As goes the old saying - "You can judge a man by the shoes he wears", shoes reveal a great deal about the person wearing them. Owning a proper pair of formal shoes not only fixes your office needs but also fills you with the much-needed confidence to go by. While a perfect pair of formal shoes can jazz up your look and have heads turning, an ill-suited pair can bring it down in no time.
Hence, having an appropriate pair in your wardrobe becomes crucial. Red Tape, Hush Puppies, and Louis Philippe have been rolling out quite a few options for you to choose from on Myntra and Amazon. Let's walk through our compilation of the 10 Best Track Pants for Men in India, points to keep in buying before hitting 'buy', and some useful tips too!
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Depending on the look, the feel, the material, the sole, the detailing, and the upper design, a huge variety of formal shoes can be found today. You could go for Brogues or Derbys, Leather or synthetic upper, crepe or rubber soles, and round or square toes, among many others. From listing the types present out there to the material and toe type to consider, we have compiled a buying guide consisting of everything you need to know before purchasing your perfect pair!
While some pairs resting on the endless racks in a showroom, or on e-commerce sites may look the same, all of them differ in their making, looks, comfort level, and occasion. If you're going strictly formal, go for Derbys or Oxfords, else, if you want to swing between semi-formal and casual, go for brogues or loafers, and monk-strap ones for extra oomph. Determine your personal formal shoe need before picking out a pair!
Oxfords, getting their name from the Oxford University, where they were invented back in the 19th century, are the most traditional classic type of formal shoes out there. The stand-out feature of an Oxford is the method used to construct it. Oxfords are made using closed lacing, which means that the eyelets are sewed under the top material, not on top of it. An eyelet is a hole that is punched into the shoe's upper to allow shoelaces to be threaded through.
Oxford shoes are low-heeled and laced-up shoes with closed lacing loops. This means that they shut both side flaps after being laced. The most popular type of Oxford shoes is with a cap-toe, which is characterised by an extra piece of leather at the toe of the shoe. Oxford shoes are the most strictly formal shoe out there and are recommended to be worn in work environments to maintain a polished and professional look.
Derbys look a lot similar to Oxfords, but there are subtle differences. Derbys can be laced more loosely than Oxfords if required. We recommend these to people with bigger feet because they have an open lacing system, making them more comfortable to walk around in. Derbys are distinguished by eyelets that are sewn on top of the vamp and an extended heel.
They very smartly sit on the edge or smart and casual, making them perfect for the semi-formal range of events, such as for relaxed office attire. Today, they can be found in a range of colors. For Derbys, going for classic brown is a good idea as it would go well with the semi-formal setting, as opposed to solid black, which is strictly formal.
Brogues get their name from the patterned detailing of several little holes on their upper material rather than their construction, unlike Oxfords and Derbys. These holes or perforations are mostly for decorative purposes. Designs include the full brogue (wingtip), half brogue, and quarter brogue.
The full brogue features a pointed toe cap with wing-like extensions that run along both sides of the shoe looking like a‘W’from the top. The half brogue, or semi-brogue, tends to be more formal than full brogues but is extremely versatile. It is characterized by a toe cap without extensions or wings and features broguing both along the cap’s edge and sides.
Lastly, quarter brogues are ideal for business and formal occasions and are defined by their straight toe cap with decorative detailing along the cap’s edge, but a bare middle. The rule is that the more perforations, the more casual the pair, so pick according to your usage!
Loafers are slip-on shoes that are quite comfortable and trendy, but for them to sit appropriately with your formal attire is the tricky part. To wear loafers for a formal setting, you need to consider your whole outfit, including the cut of your suit and pants. Being a slim shoe, wearing them with overly loosely fitting trousers will make your feet look disproportionately smaller.
Loafers are good for the summers, having an edge of being roomy over heavy lace-ups. They are the most practical shoe type and come in a good deal of styles like penny loafers, tassel loafers, and horse-bit loafer. Pair loafers with an ethnic outfit for a formal occasion, or team them up with your office formals for a relaxed, yet sharp look.
Monk Shoes, which also go by the name of Monk Strap shoes, come in single or double buckle variants. Striking a balance between formal and informal, they are more formal than Derbys, yet less formal than Oxfords. The characterising feature is their buckle closure, as opposed to lace-ups. Originally worn by ancient monks, today monk shoes are a wardrobe staple for the fashion-forward office-goers.
Built otherwise like Oxfords with a closed low heel, their only difference is that they have a buckle-closing mechanism for fastening them. They can perfectly be worn with a suit as well, but care needs to be taken while choosing the colour and shape. Do not go for extremes, such as long or pointed toe shapes, as that can make your feet look disproportionately longer.
Then we have Patent leather, which is characterised by its super shiny finish, made permanent with a synthetic coating. Traditionally kept to be worn only with a tuxedo, today they have made their entry into the common space as well. They crease easily, so it is recommended to keep them for special occasions only. You might also come across smooth leather which can be shined with ease as it is devoid of pebbling or noticeable grain.
Pebble-grain leather has a textured surface that looks like small pebbles and is achieved by pebble plates or heavy rollers. It can add quirk to less formal shoes and is low-maintenance, as the pebbles hide scuffs and creases more than the other variants. Back in the day, dress shoes were made exclusively of firm, inflexible leather, but modern tweaks have made them more comfortable and stylish for daily wear.
Either you are picking out a pair of formal shoes for the office, or for an interview, or a black-tie event, it is best to strike a balance between comfort and looks. Good formal shoes don't leave you with sore feet, if chosen correctly. This depends on the sole of the shoe, the material of which plays a big part in the shoe being supportive for longer usage.
Rubber soles are durable and have a great grip, but they’re better suited for casual shoes, and not for dressy occasions. TPR (Thermo Plastic Rubber), being flexible and durable, is a much-enhanced variant of rubber, which is quite popular these days. Crepe soles are made of textured rubber and are usually found in high-end formal shoes. Although they provide added cushioning and excellent traction to your feet, they do not last for very long.
Next is leather soles, found in the highest quality dress shoes. The real stand-out feature of leather soles is the classic elegant silhouette. When combined with cork, leather can create a very soft and flexible footbed. More the layers of leather used, the stronger the sole will be. Leather is the best material to resole and last a long time. That said, they don't have a very good grip and absorb water too.
An almond toe shape, taking its name from the shape of the nut called almond, can be considered an elongated version of the round toe shape, or a tapered oval. They have a flattering look and strike a perfect balance between rounded and pointed shapes. On the inexpensive side of the spectrum lies the square toe shape, which is characterised by a flat front and is not very pleasant to look at.
The pointed toe type is marked by the extra elongation that it provides. As our toes cannot be crammed into a narrow area, these shoes are elongated beyond the actual shape of your foot. For pointed toes, do check how they look on you, and that they seem proper to be worn in a formal setting without making you look out of place. Apart from the shape, also pay attention to the toe detailing, broguing, and toe colour variations.
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Men Brown Textured Leather Formal Brogues
Clubbing Comfort and Elegance
Men Black Solid Leather Formal Derbys
The Classic Black Pair
Men Brown Leather Formal Shoes
Solid Oxfords for a Suave Look
Men Coffee Brown Solid Leather Formal Slip-Ons
A Sleek Pair of Loafers With Metal Detailing
Men Brown Textured Leather Formal Brogues
Leather From Top to Bottom
Men Black Leather Semiformal Shoes
Comfortable and Classy Slip-ons
Men Tan Brown Solid Leather Formal Brogues
Intricate Broguing for Luxurious Feel
Men's New Fred Monk Leather Formal Shoes
Traditional Style With a Contemporary Flair
Men Vennor Vibe Formal Shoes
Comfort Over Anything Else
Men Brown Semiformal Slip-On Brogues
Step Out in Stye in Semi-formal Loafers
This dainty pair of brogues from Red Tape takes the top spot on our list owing to its vast array of features. This pair is sure to turn some heads, showcasing a calm brown color and a textured upper with wingtip broguing.
It has a cushioned footbed, providing you the comfort you need to go by the day, and comes with a TPR sole with stitched detailing for the added style element. This pair of shoes is highly recommended for people with broader feet as it has a round toe. If you're one to weigh style and convenience equally, investing in these brogues as office wear, or formal wear is a good idea.
A black fitted suit, white shirt, and a pair of classic black formal shoes. Doesn't it sound sophisticated? This pair of solid black Derbys from Hush Puppies is a wardrobe staple for all men, either for office wear, or any other black-tie event. As we know, you can never go wrong with black.
Constructed with leather, lace-up closure, and a slacked heel, these shoes are effortlessly formal and provide a great deal of comfort too. With no detailing at the top and a simple TPR sole without any external styling, this fuss-free pair will be a wise addition to your wardrobe!
When it comes to formals, the next colour that comes to our minds after black is brown. Easily designable and open to variations in tone, brown leaves a lot of room for customisation. This pair of Oxfords from Louis Philippe speaks volumes despite having a plain patternless upper with minimal stitching detail. Its smooth polished upper and sleek overall finish gives it a perfectly professional appeal, making it suitable for office-goers portraying a serious look.
Brand logo on one side of the midfoot of the shoe and on the heel add a star to its effortless beauty. It has a reinforced heel collar, which refers to the padding around the back and sides of the heel. A cushioned footbed and a soft tongue offer a great deal of comfort as well. The pair comes with a shoehorn, a shoe bag, and an extra pair of laces.
Devoid of tacky laces and buckles, loafers lean on the comfier side of the formal shoe array. This stylish pair of horse-bit loafers from Red Tape is an apt pick for those who want to experiment with loafers but still don't want to look very casual while wearing them.
In a unique coffee colour and made up of rich leather upper, these formal slip-ons will be your perfect formal meet-up companions. The metal detail across the vamp and a cushioned footbed add the element of beauty and comfort to this pair! Wear them under your ethnic formal outfits like a sherwani, or a safari suit. Refrain from pairing them with a plain shirt and pant outfit.
What makes this pair one of our favourites is the classy overall look that it gives you in a single glance. This pair of brogue Derbys from Louis Philippe is an all-rounder, truly a wardrobe main for men who prefer to work in style. Its upper, as well as its sole, is made up of high-quality leather, imparting it a professional look.
The upper displays some broguing (little holes or perforations for decorative purposes) at the toe cap, along the wingtip, and at the mouth of the shoe. It has a lace-up closure and the laces are made up of leather too! Finally, a textured and patterned outsole adds the final touch to its beauty. The pair comes with an extra pair of laces and a shoehorn.
A pair blurring the lines between class and comfort, these slip-ons from Louis Philippe offer a plethora of little details to vouch for. Starting with the rich textured leather upper with stitched detail, metallic branding on the side of the midfoot, and a heel collar, impart a classy aura. The presence of a pull-tab detail at the back, and elasticated closures on either side of the mouth aid easy wearability.
We can also see branding on the heel and patterned outsole. Since the pair is devoid of laces or buckles, this pair is recommended for anyone who wants to keep it comfortable. At the same time, being classic black in colour and having minimal detailing at the top, it is suitable for formal office wear.
In a trendy tan brown colour, these Oxford brogues from Red Tape make an attractive pair. Wing-tip toe detailing and the Red Tape logo designed near the mouth, impart this pair an element of tradition, giving them an archaic look. A textured and patterned rubber outsole is an interesting addition.
A cushioned footbed and lace-up closure ensure that they conform well to the shape of your feet and do not leave them feeling sore even after hours of wearing them. They however lack a strong sole grip. Choose a size larger, as they tend to feel tight. To keep them feeling like new, wipe with a clean., dry cloth to remove dust.
While traditionally less formal than an Oxford shoe, monk strap shoes are easily a great option for work as well as a formal event. Ditching the laces, these monk strap shoes from Hush Puppies sport a single buckle, crisscrossed over another leather strap stretching across the vamp of the shoe.
Light broguing in the front and ombre colour variation with dark brown colour at the pointed toe gives it a stylish look while maintaining its simplicity. However, the shoes lack a solid grip at the heel and tend to slip. They have also been found to be heavier than expected. A low heel and a sleek finish make it a worthy pair that would go well with a formal outfit, be it western or ethnic Indian.
There are days when you do put on a shirt and a pant, but can't find the will to put on your heeled formal shoes. You could be going out on a semi-formal conference or an office event, this tan-brown pair of brogues from Clarks will be an apt pick. The shoe has an ombre coloration on the toe as well as at the back.
Displaying light broguing on either side and minimal stitch detail, these shoes still maintain their residence in the formal section of shoes. Clarks, staying true to their hallmark of optimum comfort, has offered a comfortable fit, soft cushion, and close to zero heel height, all in this ultra-lightweight pair. They are not recommended for strictly formal settings such as business meetings or interviews.
Its easy slip-on closure combined with a slightly wedged sole shape enhances its wearability so so you never have to compromise on your feet. It has a textured and patterned outsole, and a stacked heel. Light broguing in the front maintains its traditional look well.
Leather shoes look great on the shelf and a few days after bringing them back home too, but eventually, they can lose their shine, leaving them looking blunt and worn-out. We don't want that. So follow these steps to keep your leather companions as good as new!
Before starting, make sure to lay down an old towel on your working surface to avoid any damages.
Repeat this elaborate process at least four times a year. However, it is good practice to brush the shoe with a cloth after every wear quickly.
Finding the perfect pair of dress shoes does complete a major chunk of your work attire, but there is still a lot left to achieve that sharp office look. Follow the links to read about the best formal shirt, and belt for men in India and shop from our Top 10 list featuring the best products in the market.
Formal shoes are a timeless concept, they have been here a long while, and will continue to do so for a long time ahead. From the more strictly formal Oxfords and Derbys to the less professional-looking loafers and monk straps, and brogues to strike the perfect balance by being semi-formal, dress shoes today, have evolved a lot.
The wingtip toe and broguing continue to sweep the market, and leather still sits at the top of the list as the choice of material. Formal shoes are a true 'solemate' for any event where you want to leave a good impression, giving you the edge you need to win the room over. We hope that our buying guide will help you the next time you go out on the hunt for your perfect pair!
Author: Ananyaa Bansal
No. 1: Red Tape | Men Brown Textured Leather Formal Brogues
No. 2: Hush Puppies | Men Black Solid Leather Formal Derbys
No. 3: Louis Philippe | Men Brown Leather Formal Shoes
No. 4: Red Tape | Men Coffee Brown Solid Leather Formal Slip-Ons
No. 5: Louis Philippe | Men Brown Textured Leather Formal Brogues
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