Wearing the right shoes can take any outfit from boring to sophisticated fashion. Dress shoes elevate any outfit, whether it’s casual or formal wear. The best dress shoes for men are not only stylish but practical as well.

Everyone wants to put their best foot forward and in their best shoes, but not everyone knows how. You wouldn’t want to have a fashion faux-pas in the middle of a formal event. Worse yet, you wouldn’t want to spend a fortune wearing the most expensive clothing brand’s shoe only for it to go out of fashion in a few months.

Different shoe styles suit different occasions and outfits. Some shoes are only to be worn to formal events, and others should never be worn at a black-tie event. Thankfully, this guide will help you prevent any fashion mishaps in the future.

The best types of dress shoes for men
The best types of dress shoes for men

Take a look at eight timeless types of dress shoes that every man should have in their closet. They give a classy look to any outfit.

8 Best Dress Shoes for Men

Dress shoes should remain ageless and work with almost any style of clothing you wear. Whether that style is formal, casual, or anything in between. Black or brown dress shoes with a sleek leather or suede finish are always a safe bet.

1. Oxford Shoe

Oxford shoes are a good starting point when you’re buying a dress shoe. It is a basic shoe that is so versatile that it can be worn almost anywhere. Depending on the color and style, they can be dressed up or down.

The shoe gained popularity in the 1800s among Oxford University students. The aim was to exhibit one’s status at the time. 

The most recognizable characteristics of an Oxford shoe are the closed lacing, low heel, and long toe. It comes in four different styles, but the most common style is the Cap Toe Oxford. This style of shoe is most often worn as business attire or for formal occasions. 

Black leather cap toe Oxford men's shoes
Black leather cap toe Oxford men’s shoes

2. Derby Shoes 

Derby shoes are often confused with Oxford shoes. They are quite different once you know their distinct characteristics. Derby shoes, unlike Oxfords, have an open lacing system. 

This means that the vamp (section on top of the shoe that covers the foot) splits in half and laces.

The wider, more comfortable lacing makes this shoe more casual. The smooth leather designs give any outfit a polished look. A plain derby is the most versatile option as it can be a formal or casual dress shoe.

Men's black leather Derby shoes
Black leather Derbys are popular dress shoes for men

3. Chelsea Boots 

These laceless boots are minimal and timeless. They originated in the 19th century and gained popularity in Chelsea in London. Which is where they got their name. They have been a classic staple of men’s wardrobe ever since.

Chelsea boots are traditionally made of leather but can be found in suede as well. The silhouette of the boot is the strongest pulling point. 

The Chelsea boot is tight-fitting and cut right at the ankle to avoid adding any bulk. The elastic side panel on the shoe gives them a comfortable fit so that you can spend all day in them.

Men's tan leather Chelsea boots
Men’s tan leather Chelsea boots

4. Loafers 

The origins of the Loafer are a bit fuzzy because there were different variations of the shoe worn throughout many cultures in history. Native Americans wore a similar shoe to the loafer called moccasins. Fishermen in Northern Europe also had a variation of the shoe.

Loafers are versatile slip-on footwear with nine different styles of shoes. Penny loafers are the most versatile type out of the nine categories.

Black diamante leather lace-ups

The other types of loafers are horsebit, kiltie, driving, slipper, boat shoes, bit loafer and espadrilles. Bit loafers were invented by Aldo Gucci in the 1960s and feature a piece of metal across the vamp.

Tassel loafers are a popular choice for business attire or weddings. The dapper shoe matches well with long pants, slacks, or shorts for a smart casual look. However, black tie and loafers do not mix style-wise.

Men's blue suede loafers with a rope buckle
Men’s blue suede loafers with a rubber sole

5. Dress Boot

Dress Boots are slim and have a dressy look that is similar to an Oxford or Derby shoe. They have been in style since the Victorian era and are still a fashionable option worn by many today. They are great shoes to wear during the cold winter months because of their high ankles. https://c77257878e06b37fc065f3a032efd944.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Dress Boots are more on the casual side of footwear and are not recommended to wear with suits or tuxedos. These boots pair well with casual wear like jeans or slacks. They instantly add some sophistication to an otherwise bland outfit.

Tan brogue leather dress boots
Tan brogue leather dress boots