The Four Syles of Shoes Every Guy Needs
The concept of A Minimalist Wardrobe is simple: pick one pair of shoes out of each of the following categories and your footwear needs will be covered in the majority of life’s adventures. These are the essential shoes that every stylish man needs in order to manage weddings, interviews, work, travel, and a night out sampling the finest Scottish beers. Every pair of shoes on this list meets the following criteria:
- Covers multiple common situations.
- Affordable options are readily available.
- Traditional American styles. (i.e. Nothing wacky.)
#1. The Mandatory Black Cap-Toe Oxford
The Why: There’s no getting around it; we all need a pair of formal black oxfords. Funerals, job interviews, black tie weddings, and other inevitable life events call for this shoe. Your black oxfords may be the least-worn shoe in your closet, but you’ll be happy to have them on hand (and on foot) for those important occasions. (Above: the AE Fifth Ave.)
- Allen Edmonds Park Avenue – $327.25 ($385) The classic American cap-toe oxford. Frequently on sale directly, through certified retailers, and the Allen Edmonds shoe bank.
- Nordstrom ‘Lido’ Oxford – $175 A solid, conservative choice from Nordstrom’s made-in-Italy John W. Nordstrom collection. The elongated toe may not appeal to everyone. Not a lot of sizes left online, but they do have a similar, derby-style quarter-brogue.
- Herring Knightsbridge – $260 The most conservative, classic oxford design out there. Goodyear welted. Made in England. Ships from the UK, but shipping is inexpensive and sales are frequent. Also offered with a rubber Dainite sole.
#2. The Indispensable Brogue. Probably brown.
The Why: Wingtip, cap-toe, long-wing, balmoral, or blucher. Brogues come in a wide variety of styles and levels of formality. Choose one that fits in your weekly lifestyle. A brown long-wing (where the wing/perforations wrap all the way around to the back of the heel) is arguably the most versatile shoe in a man’s wardrobe. It can be worn with anything from a suit to a pair of dark denim. On the casual side of the formality spectrum, a long-wing blucher is a an American classic that can be worn with anything from khakis to flannel trousers. (Above: AE McAllister, Loake Heston, & AE MacNeil Longwings in their more casual “rough” leather)
- Mercanti Fiorentini Cap Toe Oxford – $149.95 Relatively inexpensive brogues from DSW’s well-reviewed house brand. The silhouette and brogue pattern are spot on (pun intended). Made in Italy. Usually will drop $20 – $25 with codes.
- Allen Edmonds McAllister Oxford – $327.25 ($385) One of Allen Edmond’s most attractive shoes. Readily available at a discount through the Allen Edmonds shoe bank. Pictured above in black calf.
- Florsheim Veblen – $124.90 ($180) Frequently found on sale in the $100-125 range. A classic American longwing design, the Veblen is a favorite of posters on the Dappered Threads forums.
#3. The Obligatory Boots. Hell yeah.
The Why: Boots are perfect for those days when the weather is rough and lesser, weaker shoes would let the elements nip at your delicate, sensitive mankles. Office warriors can add a touch of rebellion to their work outfit by swapping the oxford shoes for a pair of dress boots. Life travelers can treat their feet to a pair of suede chukkas. Londoners and Australian businessmen can wear black Chelsea boots everywhere. Everywhere. (Above: Loake Kempton & Herring/Cheaney Langdale)
- Allen Edmonds Dalton – $361.25 ($425) Difficult to find at a significant discount, and even the Rediscover America Sale price is a reach for most of us. These are a splurge , but many of Dappered’s readers find the brogue pattern, last shape, and overall style to be absolutely perfect for everything from date nights to business casual offices.
- JC Penny Stafford Deacon – $60ish The poor man’s Dalton. Reviewed on Dappered. They’re excellent quality for the price, and they look like a million bucks. (Or $999,999 bucks. The extra $1 gets you into the Dalton club.)
- Loake Hyde – $294 A classic suit-worthy dress boot in dark brown or black. Ships from the UK from Herring, Pediwear, or Shoe Healer.
#4. The Essential Casual Shoes
The Why: These are shoes for days when we don’t want to dress to the nines. We want something informal and comfortable, and we want to look damn fine in our leisure. Because that’s what we are: gentlemen of leisure. Now be a dear and hand me my Manhattan. (Above: A pair of discontinued Lands’ End Penny loafers.)
- Land’s End Fulton Penny Loafers – $69.99 w/ MAIZE & 1656. A classic, sleek shape that’s a bit more European than the typical beef-roll penny loafer. The Fultons are a forum favorite. The loafers are described as welted, but the type of welt is unclear, since it’s not specified. The loafers are a dark, traditional brown in person. Great price with this extra 30% off code. Hat tip to reader Brandon for that one.
- Bass Weejuns – $68-126 Always available on sale. Weejuns are the classic American penny loafer. They’re inexpensive, reliable, and comfortable.
- PF Flyers Basic Low Top Sneakers – $19-55 A Dappered classic. The sneakers of our childhood. The canvas and vulcanized rubber design will never go out of style.
About the author: Chris (aka Bruschetta) is an America-born university researcher and teacher based in Glasgow, Scotland, as well as a moderator on Threads. His sense of style is inspired by a childhood dressed in Ivy league trad, and the fact that he is enormously well bred.
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