Tan. Cognac. Chocolate. Walnut. Merlot. Bourbon. We get it. Brown, in just about any shade, is the king of shoes these days. When the black suit fell out of favor, it unfairly dragged down the black dress shoe with it. And now, as hyper-light brown shoes start to recede in popularity, black is making a well deserved comeback.
Black is sharp. It’s professional. It’s no nonsense. While not quite as versatile as a dark brown, black does go with most colors of casual pants and trousers. Even navy. (Disagree? So then what would you wear with a navy tux?) Maybe you’ve blown your budget on a pair (or six) of brown shoes this year. Here’s more than a few picks that are a bit more wallet friendly, and could be none more black.
Italian made and sleek as all get out. A true oxford, slightly elongated cap toe, and no broguing of any kind. Perfect for black tie. Ships and returns free since it’s Nordstrom.
Beaters. A little too sharp in the toe for some, but Sabir over at Men’s Style Pro sure makes the brown option work. Sold through DSW, so they’ll ship free with SHIPR as long as you hand over an email address.
Meermin Wholecuts – $220ish (depending on the Euro to Dollar conversion)
Goodyear welted wholecuts from the Spanish (but Chinese made?) brand. Shipping across the ocean is expensive, but those in the states don’t have to pay the European VAT. So, it sort of evens out in the end. Just a reminder to those in the New York City area; There’s a Meermin trunk show, the first ever here in the states, coming up in November.
Here’s the thing about black suede shoes… you don’t know what you’re missing until you get them. A regular black calf lace up can often look a little too dressy with jeans. But, matte that shine with suede and you’re in business. Add a black cord blazer and a pale blue or white dress shirt and you’ve got some sort of weird smart-casual evening-wear thing going on. Longwing. Made in Italy.
Banana Republic Adrian Double Monk – $110.60 when 30% off
The keys to avoiding the pilgrim look with black monk straps are: 1. stick with silver tone buckles and stay away from gold. 2. keep the shine on those buckles down to a minimum. The Adrian from B.R. appears to fulfill both of these pointers. Fair at $110 when 30% off, and can often be had for 40% off if you’re patient. Meanwhile, if you want something a little more trusted, and can stand a chisel toe, the DSW Mercanti Fiorentini Double Monk is on sale for $124.95 with GOSHOESGO
Mercanti Firoentini Cap Toe – $129.95 w/ GOSHOESGO
One of the newer designs from the DSW exclusive Italian made brand. They do have that MF chisel toe, so, know that. Bonded, but strong and durable. Nice use of the brogue perforations and pinking, but skipping the toe medallion. Sets em’ apart. $10 off with the code, but if you can somehow find a way to get another $10 in your cart, you’ll trip the threshold to get $25 off your order.
The in-person order has shipped, but not arrived yet. So these are still a bit of a mystery. But… on looks alone? That’s what a single monk strap should look like. Bravo to their designers. The slimness of the metal for the buckle is a nice touch. Free shipping and returns. Made in Portugal.
Aston Grey Hunter Oxford – $79.95 w/ GOSHOESGO
A great crappy-weather shoe. Decent enough leather and a grippy sole. Nice closed lacing, some broguing… might need some extra upkeep in the polish/shoe creme department, but a decent feeling shoe overall. Aston Grey’s obvious take on the $300 TBNY Aaron. Again, you need to sign up for the DSW email list to use codes, but then you can stack the free shipping code SHIPR on top of GOSHOESGO.
Expensive, but worth the price. Especially when on sale. Available for the sale price through AE or for a couple cents (yes, cents) less through Nordstrom. Ships and returns free.
The Nordstrom Lido’s Spanish cousin. Slicker than snot. A little pointy for some, and noticeably elongated compared to the conservative Allen Edmonds 5th. Now an extra 30% off through lastcall.com through 10/15. Ships free with LC75OCT.
The “I’m on my feet all day” special: Rockport Dialed In – $71.97 ($140)
If they just could have styled the sole differently, these could be a sneaky good winner for everyone. Mega cheap, sold through Amazon, and squishy comfortable. More on these from Michael, our official bartender, over here.
The awesomely odd duck: Allen Edmonds Weybridge – $209.95 ($345)
Where the hell have these been? Thought they were extinct. Showed back up in the Allen Edmonds Clearance section, and thanks to the Rediscover America Sale, they’re an extra 15% off once you dump them in your cart. Terrific shape. Just different enough. Also shown at the top of the page after a year or two of use. Built like a tank but sleek enough to be sexy. Black tie worthy.
BONUS: The un-dress shoe: PF Flyers Sandlot Special – $44.00
Your turn. What’s your go-to pair of black dress shoes? Do you think black dress shoes are underrated? Got a pair you’ve seen but don’t own that are worth a mention. To the comments…