Our editors independently research, test and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
A suit or tuxedo can boast a full ensemble, but a pair of dress shoes completes the look. When choosing a pair of dress shoes, it’s essential to find a designer or brand that you can rely on for style and comfort. Whether you’re a groom looking for a one-of-a-kind, bespoke pair of dress shoes or a wedding guest looking for a pair of oxfords or loafers that will outlast the seasons for years to come, the brand is the one of the first things. to consider when looking for 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 share our top picks.
Read on to find the best dress shoe brands available now.
What to look for when buying dress shoes
The appearance of shoes is important but, according to Enrico Cuini, luxury shoe designer and co-founder of Enrico Cuini, comfort is key. “We’ve all been to a wedding, or even a wedding, where our feet are destroyed afterwards,” he says. “I think the world is learning its lesson and people are turning to shoes that are comfortable, that they can wear more than once and fit their personal style,” he adds. Before they hit the dance floor, make sure your shoes fit comfortably.
An important thing to consider when buying dress shoes is where you will be wearing them and the dress code for the event. If it’s a black tie wedding, tuxedo shoes might be the best option. And, if you’re attending a destination wedding, formal shoes might not even be necessary. “Many black tie weddings or events are destinations, so while they may be dressed formally, we also need to accommodate their need for warmer weather footwear like sandals,” Cuini says. “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 buying a pair of dress shoes. It is important to choose dress shoes that look more like you because it will make you more confident and elegant and also prevent them from sitting in your closet and gathering dust after the wedding. You want a shoe that you love enough to wear again.
“A dress shoe is a shoe that is not a sneaker, boot, or type of shoe that exposes your feet, like a sandal,” Cuini explains. Technically, Cuini says these shoes typically consist of four parts: the toe, the vamp, the face, and the quarter. “It’s the placement and construction of these four pieces that determines the uniqueness of a dress shoe,” he explains.
According to Cuini, black tie wedding attire is getting an update as more people choose comfort 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’re wearing,” he notes, adding that brown shoes tend to be slightly more casual. In addition to shoe styling, Cuini says to make sure shoes are “well polished” before the big day.
Good news: Cuini says you don’t have to wear dress shoes to your wedding. “Comfort seems to be the key for most people today, whether you’re attending the wedding or just attending,” he says. “Wearing sneakers with a suit is all the rage today and more and more people are forgoing traditional attire to wear what makes them feel their best.”
Why Trust Brides
Jessie Quinn is a bridal-obsessed style editor with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism. When researching style stories for men, such as the best dress shoes, she emphasizes personal style and quality. After all, you want to wear the shoes, not have the shoes wear you! And, if it’s an investment item, you might want to wear them multiple times.