Best Formal Shoes For Men – might not be exactly top of mind at the moment. Especially given what a crazy year it’s been for formals generally. Thankfully, the best brands stayed persistent, and with a return to normality on the cards, the best formal shoes for men have well and truly returned to their rightful place at the top of the footwear podium.
Quite frankly, The best formal shoes for men really depends on, well, you: A shoe that aligns with your Lifestyle, your Professional Needs, your Style Wants, and most importantly – your Wallet. You might be after – Shoes that Comfy-tize in style; Shoes that withstand the most demanding usage; Investment pieces that glow opulence; or shoe that works in every environment.
While formal shoe for some mythical Mr. Average is nice, a shoe that aligns your way is “The Best”! We did our darnedest to cover all the possible bases with the 10 stellar options – the best formal shoes for men in 2021 – below. Just go through the title note before getting in the weeds of a certain shoe.
Best Formal Shoes For Men
A few gallons of coffee, few hours of sitting in front of a laptop, browse the internet, and that’s everything it takes to create a list of Best Formal Shoes For Men. Easy and Quick. But that’s not how we have done it!
We don’t want to impose our personal picks on you – it is just an honest attempt to serve you – with “The Best Formal Shoes For Men”. Which took 3 years and a Good Team – to do it in a way – we want it to be done.
Of course, it’s a tremendous amount of work (or fun!), we’ve talked directly to the people behind those pairs, test all the claims, and it’s our job to pass it on.
After putting hundreds of pairs through all of our testings – The Best formal shoes for men are the standouts that received especially high marks and praise from our male testers and editors. So, Grab A Coffee – Sit Back – and Relax…
Best Formal Shoes For Men
Bridlen U-Tip Derby
A Shoe That Hits All The Notes You Want… Or Unknowingly Need!
- Greater Margins Of Adjustment To Ensure The Right Fit
- Extremely Versatile
- Exceptional Build Quality For The Price
- African Calf Upper
- No Cons
Derby is one of the cornerstones that should lace up your footwear wardrobe, and no one makes these reliable bucks quite like Bridlen. Since the 80’s – the brand puts artisanal expertise into every pair. Bridlen happens to make some of the most durable shoes around that will last a lifetime and will keep getting more comfortable.
The derby, known for having its eyelets (those little holes your laces are threaded through) sewn to the outside of the shoe’s upper (or “vamp”) giving ’em their distinctive open laces.
Bridlen makes a near-definitive version of that most relaxed and comfortable approach to formal shoes.
The U-Tip Deby is made from the finest Country Grain African Calf leather and features a blake construction with Vegetable Tanned Leather Sole.
When we say “High Quality”- we’re not talking Price of the highest order. So Add to that a pretty reasonable price (₹7,250/-) —from a cost-per-wear perspective, anyway— and you’ve got yourself a baseline against which all other Best formal shoes for men can be judged.
Just What Makes These Derbies So Good?
Even after dropping some serious dough on a “Seems To Be The Truly Best Formal Shoes For Men” – you end up with nail popping trash-ables, Right? So Bridlen landed on the scene “The Essential Line” (Of which This U-Tip Derby Belongs!) and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value.
Thinnest flicker in the shipping cost… and they are beyond the price charged – that makes it the only line (from their massive offerings!) that doesn’t have an international extension.
If ’cause of your earlier purchasing experiences – You Can’t even trust anyone anymore; Here’re certain bases through which Bridlen U-Tip Derby Overdelivers… Every time!
We’ve sung the praises of Bridlen’s alluring leather uppers so many times in the past year or so, you could probably write this blurb for us. But it worth scratching it again as it is the component that makes up 95% of the shoe.
Bridlen prides itself on using the highest quality leathers from the uppers to the outsoles. Not just this U-Tip Derby, With any pair from Bridlen – your feet will always be under gorgeous skin.
The uppers are hand-clicked (cut) from the Highest Grade Country Grain African Calf – ensuring that the shoes will not only be beautiful out of the box but will also age and patina equally as well!
Now, hand-clicking allows the clickers to avoid and work around any natural blemishes on the hide and use only the best areas of the hide. Such a high reject rate costs Bridlen further down the line.
Full-grain leather is a fine quality material where the leather’s natural pore structure or “grain” is healthy, and is left untouched. You get all the toughness, the ruggedness of the animal. You get a shoe that will wear for decades.
The finish (Or Patina) will evolve over time as the open pore structure of the Calfskin does absorb the pigments. Calfskin spring back a huge amount of punishment as they’re worn day-to-day (open to the elements!) and hold their shape over time.
Remember your last pair of formal shoes! – Depending on how you treat ’em, the sole of which gently (or rapidly sometimes!) bid a farewell to the upper, Right? They are like those Crocs and gators hang around with their mouths open.
But not this shoe! This makes sense – after all, when a brand settles loads of money on the upper… they lend alike sole treatment. In fact, it’s the sole of your shoe that will handle the real-world pounding.
By “Sole Treatment”, we mean the method through which the sole is attached to the upper of the shoe. The Bridlen’s U-Tip Derby is Blake Stitched, a.k.a, McKay stitch.
For a blake welt, the upper is wrapped around the insole and attached between it and the outsole. A single stitch attaches everything together.
The shoemaker guides all of the components by hand through a special machine – called a McKay machine – which lock-stitches the thread to ensure it won’t come apart.
Which similar to a completely glued shoe – it is flexible and neat but with a seam for extra strength and added possibility of resoling. The stitching tends to be noticeably in from the sole’s edge and the inside of the shoe around the insole.
The outsoles of the U-Tip Derby are Vegetable Tanned Leather Sole. The result of vegetable tanning is a durable, water-resistant leather outsole that lasts three to five times longer. It also allows for additional breathability.
As life continues to return to some semblance of vaccinated normalcy – you’ll want to reacquaint yourself with the best formal shoes for men designed to handle the pre-pandemic degree (meetings, dinner dates, maybe a flight in the mix!) of wear and tear.
Here’s how it goes for brands with a cost-cutting (or profit climbing!) mentality – pump out thousands a day, shoes that are meant to cover your feet for a certain time, break down, and then make you get a new one.
The Versatile “Derby”
When it comes to getting dressed, we men tend to be creatures of habit. Give us a piece imbued with both function and style and we’re sold. Something well made with that ahhh sensation of the first step and we’re there. Any kind of garment derived from military and/or civil history? Bingo, we’re in.
Case in point, you need a Bridlen U-Tip Derby. A Derby is like a Swiss army knife; they’re multifunctional. Ideal for work, the weekend, and nearly every event in between, derby shoes have you covered in both style and practicality.
It all boils down to the open lacing system (the eyelet tabs, where the laces weave through, are sewn down on Oxford shoes and left loose on derbies) which allows the shoe to Expand and Contract more throughout the day – than with the traditional oxford shoe.
Unlike most of the shoes in our list of best formal shoes for men, this shoe accommodates various widths ’cause of the open facing. Moving ahead of the lacing system, it’s the unique split-toe.
The split-toe gives this shoe a great visual texture to the forward part of the shoe. A split toe can easily go heavy and clunky, but the artisan at Bridlen lends a much more subtle break to the split toe.
The pair of Bridlen U-Tip Derby can slot into near-enough any wardrobe. They’ll let you level up laid-back looks, and relax stuff that’s smart. They are not essential. But for almost any man, they’re damn useful.
Every Situation, In Any Location, No Matter What Time Of Year
Bridlen U-Tip Derby is a pair you’ll likely reach for more than any other in your closet or our list of best formal shoes for men. A perfect crossover shoe, serving both formal and casual styles in equal measure and looking just as good with a pair of rolled-up jeans/chinos as they do with your tailored shorts.
Of course, The line between A City and The Country Shoe is blurred – But if you aren’t blessed with a more relaxed workplace, the U-Tip Derby is also available in Black Calf for those conservative environments.
U-Tip Derby is a stable of Bridlen’s Essential Collection and While Derby shoes are traditionally on the more casual end of the dress shoe spectrum – this refined version could be worn at both formal and casual occasions with ease, depending on your mood.
For ₹7,250, to have a shoe made to these standards – Calf leather upper, Blake construction, Hand-lasted, Leather outsoles – is an exceptional deal! We can attest to the fact that you would look better and wearing better footwear than 99% of men out there.
Pelle Santino WingTip Oxford
The Work Boot Version Of Formal Shoes
- Extremely Durable
- Cork Filler
- Need Breaking-In
It’s important to utilize the footwear for what they’re made for… to harvest as much performance out of them as possible – and formals aren’t made to handle some serious pounding, Right? Shoemakers at Pelle Santino don’t think that way!
Hand lasted Full-Grain leather (that screams the row power of natural leather) with perforations (known as broguing for versatility) is up for the masculine operations of Goodyear-welting – this is how our pick for best formal shoes for men that sparks in the most demanding work environments… is assembled.
Here’s everything you could possibly know about this hunk of tanned hide… before they get shipped to your front door.
What Makes Them Super Interesting?
So we’ve been testing this Wing-Tip for a while and it’s been clearly a far better formal shoe than the baselines it replaces at this price point. Let us walk you through all our findings…
That Good… year Welting!
If you’re new to the world of quality footwear, Goodyear Welt Construction is one of the first major upgrades separating Masculin, Rugged formal shoes from disposable footwear. It is generally regarded as the best construction in terms of comfort and durability as well as ease in terms of reparation.
A Full Grain Leather Upper will, unquestionably, outlasts several outsoles. Goodyear Welted Construction lends various easy re-soling options to get the most out of that Patina-ed Upper.
All best formal shoes for men from Pelle Santino shoes will be an investment for years, as these stunning dress shoes are no different. Crafted in Goodyear-welted Leather soles certainly making these a solid choice for whatever comes your way!
The welt – a long strip of leather that sits between the upper and the outsole – is the main ingredient. By adhering the welt first to the upper (via a stitch to the canvas plyrib on the bottom of the insole) and then stitching the welt to the outsole, we make the shoe easily resoleable and virtually waterproof.
Such construction leaves a telltale line of stitching between the outsole and the welt around the perimeter of the boot that can be seen from even a few feet away.
But it’s not just that powerful welt for which you’re paying for – it’s the cork filling within, which is known to create a nice mold of your foot, after a good amount of wear, providing an almost custom-like footbed.
It’s A Wingtip Oxford
We Indian Men… we’re not scared of a little bit of detail. These tan shoes from Pelle Santino are a masterclass in hard-wearing brogue design. Defined by the perforated decoration around the upper of a shoe’s visible edges.
The style’s distinctive perforations were designed initially as an escape valve for bog water, favored by Irish farmers who spent half their working day stomping through submerged fields.
Today those perforations (known as broguing) are purely decorative, and they’re what set these wingtips apart from other dress shoes in our list of best formal shoes for men.
It could be your next pair of formals if those Black Cap-toe Oxfords are perhaps a step too far… for any occasion! Turns an average suit into an impressive outfit along with the power to make jeans feel boss-level – these Wingtips from Pelle Santino will elegantly bridge that gap between smart and casual.
“The most economical “Goodyear-welted” shoe we’ve ever slipped on!” – our editors when we grab these Wingtips four months ago. The most expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to master – A Goodyear-welted pair can set you back a cool ₹30k.
Unquestionably, that’s a massive durability jump… but only a few of us (whose money is out there making money for them!) can run to. Pelle Santino put forward one of the most durable soles on the market (their Goodyear Welt Range) at a hard-to-belive price.
For those who are new to the world of quality footwear, ₹8k formal shoes for men is still something lavish! Just give ’em a try (if you’re able… don’t drag your budget) and it doesn’t take too long to realize that the prices aren’t actually crazy.
While other companies cover up the fact around their pricing, Pelle Santino is very upfront about that— the digital shopping ecosystem.
The term “direct to consumer” (DTC) refers to companies that make products and sell them to consumers, usually online but also in their own branded stores, avoiding traditional retailers.
And Pelle Santino is living the perks of their direct-to-consumer business model. A Goodyear-welted pair, which is unattainable in a normal retail environment, is at a price that Overdelivers… Always!
Here’s What Our Months Of Brutal Exploit… Brings In!
Just like any other pair in our list of best formal shoes for men, Pelle Santino Wingtip takes a couple of months for real-world wear-testing from every conceivable angle – But we got it!
Pelle Santino Wingtip is an easy sell: if you want a pair that stand up to any conditions you throw at them for years, that can pull off a good portion of your wardrobe, and willing to pay ₹7k – then it is just about the easiest and best-smelling step you could take.
Yes! The leather isn’t as luxe and you’ve to settle with the amount of burnishing involved for that Powerfull Goodyear-welt, a detail that might not concern you if you’re the type of guy who likes his menswear as classic as it can be.
Clarks Oliver Limit
Best Semi Brogue
- Sleek Silhouette
- Blake Stitched
- Clunky Shoe Laces
When you consider that Clarks has been around for nearly 200 years, it’s no surprise that they’ve manufactured over 20,000 shoe styles. Most of them justify the tag of best formal shoes for men but for brogues – it can’t get any better than Clarks Oliver Limit.
Trying to pick the best styles from such a wide body of work is next to impossible. But we’ve picked one pair that represent all the signature features of Clarks and that all in an affordable package.
The Oliver Limit is a great example of their capacity to magically combine comfort and design details into an absolutely beautiful and immediately striking Oxford.
There’s no style of footwear that defines the gentleman more than the brogue. Its timeless, functional design has been favored by the sartorially aware for more decades than we care to remember and it can lay claim to being one of the true icons of modern menswear.
Unquestionably, Oliver Limit is a value pack – High Build Quality at a ridiculous price. It is a perfect formal shoe in city scenarios. It wears with everything from a suit to shorts, everywhere from the office to beer gardens.
A component that makes this shoe even more appealing is the Stich. You’re not getting glue-on or stick-on sole stuff with this shoe.
Notice that stitching around the shoe. The reason they do that is that it insanely increases the durability of the shoe. That’s how it attaches the Upper to the sole.
Clarks’ Oliver Limit was our favorite model from the brand that provided the most comfort. They’re among the most adaptable shoes you can have in your footwear arsenal. That longevity and versatility means it’s worth investing.
Best Formal Shoes For Men: Clarks
Escaro Royale Derby
Best Way To Switch The Classiest Version Of Yourself
- Last Definition
- Build Quality
- Sleek & Smooth Silhouette
- Demands Frequent Care
One of the first brands that come to mind when a BS99 staffer is on the hunt for the best formal shoes for men that’ll stand the test of time is, unquestionably, Escaro Royale.
With access to some of the best leathers in the world – Today, Escaro continues to turn out high-quality men’s shoes, as well as a line of sneakers, made from the finest Argentinian Full-Grain leathers and suedes.
Like a luxury sports car, ES Derby got all the right curves. Open laces (the facing is open at the bottom), giving a more robust and versatile feel – the trusty Land Rover to the elegant Audi A8 Oxford. A chiseled almond toe gives a bit more bite.
Here’s Why It’s Not The Derby That Your Pops Used To Flop Around In
Yes! Derby is back. But don’t worry: We’re not about to tell you to start dressing those square-toe, rubber-soled lace-ups – that we all have tackled for decades and we don’t want you to live in a different decade.
If you have those derbies—grab them from your closet and toss them. It should be a slim contour (but not painfully skinny) as the rest of your wardrobe.
You can expect such a silhouette from a brand that looks to move beyond existing constraints. Escaro Royale telling your derby… the modern way! Here’s what Escaro Royale Derby brings in.
Derby Makes you look like you’ve got platypus feet, Right? – It’s not that derby. This pick would have cracked the Best Formal Shoes For Men list as it screams that you Dress The Future.
The designer at Escaro Royale shredded the baggage of the derby we’re accustomed to. Every aspect of the design, proportion, line and shape have been perfectly balanced.
They sharpen the lines of the last for an elongated shape that balances perfectly with that magnetic toe. It’s a soft square toe but not too chiseled or too square to make it unapproachable.
One of the most striking elements of the toe shape is the slight loft as it pitches forward. That nice vertical dimensionality to that toe shape is what makes this derby one of the best formal shoes for men.
One of the things that, in terms of differentiating these high-end leather dress shoes from standard ones – is the amount of Last Definition.
The Last Definition is How much shape is given to the shoe as it is lasted or as the leather is pulled over the last when it’s being constructed.
It produces sculptures that you would expect from one of the best formal shoes for men. It’s just those small details that combine together to create a beautifully sculpted pair the really provokes emotion.
You can have a brilliant designer that’s able to envision a really beautiful, elegant last shape – but if it’s not made with the deserving material or in a factory that’s able to respect those elements… you’ll never see it in finished shoe.
Escaro Royale is well known among shoe enthusiasts because of how well their shoes are constructed. The label’s derby is made using Argentinian Full-Grain White Crust Leather which guarantees an even stable finish but requires frequent care to remain in splendor.
All the patterns are Clicked (cut-out) by hand which allows the clicker to take into account the unique characteristics of every single Full Grain Leather ensuring only the best area of the skins are being used.
Good design aside, it’s due to Blake construction, a technique that secures the sole, the upper, and the insole together with a single stitch, meaning a stitch-free outsole cuts a cleaner line.
Full leather outsoles with leather heel blocks for an even more formal front. As the majority of sales are direct – they can combine many shoemaking elements to these derbies that one would not expect at ₹7.5k.
Does It Combine The Right Set Of Features… That You Care For
So the Escaro Royale Derby is from one of the label’s initial drops, and after placing some plain-vanilla pounding for a couple of months – our editors think it checks all the most important boxes… That Most People Care About!
In fact, this shoe will grow on you if the undermentioned grounds are your purpose for buying one of the best formal shoes for men.
Just One Pair Of Lace-ups… And Done!
The many different styles of dress shoes are not only to fit different tastes, but also different occasions. From your standard Oxfords to your Opera Pumps, the selection of men’s dress shoes is far from slim.
Wingtips, brogues, oxfords, derbies, wingtip derbies, monk straps, bluchers (cool name), Calfskin, buffalo leather, Blake stitch, Goodyear-welted – Every style, construction, and material has a unique look and an intended occasion.
This makes finding a pair of dress shoes you can wear with everything very difficult and overwhelming. Our Findings, if you are going to buy just one pair of lace-ups: Escaro Royale Derby is a simple, investment-level pair of derby shoes.
Their open laces and single leather sole are less fancy and cooler than brogues or wingtips. Like your Stan Smiths, you can wear your derby shoes with a suit, jeans, chinos, and yes, sweatpants.
Business Casual Lifestyle… It’s A Good Call!
“Business isn’t something that you want to be casual about” – that’s My Boss at BS99 Studio. Here we have a conservative attitude to how men could or should dress at (white-collar) work – wouldn’t say a lot about it as I’m happy with the job!
But Gentleman, If you’re lucky enough that you can rock up to the office in jeans, a T-shirt, and sliders, or your standard work attire is a lot more relaxed and enjoy more freedom with your wardrobe choices – A pair of derby from ER doesn’t hurt!
It’s one of those pairs in our list of best formal shoes for men that appear both stylishly relaxed and suitably corporate. You can wear them with a suit, or dress them down the Italian way by pairing them with denim.
Thanks to the decorative detail on an extended toecap that makes it a less dressy incarnation of the Derby – we won’t recommend this derby for the most polished attire.
Anyways… if you haven’t scrutinized where your job falls on the formality spectrum – Feel free to click here.
You Can Shine ’em… Every Morning
You buy a new pair of shoes, and at first, you’re excited, and you clean off the little smudge you got on day one when you bumped into a table. But over time, as the newness wears off, it’s done!
If this is your approach to formals – ER derby might cause another purchase much sooner than you really needed to.
The shoe upper is from Full-Grain White Crust Leather – does includes ALL of the natural grain, is extremely strong and durable.
While crust leather allows having rich, deep patination out of the box. It is to be seen as a blank canvas for the shoemaker to work with, but the finished shoe requires more frequent care to remain in splendor, as the dye and finishing sits mainly on the surface and is thus more easily affected by the inevitable occasional scuff or scratch.
₹7.5k is an investment and we assume to treat these shoes as an investment and spend some time caring for them, storing them properly, and cleaning them when necessary, you’ll protect your purchase for years to come.
Best Budget Buy
- Overall Build
- Sleek Silhouette
- Not So Versatile
Here at BS99 Studio… We’re actually crowded With “Shoe Enthusiasts” (more specifically – Dress Shoes Enthusiasts). But our office is not full of such people by any means! For those smarties, formal shoes are just to look the part. Any shoe that looks appropriate, under ₹1,000, and can check the trouble of three quarters… they are in!
SeeAndWear Buff leather Derby has answered the call: a proper dress shoe for which you haven’t rolled rolls of notes – that’ll make sure you don’t have to buy a new pair every two months. Here’s all the fun stuff that comes with it.
Here’s Why This Derby Outperforms Its Price
This shoe has made quite an impression on our editors. Indeed, the SeeandWear’s aren’t the most elegant or the most durable or plushest, but their strength is that they’re one of the best formal shoes for men in want of a steal in the middle ground.
It took us a couple of months to look over any pair of shoes, and we have been doing these for years. And while doing that – we have seen cheap shoes look good and expensive shoes look terrible… More often than ever!
But after exploring SeeandWear Buff Leather Derby, it feels a lot more like the first half (cheap shoes look good) is more true than the second half (expensive shoes look terrible).
The neither square nor pointed: Almond-shaped last is swaddled with Buff Milled Leather. Not super-shiny, but does have noticeable grain.
Milled leather where the surface grain is removed through sanding to make the surface more uniform in preparation to be embossed. If the lines & streaks don’t bother you, then you will love this upper.
Instead of gluing down that Upper to sole, Which is usual at a thousand rupee price point, SeeandWear has given ’em a “Stitch Therapy” and it’s a move that puts this shoe to another notch.
Stitching down the sole unquestionably extends the wearable life span of this shoe. Another rubber sole is attached for a decent structure to the shoe along with much-needed traction.
You’ll really not find any major complaints with this derby unless you treat them like they are unbreakable and puts them through hell and back.
It seems like SeeandWear is losing the exact same amount they’re asking for – For Every Pair! There aren’t so many shoes out that deliver 2X value we’re paying as a customer.
Unquestionably, we’re living in a golden age of cheap formal shoes for men. In fact, you can grab one for just ₹400 which was probably pumped out by the thousands a day. Entirely glued, barely leather, meant to cover your feet for a certain period.
SeeandWear Derby screams a different story. If taken care of, you just might get a year out of them. Why those shoes doesn’t call for a short-term loan to afford? The Direct-To-Consumer business model.
In other words: as long as SeeandWear keeps making ’em, we’ll keep recommending ’em.
Don’t Get Your Hopes Up Too High – Unless…
The SeeandWear Buff leather derby is ₹1k bet – shockingly affordable… you can seize two of ’em, Right? But before you set the bar for these shoes – Let us walk you through all the extends and then you can decide – if you’re into it or not?
Chances are, that if you’re reading the guide on best formal shoes for men, you either work in an office (It certainly doesn’t mean that formals are just for office) or you’re up for the most polished version of yourself.
And for you, Dress shoe is just one element to nail that look – That’s All! Unquestionably, it holds a lot more than just to look the part! But here, it’s not about imposing our beliefs.
Seeandwear Derby is for men who can’t dress too casually in an office environment that dictates a strict dress code and can run the risk of looking like you can’t really be bothered to work there at all.
“The best formal shoes for men is just the part of dressing correctly for the workplace” – if that’s how you know ’em… Seeandwear Derby will shine through.
Just ’cause of the amount of burnishing involved, it’s hard to pull these shoes off (in any way) for the after-office moments. That might not concern you as you hate formals and can’t even touch ’em after you’re done with the office… don’t you?
It’s Fine To Get A New One After…
For accessories that constantly beat up and stepped on (literally), shoes sure are underappreciated. Seeandwear derbies are tough, but they don’t last forever.
Don’t expect them to handle all adverse weather as if it was a clear, sunny day. Don’t expect more than 18 months out of these and if you do get that, consider yourself lucky.
The exact life spread is, again, greatly dependent on how often you wear them, how often you polish them, and if you use shoe trees, shoe horns, etc.
There are ways to make your formal shoes last longer, but don’t expect enormous wearable life from a thousand rupee shoes. But if you’re looking for a dress shoe that can last a lifetime – we’ve something that you can pass onto your children!
Bridlen Double Monk
A Luxurious Expression of Your Success And Wealth
- Cork Footbed
- Goodyear Welted
- Extremely Durable
- Practical Sole Unit
- Need Breaking In
So you have made it beyond “The Usual Constraints” – Not only are you settled in a job/business, but you’ve ascended the career ladder, earning new titles with increasingly higher salaries/Profits. It’s time to invest in Dress Shoes that suit your high-flying lifestyle.
The Bridlen designer’s foray into men’s Formal Footwear turned them from something guys had to wear to something they wanted to wear and maybe even wanted to show off.
Bridlen Goodyear Welted Double Monk has the power all on its own to imbue a sense of confidence and prominence in any man who wears it.
It’s hard to explain how something so simple could be so beautiful, but there’s no denying this guy is sheer footwear perfection, expertly executed. Bridlen Double Monk represents the highest levels of both Design and Craftsmanship. Both Under the hood and on the surface… there is a lot to take in!
What Puts These ₹16k Double Monk Among The Best You Can Buy?
Bridlen makes some of the finest or (safe-to-say) the best formal shoes for men and it’s a known fact for anyone familiar with the dress shoe industry. Of course, you could argue that nothing screams money more than a pair from Bridlen.
The charm and breathtaking elegance of a pair from the label is sure to behold a person in awe, but few are aware of the process and craftsmanship that goes into sculpturing a single piece of this marvel.
The Most Evocative Leather
The starting point of discussing Bridlen Double Monk must be the component that makes up its 93%. At Bridlen great importance is placed on buying the most expensive element to their high-quality footwear.
Birdlen works very closely with the best tanneries in the world and it’s their exceptionally good relationships that succor to secure leathers that deliver a sensory experience unlike anything on the sole.
Their Goodyear-welted Double Monk has been crafted using the finest Soft Milled Cowhide Leather on their Zip Last which features a more flattering and elegant Almond toe. This last shape provides a bit of foot elongation but is not at all extreme.
A nice top-grain leather that is softer and thicker than the plain milled cowhide leather. The term Milled is just a way to separate nicer cowhide from cheaper cowhide leathers. This tumbling process softens the leather and allows the natural fine lines in the leather to intensify.
Such a process creates a slight pebbling or noticeable grain. That nubby braille-esque pattern adds intrigue to the shoe. These leathers have a heavier substance (1.8 – 2.0 mm thickness) and are designed for heavy wear.
All the pattern pieces are cut out (clicked) by hand. It allows the clicker to examine the unique characteristics of every single cowhide and work around near-invisible defects in the form of barbed wire or disease scars, growth marks, or veins.
Because the company has to compete with French luxury houses for the calfskin required for its opulent uppers – Bridlen shoes are extremely expensive by comparison to other formal shoe brands.
At the lower end of some of the “Essential Collection”, asking prices start around the ₹7,250 mark, while Goodyear Line can cost up to ₹18k and more. But, however hard of a hit your Visa has taken, it’s worth it, for Bridlen wearers can get around a decades-worth of use out of each pair they purchase.
Goodyear… For Great Years
Soft Milled Cowhide Leather Upper is (Unquestionably!) a splurge. But If you think that’s a lot of bank for just the upper of a shoe… just wait until we hit the sole treatment granted to this masterpiece.
Here within The Casual Classic Collection (From Which This Monk Belongs!), Bridlen leverages its full technical resources and doesn’t seem to be in the mood to settle with the second-best.
For instance, there are variations on the theme but the phrase “Goodyear welted” tends to be the prefix for the world’s finest shoes – Though expensive, and time-consuming… Bridlen went this way.
Instead of simply gluing that expensive upper to the outsole (For An Appealing Price Tag) – a highly-skilled workforce completes over 200 separate operations to produce the strength and comfort that these double monks provide their wearers.
The Goodyear welt – an 1869 invention that allowed the upper of a leather shoe to be interchangeable from its sole, which in turn allowed the shoe to be broken down and repaired over and over again.
It’s a strip of leather (Welt) that runs the entire perimeter (Yup! Bridlen do it 360°) of the shoe, it’s then onto this welt that the outsole is stitched.
You’ll be (of course, the cobbler be!) able to re-sole this double monk many times without disrupting the fit or integrity of the upper.
What’s even more exciting about True Goodyear-welting is the “Bottom Filling”. Now, most shoemakers will fill that cavity (small cavity underneath the insoles) with latex – Bridlen does it in the Comfiest Way!
After fixing a “Wooden Shank” to the waist (for extra support), a mixture of cork is molded to the underside of the shoe, providing a flat surface for the sole or lift to sit on. The Corkfilling will cushion your stride and mold to your feet over time.
With Goodyear-welted Shoe, you can spend your money knowing that “This Is One Of The Best Formal Shoes For Men That You Can Wear for 10, 15, 20 years… If Not The Rest Of Your Life”. In fact: if taken care of – it’s pieces you’ll pass along not just to your kids, but to theirs.
That Striking Outsole – For Bolder Impression!
It’s not quite often we lay a separate section dedicated to just the outsole of a shoe. But there is no aspect of this double monk that has not and carefully considered by the shoemakers at Bridlen… Why should we skip anything!
Traditional, Sleek, and Classic – Formal Shoes for men walked on “Leather Soles”. But Shoes take a pounding. And nowhere more than in their soles. And who doesn’t love that Grippy and Bouncy sensation of the rubber outsole? So Comfort and Practicality in our city footwear – and we’re sold.
Bridlen Goodyear-welted Double Monk has equipped an outsole that offers the formality of a leather sole with sharp edge trimming, a reduced waist and the comfort, practicality and longevity of a rubber sole.
Designed with both style and practicality in mind, the outsole of this double monk is build-up layer by layer. Now, it starts with the welt that’s been stitched to a leather sole, and then the Rubo Prene’s EVA is fixed using an adhesive.
The heels are attached, trimmed, and then scoured with emery paper for a smooth finish. Next, the sole edges are trimmed to a specific shape, accurately mimicking the Zip Last it was designed for.
Durable Soft Milled Cowhide leather, Goodyear Welting, and a cleated sole sturdy enough to make you feel you can take on anything. So for something that transitions easily between weekday and weekend look no further than this double monk.
It’s An Access To Pinnacle Level Of Shoemaking
A company can have a brilliant designer that’s able to envision a really beautiful and elegant last shape, but if it’s not made in a factory or by shoemakers that’s able to respect those elements… you’ll never see in finished shoe.
Bridlen is the gathering of most illustrious craftsmen, each an expert in their respective field, equipped with the best materials (from all over the world) to work with. Their shoes are sculptures – is not only about the physical act of making something – traditional skills and handwork do add value to this double monk.
In fact, How would an R2 unit be able to replicate the 200 different hand operations needed to make a pair of Goodyear-welted shoes? How would any machine be able to synthesize the knowledge and individuality of skilled craftsmen?
The unforgiving leather is hand-pulled over the last until they arrive close to the final definition, which is unable to be achieved by machine alone! It is not a block. And it curves in many places, not just the instep and the arch – quite rightly so being as the foot has shape.
Every nuance detail is a little tricky to enact in just one article. But we just want to convey that if you have the wallet for such an art piece – Bridlen Goodyear welted Double Monk is an exceptional way to access that Pinnacle Level Of Shoemaking.
Make Sure This Splurge Align Best With Your Lifestyle And Needs.
So far the Bridlen’s Goodyear Welted Double Monk looks Royal, Right? Provided that you possess such financial ability – Just Whip Out Your Debit Card For an extremely opulent and extravagant version of yourself, it’s as simple as that. The Double Monk is from those shoes in our list of best formal shoes for men – that worth saving for.
But if the abilities of this Double Monk don’t tilt to your Personal Side -It would be an Uphill battle to explore the greatest possible corners of this art piece by Bridlen. And if it doesn’t seem like YOU… Don’t worry, we’ve nine more options!
You’ve More Opportunities To Flex Formals… Beyond Just Office!
Dress shoes are made to be applied to your workplace, that’s how we know ’em, Right? It is an ingredient to nail the level of formality of the clothes you can wear to work.
Bridlen Goodyear Welted Double Monk could be arrogantly placed in any Work_able Wardrobe. This piece will cruise you through the most conservative office dress code (thanks to Un-Perforated Clean Upper).
But this Double Monk has a lot more width and can answer everything your feet are asking about! Soft Milled Leather, Goodyear Construction, and Commando Sole – this shoe is durable enough to be the hardest working item in your footwear arsenal.
The Indian brand’s team set about building a collection that gathers together its years of expertise to offer shoes that can be dressed up should we return to the office, dressed down for the weekends, and, perhaps most importantly, are comfortable enough to tempt you out of your slippers should you be venturing no further than your home office.
If your day’s To-Do List is “Meeting Heavy” or packed with personal and professional opportunities – this monk will help you to Switch… at ease! A functional shoe with a dash of versatility that will never interrupt to catch up on the priorities of your valuable time.
A suit is an obvious choice for a shoe so elegant. (Yup, we just said elegant.) But it’s no longer the only way to buckle up. Ditch your trainers or loafers in favor of these monks with slim-fitting jeans. The perfect look for a boozy dinner.
Do not restrict this Gorgeous ₹16k investment piece to Button-Up hours of a working day. And If pairing those monks is still a mystery for you – feel free to click around.
If You Want Your Shoes To Express… Who You Are.
Things have changed (like you want ’em to be!), the ‘Interviewed’ is replaced with ‘Interviewing’ and You have created the business or life you love.
There are lots of brief (maybe lengthy) meetings with folks you might be pitching for the first time. You start to realize that – How you dress communicates respect for those you’re meeting with.
If How you dress affects how you see yourself, and your self-confidence (or lack of it), or if you consider your outfit ingredients as a powerful means to convey your message – A pair of Double Monk From Bridlen Will Make You Feel Powerful.
Investing in these shoes demonstrates that you care about your appearance. You’ll always look polished, pulled together, and powerful. Live with it – these shoes are made that way!
Bridlen Goodyear Welted Double Monk will make you feel confident. They let you project your confidence. They let you use that… to Close The Deal!
In the words of NFL player Deion Sanders, ‘If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.’”
Our subconscious is quick to judge, so we automatically give more merit to those in professional attire. These Double Monks signal that the wearers are experts at the top of their field. Such shoes are not just for professional looks; they build personalities.
Quality Is Your “Top Priority”
May be just above Price… But Quality is still at the top of your list. So You’ve left university, moved out of home, have a job/profession/business, and are hopefully self-supporting – and are in the financial space where you can place “Quality Over Price”… take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
Of course, the pandemic has reduced our habits of gross consumption. Money is tight. We cannot waste it on disposable crap.
The Best Quality Dress Shoe From Bridlen might seem expensive but when you’re still pulling it out of the wardrobe in 15 years’ time, the cost will have been justified.
When somebody investing ₹16k on a pair of shoes, believe us, There is Pressure On The Shoemaker. It’s hours by hand, different fittings, and people are very demanding when investing this kind of money.
For some, it sounds ridiculous to put 16k notes for pair of shoes, but if understand what is behind – not only you’re buying something exceptional (that 99% of gentlemen unaware of), but you protect A Craft, A Profession, You promote people who need to be promoted.
Pelle Santino Loafer
The Most Relaxed Way To Face Formals
- Extremely Comfortable
- Price/Quality Ratio
- Perfect Silhouette
- Not For The Most Conservative Settings
You Couldn’t Be Loafin’ At The Job. Never Go Business With A Man In Loafers – that’s what we hear about loafers. Loafers might be seen as an abnormal element in any Best Formal Shoe For Men list. In fact: our editors do hold a similar opinion that anything beyond casual gets a little hazy… with some loafers.
Thankfully, Designers have added newfangled tweaks to old-school casual loafers and pretty much raised the formal environment limits. You’ll never miss the “Breezy Sensation” of your first step in an exceptionally soft loafer… even in the most conservative settings. Pelle Santino is a turn-to choice for formal-proof loafers.
Pelle Santino penny loafers can finish off a Savile Row look with a cool, modern edge. These can be worn with practically anything short of basketball shorts–from a t-shirt and jeans to chinos and a button-up. Here’s everything you could possibly know about this quickest, most stylish way out the door.
What Puts These Loafers From Pelle Santino Among The Best You Can Buy?
Thanks to the Great Loafer Boom of 2021, you’ve never had more options—from heritage menswear brands and big-name designers and tiny startup labels alike—to slide right into for any occasion. While these many options on the board… Here’s why PS Penny Loafers worth your attention and eventually – your money!
Pelle Santino prides themselves making their shoes using a high level of craftsmanship. From the finest leathers to the best time-honored production methods – several elements of the construction set this shoe apart and that you’re paying for.
The upper of this beautiful loafer is cut from Open pour Full Grain Leather. This highest quality leather comes from the top layer of the hide and includes all of the natural grain, which contains the strongest fibers in the hide.
Such leather uppers ages, rather than wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character that cannot be easily duplicated. Truly, the more you use it, the better it looks and feels.
The loafers are skillfully hand-lasted giving great last definition to this shoe. You especially see that at the arch where the upper curves underneath the arch to the layered leather outsole. Such arch support helps “Cup The Foot” and gives a great last definition.
As with every Pelle Santino shoe – the uppers are stitched with a high stitch density which gives it finesse and cleanness to the look of this loafer.
Instead of gluing that beautiful (and expensive) upper flat to the sole unit – shoemakers at Pelle Santino Blake Stitched the uppers to the outsole. Such sole treatment significantly elevates the durability of the shoe, even though most of its work is hidden underfoot.
The key difference between a Blake stitched sole and other (lesser) means of sole construction is that less glue and fewer layers are required in the construction and finishing process, which results in a far simpler, far superior shoe that’s lighter and more durable than a regular cemented (glued) method.
Unlike cement construction, where adhesive alone is used, the Blake sole applies a combination of glues and a single row of stitching that runs from the sole through to the inner sole to the upper. Just check the bottom of such shoes, and you’ll notice the stitching (and the difference) of this shoe.
The shoe features a prominent thick saddle (penny strap) that gives great visual balance to the shoe. It isn’t dainty and gives great weight to this essential visual element and substance to the entire silhouette of this shoe.
Exceptional Build Quality is what makes these loafers so special. There are several models representing their entire penny loafer line-up, we want to go over and speak about each of ’em but that concept gets a little tricky to enact in just one article.
The silhouette is just right
This Penny Loafer from Pelle Santino is a beautifully executed example of such a style of loafers. It is not a dainty shoe and maintains a very strong presence.
That rugged Full Grain Leather is stretched over the label’s classic loafer last which features a Nice, Soft, Round Toe in beautiful Classic Proportions that really makes this a timeless and elegant shoe.
Hand lasting helps this shoe to retain the beautiful sculpture of the last and give definition to the shoe. The additional shape is given to the top of the shoe at the neck (Curving In Slightly) which grip the foot.
The lip along the apron is slightly raised which produces the visual detail and texture of this shoe – without being too prominent. The sole being trimmed very neat and close to the upper.
You want your foot to look elongated, which makes your silhouette look more elegant. Pelle Santino Penny Loafers does just that but keeps from getting too elfin with a bullnose-shaped toe.
All these elements create a beautiful aesthetics that we’re looking for the only pair of loafers in our list of best formal shoes for men.
Make Sure It Align Best With Your Business And Needs
And if it does… you’ll receive more than you can imagine.
From all the good stuff we’ve talked about – this penny loafer seems suitable for every foot, Right? But there are few things to keep in mind when wearing these loafers so that you look like you know what you’re doing.
So take a look at the traits below, and you’ll see just how confidently Pelle Santino has laced up all your loafer needs — or not, as the case may be…
Not Too Conservative Workplace
If you’ve ever worked in an office, attended a corporate meeting, or had a professional interview, you’ll no doubt understand the challenge of dressing for business – and that’s might be a reason you’re searching for the best formal shoes for men.
If you’re in a field like academia or finance, then you’d probably find yourself one step away from wearing these loafers. However, the loafer can be worn for formal settings outside the office, so you can feel safe rocking a pair at formal dinners or black-tie events.
If you are not in the most conservative office dress code, just enjoy the freedom and comfort of these loafers. Figuring out where your job falls on the formality spectrum is decisive for loafers.
We don’t want to chuck away your professionalism and show that you belong to a totally different work environment.
Some Serious Versatility
In this day and age, the line there between casual and formal is blurred and every shoe seems to be extremely versatile. But it’s actually a struggle to find a shoe where regular users, with sketchy paring skills, can explore every corner of that “Versatility’?
But these loafers, you don’t want anyone right from the Head Quarters Of GQ – it serves Attainable Versatility on a silver platter. A pair of penny loafers seems to be made Bespoke to blend with everything you’ve in your wardrobe.
Mixing aspects of a formal, tailored look with more casual items and laid-back styling choices while slipping in a pair of loafers – and you’ll be noticed for the right reasons. You Don’t such type of Versatility that often.
These are loafers that’ll sync up just as well with your most formal outfits as they will your most casual. In fact: There isn’t much thinking to be done. Throw on a pair of loafers in place of your usual shoes to add a bit of class to your ensemble in moments.
Allows Your Feet To Breath In Style
You can wear any formal shoe that suits your workplace. The question is: Are you in those pairs which eventually going to hinder your true working efficiency? Or shoe that peacefully deals with the formal-ity of your office?
We know your job is hard. Dealing with work stresses day in and day out is hard. The ease and convenience of Pelle Santino Penny Loafers are perfect for days when you can’t be bothered to tie a single lace. Not to mention, they can morph from preppy to punk to just plain cool in minutes.
Designed to Uplifts the mood of the desk jockey. It’s a little bit slimmer without being too slick. There are old loafers that show a lot for your foot, but this is showing a very little portion of your foot which makes it more business appropriate.
The Royale Peacock David Cap-Toe Oxford
- Extremely Durable
- Full Grain Leather Upper
- Goodyear Welted
- Simple & Sleek Silhouette
- Require Break-In
The Royale Peacock offers a huge number of selections and it is puzzling to pick a few pairs from such a huge and engaging offering. We believe the label’s David CapToe Oxford Range will be a safe bet. Of all the iconic shoes in our list of Best Formal Shoes For Men – David Captoe Oxford is the most durable.
Now, a Cap-Toe Oxford is the dressiest formal shoe that you can have in your wardrobe, perfect with suits or casual suits.
The Royale Peacock presents it in a very simple and sleek design, something that’s been around a long time.
A simple design, lack of broguing, closed lacing system combine to create a silhouette of unparalleled beauty. The Royale Peacock’s David collection is not subject to the whims of fashion, it can be in style forever.
The high stitch density increases the clean lines and formality of this shoe. One element that makes this lineup even more dressy is the Leather Sole.
When you walk it gives that really elegant sound and they maybe a little more difficult to maintain but a good leather sole won’t let water in even if it’s raining.
Built around a sleeker last, The Royale Peacock David range is a traditional English round toe. Striking a perfect balance between visual interest and elegance.
Available in both Cemented and Goodyear Welting construction, we recommend don’t be afraid of laying down a few extra bucks if you’re able. You can’t go wrong with adding these shoes to your wardrobe.
Red Tape Oxford
- No Break-In Required
- Snug Fit
Red Tape’s overall value offering is very hard to beat! With one of the widest ranges of different styles available – It’s hard to pick a pair. But for those looking to add some Amazing formal shoe to your arsenal but who don’t want to overspend – we’ll get you covered.
Whenever it comes to formal shoes, a black Cap Toe Oxford is as Classic and as Timeless as you can get. The reason a Cap Toe Oxford is (Probably) the best selling dress shoe ever is that it’s a shoe that’s never gonna go out of style – Looks as good today as it looked sixty years ago and will look just as good sixty years from today as it does now.
This Black (and Brown) Cap Toe oxford from Red Tape represents a good value at their respective price point. There are so many interesting things about this shoe, starting out with the upper. They use Genuine leather for the upper that going to produce a good shine. Now, is it the highest quality leather? Heck, NO, but it’s a good quality leather for what you get at this price point.
At this price point, one of the things that immediately change the look of the shoe is a higher stitch density on the shoe. Stitch density on the shoe is one of those things that creates a finesse to the finishing.
Now if we look a little bit more closely at the midsole area – you’ll notice another detail here that really elevates the level of finish and that is something called Welt Fudging. This is the small indentation that you pressed on top of the welt and shoemaker uses a wheel those in.
The only downside is the foam of shoe construction. Red Tape uses Cementing (AKA Gluing) method to connect the outer sole with the upper. Either way, it’s a great shoe and it’s a shoe that unequivocally we can recommend if you are just starting up your formal lineup.
Bata Tormo Black Derby
- Extremely Comfortable
Your style journey is not about mindlessly collecting pieces to earn the respect of your peers. Need is, after all, in the wallet of the beholder. All of which is a long-winded way to say that when faced with a choice of smart lace-ups, it’s wise to pick Derbies over Oxfords.
Put simply, a solid pair of Derbies can slot into near-enough any wardrobe. Good shoes don’t have to cost an arm and the leg they’re supposed to go on. Case in point: pretty much anything you can find in the Derbies section of Bata.
Being very versatile, this shoe can be worn across a broad spectrum of environments. In fact, they’re even wearable with a suit in a business professional setting. Nevertheless, what’s great is that they can be paired with jeans or chinos for a more business casual look.
The giant does an excellent line in the unexpected. You’ll find square toe and interesting leathers, but at a price that lets you dip a toe in something new. Unquestionably – Bata Tormo is one of the best formal shoes for men when on budget. Unfussy, well-made, and extremely affordable – what else would you expect?
While you can find Derby in many different colors, black is the most traditional and easiest to find. We’d actually suggest that you grab your first pair in black so they can be worn with almost anything.
Demystify Every Option… And Try To Detest Any Of Them
We Bet You Can’t!
Indian Men – A full black, rubber-soled lace-up is not your only option as Dress shoes… Move On! Here we’ll be unveiling, and discussing style options that I wish I knew starting out.
After exploring all the possibilities: there are two versions of what you think should happen – It might attest to the choice you’ve already made, or You will find a better one.
There are several different types of formal shoes and broad categories furthermore that indicate different formality levels, appearances, and wearing experiences.
We hope this section of our guide to the best formal shoes for men will inspire you to spot a style of dress shoe that grows not just on you – but people around you!
Most of us go for an Oxford shoe without even thinking about it. It’s one of fashion’s few no-brainers: they’re the reliable leather lace-ups you turn to whenever you need to look smart. Nothing else comes close.
A style that can go with your most formal options, so you’ll never be out of luck for a big work event—or if you have to throw on a tux. But why they’re the ubiquitous choice to wear with tailoring and formalwear?
That’s thanks to oxford’s “closed-throat” construction (More commonly – Closed Lacing System), whereby the inside and quarters are stitched underneath the shoe’s vamp, and the tongue is stitched in beneath them in turn.
With a history dating back over 200 years, it is said to take its name from the students at Oxford University, who were early adopters of the style.
Every formal shoe brand in the world has a version of this style, and although they all have the same features, they are all separated by how the shoemaker executes the making of the shoe.
Less flexible fit, but most formal. This arrangement provides a slim silhouette that hugs the foot’s contour. From seriously sophisticated looks for your tailored outfits – to nailing the ‘Smart’ portion of your smart-casual attire: Naturally, no list of Best Formal Shoes For Men would be complete without Oxfords.
The Wholecut Oxford
Almost every Classic Work Of Art can be cheaply mass-produced. Of course, they aren’t quality, but we’ve them and they are not going anywhere sooner.
But A Beautiful Wholecut Oxford hasn’t made it to this Mass-ive market… Yet! Because it is the most simple shoe, but “The Most” difficult shoe to make. It’s an oxford with no cap-toe, no perforations – just a simple cut in the middle for the eyelets… and that’s what makes ’em very desirable.
When You Have Nothing To Distract The Eye – Everything Is In The Last. The last is the shape of a shoe. And for a pair of Wholecut – it is just the cut and the last. And to exhibit the shape along the edges, it has to be hand-lasted and pulled around the last to create that shape. And if it is done too quickly in a factory setting – it’s a leather block, not and Wholecut Oxford.
What makes these shoes challenging is that the shoemaker has to select only the highest quality leathers possible. Because the pattern piece is so large, whenever the pattern is laid out over the leather, it has to be a large unblemished area of the skin.
They can’t simply move the pattern pieces around to avoid small blemishes. From a design perspective, Wholecuts are one of the most formal models – right up there with the pain cap-toe oxford.
In fact, If you want to spot a good shoemaker – look at his Wholecut. You might know this, but the biggest shoe companies in India don’t have Wholecuts in their massive offerings.
Pull the quarters of an oxford out of the vamp, open up the lacing system, slightly scroll down the formality level, and that’s a Derby.
A Derby is a popular shoe, if not for its country origins, but for its fitting qualities. It is a style that offers greater margins of adjustment to ensure the right fit is achieved, from the very first time you try them on.
Inspired by the heavy-duty shoes and boots worn by this country’s postal workers, brands from Giorgio Armani to Valentino have reinterpreted the classic mailman shoe with ever-chunkier soles.
An older and slightly more relaxed cousin of Oxfords – A good pair can work with just about any kind of suit. Plus, the open-throat silhouette—the leather around the laces runs parallel, and over the vamp—can pull double duty with everything from jeans to tweed trousers.
So if you’re a gentleman who wears a suit with some regularity, but also needs a pair of shoes on hand that’ll work for date night on the weekend, derbies won’t do you wrong.
The Monk Strap
Moving to the suburbs a.k.a “Unbeknown To Many” type of styles and starting with – The Monk Strap. With its bold buckle, this shoe sits comfortably between an Oxford and a Derby in terms of formality, and as a rakish alternative to a lace-up.
Favored by style aficionados looking for something different – This shoe takes its name from the monks who originally donned them, as this simple closed-toe design provided greater protection than their traditional sandals.
With open quarters, and a whole-cut vamp and tongue, Monk straps (both single and double buckle) are remarkably comfortable on the foot and boast similar fitting properties to Derby shoes.
Single monk straps are more understated and timeless (try chocolate-brown suede), while the two straps of a double monk exude a military feel – and are usually designed with a toecap.
We haven’t seen a style (while tapping the best formal shoes for men) that checks these many boxes when it is about pairing ’em – you can treat monks like just another pair of kicks.
The quintessential sartorial accompaniment to the monk strap shoe is a well-tailored suit, but when paired with those slim-fitting jeans – the monk becomes the focal point of an ensemble.
Add a little attitude to your ensemble with these handsome devils. Don’t be shy with those shoes! Really make your monks pop by showcasing them with cuffed pants hemmed short.
There are tons of comfortable options that scream the “Made-For-Me” sensation, but from them – the loafer is the only one that is office appropriate and might earn you compliments while you’re at it.
Defined by their low construction and lace-less upper, they are traditionally worn as a more louche alternative to the Oxford or Derby. Thanks to their slip-on nature, loafers lend themselves well to off-duty ensembles, but if cut from a fine piece of leather – they look equally dapper when paired with a suit.
Yes, your choice of material and finish will determine just how formal the loafer is; suede is better suited to smart-casualwear, and full-grain leathers benefit from rugged country-going styling. A smooth calf is perfect for wearing around town, and for formalwear.
The origin is disputed, but King George VI is said to have wanted an indoor shoe for his country house back in 1926. Low sitting and without laces, they have a moccasin-like upper, often with a piece of leather straddling the upper (the saddle).
What outfit can’t be improved upon with a good pair of loafers? They go with literally everything. The slip-on style comes in shapes sleek and stylish enough to wear with even your sharpest two-button. Wear them with some sweats or track pants, and they say “I made an effort today.”
The Dress Boots
All types of men’s boots were first engineered for a function, decidedly not meant for dressy occasions, and would be more at home at a construction site than in a boardroom.
But with their modern iteration, a.k.a Dress Boots – Wearing boots with a suit isn’t a difficult endeavor. They’re every bit as refined as the rest of the styles on this list of best formal shoes for men.
But here’s the thing: you can’t just pair any pair of work lugs with your finest tailored clothing. The trick is to focus on a streamlined silhouette and elevated construction. But if you’re frustrated When is a boot dressy enough to be worn with a suit? Feel free to click around.
A pair of boots from Birdlen can take you from work to the weekend with ease. Many can even match smart casual and semi-formal ensembles, making them a valuable wardrobe addition.
Only When You And Your Workplace Is Not Scared Of A Little Bit Of Detailing.
Brogueing isn’t a style of dress shoes. When we’re talking brogues, we’re not talking about a silhouette, but the detailing that goes on top of it.
The signature perforations were originally a functional thing, designed to let water drain out of the shoes worn to tromp through Irish bogs. Now, it’s ornamental, but still a mainstay of modern dress shoes.
Brogueing is most often seen on Oxford, Derby, and Monk Strap shoes in four toe cap styles: full brogue, longwing brogue, semi-brogue, and quarter brogue.
The moment you put any perforation on the shoe, it creates a more casual shoe or what would traditionally be a weekend or country shoe.
Of course, the line between city shoes (for weekdays) and country shoes (for the weekend) is blurred.
But the point is still there – that more Brogueing on a shoe, the more casual it becomes.
Change The Way You Judge Quality! Its Not Over Price… Anymore
The Only Two Ingredients That Makes A Shoe – Quality Stampable
3 idiots’ Suhas Tandon (a.k.a ‘price tag’) don a $300 (₹22,266) pair of dress shoe. For him, price is the purest indicator of quality. It shows – as he screams the price loud enough to rouse the entire place. So try to dodge “The Price Tag” way.
There are times when you can rely exclusively on price for the quality. In fact: No formal shoe brand starts out with a desire to form a dress shoe that doesn’t provide the absolute best experience.
Rather, along the way, the pressures of running a business can forsake quality (with the same or higher price), often the leader even being fully aware that this important foundation of their business is slipping.
But most of us aren’t blessed with comfortable earning roots to support ’em, right? Either you’re willing to shell out a ton of money for a shoe, or on a paper-thin budget – we all look to operate with a close to one ratio of functionality and price.
We’ve Gentlemen in our studio who have dropped grand on dress shoes only to learn later… that it’s crap! So with all our learnings (or slips), we can say that there are more meaningful variables that can be placed on the x-axis of your Quality Prediction Graph – than price!
It is sensible to start with the element that makes up 95% of the shoe; In fact: that’s the damn grill that needs to be addressed – What Makes the 95% of your shoe?
Leather is the most elegant material for well-made dress shoes. Which explains why there are a mind-boggling number of leathers available, from Smooth Calf to Suede/Scotch Grain, upscale Full Grain Leather to extremely affordable Synthetic materials (also known as faux, imitation, vegan, or PU leather).
If we get into the nuts-and-bolts of the fascinating Shoemaking materials world – this concept gets a little tricky to enact in just one article.
Here we will go through them in a brief yet concise manner but also leave you with detailed descriptions that empower you to decide which one should be Off the table and which one must be in your cart.
Tell You A Secret – Its The Layers
That makes the difference! The entire pelt, taken from the animal, is not (and can’t) pulled over the last of a shoe.
Cow’s leather can be up to an inch thick when it comes off the animal, so it is split into different pieces of varying quality.
Just like a 23-Layer Cake (At Michael Jordan’s Restaurant) – there are different layers, of Grain, on a hide.
The very top layer has the most compressed and dense grain structure – called the Full Grain Leather. Includes the full thickness of the skin, Such leather is not sanded or buffed to remove natural marks or imperfections.
If you get a full-grain leather shoe (we’ve picked a few as best formal shoes for men) it ages, rather than wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character that cannot be easily duplicated.
Shoes for such leathers are incredibly strong and durable, as the natural grain contains the strongest fibers in the hide. It is more expensive for manufacturers to buy and more difficult for them to work with. This is reflected in the cost to the consumer.
Level under Full Grain is the outermost layer of the hide removed – called Top Grain Leather. There is still a very high surface shield with imperfections removed, making it thinner and more workable for the manufacturer.
The surface of top grain leather is sanded and given a finish coat. It does lose the strongest fibers in the natural grain hide.
Because of this, it’s incredibly important to properly care for delicate top grain leather, as it can be more prone to noticeable scratching than full-grain leather.
Moving further down and it’s the layer that
profit shoe-makers love to stamp – Genuine Leather. But, if a leather shoe is listed as genuine leather, it’s not actually a good sign. At least, not where the leather’s quality is concerned.
With a ton of stiffness, such leather is produced using the skin layers that remain after the top is split off. The surface of such leather is spray painted and embossed with a leather-like pattern to resemble a natural appearance.
Moving to the lowest level of leather, which is not even leather, that called Synthetic Leather (also known as synthetic, faux, imitation, vegan, or PU leather) is a synthetic material that holds the appearance of leather but is not made from animal skin.
Synthetic material is usually made from polyurethane (PU), polyvinylchloride (PVC), or textile-polymer composite microfibres. Cheapest to produce and is often resurfaced to look like higher quality types of leather – so watch out!
Quite frankly, I’ve been told to write about synthetic leather over any other type to check the box – right off the bat. But it is here as we don’t want the initial allure ruined by this crap.
It’s a lot more delicate subject, that’s not discussed very often. But we don’t want anyone, who is reading this guide on the best formal shoes for men, to purchase with their fingers crossed. This is a connoisseur class matter that any well-shod man should know.
Don’t blow all the savings for just Full-Grain Leather.
The leather should be chosen – not simply for its Grain Structure or touch – but also for the animal from which it is sourced.
Different breeds of animals do produce different quality hides due to their genetics and environment. One is not better than the other, every skin is a great shoemaking material – but each of ’em is just different… very different!
It influences the final look, formality level of the shoe, clinches how sophisticated or relaxed the shoe will be, Comfort level, Care calls, Pore structure, Softness, durability, and of course – price.
Either you shell out a ton of money for leather of much rarer animals (shell cordovan, pigskin, Calfskin) or stay a little shielded with widely available options (Buff leather, Cowhide) – either way, you’ll get something that’s absolutely worth your money.
In many ways, it boils down to personal taste, preferences, and of course – Budget. For instance, CalfSkin – a younger hide, with very few imperfections, supple and soft. So if you get a pair made of calfskin, it’s more likely that you’re looking and wearing better shoes than 99% of men out there!
So we’ve got into what actually goes into the shoe. Now, a question for you: Have you ever seen (maybe worn!) a mind-blowing, bleeding-edge dress shoe that’s just a vessel for the best leather in the world? Maybe Not!
Having nice leather is great, having perfect leather is even better, but the best thing about leather is the fact that it can be handled, whereas the shape, pattern, and (more importantly) shoe construction can’t be changed once it is done.
You can have the most precious leather that’s able to withstand complex wear without suffering its natural luster, but if not executed by dab hand or made in a factory that’s able to respect those precious elements – you’ll never see it in the finished shoe.
There’s a dizzying cascade of processes, skills, and hunches that go into each pair of shoes that can be tagged as the best formal shoes for men. So many hands, so many minds, so many hours of thought. You can’t build a brogue with just fine leather.
It’s the synergy between fine quality leather and the perfect execution of the renowned shoemaking process to create a shoe that not just looks elegant and but properly sculpted.
Of potentially equal importance to everything else is the sole treatment keeping that shoe on your feet. The shoe construction method will affect the look, comfort, and longevity of a shoe, and like nearly everything else in this fascinating shoe world, is freighted with a labyrinth of information and decisions to make. Shoe construction could be broken into the following categories:
The Goodyear Welting – widely recognized Best Time-Honored Production Method in the world – anyone’s ego would be inflated. It creates the type of shoes reserved for the landed gentry and wealthy, old-money types, or so the thinking goes.
With Goodyear-Welted Shoes – You’ll start to see genuinely iconic pieces from the brands that come to mind when you think “Best Formal Shoes For Men”
If you’re investing in high-quality leather dress shoes (Like Few Bridlen Above) – the uppers only get better with time and will outlast the outsole by years (if not decades).
Goodyear-welting construction solves the resoleability dilemma by adding an additional third element — the welt — to completely transform the functionality and longevity of a shoe. And that’s what makes Goodyear-welting so special.
In this construction, the shoe is not lounging on the outsole. It’s that one-centimeter wide leather strap – The Welt – that completely holds the integrity and structure of the shoe and sits between the upper and the outsole.
Extremely labor-intensive, with every single Goodyear welted pair requiring a highly skilled workforce to carry out more than 200 separate operations during weeks.
It all begins after lasting the shoe (Pulling the leather over the last), along with the insole. A shoe-specific thread is sewn through the welt, the upper, and the insole rib.
Through a separate stitch, the welt is attached to the outsole. For both of these stitching points, a lockstitch is used – meaning the chain won’t unravel if it breaks down at any particular point in the shoe.
You can pop off the dead outsole, buy a new thicker one, put it on, and still keep using the shoe without compromising the fit or integrity of the upper.
Lots of durability and liquid resistance because of the way it’s made. Welt construction leaves a telltale line of stitching between the outsole and the welt around the perimeter of the boot that can be seen from even a few feet away.
Comfort and arch support is another understated advantage of Goodyear Welt Construction. As the addition of welt creates a small cavity underneath the insoles, such cavity is filled with cork and wooden shanks.
Firstly a wooden shank is fixed to the waist of the shoe with an extremely hot cement; this supports the waist and aids flexibility. Then, a mixture of granulated cork is molded to the underside of the shoe, which will cushion your stride and mold to your feet over time.
The Goodyear Welted Shoes are expensive as it requires highly skilled craftsmanship – that isn’t going to work for peanuts – Definitely not after getting a designer degree from a prestigious school and doing years of training under well-known shoemakers.
The Blake Stitch
‘Style’ is more important to Italian men than it is to men of other countries. In fact, How does they manage to be so secure in those slim-fitting attire? In whatever way, It would be impossible to understate Italy’s contribution not just to shoemaking, but fashion in general.
Goodyear-welting seems too heavy for their razor-sharp suits. A slight compromise with durability and fit for a Sleek Silhouette – and that’s the Blake Stitched Shoe.
Blake stitching is done with what is called the “single stitch” method. The shoe’s upper is folded underneath the insole and then stitched into place with a single thread connecting the insole, the upper, and the outsole on the inside of the shoe – getting it impossible to do by hand (means less labor).
Due to the direct attachment without any intermediate layer (that Welt), a thinner outsole can be used making the shoe lighter and more flexible than other comparable construction (Yup! that’s on Goodyear Welting).
As every component is held by a single stitch, whenever you pull that leather outsole off – you compromise the entire integrity of the shoe… all the pieces of the upper are just left dangling.
However, the slimmer and thinner outsoles can be more prone to damage and water penetrates much easier. Still, you have some sort of stitching that is holding the shoe that really enhances the durability of the shoe.
As we ease past the “The Best” Or “Must Own” mark, Don’t move a muscle as it’s crucial to latch on to something that you should avoid—Literally, at any moment.
Hard to believe, but the most common way of making shoes today is the worst way of making shoes. As it is the least expensive, super quick to execute, allows mass production, and (most importantly!) will force you to throw ’em out of the window (within few weeks) and get a new one.
Cementing, where the upper part of the shoe is glued with a strong adhesive to the sole. This means there is no stitching or welt and the result of that… is a disposable shoe.
And this is the biggest issue with this method. Eventually, they will fall apart and there is no other option than to throw them away or add a new outsole layer to prolong their life a little bit.
The worst part is that the label doesn’t really tell you about it. I would compare cemented shoes to suits with fused canvasses. They will initially look ok, but after a while, it is all over.
Such shoes are alluring you if you’re on a paper-thin budget, but Forking out that bit extra for some sort of stitching is always better than the worst shoe construction method in the world.
Got all that? Wasn’t It Useful! But it’s not just over two elements to lay the best formal shoes for men. Anything beyond these foundations is a connoisseur class matter that gets a little tricky to enact in just one article.
So just put it into action (Right Now!) to secure an Instagrammable shoe… on your own!
Overwhelmed With Options? Try This!
After All, No One Is Here For 10 Pairs, Right?
The world is completely “Product Polluted”. Too much of literally… Everything – Every Design, Every price. This ethos even extends to dress shoes! Of course, We all want to invest our hard-earned dinero in the most solid option. That’s why we research our next new purchase.
We are at this fascinating theme of “Best formal shoes for men” for Five Years Now – Built amazing team, Visited many shoemakers, and employed the most sophisticated ways to go from 1000 pairs to 10.
Our team has made a little more push to make things a little more unsophisticated for you. So now, all you have to do is just pass your wants and needs through this Lovely 3 Step Filter – to narrow it down from Ten to Just One.
We have done our very best to help you make an Incredible decision.
What’s That Damn Occasion Or Place That Is Demanding Such Footwear
We know that you are the proud possessor of the best casual shoes for men. So what is the Occasion(s) demanding footwear that’s as refined as it is timeless? Is the suit for work? Date night? A buddy’s wedding? All three?
Finding One Right Dress Shoe doesn’t start in the store; it starts in your head. Know the cause/event that evokes this Google Search (Best Formal Shoes For Men), and you’re already halfway there toward the Shoe that will deliver the best value.
Although contemporary trends have relaxed the traditions somewhat, it is more flexible to play around with different styles assuming that you are skilled enough to take creative risks.
But there are folks on the other end of the spectrum who are not that interested in setting the bar, every time. And this portion of the guide somewhat belongs to ’em.
Knowing where that Event falls on the formality spectrum helps to understand when to follow the dress code—and when to bend the rules.
For galas or job interviews, you obviously don’t want a red card for donning the least formal loafer – which does add a dash of elegance to evening events like fundraisers and weddings.
Things could be totally different for your workplace. Dress boots or double monk does give you more space to express your personality without being from those few men who don’t seem to know how to dress properly for the office.
Outdoor Formal events – A Pair Of Tan derby – and you are in. Despite uniting just the right formality, A derby won’t raise any eyebrows if you’re wearing it more than a few miles from the event place.
Decoding the dress code of the event or purpose will not just help you narrow down your picks but does make sure that you look like you know what you’re doing.
Your ‘Wear-ing’ Schedule
The next (but equally important) step in anyone’s journey toward the perfect dress shoe is figuring out The Extraction. Sounds complicated, but it is simply your Utilization Structure.
Let me elucidate it in a much familiar way. So to proceed with caution before clicking Buy Now – we evaluate products and services based on impressions and feedback from other, a.k.a Customer Reviews.
It is common to spot a mix of positive and negative reviews, wherein some of ’em are super positive (that juss pumps you up for that product) along with super negatives (which smash the sweet outlook… that just whipped up).
How satisfied you’ll be with your purchase is heavily depends on How Precisely You Have Evaluated Your Utilization Structure And Aligning It With The Capability Of The Shoe.
Buyers who meld them nicely – turns to be the person behind those super positive reviews. Fact is, Every product (not just dress shoes) checks a certain set of boxes, and it can’t please every person on the surface.
Morning – Get dressed and Hop on your formals to commute to work with a 20-minute hold to grab your fav coffee – while catching up on the priorities of the day.
After completing your first meeting at 9:00 AM, you use 20 min walk (in your formal shoes) to check on the status of the latest retail launch.
1:00 PM – You might have to run (in those formal shoes) as you’ve left with just 15 minutes to pick up your kids from school while making sure that you are on time for the monthly KPI meeting. Difficult to be gentle with those dress shoes.
4:00 PM – Three Deep Breaths before you’re off to grab a quick bite with a potential partner (you have to be in your formals). After Informal check-ins with your staff, you’re done by 5:45 and headed to the gala (in formals).
You are out by 9:00 and in bed by 10:30, waking up early to do it again tomorrow – with your formals. If your day is pretty much like this: a ₹900 glued shoe can not survive that level of pull – Which is perfectly well for a casualized person who just wants to look a part of few weddings scheduled next month.
Don’t be afraid of laying down a few extra bucks (if you’re able) on a Goodyear-welted pair of dress shoes if you ask a lot of your shoes. As you’ll be spending a lot of time in these shoes, and you don’t want to buy a new pair every two months.
Set The Level Of Subtlety
From a 30,000 foot view, Your purchases can be broken down into two broad categories: You either purchase to Prove What I Have…, or buy to Show Who I Am!
And what is your way to go for the next pair of dress shoes – do help to nail a total fail-safe purchase.
You either consider formal shoes an element that makes you look office/work appropriate or an element that demystifies your best version.
You either willing to drop some serious dough on a perfectly hand-lasted pair of dress shoes, or that might seem outrageous for something so basic? It is simply about – your approach towards Dress shoes, and unveiling it will help you find one!
There is no greater dividing line in the world of dress shoes than the one separating a). Those shoes that are probably pumped out by the thousands a day b). A Living Leather Canvas that represents the human hand created it.
The first segment is gentler-on-the-wallet and is perfect for men for whom finesse and shape weren’t a matter of attraction/concern (which is totally fine… juss stay away from this fascinating sartorial world).
Sure it can be held as functional, but not attractive. Those shoes serve as the way to convey your professionalism and show that you belong in your work environment – and… that’s it!
The second part is the heavy stuff—a dress shoe with real craftsmanship behind it. Such art pieces are reserved for Gentleman that can pay for nuance elements.
Those shoes turned from something you had to wear to something you wanted to wear and maybe even wanted to show off. But still, What could make a shoe worth dropping almost ₹10k?
Calfskin Upper and Goodyear-welting and all the crazy complications shoemakers can think to stuff inside a case. These are the pieces you’ll pass along not just to your kids, but to theirs.
There last and material are made to have (and retain) shape, quite rightly so being as the foot has shape. This concept gets a little tricky to enact in just one article, but one cannot help but feel attraction.
Got all that? Good. But that might sound like a lot to look out for in a simple pair of dress shoes, —and it would be if we hadn’t already done all the looking for you and settled on these 3 traits that will help you find the right pair of dress shoes – at whatever price you choose to pay.
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