Where To Buy Dress Shoes
I'm Antonio Centeno, the founder of RMRS. I'm a former Marine Corps Officer with a BA in Evolutionary Biology and Philosophy (Cornell College 98') and an MBA from The University Of Texas at Austin (07'). I studied the Science of Style in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok and have created over 5000 videos/ articles to help men dress better. Click here to discover more about our mission here at RMRS.
where to buy dress shoes
Most Blake stitched or Goodyear welted shoes have a leather sole (though some have rubber) and if you look inside the shoe and take out the inner lining you can see that it's stitched on. With a Goodyear welt you can also see the stitching on the outside.
Get yourself a quality cedar shoe tree and actually put your shoes on it when you take them off. It'll pull moisture out, act as an antibacterial (i.e. anti-stink) agent, and most importantly help the shoe keep its shape.
While you're buying your shoes, ask which polish you can apply to match the leather color. Make sure to always test the polish on the tongue of the shoe and see if it causes any discoloration before you actually apply it on the upper.
This shoe style roots from the Victorian era, when men had limited footwear options. The dress boot quickly became an acceptable choice for formal daywear, and it still remains an attractive alternative to standard dress shoes today.
When is a boot dressy enough to be worn with a suit? It should be sleek, not too chunky, have thinner laces, and its soles should immediately distinguish the boot as a high-top dress shoe. Lug soles and commando soles will rarely be appropriate (though there are exceptions.)
The split toe, otherwise known as the apron toe, features a seam that starts at the middle of the toe, runs around the shoe, and ends at the middle of the heel. This toe style is more common on casual shoes.
Originally, the tiny holes were intended to allow water out of shoes when crossing wet terrain. Brogueing is most often seen on Oxford, Derby, and Monk Strap shoes in four toe cap styles: full brogue, longwing brogue, semi-brogue, and quarter brogue.
You can shop shoes from traditional high-end fashion houses like Dolce and Balenciaga and hip, high-end brands like Common Projects. If you love high-low sneaker collabs, Farfetch has countless options at any given time, including Rick Owens X Converse and Grenson X Labrum London.
Another impressive budget brand, New Republic, is able to sell wildly affordable shoes because of their super-specific approach to every step of the process. They employ Chinese manufacturing but use premium products.
What do you think is one of the first things that women first notice about a man? Do you think it is a well-trimmed beard? Or maybe that you match colours well and are wearing an outfit that is well put together. While all of this is true, it will be in vain if you have neglected one of the most important parts: The dress shoes.
Women and people that know the details will always look at the shoes. I can feel those laser eyes scanning me in the street when I walk. Even if you have a well ironed shirt, pressed pants and a Hugo Boss suit it is game over if you are wearing square-toed shoes.
This will help you make a better, easier choice when you go shopping in the sea of dress shoes. If you are impatient skip to the bottom of the page and read the summary. What I do promise is that after reading this guide, you will be able to choose the best type of shoe for the occasion and understand the subtle differences.
For the man looking to build a complete wardrobe there are 5 types of shoes needed. The occasion is what dictates which one you need. I really like this quote by Tom Ford because it showcases the power of the correct dress shoes.
The situation is the same with many of the items that we buy. We often think that we can buy a few pairs of shoes, shirts or other utility items that are cheaper (and subsequently lower quality) because our budget is small and this way we save money. That is not the case when you think long term.
You buy a cheap pair of shoes, say around 50$ because you cannot afford those 300$ dress shoes. They look fine in the beginning, but after frequent wear they deteriorate quickly and in just a year, the glued sole falls apart and you need to get new ones. This will happen even faster if you wear them more frequently.
In just 6 years you will have spent 300$ for dispensable shoes, while the better quality ones with proper care and an easy resole will last you potentially decades. This is a good return of investment.
Quality dear reader. You look for quality. But as always, remember that a premium brand name does not equal high quality or the money. In dress shoes the quality of the leather and the craftsmanship are most important. A few pairs of good dress shoes are better than 10 low quality generic pairs.
Pro Tip: Subscribe for free in the brands that interest you and you will receive free newsletter with promotions quite often. You can save a lot of money for a superior pair of shoes. Allen Edmonds for example has amazing and frequent discounts if you are in the USA.
The Oxford Shoe is the pinnacle of formality when it comes to dress shoes. In male formal fashion, the simpler a shoe or the suit, the more formal and elegant it is. The oxford shoe has a long history as at timeless formal piece of footwear, gaining traction and popularity from the University of Oxford in the 18th Century.
When you wear a suit, an oxford will be always the most perfect fit and look classic. What defines the oxford shoe and distinguishes it from the derby is the closed lacing vs the open lacing. On the oxford, the flap (or eyelets) are stitched under the vamp, giving a sleeker, uniform and dressier look. On the derby the lacing is open, which means the flaps are stitched over the vamp.
The Derby shoe is accepted in business attire and you will see it very often in business casual environments. Broguing is often encountered but in my personal opinion I prefer shoes without it. They are comfortable and a great choice for frequent everyday wear. They are very often mistaken as oxfords by people that do not understand the simple difference described above, so here is a picture of my own shoes that hopefully explains it once and for all.
Monk-Straps are a very interesting category of dress shoe. It is situated in the middle of the formality ladder between the oxford and the derby. It is characterised by the straps on the top. The strap can be fastened using a single or double-buckle closure.
Update 02/02/2019: When I initially wrote this guide, I had mixed thoughts about this type of dress shoe. However, since investing in the Carlos Santos Double Monks I was surprised by their beauty, versatility and elegance. Definitely worth investing into.
They can be dressed up with a suit or dressed down with a good pair of chinos or even jeans. They are different than most shoes and they will attract attention. Quite often they will be the focal point of your outfit, so be careful with what you want to project or if you want to make a statement.
Dress boots are essentially oxfords just with a longer shaft. If you are tired from the sea of normal dress shoes and want a change, a good dress boot is an acceptable formal piece and appropriate for formal day wear. personally I prefer Chelsea Boots, however a nice Balmoral boot will really look like an oxford shoe.
Suede is a type of leather that has a rough feel to it and looks very distinctive. It can look very beautiful and is often seen in Chukkas, Chelseas or Monk-Straps. Suede does not like water, so I would stay away from them if you live in an area where it rains a lot (Hello my Sweden!).
If you never wear formal shoes and you need to have just one pair, then buy a Black Oxford Shoe without any broguing. Plain-toe or cap-toe. Whether you have to attend one black-tie event, a wedding or a funeral, keep them polished and they will never fail you. Perfect for any business environment.
Same as above, only slightly less formal. Shades of brown go with virtually everything and will make a great match with chinos, dark jeans or a navy/grey suit. Perfect for business, everyday use and can be dressed down with jeans. People will start to look at you differently. Having brogues is a personal preference and perfectly acceptable. They are good to develop your own style and work well in a more laid-back office environment.
Now that you have the most important categories covered, it is time to experiment a bit. Try a pair of brown Chelseas (or Black if you like wearing grey colors). They are comfortable and after a long day in the office, they are the perfect shoes to wear for a night out. They look great in Suede, but avoid it if it rains a lot in your area.
I originally reserved this space for wholecuts, but after with my double monk-straps experience I changed my mind. It is a wonderful, comfortable type of dress shoe that you can use with either suits or a pair of jeans. My advice would be to buy a pair in burgundy colour as it is extremely versatile and suitable for all occasions.
I had a chance to visit the Carlos Santos Factory near Porto in Portugal last week. I took more than 700 pictures and a lot of videos. I explored tons of new styles and never seen before models that gave me food for thought. Above everything, I met the whole family of Carlos Santos, who changed my life this past year. We talked shoes and we went through all the production of each pair of shoes.
With daring designs, the best leathers and customer centric support, we are here to help you. This article goes through all the different RTW shoes on offer by the shop. Some of them are so exciting I can hardly contain my enthusiasm! If you are interested make sure to drop us an email! Quantities are limited!
Thanks for stopping by! To answer your questions:1) Alden is generally a good company, though you do pay a little extra since they are not made in a cheaper country. If you like comfortable shoes and especially shell cordovan, they are a good choice if you are in the US.2) To learn more about the Goodyear Welt & Construction methods, please check this article! 041b061a72