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6 Types of Men's Dress Shoes and How to Tell them Apart

Learn the basics and stash a pair in your closet!
6 Types of Men's Dress Shoes and How to Tell them Apart
IMAGE Courtesy of brands
Learn the basics and stash a pair in your closet!

While sneakers are practical for everyday casual wear, there is nothing like having a classic pair of dress shoes that can elevate your style. Unlike your trendy kicks, most classic dress shoes will last you several years. Though learning the different styles can be quite confusing, do not be intimidated. Like most of the things we invest in, it is best to learn the basics first to know what best suits you and your personality. Ahead are six different types of formal shoe styles that you can consider adding to your closet. And while you do not need to own every single pair, it will definitely be worth it to invest in at least one.

Types of Dress Shoes for Men

1. Oxford

Oxford, sometimes called "Balmorals" named after the Balmoral Castle, is a style that originates in Scotland. This formal, lace-up style of shoe has a closed lacing system, wherein the bottom of the lacing section is sewn closed and the shoelace eyelets are stitched underneath the "vamp," or the part that covers the front portion. This style has a very classic feel and is best worn to weddings and other special occasions paired with your best tuxedo or three-piece suit. Though there are different kinds of oxfords, such as plain toe, cap toe, wing tip, whole cut, round toe, and chisel toe, all will definitely give you a dapper look.

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2. Derby

Derby shoes, sometimes called "bluchers" by New England preppies, is a style of shoe with an open lacing system. Unlike oxfords, a derby’s vamp is made of a single piece of leather with shoelace eyelet tabs sewn on top. Derbies are usually more comfortable than oxfords and are usually more versatile in style. Brown or cognac shades of derbies are best paired with chinos or even jeans to have that relaxed chic preppy look.

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3. Brogue

"Brogues" refer to the details of the shoes, which are the perforations designed for the practical reason of draining water from the feet of Gaelic ancestors. Brogues can either have an oxford or derby style and could have a variation of different looks such as longwing brogue, quarter brogue, full brogue, and semi brogue.

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4. Monk Strap

This shoe style dates back to many centuries ago when monks were looking for an alternative pair to their usual sandals—thus, the term monk strap. It generally comes in two kinds—either a single monk strap or a double monk strap with bold buckles. They are usually designed with a cap toe to give extra sleekness and do away with a sandal vibe. Monk strap shoes are best paired with a nice-fitting blazer and jeans to cop that classy casual vibe.

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5. Loafers

Loafers, which are a slip-on type of shoes, originated from the 1920s. Though never confirmed, it's said that loafers were first developed for King George VI who wanted to have indoor shoes for his country house. Since loafers were originally made for indoors, they are usually plain and simple without shoelaces. But in recent times, they are designed with buckles, kilties, and tassels that add an interesting detail yet still help the shoes pass as a classic good for any special occasion or daily wear.

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6. Chelsea boots

During the time of Queen Victoria, The Chelsea Boot Company produced ankle boots for equestrians to allow them to easily slip their boots on and off. Eventually, this style became popularly referred to as the Chelsea boots. Through British pop culture, this style was popularized by The Beatles and other British acts in the '60s. Currently this style is sported by men all over, including international pop acts such as Harry Styles, and K-pop groups BTS and EXO.

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