If you aren’t a suit and tie guy, finding the right formalwear can be tough. Special occasions— like weddings or even job interviews, often require you to look dapper from head to toe. That includes having a quality pair of men’s dress shoes to wear. Of course, it’s important to pick a shoe that is both comfortable and functional, while complimenting your overall look. That’s where the best men’s dress shoe brands come in.
Speaking of looks, a recent survey of 2,000 adult American men finds that more than half sometimes feel insecure about their appearance (56%). Millennials feel the most self-conscious about their physical appearance (78%) versus 62 percent of Gen Zers and 55 percent of Gen Xers.
So what’s behind the so-called ‘mansecurities’? The data suggests men, on average, feel insecure about their looks three times a week. The poll’s respondents worry about several different things, including their weight (37%) and how their eyes look (22%). While nearly two-thirds like their overall natural appearance (64%), 56 percent feel less confident when they’re not looking their best.
Dressing up in some crisp formalwear can definitely be a confidence booster. So let’s start with the shoes. Will you choose an oxford or a loafer? Maybe a wingtip, or monk strap is more your speed? With so many styles, it can be difficult to settle on the perfect pair. That’s where your friends at StudyFinds come in. We’ve got a list of the top five best men’s dress shoe brands from ten expert websites that are great for any occasion. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!
The List: Best Men’s Dress Shoe Brands, According to Fashion Experts
1. Cole Haan
Cole Haan’s men’s dress shoes score high marks from style experts. GQ highlights the brand’s Split-Toe Oxford adding, “once you get a feel for Cole Haan’s proprietary Grand soles, it’s going to be hard forcing your feet into anything else.”
When it comes to sizing, DMARGE points out, “with many pairs being available in extended sizes, widths, and all pairs being ready to wear right from the off with no real break-in period required, they’re proof you don’t need to resort to centuries-old brands for great quality men’s dress shoes.”
Plus, there’s no sacrificing style for comfort. Trendsicle notes, the ØriginalGrand Wingtip Oxfords by Cole Haan “have a grooved rubber sole which give it more of a fun and youthful look. Don’t worry, they’ll still look formal and fancy, but won’t kill your feet especially if you have to wear them all day.”
Magnanni is known for its stylish footwear that oozes quality craftsmanship. “Whether your special occasion attire calls for something classic like a pair of lace-up shoes or something more sophisticated like buttery leather loafers, Magnanni has a wide selection of stylish men’s dress shoes—including some with extra flair,” according to Brides.
Men’s Health spotlights the Vaughan Leather Oxfords by Magnanni, adding they “boast a textured leather upper to ante up your dressy style by a mile and maybe some more. And the Spanish shoemaker’s craftsmanship and heritage in hand-painted patinas justify the price point.”
While Travel+Leisure suggests the brand’s Corey Oxford Shoe is “extremely comfortable — not quite as plush as a loafer or sneaker, but fantastic nonetheless for the style. These shoes are expensive-looking and refined, so while the price might be higher than some Oxfords, you can rest assured it’s money well spent.”
Clarks may not be the first brand that comes to mind when looking for a men’s dress shoe. However, they have an extensive line of comfortable special occasion footwear at reasonable prices. “Style, support, and budget-friendly price tags all go hand in hand here, in a range of perfectly formed dress shoes that look far more expensive than the figure on the label suggests,” according to Luxe Digital.
People hands Clarks Tilden Cap Oxford Shoe ‘Best Budget’ accolades, noting they pair well with “a variety of dress pants, including chinos and blue jeans, but are equally suitable for city commuters and those seeking formal event shoes. Overall, these dress shoes maintain exceptional quality given the price: The stitching is tight, the colors are versatile, and the construction is sturdy without being uncomfortable.”
While Esquire points out Clarks Whiddon Pace Oxford Shoe, adding “this sporty option, for example, doesn’t only feature a bicycle-toe design, but is built with a removable Ortholite footbed that wicks away moisture and absorbs impact.”
Some reviewers did note certain styles run a bit small, so it may be best to size up.
4. Allen Edmonds
What makes this brand stand out from the rest? “Born in America in 1922, Allen Edmonds decided to employ some new shoemaking techniques in a bid to create even more comfortable dress shoes for men. This saw the company do away with nails of any kind, as well as the metal bar that many other companies use under the instep,” according to DMARGE. This technique is still used today.
Forbes calls Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-toe Oxford Dress Shoe ‘Most Comfortable Overall’, noting they’re “frequently touted by both stylists and podiatrists due to its sleek silhouette and supportive fit. While so many comfortable dress shoes skew vaguely orthopedic, this iconic lace-up oxford is cushy and forgiving yet visually minimalist: It features an updated low profile, leather-lined interior, cork insoles that mold to your foot and it’s available in ten different widths.”
Trendsicle highlights Allen Edmonds’ McAllister Black Wingtip Oxford Dress Shoe, saying it’s “the perfect dress shoe to sport when you’re rocking your favorite suit or even when you want to pair them with your favorite dark jeans (they must be dark).”
5. Beckett Simonon
Beckett Simonon prides itself on creating quality, affordable custom dress shoes. Brides points out, “the brand offers a variety of different styles to choose from. And, because of their made-to-order business model, Beckett Simonon shoes have a layer of sustainability, too. Purchasing a pair of these men’s dress shoes promotes smarter consumption, lean production with zero unsold inventory, and less waste.”
GQ spotlights the brand’s Valencia Wholecuts Shoe noting, they’re “crafted from a single piece of leather, a process that normally costs five times what they’re charging.”
Men’s Health gives its ‘Best Monk Strap Shoes’ title to Beckett Simonon, adding its Hoyt Monkstraps “are traditionally less formal than an oxford shoe, but can still be a dressy option for work.”
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.