles in your closet, you’ll be prepared for life from A-Z.
Athletic shoes can be broken up into many categories: Runners, Walkers, Cross-Trainers, Hikers, and Tennis Shoes. Each shoe is designed for the activity in its name and you should be careful to primarily use it for that purpose.
You can wear your walkers and hikers with casual clothes, but make sure that you keep those shoes clean. Sometimes the washing machine is not good for your shoes. Check the label to see if they go in the washer. Otherwise make sure to brush your suedes, polish top calf leathers, and treat oil-tanned leathers. More on Athletic Shoes
Boat shoes get abused all too often and that means they need to be dressed properly and handled with some common sense. First, don’t just wear them with anything; wear them with garments that compliment their “boating” nature. If a person who owns a boat docks and gets out to go to dinner they might wear a sport coat and nice slacks or at the very least nice shorts.
Caring for them is just like any other shoe. Brush your suedes, treat your oil-tanned leathers and polish top calf. Treat your boat shoes right and you’ll look like a million bucks! More on Boat Shoes
Dress Boots are easy to abuse because they can be worn the wrong way. Make sure your Dress Boots are worn like dress shoes that are hiding the high ankle. When you sit down at a meeting everyone will notice that you have boots on and you’ll enjoy the compliments.
Also, don’t go for boots that have crazy designs on the ankle because the ankle is rarely seen and should not be “on display.” Take them from the office, to dinner, to a night on the town just like you would your dress shoes. Polish them just like your dress shoes (all the way up the ankle) and your shoes will stand fast for years. More on Dress Boots
Driving Shoes were made for…driving! It’s a crazy concept, but it’s true. Bear in mind, the outsole is run up onto the heel, but that does not mean you can’t wear these shoes outside the car. What else are you going to wear when you get out? Wear them like any other casual shoe and enjoy getting noticed – folks might think you have a fancy car!
If you do drive in them a lot, make sure you use good judgment. The rubber on the heel is supposed to make the move to the clutch on a stick-shift smoother, so don’t dig in because you’ll ruin the heel that way. Be nice to them and they’ll drive you all the way to retirement! More on Driving Moccasins
You standard lace-ups are easy to wear if you put some thought into them. Wear them with your suits and business attire, but also choose the right color to go with the clothes you’ll change into for dinner. Black goes with everything except brown. Brown goes with everything except black, and Burgundy (Cordovan) goes with everything (including black.) Keep the right color palette in mind and the right polish on your shoes and they will shine for you in the conference room and on a hot date. More on Oxfords
Patent Leather, since its discovery in 1818, has maintained its status as one of the classiest shoes on and off of the formal floor.
Making sure you wear your patent leathers outside the formal affair with confidence is key to the success of your shoe wardrobe. Pair them with your favorite jeans and sport coat so you can hit the town or the conference room with your best-patterned power suit and let your patent leathers truly shine.
Caring for your patent leathers is simple: yes, they can get wet; stay away from heavy lifting to avoid creases – shoe trees are must for in-the-box care; make sure you only use the blackest of black shoe polishes and your best polishing cloth to keep them happy and shiny. More on Patent Leather Shoes
Penny loafers are a highly misunderstood shoe because everyone thinks of them as preppy when they aren’t. Preppy people just wear them badly. Keep the profile of
your Penny Loafers lean like your dress shoes and wear them with the same things you might pair dress shoes with: suits, khakis, denim. Do not wear them without socks or with shorts, those are no-no’s. Don’t forget that if you go for more casual colors the rules still apply. Shine them with care around the “penny” so you don’t mess up the contrast of the inside and the outside of the hole. More on Penny Loafers
Saddle shoes are named after; you guessed it, a saddle. Remember how formal equestrian riders dress…fancy. Keep your clothes nice when pairing them with saddles and let the two-tone shoe pop off your feet (usually by pairing it with blues and oranges.)
Caring for them is simple as long as you don’t polish them. Use a neutral shoe cream or H.S. Trask’s “Buffalo Butter” to treat the leather and keep scuffs away. Remember, if you don’t keep your shoe care products in your hip pocket the oil from your skin will keep that errant scuff at bay before you sit down to dinner with your date. More on Saddle Shoes
Sandals are the ill-forgotten-child of the shoe world. Too many guys throw on their sandals and some nasty clothes and head out the door. Nothing could be farther from appropriate. Make sure you keep your sandals properly matched with your outfit.
Sandals do not stand up well to the elements and should be wiped down with a cloth each time you wear them. Keeping them clean and polished (or treated or brushed) will them happy long after the tide goes in. More on Sandals
Wingtips are the older guys go to shoes for the office, but they are much more than office attire. The broguing (the holes in your wingtip) can be found on all kinds of shoes. Whenever you’re looking at shoes like this, don’t just get a wingtip for the sake of wingtips. Make sure the shoe’s profile is wide enough and long enough for your foot. Also, choose broguing that matches your wardrobe, your personality, and your style.
Don’t forget when you are polishing your brogued shoes to be careful of the holes. If you stuff polish into the holes you’ll mess up the contrast of the colorless leather inside the hole. Now your shoes look dirty…not fancy. More on Wingtips
Work boots are the most durable of the shoe industry. Be certain that when you are looking for boots to work in you get the steel-toed variety. Some guys mistake hiking boots for work boots and vice versa. If you’re hiking in a work boot the stitching may rub your foot the wrong way, and if you’re working in a hiking boot and there’s not steel toe, well, you get the idea.
Make sure you care for your boots just like any other shoe by brushing suedes, polishing top calf leathers, and treating oil-tanned leathers. This will keep your shoes happy and healthy for years to come. More on Work Boots
Hopefully this has been helpful to you and will score you some points with your friends, the boss, and most importantly the ladies. Please comment if you have any opinions on our picks or feel that we’ve missed anything.
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