17 Types of Formal Dress Shoes for Men (Photos)


Discover the 17 different types of formal dress shoes for men right here with these series of illustrated shoe charts as well as real examples from store. Get learned about formal footwear for men right here.

A variety of formal dress shoes on a wooden surface.

I remember my first pair of formal shoes which I got with my first suit in grade twelve. I’ll never forget the entire outfit – black coat, taupe trousers, and black shoes. I thought it was very cool.

A few years later, after college and once I landed my first office job, it was back to the suit and shoe store for a full wardrobe of formal workwear.

But my all-time favorite pair of formal shoes were gifted to me by my father. They were black oxford wingtips. They must have been 25 years old when he gave them to me, still in excellent shape. In fact, I still have them and still wear them proudly.

Whether you’ve landed your first job or are simply looking for a great pair of men’s formal shoes, get a better understanding of your options with our epic article and series of shoe charts that set out your men’s formal shoe options.

While dress shoes are above average in cost, you don’t have to spend a fortune – unless you want to match the most expensive men’s shoes cost for a foothold in that exclusive club.

Related: All types of footwear and shoes for men and women

1. Overview Chart of Men’s Formal Shoes

Overview Chart of Men's Formal Shoes

As you can see from the above, there are 5 main styles of men’s formal shoes. They are:

  • Oxford,
  • Derby,
  • Blucher,
  • Loafer, and
  • Monk.

We break them down further below.

2. Parts of Men’s Dress Shoe (Anatomy Diagram)

Parts of Men's Dress Shoe (Anatomy Diagram)

Before we get into the different types of dress shoes, it’s useful to get an understanding of the different parts of a man’s dress shoe. Here’s a diagram setting out the anatomy of a man’s dress shoe.

3. Oxford & Derby Shoes

What is an oxford shoe?

The men’s footwear style commonly referred to as the Oxford got its name because it was popular at Oxford University in the 1800s. At the time, men’s heeled boots were popular and worn by just about everyone. The plain Oxford shoe was a welcome alternative.

Another story is that the shoe was developed in Scotland around the same time, which is why you may hear this style referred to a Balmoral, after the Scottish Balmoral Castle.

Regardless of where the shoe originated, the thing that makes an Oxford an Oxford is the method used to construct it. Oxfords are made using closed lacing, which means that the eyelets are sewed under the vamp, not on top of it.

The vamp is the front and center part of the shoe that goes over the top of the foot. It’s quite noticeable on an Oxford and, when you examine one closely, you notice this distinction right away. Once the shoe is tied, the panels look cohesive, like a single piece of leather, which gives the Oxford its sleek, formal appearance.

Oxford shoes are low heeled, leather lace-up dress shoes for men. The distinguishing feature from the similar derby shoes is that the Oxford shoes have closed lacing. See our Oxford vs. Derby shoe illustration below.

Another thing to understand about Oxford is broguing. A brogue is not a type of shoe, but a decoration made of perforations. Brogues were once intended to allow water to drain from the shoes, but today they are mostly ornamental, though in some cases they do allow for increased airflow around the foot.

Oxfords with brogues are generally considered less formal, but that depends on the design and style of the shoe. As you’ll see, some types of men’s Oxford shoes have brogues and still look pretty dressy.

Oxford vs. Derby Shoes: What’s the difference between Oxford and Derby Shoes?

While oxfords and derby shoes may look similar, there are subtle differences. They are:

  • Lacing: The Oxford has closed lacing loops while the derby remains open when laced. You can see the difference in the illustration below.
  • Structure: With Oxfords, the vamp is sewn onto the quarters. With Derby shoes, the quarters are sewn onto the vamp.
  • Heel: Oxfords have a closed heel while Derby shoes have an extended heel.
  • Casual vs. Formal: The Oxford’s closed lacing is considered more formal than the more casual open-lacing of the derby shoe (and blucher shoe for that matter).

An illustrative representation of Oxford vs Derby formal shoes for men.

4 Types

a. Cap-Toe

A cap-toe shoe is one with a straight edge at the front.

Cap-toe Oxfords get their name from the extra piece of leather over the toe. These are one of the most popular types of Oxfords and the only most commonly seen in the workplace. The decorative toe gives them a much different look than a plain-toe Oxford while maintaining a more professional, polished look than a wingtip.

Cap-toe Oxfords are generally for work, but this pair from Mexlan look so good, you might be able to get away with wearing them to a black-tie event. They’re handcrafted in Spain from calfskin leather that’s comfortable, durable, and lasts a long time.

Florsheim Men's Montinaro Cap Toe Dress Shoe Lace Up Oxford, Black, 7 D US
Click image for more info

b. Plain Toe

A plain toe is a regular rounded shoe toe with no leather cap nor broguing. It’s plain as the name suggests.

Florsheim Men's Medfield Plain Toe Oxford Dress Shoe, Black, 7 Medium
Click image for more info

c. Whole Cut

Whole cut shoes are shoes made from a single piece of leather. It is not assembled from pieces of leather. It’s formed with one piece (pretty cool). These can be plain or include tiny perforations.

Whole-cut Oxfords are probably the most versatile type of Oxford. They’re made from a single piece of leather that generally only has a single seam at the heel. These shoes look very sleek and don’t have a lot of detail, so they’re suitable for formal occasions. That said, if they’re not made of patent leather, they’re nondescript enough to be worn for semi-formal occasions.

Magnanni Men's Lamont Oxford, Cognac, 11.5 M US
Click image for more info

What we love about these whole-cut Oxfords from Paul Parkman is that, while they look perfectly smooth and elegant, they have the perfect amount of broguing along the eyelets and around the mouth of the shoe. This adds a perfect little hidden detail that not everyone will know about. The

d. Wingtip (aka Brogue Shoes)

Wing tips are shoes made from multiple pieces of leather. The famous decorative perforations run along the visible edges of the various leather pieces (i.e. at the seams).

It has a decorative M-shaped toe cap that extends along the sides of the shoe. These usually have extensive broguing and are considered a less formal option, though they do add a lot of visual interest to an outfit.

There are multiple types of wingtips, too. Full wingtips usually have a lot of broguing, and spectator wingtips have a lot of broguing with a two-tone color combination. American wingtips have wings that extend to the back of the shoe and meet at the heel, and a quarter brogue has perforations only along the edge of the toe cap and is considered a formal brogue shoe because they are a little more understated.

Ferro Aldo Josh MFA19278 Men's Casual Two Tone Perforated Classic Brogue Wingtip Dress Shoes - White, Size 9.5
Click image for more info

4. Blucher Shoes

Blucher shoes are low heeled, leather, open laced dress shoes much like the derby shoes.

Derby vs. Blucher:

If both have open lacing, what’s the difference between a derby and blucher shoe?

The difference is that with blucher shoes, the lacing system is created via pieces of leather sewn onto the shoe. With the derby shoe, the lacing system is created via the quarters sewn onto the vamp. Again, subtle differences, but it’s these subtle differences that make up the different styles.

Blucher shoes also come in a variety of styles which are as follows:

An illustrative representation of the types of Blucher shoes for men.

a. Shortwing Brogue

The shortwing is when the perforations curve downward not spanning the length of the shoe (unlike longwing brogues).

A Blucher shortwing shoe for men.

Source: Alden

b. Plain Toe

The plain toe is a shoe with no stitching or perforations.

Allen Edmonds Men's Leeds Plain Toe Blucher Oxford, Black Calf, 8.5 D US
Click image for more info

c. Split Toe

The split toe is when the toe has a vertical stitch at the tip of the toe.

Allen Edmonds Men's Ashton Split Toe Oxford,Black,11.5 E
Click image for more info

d. Longwing Brogue

The longwing brogue is when the wingtip perforations span the entire length of the shoe.

Allen Edmonds Men's MacNeil Long Wing Tip Blucher Oxford, Black Calf, 8.5 D US
Click image for more info

5. Loafers

Loafers are low-heeled leather laceless dress shoes for men. The come in three main styles which are as follows:

An illustrative representation of the types of loafer shoes for men.

a. Penny

Then penny loafer has a plain, laceless closed front often with a leather band across the vamp.

Lethato Men's Handcrafted Genuine Leather Penny Slip-On Leather Lined Loafer- Black
Click image for more info

b. Tassel

The tassel loafer is identifiable by the tassels attached to the leather band that crosses the vamp.

Cole Haan Men's Pinch Tassel Loafer, Black, 7 D US
Click image for more info

c. Bit Loafer

A bit loafer has a metal band across the vamp.

Bostonian Men's Bardwell Bit, Black, 8 M US
Click image for more info

6. Monk Style Shoes

The monk style shoe, also a low-heeled, leather shoe, use a buckle or buckles to secure them. There are single and double buckle varieties.

a. Single Buckle

Nunn Bush Men Sabre Monk Strap Slip-On Loafer, Black, 10.5
Click image for more info

b. Double Buckle

Unlisted by Kenneth Cole Men's EEL Monk-Strap Loafer, Black, 7 M US
Click image for more info

How to lace Oxford shoes

Most Oxfords have five eyelets, but that’s not a steadfast rule. It’s pretty common to find Oxfords with four or six eyelets. What matters more than the number of eyelets, though, is how you use them.

There is a particular way to lace Oxfords, particularly those being worn for formal occasions. The laces should match the shoe as closely as possible and be horizontal and parallel. To do this correctly, feed the ends of the laces into the bottom eyelets from the front and pull them through until the lace is taut.

If you have an odd number of eyelets, pull the side of the lace on the outside of the shoe out a little farther. If you have an even number, pull them so they’re the same length. Then, take the lace on the outside out of the shoe and feet it through the next eyelet, from the inside of the shoe. Insert it into the opposite eyelet from the top of the shoe and pull it through so the laces are parallel.

Next, take the other lace and feed it through the third eyelet from the bottom from the inside of the shoe, then through the opposite eyelet from the top of the shoe until the laces are parallel.

Continue to the top. If you have an odd number of eyelets, the laces will end up on the same side. If you have an even number, they’ll be on opposite sides. Pull the laces tight. When your Oxfords are brand new, the leather will be a little stiff and you’ll get a bit of a V-shape over the tongue. As they wear in, you will have to pull them a little tighter and the V will close, bringing the sides of the shoe together.

Oxfords do stretch a bit, but the ideal fit is with just about â…› of an inch between the top eyelets when you’re trying them on. You don’t want them to be too small as they’ll be extremely uncomfortable. If they’re too big, they won’t fit properly when they stretch.

8 Comfortable Dress Shoes for Men

Men's collection of dress shoes

The traditional men’s dress shoe doesn’t appear to have changed much over the centuries. If you’ve been avoiding buying a good pair because you’re worried about comfort, you’re in luck. While dress shoes were once made exclusively of the firm, inflexible leather, there are now plenty of stylish and comfortable dress shoes for men available.

Features to Look for When Shopping

There are a lot of choices available when it comes to men’s dress shoes, and some of them value style over comfort. That’s why it’s important to know what features make for comfortable men’s dress shoes. Here are some of the main things to look for:

Affordable prices.

Most shoes that are designed for comfort do not have a price tag as high as those built for style. This comes down to the fact they’re not made of high-end leather and generally do not come from luxury brands like Hermes or Ferragamo. There are plenty of quality brands that make comfortable men’s shoes, but they’re not going to cost $400 or $500.

Non-leather soles.

Traditionally, men’s dress shoes have leather soles, but they don’t provide much cushioning or shock absorption. While you certainly don’t want the soles of your dress shoes to have the same look as your gym shoes, there is a happy medium between that and hard leather. Look for dress shoes with a sole made of rubber or polyurethane. These lightweight materials provide both support and comfort.

Soft insoles.

The insole is the part of the shoe that sits against the bottom of your foot, and a good insole goes a long way to preventing foot pain. Look for something soft and that contours to your foot. Some have removable insoles so you can add a custom insole or orthotic if you prefer.

Leather uppers.

Closeup of brown leather dress shoes.

Leather uppers aren’t completely necessary, but they do go a long way to making sure your comfortable dress shoes still look like dress shoes and not dressed-up sneakers. Non-leather shoes tend to look a bit too casual. If possible, go for something that also has a leather-lined footbed to elevate the look a bit more.

Traditional silhouettes.

We mentioned that men’s dress shoes haven’t changed much over the years, and as such, there’s a certain expectation as to what they should look like. Stick with something that looks as traditional as possible or, again, you risk looking too casual.

Stick with neutrals.

Black and brown are the best options when it comes to dress shoes. They’re traditional for a reason, they go with just about anything. Avoid bright colors because they’ll only make you look like you’re wearing sneakers, which you’re trying to avoid.

Groom's dress shoes with watch, boutonniere and tie on both sides.

Best Comfortable Dress Shoes

Here are 8 of the best comfortable dress shoes out there, as well as a little bit about what makes them each a great choice.

1. La Milano Men’s Double Monk Strap Slip-on Loafer

La Milano Men's Double Monk Strap Slip On Loafer Leather Oxford Plain Toe Classic Casual Comfortable Dress Shoes for Men
Click image for more info

These shoes from La Milano have many of the features you should look for when trying to find a comfortable men’s dress shoe. They have a durable, synthetic sole, and genuine leather upper to maintain a traditional look. The plain toe design and double monk strap are trendy, but you can also adjust the straps to give your feet more wiggle room if needed.

La Milano specifically sets out to make comfortable dress shoes for men. The plain toe isn’t too narrow and, best of all, they have a memory foam insole that adjusts to your foot and provides all-day comfort. These shoes are exceedingly affordable and come in seven different colors, some with a perforated pattern across the top of the foot to allow for better airflow.

2. CLARKS Un Tailor Tie

Clarks Men's Un Tailor Tie Black Leather 7 Medium
Click image for more info

This simple, classic silhouette makes the CLARKS Un Tailor Tie an excellent choice. It’s simple, timeless, and yes, comfortable. The design features large, clean panels of full-grain leather that gives it a smooth look. The tongue and collar are lined with leather, too, so they’re comfortable against your foot.

The rubber sole provides traction and shock absorption, and the insole features a molded Ortholite insole over EVA foam. Add to that the rubber midsole and you have an extremely comfortable and supportive shoe.

3. Florsheim Midtown Plain Toe Oxford

Florsheim Midtown Plain Toe Oxford Cognac Smooth 7
Click image for more info

Another pair of great looking comfortable dress shoes for men is the Florsheim Midtown Plain Toe Oxford. It doesn’t get more classic than the Oxford style, and the full-grain leather upper gives this shoe a sophisticated look.

Other things that stand out about this shoe are the flexible and supportive rubber sole and the breathable lining. The lining is made of Suedetec, a moisture-wicking material that helps keep your feet cool and resembles soft suede.

The insole of this shoe might be the best thing about it. It’s fully-cushioned with a stability heel and shock-absorbing foam, but you can remove it if you want to replace it with a custom orthotic.

This shoe has a traditional lace-up closure and a plain toe. It’s available in black and cognac, the perfect look for any formal affair.

4. Johnston & Murphy Branning Cap Toe Shoe

Johnston & Murphy Men's XC4 Branning Cap Toe Shoe Tan Waterproof Calfskin 7 M/W US
Click image for more info

This stylish cap toe shoe from Johnston & Murphy features a full-grain calfskin upper and features a molded footbed and midsole for outstanding support. They’re available in tan and black and come in extra-wide sizes.

The thing that stands out about these shoes the most is that they look like a traditional pair of dress shoes. A thinner, dressier profile goes a long way to creating a sophisticated look, while reducing the weight and increasing flexibility. That’s not all – these shoes also have a seam-sealed construction which makes them completely waterproof.

5. Rockport Men’s Margin Oxford

Rockport Men's Margin Oxford,Espresso Nubuck,6 W US
Click image for more info

When it comes to comfortable dress shoes for men, Rockport is one of the leading brands, and this classic Oxford design is a perfect example of why. They feature a 100-percent leather upper with a synthetic sole for shock absorption and grip. The plain-toe design prevents pinched toes, and the padded collar and tongue bring additional comfort.

An EVA footbed provides a personalized fit and the PU outsole provides adequate shock absorption to reduce foot fatigue. This shoe was designed to flex, giving your foot the support it needs and the comfort you want. Plus, we love the microbial lining. You can wear this shoe all day without having to worry about foot odor.

6. Mephisto Men’s Marlon Lace-Up Oxford

Mephisto Men's Marlon, Black Pebble Grain, 6 M US
Click image for more info

The Marlon Lace-Up Oxford from Mephisto is a bit of an unassuming shoe, but when you take a closer look, you realize just how much it has to offer. The simple silhouette isn’t overly dressy, but it’s appropriate for most formal or semi-formal occasions. For example, it might not be the best choice for a groom at a wedding, but it’s the perfect shoe for wedding guests.

This shoe has a higher price tag than most comfortable dress shoes, but that’s primarily because of the quality of the materials. It features a leather-lined insole, milled leather, and a natural latex rubber sole with Goodyear welting for long-lasting durability.

As for comfort, the most notable feature is the air-injected midsole, which provides amazing shock absorption for all-day comfort. The pebble-grain finish is available in chestnut brown and black.

7. ECCO Men’s Seattle Tie Oxford

ECCO Men's Seattle Tie Oxford, Black, 39 EU/5-5.5 M US
Click image for more info

This style from ECCO has a more casual look, but it’s still a great option for a dress shoe for most formal occasions and an ideal shoe for the office. It features a 100-percent leather upper and a durable supportive synthetic sole for cushioning and shock absorption.

A textile lining lets your foot breathe and absorbs moisture to keep you cool and comfortable all day long. It comes with a leather insole that features a leather-covered inlay and ECCO’s comfort fiber system, but you can remove and replace it with your orthotic if you prefer.

8. Rockport Men’s Total Motion Sports Dress Plain Toe

Rockport Men's Total Motion Sport Dress Oxford, Black Leather, 6.5 W US
Click image for more info

Another great option from Rockport is the Total Motion Sports Dress shoe. This is one of the more casual options we chose, and it’s the perfect blend between a dressy leather shoe and a casual sneaker.

This shoe has a padded insole with a supportive TPU plate that provides both comfort and support, and it won’t set off any metal detectors at the airport. The round plain toe won’t pinch your toes, and the side goring and lace-up closure let you adjust the fit for comfort.

The foam footbed is soft and cushions your foot, but you can remove it if needed and use a customized orthotic for maximum comfort. There are multiple color options to choose from, including neutrals like black and brown. If you feel like adding an appropriate splash of color, go for the blue nubuck style.

Black Dress Shoes – How to Wear Them, How to Buy and What to Avoid

Black women's and men's dress shoes

When shopping for black dress shoes, it’s easy to grab the first pair that fits or the one that has the style you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a good pair that looks awesome, won’t hurt your feet, and is made to last, there are a few things you should keep in mind. This guide is going to tell you what to look for to get a great pair of black shoes that are easy on your feet and make the most sense for your wallet.

Materials

If you find the perfect pair of black dress shoes, you want them to last as long as possible. The best way to make sure that happens is to find a pair that’s made of high-quality materials.

In this respect, leather is the best choice. When you’re shopping for shoes, though, you may notice that there are multiple types of leather to choose from. Not all leathers are the same, so it’s important to understand the differences between them.

Full-grain leather is the best time. It’s moisture-resistant, extremely durable, and wears well. Top-grain leather is a step down from full-grain, though it’s still pretty good quality and more affordable.

Corrected leather is sanded to remove imperfections. It looks shinier than full-grain leather but is not nearly as durable.

Other types of leather you might see are patent leather and pebble-grain leather. Patent leather has an extremely shiny finish and should only be worn for formal occasions. Pebble-grain leather has a textured surface that looks like small pebbles. It’s a great choice for casual dress and tends to wear well because the pebbles hide scuffs and creases more than other types of leather do.

Soles

Man and woman's legs wearing black dress shoes.

Dress shoes have a reputation for being uncomfortable, but they don’t have to be if you know what to look for. The sole is the most important factor when it comes to long term comfort. If you’ve ever put on a pair of dress shoes that felt fine at the beginning of the night, but by the end, you could barely walk, it’s likely because the soles were not supportive enough. While this may be bearable for a short time, you don’t want a pair of black dressy shoes for work that you wear a few times a week to leave you with sore feet.

Not all soles are alike. Crepe soles are what you usually find with expensive shoes. They’re made of textured rubber and usually don’t last very long. High-quality rubber soles are usually pretty durable and have great grip, but they’re better for casual shoes and sneakers and not suited for dressy occasions.

The highest quality dress shoes have leather soles. They usually feel really good when you wear them and last a long time. That said, they don’t have a very good grip; so, while they’re suitable for formal occasions, you still have to be careful in places where the floor might be slippery.

There are a few other things to consider when it comes to women’s shoes. Because most women’s dress shoes have a high heel, a supportive inner sole is important. Ideally, you should look for shoes with good arch support, though this is sometimes difficult to find. Look for padding with thicker edges to naturally support the arch. Good cushioning under the heel and ball of your foot is important, too, especially for shoes that you plan to wear frequently.

Women also have to make sure their shoes fit properly, as high heels place a lot of pressure on the feet and can affect the knees, hips, and back if they don’t fit properly. Make sure there’s about a thumb’s width of space between your toes and the tip of the shoe.

Construction

To make sure that the high-quality soles of your black dress shoes stay in place for as long as possible, pay attention to the way the shoes are instructed.

Goodyear welting is what you usually find on high-end dress shoes because it’s extremely durable and makes the shoes easy to resole. A Goodyear welt consists of a strip of plastic, rubber, or leather running along the edge of the outsole of the shoe to hold the upper to the sole.

The other method used to do this is cementing, which is strong glue holding the top and bottom of the shoe together. This method does not last as long as Goodyear welting and cannot be resoled, so if you are looking for a pair of black dress shoes that last a long time, avoid those that use cementing.

Budget

Pair of black men's and women's dress shoes

Budget shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when choosing a pair of black dress shoes, but it is important. When deciding how much you are willing to spend, consider what purpose the shoes will serve. If you’re looking for a pair of shoes to wear for a single event, getting a high-quality pair may not matter as much so you can spend a little less. Just don’t expect them to last for years.

That said, if you want to invest in a good pair of black dress shoes that will last for years and years, it’s worth investing a little bit more. An investment like this may even save you money in the long run because you might not have to buy shoes again for a long time.

To give you an idea of what you can expect, here are some good options to choose from at different price points:

Under $100

Men – VOSTEY Men’s Dress Shoes Classic Wingtip Brogue Men Oxfords

VOSTEY Men's Dress Shoes Black Classic Cap Toe Brogue Men Oxfords (7,Black)
Click image for more info

These affordable black dress shoes have a classic Oxford wingtip look, complete with broguing. They’re made of synthetic material and have a black rubber sole that gives a little more grip than you might expect from a dress shoe. That said, remember that inexpensive rubber soles don’t last very long. This is a pretty comfortable shoe, with a soft lining and insole to keep your feet cool and dry, and the fully cushioned memory foam insole keeps you comfortable for hours.

Women – DREAM PAIRS Women’s Swan High Heel Platform Shoes

DREAM PAIRS Women's Swan-30 Black Suede High Heel Plaform Dress Pump Shoes Size 5 M US
Click image for more info

When it comes to women’s dress shoes, there are a lot of styles to choose from. One of the most popular and affordable designs are these high heel platform shoes from Dream Pairs. They are made of synthetic material and have a rubber sole, two signs that these shoes are of lower quality than the more expensive options. The faux leather insole is slightly padded and provides some comfort.

Keep in mind that if these high platforms aren’t your style, there are plenty of decent shoes in this price range, so you should be able to find something that suits you. We chose looks that are a little more timeless for the next few price points.

Under $200

Men – HUGO by Hugo Boss Men’s Appeal Derby Dress Shoe

HUGO by Hugo Boss Men's Appeal Derby Dress Shoe Uniform, Black, 9.5 D(M) US
Click image for more info

You can find some pretty decent shoes in this price range, like these black Derby dress shoes from Hugo Boss. They’re made of 100-percent leather and have a leather sole, which is a step up from the previous price point. The sole has a rubber injection for additional shock absorption and a flex-foam insole, so they’re super comfortable, too.

Women – Stuart Weitzman Women’s Leigh 95

Stuart Weitzman Leigh 95mm Pump Black Dress Nappa 5
Click image for more info

Here’s a great women’s dress shoe that shows you exactly what you can expect at this price point. The smooth, elegant silhouette is ideal for any formal occasion, and the pointed toe and stiletto heel bring a classic, sexy look. These shoes have a leather upper and outsole, which are again a step up from the $100 price point, and the cushioned footbed adds a bit of comfort.

Under $300

Men – Allen Edmonds Men’s McAllister Wing Tip

Allen Edmonds Men's McAllister Wing Tip,Black,7 D US
Click image for more info

Now we’re getting to a level of high-quality, sophisticated black dress shoes. These wingtips from Allen Edmonds are made of 100 percent premium calfskin leather and also have a leather sole. These are a true Oxford shoe, featuring a wingtip design and decorative piping, pinking, and broguing. They use Goodyear welting, which is a sign of quality and an indication that these shoes will last a very long time.

Women – L.K. Bennett Women’s Floret-nap Pump

L.K. Bennett Women's Floret-nap Pump, Black, 40 M EU (9.5 US)
Click image for more info

Here’s another classic look for a pair of women’s black dress shoes. This sleek pump is made of 100-percent leather with a leather sole. They’re chic and feminine, and the high-quality materials were chosen because they will hold up over time. These shoes are comfortable, too, thanks to the memory foam footbed.

Over $300

Men- Mezlan Argento Men’s Luxury Lace-Up Dress Shoes

Mezlan Argento - Mens Luxury Lace-Up Dress Shoes - Diamond Patterned Etched Calfskin and Deeper Toned Burnished Wing-Tip - Handcrafted in Spain - Medium Width (Cognac/Honey, 8)
Click image for more info

These gorgeous shoes from Mezlan Argento feature a leather sole and hand-burnished calfskin upper with diamond pattern stitching. They’re exceptionally comfortable because they have an injected memory foam insole. The most impressive thing about these is that they’re handmade in Spain by master shoemakers. Yes, you will pay a bit more for these shoes, but you can trust they’re of the highest quality.

Women – SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Women’s Windsor Pump

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Women's Windsor Pump, Habana mesh, 36.5 B EU (6 US)
Click image for more info

Here’s a good example of what you get when you’re willing to splurge on a good pair of black shoes. These pumps from SKP by Sarah Jessica Parker are handmade in Italy by a third-generation shoemaker. The fabric and materials are all hand selected for style and quality, and each shoe is lined with Italian Nappa Leather.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Black Dress Shoes

To make sure your black dress shoes are a good fit for your feet and your budget, here are some of the top things to avoid.

1. Equating expensive with high quality.

Yes, shoes that are made out of high-quality materials are going to be more expensive than those that are not. But just because a shoe is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s made out of high-quality materials. Before buying any shoe, take the time to make sure it has the qualities we mentioned. Is it made of leather? Does it have Goodyear welting? What are the soles made of? There’s nothing wrong with paying a lot of money for quality. But you have to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

2. Not considering the true value of the shoe.

If you buy a good pair of black dress shoes for $300, they may last a decade or so, depending on how often you wear them. But if you buy a cheap pair of shoes for $50 every year or so, you’re going to spend much more in the long run than if you’d gone with the high-quality option in the first place.

3. Choosing something flashy.

Black dress shoes are timeless, but some styles are pretty flashy. When you invest a lot of money into a pair of shoes, you want to be able to wear them as much as you can. Skip eye-catching details like weaving or gemstones and stick with something simple to get as much wear as possible out of them. Remember, a good pair of black dress shoes should go with everything. The simpler the style, the better.

4. Not taking care of your investment.

Good shoes need proper care if they’re going to last. If you have a good pair of leather shoes that you expect to last a long time, a leather conditioner and an occasional polish are essential. A thin layer of wax is a good idea, too, as it serves as the first line of defense against abrasions and moisture.

5. Tossing them on the bottom of your closet when you’re done wearing them.

Leather shoes should be stored properly. You shouldn’t just leave them by the door, and you definitely should not set them near a radiator. Leather shoes should be stored in a shoe bag when not being worn. When you put them away for the season, keep them in the bag, place the bag in the shoebox, and place them in your closet.

6. Getting shoes that don’t fit properly.

For men, a good fit is so important with leather shoes, especially when you’re investing a lot of money into a pair of shoes that you plan to wear for years to come. Leather stretches, so you have to make sure you get the right fit from the start, since the longer you wear them, the more likely it is that they’re going to stretch too far to be comfortable.

This is an especially important point for women. As we mentioned, the wrong size in a pair of high heels can cause a lot of pain in the legs and back. If you continue to wear shoes that don’t fit properly, this pain will only get worse, especially if you’re wearing them every day.

7. Going for style above all else.

If you fall in love with a pair of shoes that seem like they’re everything you’ve ever wanted and then you put them on only to find out that they don’t fit or are impossible to walk in, keep looking. Style is important in black dress shoes, but at the end of the day, you have to be able to function while you’re wearing them. You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes that you’re only able to wear for an hour or two before you have to take them off again. Comfort is important, so make sure you keep that in mind when shopping.