Dress shoes, boots, sneakers, and loafers are the main types of men’s footwear that most people are familiar with. However, the world of men’s boots is much more diverse and intricate. There are numerous models and styles, each with distinct appearances and intended purposes. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between various men’s footwear styles and offer guidance on what to wear for different situations, whether with a suit or jeans, in summer or winter.
Different Types of Men’s Footwear:
A. Classic styles
The timeless appeal of classic men’s shoes ensures they never go out of fashion. These models effortlessly complement both formal suits and casual outfits, boasting not only convenience but also an alluring appearance.
Oxfords are a type of men’s shoes with closed lacing. They are considered a formal option, featuring side pieces firmly sewn to the front in the shape of a V. The laces are tied over the tongue, which remains completely hidden. Initially made of genuine leather, oxfords now come in faux leather and suede variations. They are best worn with classic suits, tailcoats, and tuxedos.
Brogues are a more casual version of men’s shoes. They have an oval shape and are often adorned with a perforated pattern. The distinctive W-shaped toe cap is attached to the main part of the shoe. While shoes with extensive perforation no longer suit formal styles, they look great with tweed or velvet attire in informal settings.
Derby shoes feature laces and side pieces sewn on top of the front, connected to the tongue. They have a more relaxed cut compared to Oxfords. With an open lacing system, the side walls are comfortably spread apart, making them easier to put on. Derby shoes are more versatile and suitable for both office and informal events. Black leather models complement business suits, while brown or two-tone options pair well with jeans or velvet pants.
4. Chukka Boots:
Chukka boots originated with the rising popularity of Polo and feature 2-3 lace eyelets, a slightly rounded toe cap, and side elements that fasten over the front. They are versatile and somewhat informal, but you can choose a model that complements a business suit. Traditionally made of soft calf leather, suede options are also available today.
5. Chelsea Boots:
Chelsea boots are a classic shoe type with a high ankle boot design. They are characterized by a slim sole, a small heel, and a rounded toe. The boot’s sides have elastic inserts that extend from top to bottom, providing comfort when putting on and wearing footwear.
Chelsea boots do not have laces or other fasteners. They are traditionally made from smooth black leather, though brown, white, and other colors can also be found. Classic Chelsea boots are ideal for wearing with a business suit, while more casual versions go well with shirts, jeans, pullovers, or turtlenecks.
B. Casual Wear
Men should always priorities comfort in their footwear choices. Wearing business shoes all the time is not practical. To achieve comfortable everyday looks, you can opt for several types of shoes, such as topsiders, moccasins, or desert boots. These versatile options ensure both style and ease throughout the day.
Moccasins are simple, comfortable, and convenient shoes with a soft fit and flexible sole. The base consists of separate rubber elements or studs. Moccasins lack fasteners and are distinguished by a signature seam connecting the side parts with the upper. Decorative elements like tassels, laces, or fringe might be present. Moccasins are suitable for everyday wear and look great with blazers, jeans, shorts, polo shirts, or T-shirts.
Topsiders resemble moccasins but have a solid, thick base with a pronounced tread. Initially designed for sailing on yachts, these shoes provide reliable grip on wet surfaces. Topsiders typically have a snow-white rubber sole and a leather or high-quality moisture-resistant fabric upper. They come with four lace holes along the heel and are best worn without socks, complementing casual-style outfits.
3. Monk Strap Shoes
Monk strap shoes have a simple design without laces but feature a strap with a metal buckle. These shoes are very versatile but do not go well with formal attire. They are perfect for creating everyday outfits and look great with jeans, blazers, or dark grey pants.
Loafers are comfortable shoes resembling moccasins, featuring a wide, sturdy sole with a small heel. Loafers do not have laces – any present is purely decorative. Many modern models are laceless altogether. These practical shoes are perfect for everyday wear, especially for smart casual styles, and pair well with slim pants, jeans, and shirts.
5. Desert Boots:
Desert boots are a traditional model of men’s shoes for everyday wear. They are made exclusively from soft suede and feature a rubber or leather sole with several lace eyelets. These boots reach the ankles and pair well with jeans, pants, pullovers, and other casual clothing.
C. Sport shoes
Sports models rank second in popularity after casual boots. These shoes offer comfort and unrestricted movement, making them highly appealing to young and active men. The range of sports shoes includes sneakers and trainers, each varying in design, colour, and formality levels.
1. Athletic Shoes:
There are various types of athletic shoes, including football boots with studded soles, tennis shoes with wide, stable bases, and running shoes with lightweight cushioned heels for shock absorption. Such specialised models look best with sports apparel but aren’t suitable for everyday wear.
Originally designed in the 18th century, sneakers started as canvas shoes with rubber soles. Over time, they evolved into the familiar styles seen today and became popular choices for everyday outfits. Sneakers can be effortlessly styled with various casual ensembles, including jeans, chinos, shorts, and t-shirts, giving the wearer a relaxed yet stylish look.
D. Summer fashion
There are special types of men’s footwear designed for hot weather, prioritising breathability and moisture-wicking properties. These shoes are crafted from lightweight materials that allow air circulation, keeping the feet cool and dry.
Sandals are summer shoes comprising a sole and straps to secure the foot. They are one of the oldest footwear types both for men’s and women’s, dating back over 10,000 years. Sandals are ideal for city strolls on hot days or beach vacations but unsuitable for sports activities. They should only be worn without socks.
Slip-ons are lightweight summer shoes that offer comfort during extended wear. They feature a soft sole with a rubber coating and have an informal style, lacking laces, heels, or elaborate decorations. Slip-on shoes typically have two elastic inserts on the sides, making them easy to slip on and off. They come in various materials, such as textile, perforated leather, or suede.
Slippers resemble lightweight slip-on shoes, ideal for everyday wear in warm, dry weather. They have a thin leather sole and a soft upper, with the tongue integrated into the design. Slippers can be paired with summer clothes like slim jeans, shorts, or loose pants. Some models made from leather or velvet can even be worn with evening gowns.
Espadrilles are light, casual shoes for men made from natural materials with rope soles. Their simple design makes them reminiscent of slippers. They pair perfectly with shorts, bright shirts, T-shirts, and chinos. Espadrilles are best worn without socks.
E. Winter shoe options
During winter, the primary purpose of shoes is protection from the cold. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish and appealing. When selecting winter shoes, it’s essential to consider the materials’ quality, the boot’s height, and the model type. High-quality winter shoes should have a natural and durable material for both the upper and the lining, with a sturdy sole. Among the most popular designs today are high-top boots made of leather and decorated in the western style.
This comprehensive guide to popular men’s footwear and their names will help you navigate the wide range of modern models. Knowing the right styles to pair with formal or casual attire will make choosing the perfect shoe a breeze, ensuring you always look stylish and confident.
Editor of Fashion2Apparel. She is a fashion designer and ex-lecturer in Fashion Designing. She wants to spread fashion knowledge throughout the world.