We tend to focus so much on the fabric and colors of our clothes and leave out an integral part of the whole look; the shoes. For ladies, we enjoy all things shopping. However, for our male counterparts, shopping isn’t an activity they particularly revel in. And yet even if one doesn’t enjoy shopping, they most definitely like to look sharp, head-to-toe. This week, we talk about dress shoes for the gents, where I’ve taken the liberty and trouble to fully break down what they are, how to style them and even the average cost. So here goes the 10 best dress shoes a man should plan to have in his arsenal.
1. Oxford Dress Shoes
It is literally almost a crime not to own one of these legendary dress shoes, especially in this age. Oxfords are easily identifiable by the closed lacing system, which features stitching across the bottom. They feature a low heel and short back, creating that nice finish and appearance. They come in multiple variations and are perfect for office wear, black tie events(the less detailed versions) and smart-casual gigs. The Oxford should be your go-to whenever you need to command respect in a not-so-serious place.
The average price is about Ksh5,000 – 15,000 depending on where you buy them. But believe me, they are worth every penny.
2. Brogue Dress Shoes
By now, I’m sure you’ve realized, rocking proper kicks with your outfit can enhance your confidence almost instantly. Anytime you just plaster shoes and force them to go with your look of the day, it more often than not has you a bit thrown off in the confidence department. Brogues are able to give you “style-guru” confidence.
To be honest, brogues can be a deceptive shoe type. The name comes from the process of broguing, which involves adorning shoes with heavy perforations. Sometimes people confuse brogues for Oxfords and Derby’s. However, brogues have a unique look; there are decorative perforations along the toe-cap, sides, or upper length of a shoe, which give a shoe personality.
Pro-tip: brogues are a tinny-tiny bit less formal as compared to Oxfords, and the brighter the colors, the more fashion-edgy you appear. They can be worn with anything from jeans to suits.
The average price of a pair of brogues goes anywhere between Ksh5,000 – Ksh15,000, so get yourself a pair and walk with unrivaled confidence.
3. Derby Dress Shoes
If you do not like the uptight formal image portrayed by the Oxfords, I have just what you need. Like Oxfords, Derby shoes are another common type of dress shoe. These ones however are slightly less intricate in design. They have an open lacing system unlike oxfords, which gives them an exemplary casual look. This comfortable style is suitable for most informal occasions and can be easily paired with a suit.
Pro-tip: While traditional leather varieties of Derby shoes are perfect for a classic, polished look, other materials such as suede are ideal for a slightly more casual look.
The average price of a Derby is around Ksh6,000.
4. Monk Strap Dress Shoes
These are a favorite for boldly fashionable men because it is a stylish and unique dress shoe compared to its competitors. Monks feature a strap across the top and a buckle or two; the sleek design allows it to be worn with a number of formal looks for all events ranging from a business meeting to a night out with friends. This shoe should definitely be a staple in every edgy fashionable man’s closet. There are many materials, but I personally would recommend keeping it safe, choosing a leather style for a more polished look with a bit of shine. This will keep the look refined and suitably sharp.
The average price of this shoe is Ksh6,500 – Ksh10,000 but you can clearly see why. The elegance you get is definitely worth your money.
5. Chelsea Boot Dress Shoe
You just have to love this shoe! The Chelsea boot has over the years found its way into the hearts and closets of the fashionable and dandy gents all over the world. It is the perfect representation of casual meets corporate. It falls somewhere between boots and dress shoes. I personally love how they feature the round toe and elasticated sides that make them easy to slip on and off without laces or buckles. This creates a super sleek and clean look.
The average price of a Chelsea boot is anywhere from Ksh4000 – Ksh5500.
For such impeccable taste, you have to pay mores totally worth the price.
6. Chukka Boot Dress Shoe
You’ve probably come across these somewhere in your circles. Chukkas are a comfortable dress boot that finish at the ankle. Their shorter height means that they feature minimal lacing, creating an uncomplicated appearance. It is this simple yet sharp quality about them that allows Chukkas the versatility for both smart-casual and semi-formal dress codes. However, it is hard to find this shoe in traditional leather, but the alternative in suede is just as appealing and brings on a relaxed image. Get you one of these fine boots and thank me later.
The average price of a chukka boot is between Ksh5,000 – Ksh8,000. For that price, I would get me a number of pairs of this amazing shoe.
Now gents if you do not like to go too far with experimentation in men’s fashion, Loafers are most ideal for you. Loafers are beautiful lace-free shoes often featuring a Moccasin-style construction. This shoe is so comfortable you can slip it on or off quite easily, even in the dark! They give this stylishly relaxed look to your whole outfit. If you really want to impress, go get you a decent pair of velvet loafers which will undoubtedly do the trick.
Pro-tip: Although you can pair them with almost anything, I would recommend you pair them with suits especially worn with flare.
The average price for a pair of loafers is Ksh3,000 – Ksh5,500.
8. The Dress Sneaker
Every man needs a pair of kicks with a casual vibe that still upholds their clean sense of style. A simple pair of sneakers goes well with just about any outfit, but it does not suit an official look (pun very much intended) lol. You can have fun in this shoe with jeans, shorts and when inevitable, chinos. What you want here is premium comfort so careful not to overdo on the overly trendy or unprofessional color options.
The average price of a dress sneaker is between Ksh2500 –Ksh3500.
9. The Trainer
We all have to admit that we sometimes have those tough days when we do not feel like dressing up because life is moving too fast. This shoe, easy to slip on and jet off for the day, is a fantastic pick-me-up. Do not get it wrong. Trainers are not supposed to be somewhere under the rubble of your closet gathering dust and waiting only for running errands. When paired with some amazing joggers or shorts, trainers can be the base of an amazing laid-back casual Saturday outfit.
While the term ‘trainers’ is often mistaken for Workout shoes, we are going to stick to the aesthetic fashion side. Specialized footwear for sports is a topic for another day.
The average price of a trainer is between Ksh2,000 – Ksh4,000.
10. The Dress Boot
Dress boots are a little bit less common, but make no mistake, when you correctly wear the boots you instantly elevate your outfit. What I love about these bad boys is that they add you some height, keep you in comfort by wrapping your ankles, and often provide more insulation than standard dress shoes. I am very heavy on the best arch support that you are going to get from this shoe, and the fact that there are prominent statements made anytime you pop-out with this particular pair.
The average price for the dress boot is Ksh5,500 – Ksh8,000, probably because you buy one pair and wear it for the rest of your adulthood, lol. The quality is top-notch
There you have it. If your closet does not have at least 2 or 3 pairs of the dress shoes above, it is probably time to slowly invest in buying you some. Think about it this way. The more shoes you have, the less you wear a single pair. This means that you get to increase the longevity of all your footwear.