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A Gentleman’s Guide to the World of Shoes

Shoes aren’t just for women; they are for men and everyone in between too. Knowing what kind of shoes to wear on different occasions isn’t feminine. It’s common sense. You can’t possibly wear sandals to a black-tie event or dress shoes to the beach.

Being knowledgeable about shoes and where and when they should be worn is something that everyone should know because particular events call for particular dress codes. To appear presentable and decent on such occasions, you must know what differentiates sneakers from oxfords and so on.

Just like there are several types of women’s shoes, men’s wear isn’t too far off. For instance, there are specific kinds of Dockers for men, and each type also has a particular use. To give you an idea of when and where to use these, here are some of the most popular dress and casual shoes:


For black-tie events and formal situations, a plain black leather Oxford should be your go-to footwear. It speaks of class and elegance without being loud nor out of place, and it’s most certainly the best partner to a well-fitted suit of any color.

Oxfords are a basic must-have in any closet because it prepares you for any event, whether it be a wedding, graduation, job interview, or a romantic date. It can be a good investment because black leather shoes are a staple and can last for a long time, given proper maintenance.

To be more specific, Oxfords are closed-lace shoes with quarters stitched under the front part of your shoes. A quarter is a piece of leather that holds the holes where your laces go through. This lacing style gives Oxford its cleanliness and elegance, making it the most formal out of all shoe types.


If you want a more comfortable look in semi-formal or smart-casual events, you can go with a leather or suede loafer to complete your outfit. These can be worn with slim-leg denim pants or khaki shorts, as well as with or without socks.

Loafers are arguably one of the most versatile dress shoes because they can be worn in formal and informal events. The variations of loafers can sometimes have a diamond-shaped cut-out, tassels, or a horse-bit design.

Boat Shoes

Another more comfortable dress shoe type is the boat shoes, or more commonly known as topsiders. It has a preppy style that can go great with denim, trousers, or shorts and can pass off as smart-casual on most occasions.

Boat shoes are typically made with rubber soles, two-eyelet holes, leather, or suede material and are pretty similar to moccasins by way of construction. They usually have laces wrapping the shoes’ collar all the way through, which is more of a design than for functionality.


Leather boots are a kind of dress shoes that is more limited to certain occasions. It can be worn in formal or semi-formal events, paired with a suit or trousers, and can be interchangeable with Oxfords as long as you can carry the style.

A good pair of leather boots can last a lifetime if maintained properly because they are built to withstand wear and tear. Boots often have higher heels or platforms, double or triple-stitched seams, and a strong lacing system.

This type of footwear was originally made for laborers like farmers or soldiers who needed good foot support and comfort. Over the years, boots were created with more elegance and finesse. A good example of a boot variation is the Chelsea boots, which offer a more relaxed style because the laces were replaced with elastic bands.


For the ultimate laid-back style, white sneakers are the way to go. If you know how to dress accordingly, you can pair sneakers with everything. This can be worn for casual, semi-formal, and sometimes even in formal events, provided that it isn’t a black-tie dress code.

Sneakers are also a must-have in your closet because it can be used every day and on every occasion. Since they are very comfortable and can be worn with anything, the only catch with wearing them is that you have to maintain their cleanliness. Otherwise, it will look worn-out and weathered very quickly.


The most casual out of all men’s footwear is sandals. These are often used for beach or pool parties or a quick run to the store. Sandals are often used in the summer, especially when walking in the sand or swimming in the water.

Wearing sandals or flip-flops are more socially acceptable in tropical places and countries because the weather allows it. Wearing them on formal occasions, on the other hand, is simply a no-no. Not only is it frowned upon to wear sandals with a suit, but it also looks sloppy, especially if the person wearing it doesn’t take good care of their feet.

How a man dresses from head to foot is one of the most important aspects of making a first impression. Like a firm handshake, good shoes that match the event they are in speaks volumes about how a man appears in front of whoever they are meeting. Being knowledgeable about shoes can go a long way.

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