Do the shoes make the man? We say yes!
A man can wear the finest suit with the softest handmade shirt and a tie of hand-painted silk, but the wrong pair of shoes can ruin the entire look.
Whether used for every day wear or for special occasions, the quality of the shoes a man wears reflects the respect he shows himself. When a woman looks a man over, she starts at the top of his head and ends at his feet. What kind of an impression are your shoes making? Our short shoe primer will help keep you in tip-top condition from head to toe.
How much should I pay for a pair of shoes?
As with most things, you really do get what you pay for. It makes sense that the highest quality shoes have a higher price tag. Those shoes will often last for years and years – because they were made to. For both casual and dressy shoes, look for a pair made of durable leather with sturdy stitching and solid soles. While you may have to have them repaired or resoled on occasion, well-made shoes will outlast most items in your closet.
How to get the best fit.
When purchasing shoes, always wear the appropriate socks; sport socks when shopping for sport or tennis shoes, and dress socks when shopping for business or formal shoes. If you’re out and about shopping for dress shoes and wearing sandals and shorts, bring or purchase a pair of socks before trying on shoes. Don’t use those flimsy socklets the shoe store provides – you won’t get a good fit.
You will get a better all-around fit if you try on shoes late in the day or early evening, so plan to your purchase accordingly. Your feet will expand or swell a bit after walking all day, after exercise or a run. Your new shoes might feel a little loose in the morning, but you will soon notice that you can wear them all day as your feet expand.
The essentials: Shoes every man should own
Dress Oxford – Plain dress oxfords might seem boring or conservative when looking at the trend-of-the-moment designs, but a pair of high quality leather oxfords are the smart option for work (and interviewing), weddings, funerals, first dates, and everything else in between. A classic dress oxford (with clean, well-kept laces)will get you through most of life’s occasions with style.
Monk Strap – Once you have a pair of dress oxfords in your wardrobe, you should invest in another masculine classic for less formal occasions. Monk strap shoes feature a simple buckle strap closure instead of laces. These shoes are the best option when a loafer won’t do and a lace-up seems too fussy. Monk straps are great for casual Friday work attire or dinner dates on the weekend, and you can even wear them with denim. They can also be worn with a suit, provided the reason for the suit is work-related or a weekend event other than a wedding or funeral. Formal occasions require laces.
Loafer – The ultimate casual classic, high quality leather loafers pair well with khakis or denim. Worn with light socks or sockless, loafers will give you a smart and pulled-together look.
How to care for your shoes
While it’s easiest to just toss your shoes into a closet, the very best way to care for shoes is to use a shoe tree. A shoe tree helps maintain the shape and fit of the shoe while allowing the leather to dry between wearings.
It’s important to invest in a shoe polish kit to keep your investment looking great. Having your shoes done at the office or the airport is fine, but keeping a polishing kit at home is handy and easy to do. Regular upkeep will keep your shoes looking great for years – decades even.
One last little bit of advice: While you may think that buying the most expensive pair of shoes is a smart idea, it is actually wiser to purchase two pairs of mid-priced yet high quality shoes. Shoes will last longer when you don’t wear the same pair day after day. Rotating shoes will ensure that your investment lasts and lasts.