If you have seen movies like Kingsman or the recent James Bond movies, you will observe that English men are impeccably dressed with perfect pair of shoes. Oxfords, not brogues! was the password for the Kingsman in the movie, emphasising on how important shoes are for gentlemen.
In India, I have observed that generally mean do not wear nice shoes, however, the same is changing in the last few years. I do not understand when a man is dressed well but the shoes are dirty and of terrible quality. Ever heard of a phrase ‘you can always judge a man by his shoes’.
That apart, also there are hardly any brands providing good quality shoes at a reasonably good price. The price of good quality shoes is subjective and there will be another blog post on the price of the shoes and how much good quality shoes cost.
Now comes the question, how many pairs does a man need. Whether you can work with one pair or six pairs or even thirty pairs. One would not wear leather shoes to the gym and running shoes to office. There are certain essential shoes every man should own for different purposes and different occasions.
1.Black Cap Toe or Whole Cut Oxford
I think that Black Cap Toe Oxfords in the picture above or the Meermin Black Whole Cut Oxfords in the picture below work really well as Dress Shoes for office as well as occasion wear. The Shoe Snob (www.theshoesnobblog.com) has even said that it might be the only dress shoe you will ever need. However, I don’t completely agree with it. Again, if you think that you need only one pair of shoe then this would be one to have, irregardless of the fact that wearing same pair of shoes every day is not advisable (more on that later).
The black oxford shoe works well with formal trousers of all colours, in most cases, greys and blues. There are some exceptions though; it would not work well with jeans or chinos. According to me, Black Whole Cut Oxfords are more versatile than the Black Cap Toe Oxfords, for their adaptability with with office attire and occasion wear. You give them a really nice shine and they would work wonderfully with a bandhgala and may be even a tuxedo.
2.Brown Oxford or Derby Brogues
Brown Oxford or Derby Shoes with or without brogues or semi-brogues are the most versatile kind of shoes one has to own for the reason that they can be paired with formal attire as well as casual such as jeans and chinos.
The difference between oxfords and derbys is that an Oxford shoe is characterized by shoelace eyelets tabs that are attached under the vamp, a feature termed “closed lacing” whereas, a Derby shoe is also a lace up shoe but one which has an open lacing section (is not sewn closed at the bottom), the eyelet facings are also sewn on the top of the vamp, a feature termed as “open lacing”.
Brown shoes work well with grey or blue trousers when you want to wear them to office and even with jeans and chinos of any colour except black. Wearing brown shoes with black trousers is a major faux pas and should be avoided. Although, there are some celebrities or even designers who ignore such rules and wear brown shoes with black trousers.
I love brown shoes for their versatility. One must surely have brown shoes either with brogues or without in their wardrobe for their sheer versatility.
A loafer is lace less shoe which can be worn with your formal wear as well as casual. There are certain options in loafers, such as penny loafers (in the picture above), tassel loafers (in the picture below) and other lace less shoes in other designs are also available. The penny and tassel loafers are more classic in design and you can combine them with everything you wear. You can even wear them without socks for a more casual look with denims and chinos and again having them in dark brown or cognac will increase their versatility. Even burgundy loafers will work well with most colour trousers.
I think penny loafers and tassel loafers look very dandy and stylish, and tassel loafers in suede look amazing. Nothing beats the neutrality of brown shoes, either in lace ups or loafers, you can pair them with mostly everything you wear. You can always experiment with blue shoes as well.
4. Moccasins/Driving Shoes
Moccasins or driving shoes are an essential pair of casual loafers for a gentleman to wear on weekends for a change from wearing stiff leather shoes to office during the week. They are casual shoes and can be exclusively worn with casual wear. You can wear them with denims, chinos or shorts or even with joggers as some men are doing now a days. I wouldn’t prefer to pair them with joggers though.
Tod’s makes some of the best loafers/driving shoes and they are extremely comfortable. However, there are various other brands that have similar designs and are comfortable.
Although, as you see there are various colour options for loafers, brown or blue are the best and safest options for their ability to be paired with almost anything you wear. You can never pair moccasins/driving shoes with formal trousers or suits as they are exclusively casual shoes. They are called driving shoes for the reason the rubber pebbles in the soles provided extra grip while driving. Additionally, I think since they do not have heels with a benefit of having rubber pebbles or patches, they are perfect for driving.
5.Sneakers or Running Shoes
You would not wear any of the above mentioned shoes to the gym, for a run or trekking. A man will always need to have a pair of athletic shoes for specific sport or activity. If you are into running you should get a pair of good running shoes or if you are into tennis, please get a pair of tennis shoes, since there are different types of shoes made for each sport or activity.
One should never wear sneakers used for training or running for casual wear. Use them for the purpose they are bought for. If you want to wear casual sneakers, there are a lot of brands offering the same in various colours and materials.
According to me these are the essential shoes every man should have in their wardrobe and each of them serves a different purpose. Although, there are various other designs and options that one can add to this but that would be subjective. After having the aforesaid shoes in your collection, one can add monk straps shoes or casual trainers or even different colour in similar style, which depends on your lifestyle and purpose of your use of such shoes.
If you have any queries, please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.