Shoes have always been an important aspect of men’s fashion, as they speak volumes about the person wearing them. In media and literature, shoes have been representative of the wearer’s status.
Most popular men’s shoes (chart)
All Types of Shoes for Men (Just me)
We have a types of unisex shoes and footwear article listing out footwear for both men and women. Below is our list of footwear just for men.
You might not know this, but shoes have served as an important status symbol in several cultures, including ancient Egypt. Egyptians used to wear woven papyrus sandals, while those they enslaved used to roam around barefoot.
In addition to being indicative of one’s status, good shoes show just how much you prioritize attention to detail. Men are often stereotyped for being less detail-oriented compared to women. By wearing stylish shoes, you break away from this stereotype. Shoes also help you bring your A-game forward, as you’ll look stylish from head to toe.
The reason why they’re known as monk shoes is that their history dates back to the time when monks were searching for an alternative to sandals. Monk shoes are less formal than oxfords and a jaunty alternative to lace-ups. Mostly available in suede, monk shoes are secured with a bold buckle and strap.
Single monk strap shoes, which are timeless and chic, are more common, whereas double monk strap shoes have a military touch to them. Monk shoes are a wonderful alternative for anyone who wants to wear something different.
2. Boat Shoes
Also known as deck shoes, docksiders, topsiders, and top-siders, boat shoes are a canvas or leather shoe style specifically designed for boat decking.
According to Business Insider, the first boat shoes were invented by a sailor. His leather shoes kept slipping while he was standing on the deck of the ship.
Paul Sperry developed his first pair of boat shoes in 1935. The only problem: the soles were black. This left marks all over the deck of the boat. He changed the soles to make them white and the modern boat shoe took on the look it has today.
It didn’t take long before the shoes quickly grabbed attention from famous fashion giants. Docksiders have intricately hand-sewn uppers and non-slip rubber soles, which truly made them stand out.
Boat shoes are low-cut, lace-up shoes with white soles. The upper part of the shoe has piping around the top outer edge in a design that is similar to moccasins.
First of all, boat shoes look best when worn without socks or no-show socks. Always pair them up with shorter length pants. If you are not comfortable doing so, you can slightly roll your pants. Remember that a little roll can go a long way.
What kind of a shirt will compliment your rolled-up or short-length pants, you may wonder? It is ideal to team them up with a pastel-colored polo shirt or chino. Don’t forget to accessorize with an embroidered belt!
When it comes to choosing boat shoes, the safest is to stick with the classics. Go for boat shoes in neutral leather with a slip-proof rubber insole and outsole. Some other great options that you can choose from are color-blocked boat shoes, two-toned boat shoes, and suede boat shoes.
3. Blucher Shoes
It’s easy to get confused about bluchers. In the U.S., bluchers and derby shoes are usually referred to as if they’re the same shoes. However, they are two distinct styles, according to the Gentleman’s Gazette. Both are lace-up shoes but the construction is just a little different.
Bluchers are made with small pieces of leather that are sewn directly onto the vamp of the shoe. The vamp is the upper part of the shoe that covers the front of the foot.
Boots were the standard footwear for soldiers in Europe during the 1800s. They were difficult to remove and to put back on again. A Prussian army officer named Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher decided to have the boots redesigned during the Napoleonic wars.
First, he designed a half boot style with two leather flaps that could be laced together. The laces made the fit adjustable and therefore, more comfortable for different sizes and shapes of feet. The boots were named Bluchers.
Later, Blucher and his troops played a significant role in the Battle of Waterloo, which saw Napoleon defeated. That’s a pretty big claim to fame for any footwear!
Also known as wingtip oxfords, brogue shoes feature a pointed toe-cap with extensions, or wingtips. These wingtips extend from one side of the shoe to the other.
Wingtip oxfords can be sported with a stylish pair of suit pants or trousers with a casual shirt and blazer. For a more sophisticated look, go for an elegant pair of brogues. The shoes are super versatile, as they go well with even a simple white T and blue jeans. These days, people opt for classic brogues to go with their business suits.
Brogue shoes sit comfortably between oxford and monk shoes. Available in metallic colors, pastels, and the classic black leather, brogues look elegant with dress pants.
Wingtip shoes are a variation of the brogue. They had small perforations in them, allowing for ventilation to keep feet dry. The difference is that wingtip shoes have curving toe cap, according to Fashion Beans.
5. Brogan Shoes
If you had lived during the 1700s or 1800s, you would have owned a pair of brogan shoes. They were wildly popular. In fact, they were so widely worn that the word brogan itself is thought to be derived from the Gaelic word “brog,” which means shoe.
Brogans are ankle-high and made to be durable. They’re constructed out of leather and have an enclosed lacing system. They’re usually simple in design and have a durable heel.
The brogan shoe was the style of choice during the American Revolution in the late 1700s. They were worn by British Army soldiers back then. But by the American Civil War, soldiers in the U.S. were wearing brogans, according to WiseGeek.
The real innovation of the brogan was that they could be worn on either foot interchangeably. The popular Moden 1859 Jefferson brogan had four eyelets for the laces and a squared toe.
Broghan shoes are still sold today, though they are no longer standard military wear.
6. Brothel Creeper Shoes
Brother creeper shoes, or simply creepers, actually started with a dance craze. The dance was inspired by the 1953 hit “The Creep” by Ken Mackintosh. It was a popular song with a group of youths known as the Teddy Boys, who enjoyed wearing fancy clothing from the early 1900s, rather like the steampunk trend of more modern times.
The Teddy Boys were particularly known for their shoes, an oxford design with soles made of crepe. Typically, the uppers of brother creeper shoes were made with leather and the soles were rather thick and rigid, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Brother creeper shoes caught on but like all trends, soon faded. The shoes became hot again briefly in the 1970s. Now, they’re a classic.
7. Buck Shoes
Buck shoes, or bucks, are traditionally made with deer hide. This is what gives the shoes their name and this is just one of the interesting tidbits about these now-classic shoes.
The first buck shoes were put together in the 1870s, a soft shoe made with deerskin. Soon, this lightweight shoe was a popular choice on the tennis court and golf course. But it took a royal visit to really make these shoe mainstream.
It was in the 1920s when the Duke of Windsor made a trip to the U.S. and was photographed wearing white buck shoes during his various appearances. The shoe quickly became a trend in America. When popular singer Pat Boone famously wore bucks, the shoe was an absolute menswear must-have.
Bucks are still around today and still a popular choice for smart casual wear, according to GQ. Bucks are simple, low-cut lace-up shoes with a slightly rounded toe and two flaps that meet over the uppers that join the laces together.
8. Buckled Shoes
Buckled shoes, also known as buckle shoes, monk shoes, and monk strap shoes, have a long history. In fact, you’ve seen these shoes tons and tons of times…but probably never in person.
Buckled shoes have been around for centuries. They were first worn by monks. These shoes were a simple, closed-toe style with a strap and buckle holding them in place. The style quickly caught on with the public and became a staple of men’s footwear that has always been around ever since.
You probably best know buckled shoes as the type of footwear worn by early settlers and colonists in North America. Buckled shoe styles are often seen in period pieces dating to the era. Today, simple buckled shoes are still a classic, standard shoe choice, according to He Spoke Style.
While they have no laces, monk straps do come with a buckle and strap. A single monk shoe has a single strap and a buckle while a double monk boasts two straps and buckles. There also happen to be triple monks but they are not in fashion, as compared to other monk straps. Owing to their sophisticated buckle and strap, these shoes are a perfect pick for formal occasions.
Men in a tuxedo often opt for black monk straps to take their overall attire to a whole new level. In addition to formal looks, these shoes can be rocked in casual settings as well. For that, you will need to ensure that you choose a fun pair of monk straps, such as two-toned monk straps or leather brown monk straps.
9. Chukka Boots
It is widely believed that chukka boots became famous in India among British troops that used to wear them while playing polo. Although they originated in the late ‘40s, they are still considered to be a popular choice for casual and formal wear.
As compared to other boots, chukka boots are loose, light, and airy, making it easier to walk around in them.
First designed for the British Army during World War II, desert boots are the most eminent version of the chukka boots. This stylish pair of boots came with two or three pairs of eyelets and a rubber sole. These are a few notable features that make desert boots different from other kinds of boots.
10. Combat Boots
Combat boots, also known as army boots or military boots, have a pretty long history. After all, soldiers have been wearing boots since ancient times. Roman soldiers wore boots. But boots specifically designed for combat are a lot newer…at least, by contrast.
In the cold winter of 1777 and 1778, it looked like the American Revolutionary War was going to be lost not to the British, but to the weather. It was during this winter that George Washington and his men were at Valley Forge, struggling to survive against the harsh elements. It was this harsh winter that proved how important basic footwear really is during times of war.
In 1816, the first boot made strictly for the U.S. military was designed. It was called the Jefferson boot and it was special because it could be worn on either the left or right foot. One less thing to worry about for soldiers on the battle lines.
It’s from this original boot that every single other boot worn by the U.S. Army was designed. So in this way, it seems that Jefferson was a Founding Father of fashion, too.
Boot, Boot Revolution
Soldiers were assigned the trench boot during WWI in 1917 and 1918. The trench boot was also called the Pershing boot. French and Belgium soldiers also started wearing the trench boot in 1914. The trench boot had an iron plate in the heel and soles made of tanned cowhide.
Combat boots became much more evolved in the next few years. A special boot for paratroopers was designed during WWII. Known as jump boots, these boots were a completely leather boot design. The official name was the M1943 Combat Boot. According to Filson, these boots were worn by soldiers throughout the Korean War as well.
The jungle boot was also designed just before WWII. It was first tested in Panama and put into service by the U.S. Army in 1942. The lightweight design was made of layered polyvinylidene chloride (PDVC) and had rubber soles. Officially, this was the M-1942 canvas and rubber jungle boot. The M-1945 tropical combat boot was designed three years later.
The early jungle boot designs were used by soldiers in Vietnam. Some improvements were made to the design to create the M-1966 jungle boot. This design used nylon mesh reinforcement and ventilating insoles that were removable in the new design.
Combat boots issued for cold weather wear in the 1960s became known as Mickey Mouse boots because they had such a large design.
Now, all U.S. soldiers are issued one temperate weather set of combat boots and one hot weather set of combat boots. U.S. military combat boots are made of genuine leather. Only cow or cattle hide leather qualify. All combat boots are 8 to 10 inches tall with a sole height of 2 inches or less. The sole is made from polyurethane or rubber.
Today, combat boots are worn by people as a fashion statement, not just by soldiers. Combat boots have become an eye-catching accessory that can be paired with anything. In the 1990s, it was fashionable for women to pair combat boots and combat lookalike boots with dresses.
11. Cowboy Boots
Cowboy boots were first created for practical reasons, not for fashion. American cattle-wranglers added a heel to their Wellington boots and their Hessian boots, creating the first cowboy boots sometime in the 1800s, according to Fashion Book.
Legend has it that an Italian immigrant living in Texas, Sam Lucchese, saw that ranchers needed simple, practical work boots. Lucchese’s name has been attached to cowboy boots ever since. However, Kansas also claims to be the birthplace of cowboy boots.
Another legendary shoe story told by Sheplers says that a cowboy who got work doing cattle drives went to a shoemaker and asked for a boot with a pointy toe. This could go into stirrups more easily. He said the shaft of the boot should be higher and the heel needed to be thicker to keep the boot in the stirrup.
Cowboy boots have a highly distinctive style that is immediately recognizable. These boots typically end somewhere below the knee but above the ankle and usually have a short heel. Cowboy boots have pointed toes and they are typically made of leather or a leather alternative.
Sometimes, the shaft portion of the boot is highly decorated with embroidery and other embellishments. Cowboy boots are also styled in different colors and they’re worn by both men and women.
Cowboy boots are still a practical choice for those who ride on horseback but cowboy boots today are worn as much for fashion as they are for the purpose for which they were designed.
12. Derby Shoes
As compared to oxford shoes, derbies are more casual rather than formal. Unlike oxford shoes, derby shoes have open lacing, which means that there are no seams between the front and tongue of the shoe. The quarters are meticulously stitched above the vamp. The lack of tightened or fixed laces allows greater movement to the wearer.
Some of the other features of derby shoes include elaborate toes, multiple-paneled construction, and durable leather soles.
The derby shoe has been around for so long, its exact origins just aren’t known. However, it’s believed that they are named for the 14th Earl of Derby. The story is that the Earl had large feet that were hard for him to get into his boots. His bootmaker created a lace-up style that was easier for the Earl.
Derby shoes have existed since at least 1862 when they were noted in an account book. In 1872, Derby shoes were mentioned in a magazine.
13. Hiking Boots
The first hiking boots came along in the early 1900s, just as the U.S. began a love affair with the great outdoors. They were leather boots that laced up to the ankle, with some styles going up to the knee. The first hiking boot styles were developed by Red Wing, according to Heddels.
Hiking boots are traditionally made with gripping rubber soles and tough uppers that give feet protection and traction across all different types of terrain. Hiking boots are typically made in lace-up designs that create a flexible, perfect fit around feet.
Some hiking boots or shoes may have insulated or waterproofing to provide protection in an even greater variety of outdoor environments. Hiking boots are available in a huge range of styles and colors, though natural colors and patterns are most common.
=> The Adidas kampung has set a whole new bar for hiking shoes. These shoes have gained national attention when a woman won a race up the side of a mountain wearing a pair of Adidas kampung hiking shoes in 2011, according to the travel website Monkey Rock World.
gyou’reThe shoes are made entirely of rubber, which makes them waterproof. They also have a cleat tread pattern to provide grip and traction on all types of terrain. These shoes are low cut and have a lace-up design. They are made in Malaysia because they’re so perfect for hiking in jungle environments. If you’re looking for a great trail shoe, this is it.
When it comes to top-class appeal and aesthetics, loafers reign supreme. Loafers are one of those casual slip-ons that you can wear to any laid-back outing and still look dapper. They are designed as a low shoe, exposing the ankles.
Sometimes, they feature leather around the vamp, a design known as a saddle. They are the kind of shoes that can be perfectly paired with both casual wear (like shorts), office attire, or evening looks.
=> Laceless bit loafers come with a piece of horizontal metal across the vamp. Originated by Gucci in the 1960s, bit loafers are popularly known as “Gucci loafers.”
=> Preferred mostly by businessmen, penny loafers boast a leather strap on the top. They come with a unique diamond shape which is the most attractive feature of the shoes.
The versatile style of the penny loafer has been popular in men’s fashion for decades. During the loafer craze of the 1930s, a typical pay phone call cost two cents. The newest loafer design of the time allowed just enough room to hold two pennies. This made penny loafers not just stylish but highly practical, too.
The penny loafer was one of the most-seen shoes of the 1950s and ’60s. Phone calls at the payphone cost five times more in this era than in the 1930s. Some switched the pennies for dimes, but the penny look by then was already a classic. The addition of a penny in each loafer has remained, though many now say that they use the pennies simply for a little extra good luck.
Penny loafers are low-cut, laceless shoes with a short tongue. The uppers are usually made of leather or a leather alternative, though newer loafer styles may be made from fabric or plastic. Penny loafer shoes continue to be an enduring look that remains popular, according to Brooks Brothers Magazine.
=> Worn best with casual and business suits, tassel loafers are the most desired loafers globally. They also give a smart appeal when paired with a blazer and chinos. Tassel loafers in brown and black leather are the most sought after.
15. Motorcycle Boots
Motorcycle boots were first known as engineer boots. The tall design of the boots protected the legs while riding. Films like “Rebel Without a Cause” and “The Wild One” popularized the look of wearing engineer boots while riding a motorcycle. Soon, the style came to be known as motorcycle boots. The design was refined with a higher heel and a pointed toe. This modern take on engineer boots came known as Chelsea boots and later, Beatle boots, according to Fashion History.
16. Oxford Shoes
Simply put, oxford shoes are lace-up shoes that are largely considered classic dress shoes. They are characterized by closed lacing with a low heel and a low cut, which exposes the ankle of the wearer.
The most common oxford shoes are the plain ones that do not boast any elaborate piecing. Their sheer simplicity and elegance make them the perfect choice for formal evening shoes. You can find these shoes mostly in black patent leather, ideal for a black-tie wedding or an evening ball.
Some plain oxford shoes also come in polished brown leather styles.
Sometimes referred to as balmoral oxfords, cap toe, or cap-toe, cap toe oxfords come with a toe cap, along with the vamp and quarters. A piece of leather is placed across the toe box. The design also has a heel cap.
Men often rock their business suits with classic black cap toe oxford shoes. They are also available in plenty of color shades, such as tan, oxblood, brown, and cognac.
17. Spectator Shoes
Unlike most shoes on this list, spectator shoes do not adhere to a single shoe design. Loafers, oxfords, derby shoes…just about anything can actually be spectator shoes as long as one criterion is met: a two-toe design. Any shoe that is made up of two colors on the upper is, by definition, spectator shoes, according to the Gentleman’s Gazette.
18. Wellington Boots
Making their way from the mud puddle to the fashion ramp, wellington boots are so much more than footwear for the rain. Popularly referred to with funny names like billy-boots, gumboots, and poop-kickers, rain boots were first made by LeverettCandee, who used vulcanized rubber to create the prototype. This is the same type of rubber used for tires.
Wellington boots are a variation of Hessian boots. They are traditionally made with leather and date to the early 1800s, according to the Fashion History Timeline.
Wellingtons are calf-length or below the knee. They have a seam below the ankle and seams down the side. Wellington boots have loops at the top to assist in pulling them on. They’re waterproof boots and reportedly, named for the Duke of Wellington. He was a military hero who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
A pair of rain wellington or rubber boots are the ideal footwear for regions where rain and snowfall are quite frequent. Nowadays rain boots are available in beautiful floral designs and patterns that look lovely on a pair of jeans and winter coat.
19. Winklepickers Shoes
If you were in Britain in the 1950s, then you owned a pair of winklepickers. These shoes are still a hot look among rock and rollers because that’s the music that made this style famous.
Winklepicker shoes were the hottest look for young men in England during the rise of rock and roll. The style actually dates to shoes worn during the 15th century, the crakow shoe. However, these older shoes had very long, pointed toes.
Winklepicker hoses have pointed toes, but no longer than four inches in length. Newer styles are usually less than one inch long.
These shoes are typically made with leather or a leather synthetic in an ankle-high style with slight heels, pointed toes and buckles, and zippers on the uppers. This is in keeping with the rock and roll history of winklepickers.
According to Shoe IQ, you can find winklepicker shoes on the feet of luminaries like Jack White, Kings of Leon, and The Kills.
20. Work Boots
There are many different types of work boots. Depending on the safety requirements for your job, work boots may mean safety toe boots or steel toe boots. Some workplaces require these protective boots, while others do not want you to wear safety boots with this feature.
Industrial safety mattered more than ever during WWII. It soon became obvious that it was cheaper to protect workers through safety measures than it was to replace them. German shoemakers developed steel toe boots, a trend that caught on and helped define future generations of work boots.
Other tough materials, such as composite, are also used to make safety boots. Some styles have puncture-resistant plates and other features. Work boots may be insulated, cushioned, or have any number of features to make them comfortable and well-fitted to your feet.
Typically, work boots are a little taller than ankle-high and they’re made with tough materials and lots of comfort and safety features.
21. Budapester Shoes
The Budapester is defined by its many features as much as it’s defined by its country of origin.
Budapester shoes are a low-cut, open lace shoe design. These shoes closely resemble derby shoes but they’re made with double stitching, a wing cap and a heel cap. Budapesters have a double sole and a large heel.
These shoes are easy to confuse with derby shoes and brogue shoes because they are similar in style, according to Shoe Passion. Sometimes, these shoes may be sold as Budapester derby brogues.
Shoemakers in Budapest were making Budapesters regularly at the end of the 1800s. But in Budapest, these shoes are actually called karlsbaders!
Unisex Shoes & Footwear
We’d be remiss to not include shoes that both men and women wear. Actually, you can see the full list of unisex footwear here but we’ll include a quick list below:
- Boots (all kinds of course)
- Saddle shoes
Related: Formal dress shoes for men