Types of Dress Shoes | What Are Their Features?

How many pairs of dress shoes do you own? Do you have multiple types of dress shoes for different outfits? There are many people when they think of a “dress shoe,” they think of the common black dress shoe that goes with pretty much everything.

But these days, you need more than one pair in order to move forward in your professional career and stand out from the rest. What you wear on your feet is very important and you need to take some time to educate yourself on the types of dress shoes you should be wearing, and what options are available to you.

Common Types of Men’s Dress Shoes

Did you know that there are multiple types of dress shoes? If you understand the different types and what they have to offer, you can then move forward and find a pair that are going to work the best for you. With that being said, let’s get started with the first type.

The Oxford dress shoe

This is probably the dress shoe that you are most familiar with as it is such a classic. If you just want a typical dress shoe, without any more fanciness to it, this might be the type of dress shoe that you want.

They are very versatile, able to be matched up with a lot of various formal wear, but they can also be worn for casual outings as well.

These shoes are, in fact, named after the historic Oxford University, and they became very popular around 1800 around the school’s hallowed grounds.

What separates this shoe is that they have been stitched under the vamp; this means that they have closed lacing. This allows the shoe to feel quite slim and it is a very minimalistic type of shoe. They come in a variety of colors to choose from and you can buy an Oxford shoe in both leather and suede.

If you want to wear them at work, we recommend either getting them in black, dark brown, or an English tan color.

The Derby shoe

This type of dress shoe is also commonly known as the Gibson shoe. They originated in the 1850s and were developed more as a sporting shoe.

While their shape and size are very similar to an Oxford shoe, they do have some differences. These shoes come with stitching on top of the vamp (as opposed to the Oxford where they are under).

This creates the construction known as open lacing. This allows a much wider foot to fit making it an excellent shoe choice for people with wide feet, as the Oxford can be too narrow.

The monk strap

This type of shoe has a very similar look and feel to the Oxford, but this has a wide piece of leather fastened across the front of the shoe, sort of like a strap. This leather usually has a buckle closure that creates a very authentic and classy look that we think you might appreciate.

The loafer

Loafers are known to have been inspired by moccasins. Usually, they have a slip-on style, making it really easy to put on and take off. These are a lot more casual than some of the other dress shoes on the list.

One thing that sets loafers apart is that they have an elevated seam that goes along the shoe’s toe. Loafers are usually made of softer leather materials.

What to look for

Now that you know some of the main types of dress shoes, you should know what to look for among these categories to help you make a final purchase.

With any shoe purchase, you should be looking for the level of comfort. You need a shoe that is comfortable to wear. This is crucial especially if you’ll be wearing them hours on end.

Make sure they are comfortable to lace up and fit snugly all day long.

You want a pair that are breathable as well, to reduce smell and to keep your feet feeling aired out during the day. Durability is also very important in dress shoes, as they are a financial investment and you do not want them to easily wear and tear.

Look is also very important, and you should have various colors and styles depending on your outfit of choice.


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