According to a survey by a top men’s footwear brand, women judge men’s shoes twice as much as men judge women’s. The stats are daunting: 64 percent of women judge a man’s fashion sense based on his shoes; 52 percent of women say they judge a man’s personality by his shoes. And 36 percent say they use shoes to determine a man’s financial position.
So, guys, it’s time to up your footwear game. Do you have these nine pairs that every man should own?
1. Balmorals (pictured above)
Balmorals, also known as Oxfords, are your most formal shoes. They’re perfect for dressing up for a wedding or wearing with a suit to work. They look a lot like a derby, but the laces are closed versus open.
The blucher, or derby, is casual enough to wear with jeans or chinos, but still dressy enough to wear with suits and trousers. Try a pair in brown or Cognac to branch out from basic black.
Brogues usually have decorative perforations (think wingtip or captoe) and blucher style open-ended lace eyelets that were originally designed to drain water while being worn in the Scottish countryside. They’re typically made of a more casual style leather upper (suede, nubuck, kudo, pebble grain or aniline) and very often have a rubber or combination leather and rubber sole but can be double oiled oak soled as well.
4. Monk straps
These shoes featuring a single or double strap (avoid the overly busy three-strap monk) can be dressed up or down and are a nice change of pace from a traditional lace-up pair.
5. Desert (or chukka) boots
Boots in warm weather? Yes, as long as they’re desert boots, which were originally made for British soldiers to wear in the hot, dry desert. They come in a variety of colors, but for spring and summer, stick to classic beige. They can be dressed up or down and worn with or without socks.
6. Dressletic sneakers
Dressletic sneakers are best paired with jeans, 5-pocket pants or trim-fit chinos, but these days, they can be worn with suits and dress trousers in the right setting (mostly in the creative and entertainment worlds). No matter what, they should be sleek, neutral and made of the finest materials.
Everything’s more casual in spring and summer, so relax your look while still killing it sartorially in a pair of upscale sneaks.
7. Deck shoes
You don’t have to be a sailor to appreciate deck shoes. Their practical, rubber soles are great for slippery conditions, and they look smart, too, with style choices from traditional two or three eyelet lace-ups to penny, bit or tassel loafers made from kudo leather to nubuck to canvas in a variety of colors.
They’re also a great alternative to sneakers, being so easy to slip on and off. Deck shoes are perfect paired with chinos, 5-pocket pants, jeans, tailored shorts and swimsuits. Just invest in some no-show shocks or wear without socks lest you kill the vibe.
8. Loafers (dress and casual)
Also easy to slip on and off, dress loafers are perfect for traveling and work just as well with trousers or chinos. Casual loafers like drivers or rubber soles in penny, bit, tassel or Venetian styles can be worn with chinos, 5-pocket pants, jeans and shorts. Loafers can be worn with or without socks depending on what you pair them with.
9. Lightweight runners
Even your athletic shoes can be lightened up for warmer weather. Some experts argue that wearing lightweight shoes means less muscle strain, less impact and less energy output, but even from a fashion standpoint, lightweight runners will look a heck of a lot better with your athleisure wear than your heavier winter trainers.