Put away the flip flops and Crocs, boys.
You’re a man, and you shouldn’t settle for anything but the best.
We put together a list of the essential shoes that every man should own.
From high quality sneakers to a killer pair of boots, come see how many of these shoes you can check off the list.
Must-Own Men’s Shoe Styles
1. The Chelsea Boot
The Chelsea boot is the perfect representation of casual meets corporate. Falling somewhere between boots and dress shoes, they’re an awesome way to modernize your style.
Choose leather Chelsea boots for smart occasions, pointed for Friday Night drinks, and suede for casual (most popular and highly versatile).
The editorial team here at TAM waxes poetic on Chelseas so we really struggled to limit ourselves to just two picks. Forgive our enthusiasm.
The Ace Marks Troy Chelsea Boot is made with premium Italian calf-skin leather and a Blake stitched construction. It's lightweight, creamy-smooth, and has a stunning profile.
This dressy option pairs well with suits. There's no pull tab, so no worries about your pants getting caught in the back, which is a big problem when wearing your fancy pants. Decked out with cork-bed midsoles, the Cavalier gets more comfortable over time.
2. The Dress Sneaker
Everyone needs a pair of kicks with a casual vibe that still uphold a clean sense of style.
A simple pair of sneakers goes well with just about any outfit. Pick up one of our top picks and have fun wearing them with jeans, shorts, chinos, or even parachute pants. OK, maybe not parachute pants. But everything else is game.
The M. Gemi Lucente is a minimalist, rich-looking dress sneaker that punches above its price-point. Its calfskin uppers and Marche construction are premium qualities usually only found in more expensive sneakers.
This minimalist dress sneaker is an effective weekday-into-weekend shoe thanks to its cushy insole. Go for the New Republic Kurt if out-of-the-box comfort and affordability are your priorities.
The Low 1 is Oliver Cabell's most popular shoe. It boasts a classic low-profile silhouette, with color options that are expressive, but not overly trendy or unprofessional.
3. The Trainer
Sometimes you need a shoe that’s easy to slip on and jet out the door. This is the kind of shoe you use to power through the tough days.
Of course, you don’t need to keep these sneaks relegated to the world of errands—paired with some joggers, trainers can be the base of an amazing laid-back casual Saturday outfit, too.
While the category “trainers” can also technically refer to any running or exercise shoes, we’re going to stick to the fashion side of things. Specialized footwear for sports is a whole different game, and not something we’re going to cover here.
Made with 93% recycled plastic and rubber and excellent quality leather from one of the worlds most sustainable tanneries in Vietnam, this sleek sneaker doesn't just look good. It is good.
You can also find the Reebok Cross Trainer in black, but there's something special about the white leather with gum sole combo. These sneaks are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to put on miles with.
4. The Chukka Boot
Chukka boots are simply designed and can range anywhere from supremely casual to dressy and formal.
When deciding which chukka you’re going to get, take a quick assessment of what your wardrobe needs.
If you work in a business-casual setting, then a more formal, sleek chukka is your best bet.
But if you want comfort over all else, and formality and structure isn’t as important, a desert-campaign-style WWII-era boot like the Clarks Desert Boot is more in order.
The Scout is on the dressier side of things, but you can always wear these casually, too. We like to pair them with slim jeans, but these can go with a suit, no problem.
5. The Oxford
Oxfords are characterized by their low heel and closed lacing system. And it’s the latter this that gives them that oh-so-peculiar yet classy look.
They come in multiple variations and they’re perfect for office wear, black tie (the less detailed versions), and smart-casual events. The Oxford should be your go-to whenever you need to look respectable.
And their versatility makes them a no-brainer inclusion on this list.
While I have a few gripes about the rubber outsole and the support, dollar for dollar, J&M's Conard is one of the best value for money dress shoes you’ll find in the sub $200 range.
This Oxford is a nice comfort-first choice for office-goers. While we'd typically step up the quality for more formal occasions, this Florsheim is a solid bet for commuters.
6. The Service Boot
Want to look like a tough guy? Of course you do. Service boots are a little old-fashioned looking because they’re based on military boots used by service members (hence the name, service boots).
But just because they’re old-fashioned looking doesn’t mean they’re out of style. Far from it: these types of boots are all the rage right now, and here are the best of the best.
The Thursday Boots Captain is an excellent deal. Made with Horween leather tanned in Chicago, these boots still look great after four years. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be picking them up again.
The Red Wing Iron Ranger is built with the heart of America. Not literally, though. These are based on a design from iron miners and they're beefy, tough, rugged and handsome.
7. The Loafer
Loafers are the signature slip-on shoes of adulthood.
They’re a solid mix of high-end style, with that low-key desire to have a fun time.
Once the kingpin shoe of the 1950’s, and now, the newest addition to your walk-in.
You can't go wrong with a quality, stylish penny loafer. And that's exactly what M.Gemi have created with the Volo Due. With their streamlined and sleek design, Blake stitching, and long penny strap, we're big fans of these as more dressed up counterparts to our Saccas.
If you’re looking for a slick pair of shoes to complete your outfit, save a little cash for your date and check out the Johnston & Murphy Breland Kiltie. They’re a great option for anyone not looking to dive too deep into the labyrinth that is men’s formal footwear.
Ever tried a pair of suede loafers in the winter? There's something so sophisticated about a richly textured, glove-leather lined shoe when the temperature drops.
And if the penny loafer is a little too simple for you, you can always add a touch of flair with the classic horse bit loafer.
Idrese handmakes their shoes in Spain, and it's hard to find better quality than this. Made with a 360-degree Goodyear welt, these loafers shine with an Italian wide-lapel suit.
Based on Aldo Gucci’s famous design, horse bit loafers add a touch of sophistication and Italian gusto to an otherwise simple design.
8. The Dress Boot
Dress boots are a little less common, but when you’ve got a pair in your closet, they can easily help you look like the best-dressed guy in the room at the next wedding you go to. Not that you want to outshine the groom, but you definitely will.
Dress boots add a little more height, keep you in comfort by wrapping your ankles, and often provide more insulation than standard dress shoes.
A Balmoral boot is essentially the boot version of an Oxford. With closed eyelets, this boot is a sleek stunner, and Beckett Simonon is one of the best values you can find on the market today.
Thursday Boot Co's Lace-Up Presidents make a prominent statement about who you are and what you're about. Leather build, rubber sole, they're made from all the right stuff. But they also offer some of the best arch support going. This one snagged our editor’s choice.
Further Reading: How to Lace Boots Like a Pro: 6 Expert Ways
What Did We Learn?
Wearing proper kicks to an occasion slip you into an ironclad sense of confidence. It paints you as a prophet of sensible male style.
If your walk-in doesn’t have at least half-a-dozen pairs of shoes on the rack, it’s probably time to slowly invest in building it out.
Your overall style and ability to be versatile with your wardrobe will dramatically increase with each style of shoes you introduce to your collection.
But the right shoes are just the start.
You’ll find current attractive hairstyles, fashion guides, and dress code rules of thumb to live by, all right here. We set high standards for all fashion and grooming products that we suggest, because your trust in the quality of our content is the most important thing to us.
Do you think we blanked out on a whole category of shoes? Let us know in the comments. And be sure to follow us on Pinterest to keep track of all of our ideas.