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A suit or tuxedo might boast a full set, but a pair of dress shoes completes the look. When choosing a pair of dress shoes, finding a designer or brand you can rely on for both style and comfort is key. Whether you’re a groom looking for a pair of unique, made-to-order dress shoes or a wedding guest on the hunt for a pair of oxfords or loafers that will last you years versus seasons, the brand is one of the first things to consider when finding your perfect pair.
With so many dress shoes on the market, we scoured the internet to find the best of the best and interviewed expert Enrico Cuini. From luxury to casual, we’re sharing our top picks.
Read on to find the best dress shoe brands available now.
What to Look for When Shopping for Dress Shoes
The way shoes look is important but, according to Enrico Cuini, a Luxury Shoe Designer and Co-Founder of Enrico Cuini, comfort is key. “We have all been to a wedding, or even been in one, where our feet are destroyed afterward,” he says. “I think the world is learning its lesson and people are shifting to wearing shoes that are comfortable, they can wear more than once, and fit their personal style,” he adds. Before they make their dancefloor appearance, ensure your shoes fit comfortably.
An important thing to consider when shopping for dress shoes is where you will wear them and what the event’s dress code is. If it is a black-tie wedding, tuxedo shoes might be the better option. And, if you’re attending a destination wedding, formal shoes might not even be required. “Many weddings or black-tie events are destinations so, while they may be formally dressed, we also need to address their need for warmer weather shoes like sandals,” says Cuini. “For destination weddings, the so-called traditional formal shoe is very different and an open toe and sandal is more appropriate,” he adds.
As Cuini mentioned, personal style is at the forefront of the decision process when it comes to purchasing a pair of dress shoes. Choosing dress shoes that feel more “you” is important because it will make you feel more confident and stylish and also prevent them from sitting in your closet and collecting dust post-wedding. You want a shoe that you love enough to wear again.
“A dress shoe is any shoe that is not a sneaker, boot, or a type of footwear that exposes your feet such as a sandal,” says Cuini. On the technical side, Cuini says these shoes typically consist of four parts: The toe, vamp, facing, and quarter. “It’s the placement and construction of these four pieces that determine the uniqueness of a dress shoe,” he explains.
According to Cuini, black-tie wedding attire is going through an update as more people choose comfortability over a traditional dress shoe. That being said, if the dress code is more in line with the classic black tie look, Cuini recommends an oxford or loafer as a safe bet. “These can be brown or black, but it depends on what color tuxedo you are wearing,” he notes, adding that brown shoes tend to be slightly more casual. In addition to shoe style, Cuini says to make sure shoes are “nicely polished” before the big day.
Good news: Cuini says you do not need to wear dress shoes at your wedding. “Comfort seems to be the key component for most people today, whether you are in the wedding or just attending it,” he says. “Wearing sneakers with a suit is trending today and more people are foregoing the traditional attire to wear what makes them feel best.”
Why Trust Brides
Jessie Quinn is a bridal-obsessed style writer with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism. When researching men’s style stories—such as the best dress shoes—she is all about putting personal style and quality first. After all, you want to wear the shoes, not have the shoes wear you! And, if they are an investment item, you might want to get multiple wears out of them.