Clothing > Footwear

Best Dress Shoes for Men: 10 Brands Doing it Right

By Beau Hayhoe  |  Updated April 2, 2024

Best Dress Shoes for Men: 10 Brands Doing it Right

Knowledge is power in the menswear world, and so it goes when searching high and low for an ever-critical piece of your wardrobe: The dress shoe.

It needn’t be too complicated, and you needn’t settle for a stiff, uncomfortable pair. That’s where the best dress shoe brands prove helpful.

Quality materials and designs go a long way, literally, as these brands craft shoes for both longevity and accessibility.

If you find yourself lacing up dress shoes multiple times a week, it’s helpful to own a pair (or multiple pairs) of stylish footwear you actually feel like wearing.

They’re indispensable with a suit and they wear well at the office or on a refined date night.

And since your dress shoes (or dress boots) of choice are one of the first things people notice, the best dress shoe brands put your best foot forward.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • Refinement in spades: When made the right way, the best dress shoe brands deliver footwear that exudes confidence, elegance and style – whether paired with chinos or a suit.
  • Look out for leather: Pay close attention to the leathers used by the best dress shoe brands – this separates them from cheaply made pairs from often-inferior brands.
  • Built to last: While some of the priciest dress shoes are custom-made to your foot, top dress shoe brands still make accessible shoes that deliver a comfortable ride underfoot.

Dress Shoe Styles for Men to Know

  • The Oxford: Perhaps the dictionary definition of a dress shoe, these feature a sleek closed-lacing system and occasionally, cap toe or brogue detailing.
  • The Derby: The derby, although available in many of the leathers and colors as Oxfords, boasts an open lacing system that’s more casual and less fitting for a traditional suit.
  • The Wingtip: Wingtips, in either boot or dress shoe form, feature an additional layer of “wingtip”-shaped perforations, known as brogueing, giving them a look that was traditionally paired with fabrics like tweed, textured wool or even denim (nowadays).
  • The Loafer: Forgo lacing with a sleek loafer, which usually features a slimmer profile than a dress shoe, plus a slip-on design made to be worn with no-show socks alongside warm-weather tailoring.
  • The Monkstrap: Although somewhat more trendy and less common than classic lace-up dress shoes, monkstrap shoes feature a leather crossover atop the foot and are fastened with one or two buckles for a look that calls to mind coastal vacations.
  • The Dress Boot: There are as many options for dress boots as dress shoes, and dress boots add sturdiness and structure to a look, especially thicker fabrics like winter wool pants, along with detailing like moc toe or wingtip stitching.

 




Meermin



Best known for: An elegant mixture of handsome yet rugged work boots, sleek loafers, classic dress shoes and on-trend Chelsea boots, all delivered with a distinctly European style sensibility.

Meermin’s dress shoes, boots and refined loafers simply pop off the page (and that holds more true in person, in my experience).

Rich leathers and suedes separate sleek loafers and sturdy boots from the pack, and the company’s use of precise construction and Goodyear welting ensures they’re built to last.






Bruno Magli



Best known for: Absurdly high-quality Italian dress shoes, including luxurious and somewhat flashy styles like monkstrap shoes and loafers.

Every man’s rotation of stylish dress shoes deserves traditional classics, but sometimes, a touch of flair is required – in a tasteful fashion, of course.

Bruno Magli uses Italian craftsmanship while at the same time delivering horse-bit loafers mixed in with more conservative favorites.






Beckett Simonon



Best known for: Highly accessible men’s dress shoes, with readily available info on construction, leather and design, plus styles running the gamut from loafers to refined dress boots and lace-up dress shoes.

There’s an entire world to explore out there covering the best dress shoe brands, and companies like Beckett Simonon make it easier than ever to dive in.

The retailer delivers designer-quality dress boots and shoes without the markup, offering helpful educational info on its methods and constructions along the way.






Allen Edmonds



Best known for: Using time-honored methods to craft some of the most acclaimed dress shoes and boots for men on the market, using methods like Goodyear welting and absurdly rich leathers.

In my experience, it’s hard to top the heritage quality and style that Allen Edmonds delivers.

The all-American retailer, which still makes some of its shoes the old-school way in the States, was a prime investment as I started wearing dress shoes frequently.

Once you try their wingtips, dress boots or Oxfords, you’ll see why they’re worth it.






Clarks



Best known for: Pioneering the iconic desert boot and bringing it to the masses, then expanding over the years to craft fine dress shoes, rugged-meets-refined boots and even dressy, tech-savvy dress sneakers.

Look beyond the desert or chukka boot when considering Clarks among your picks for the best dress shoes for men.

I’ve tried out various styles of Clarks shoes over the years beyond just the iconic two-eyelet chukka boot, and the same blend of comfort and style reigns supreme.






Amberjack



Best known for: Incorporating advanced sneaker technology into sleek, streamlined dress shoes, along with using minimalist designs to perfect the loafer, the dress shoe, the lace-up boot and more.

When a new brand bursts on the scene and quickly lays claim to the idea that they’re one of the best dress shoe brands for men, it’s worth paying attention.

I’ve had the pleasure of wearing the outrageously comfortably, springy, cushioned Amberjack loafers and lace-up dress shoes, and the results absolutely deliver.






Grenson



Best known for: Combining heritage craftsmanship and old-world techniques with a blend of styles that are both modern and traditional, from its thick-soled wingtip dress boots to insanely durable, triple-stitched dress shoes.

Grenson takes what you thought you knew about dress shoes and then ups the ante on construction, insanely high-quality materials and investment-level reliability.

Its quality men’s boots and dress shoes are instantly recognizable, and all the classics of British footwear (like brogueing) are there.






G.H.Bass



Best known for: Designing and bringing the iconic penny loafer to a wider market, with styles that have been loved by menswear brands throughout the years.

G.H.Bass sits at the intersection of old-school and new-school, seeing as its loafers have been a prized favorite for decades.

There’s hardly a better place to start among the best dress shoe brands if you want chunky loafers that wear as well with a summer suit as olive chinos or light wash jeans.






Tod’s



Best known for: Crafting the best driving loafers on the planet – as well as good, old-fashioned leather dress loafers – using Italian craftsmanship and richly detailed materials and construction.

Tod’s loafers exude elegance, and that goes beyond its most well-known style, the Gommini Driving Loafer.

Its sleek leather loafers are a change of pace for warm-weather, refined gatherings as well as dressy days at the office (and on vacation).






TAFT



Best known for: Making bold boots and dress shoes that incorporate materials like herringbone tweed, as well as rich, floral patterned leather, into its designs, delivering plenty of personality at an accessible price.

Rethink what you thought you knew about the best dress shoe brands, or at least, the way that most traditional dress shoes are made.

TAFT takes a “mixed-media” approach, putting floral patterns on contrasting leather, or using textured materials or even fabrics like herringbone tweed in its stylish, fashion-forward collection of boots, shoes and loafers.





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