There are several clothing and footwear essentials everyman wardrobe should include, from the classic white shirt to a pair of denim jeans. When it comes to what to wear on your feet men’s shoe staples include clean white sneakers and a pair of formal dress shoes. The ultimate men’s dress shoe guide will feature several handmade shoe styles that are historically recognised as formal shoes for men but it’s important to take into account an individual’s style and anatomy. An individual’s foot shape and size may dictate the type of dress shoe best suited to them whether it’s to be worn at a formal event, as a business shoe or a special occasion such as a wedding shoe.
The iconic men’s dress shoe is the Oxford, a timeless shoe style characterised by its sleek closed lacing system and professional silhouette. The Oxford shoe is available in several variations including the Plain Toe Oxford, Toe Cap Oxford, Wingtip Oxford and the Wholecut.
The classic black Oxford shoe is highly recommended in every gentleman’s shoe rack as it’s an essential style and a true workhorse that can be worn at weddings, funerals or for special occasions.
Depending on the choice of colour, the Oxford shoe can make for a great companion to any type of dark suit but the black option is hard to resist. Popular Barker Oxford’s include the Arnold, Burford, Malvern, and Winsford styles which are all available in black as well as shades of brown. A Barker Wholecut that features in the Professional collection comes highly recommended is the Nelson shoe style.
For those who find Oxfords difficult to wear due to fitting, a high in-step, for example, should explore the classic men’s Derby shoe, an understated Goodyear Welted shoe staple that features an open lacing system compared to its Oxford counterpart.
Previously seen as a Country shoe, the Derby has become a menswear classic that sits on the edge of formal dress shoes and casual workwear. A classic Derby shoe that features in the Barker Icon Series is the Nairn, Goodyear-welted and made on the 29 last, the Nairn features a British Dainite rubber sole and is available in black calf leather but for more Country casual options there is cedar and cherry grain.
Additional Derby shoes by Barker include Skye, similar to Nairn as it’s from the Country collection but made on the 464 last and Ellon, a comfortable Derby shoe that features BarkerTech technology.
The Chelsea boot is another formal dress boot option for those who prefer ankle-length footwear with the Barker Mansfield Chelsea boot being a popular style from the Professional collection.
Mansfield is made on the 486 last from premium calf leather with a choice of full leather or British Dainite rubber soles.
The Bedale is another popular men's Chelsea boot from the Barker Professional collection but is made from high-grade polished leather to offer a hi-shine alternative.
A slip-on shoe can also make for a dress shoe depending on the style and silhouette. The traditional penny loafer would be a favourite laceless option with the Caruso and Portsmouth penny loafers highly recommended as both are Goodyear-welted and made in the Earls Barton factory.
The Studland Tassel loafer is another suitable office slip-on style, made on the 487 last from premium calf leather and soft suedes with a rubber sole.
A recent addition to the Barker Creative collection is Frank, a horse bit loafer that is both on-trend and would be a wearable addition to the wardrobe.
MONK STRAP SHOE
The final shoe style recommended in the Ultimate Shoe Guide by Barker is the double monk strap shoe, a shoe design that typifies professionalism, the Tunstall double monk strap is a classic in the Professional collection.