Long a product of the highest craftsmanship and design — from wizened men in Turkey to cobblers in Western New York — shoes are your connection to the ground and a sign that you care about the small details (or you don’t). If you invest in a quality pair and take good care of them — by cleaning, polishing and storing them on a cedar tree — they’ll last for years, with the occasional repair. From oxfords to monk straps, these are the dress shoes that every man should own.
The oxford is characterized by lace eyelets that are attached below the vamp, as opposed to open flaps as with the derby. This leads to a closed seam above the tongue, and a sharp, neat look.
Park Avenue Cap Toe Oxford by Allen Edmonds $395
Connaught by Crockett & Jones $635
Dubai Polished-Leather Oxford Shoes by Church’s $650
Unlike the oxford, the derby has an open-lace construction. The eyelets are sewn on top of the vamp for a slightly bulkier, looser look.
Cadet Derby by Common Projects $435
Boyd Polished-Leather Derby Shoes by Paul Smith $595
Derby Shoe Tan Horsehide by Viberg $710
Also known as a moccasin, the driving shoe is the modern version of traditional Native American footwear. It often features rubber tabs on the sole for a touch of elegance, formality and versatility without any sacrifice to comfort.
Gommino Suede Driving Shoes by Tom’s $425
Horsebit Grained-Leather Driving Shoes by Gucci $495
Roadster Walk Leather Driving Shoes by Loro Piana $915
Decorative and elaborate meets sturdy and traditional with the brogue. It’s primarily characterized by its low heel and multi-piece construction, which gives it a layered and detailed look. The perforations may not work to drain water on a stomp across the marsh as they were originally intended, but they will certainly catch the eye.
Ludlow Semi-Brogue Oxfords by J. Crew $298
Archie Triple Welt by Grenson $585
Adam Scotch-Grain Leather Oxford Brogues by George Cleverly $700
Characterized by its simple laceless design, the loafer comes in many styles, from the slitted penny to the tasseled tongued slipper.
Marcos Loafers by Want Les Essentials $495
Leather Penny Loafers by Yuketen $520
Shell Cordovan Pinch Penny Loafer by Rancourt & Co. $650
Named after a late-18th-century Prussian field marshal general who commissioned the first boot of this style for his troops, the blucher is fit for war. Or, more appropriately, a business-casual event. Don’t confuse it with the more formal oxford, which has a closed connection between the vamp and laces.
Plain-Toe Blucher by Jack Erwin $195
Mulberry Plain Toe Blucher by Alden $550
Classic Blucher by Thom Browne $1,129
Fear not the broken lace. The distinctive strap replaces the laces on these newly back-in-style shoes. Like the buttons on the suit jacket you’ll wear with them, the monk shoe comes in one- and two-buckle styles.