Be prepared for work, after-hours, the great outdoors and everywhere in between.
Written by Catherine Nguyen
Maybe you find yourself asking, “How many shoes does do I really need?” You need shoes that will get you from work to after-hours drinks, but also something to wear at the beach or on a crisp morning hike. One pair is obviously not going to cut it. And twelve pairs might be going a bit overboard, especially if you choose your footwear wisely. We’ve done the legwork for you and compiled our list of three essential shoe styles every man should own — so kick your feet up and read on.
1. A Pair of Oxfords
Every man needs a pair of dress shoes for formal occasions. The oxford fits the bill. With its elegant silhouette and closed lacing, the oxford adds a refined touch that will complement your three-piece suit. If you’re looking to elevate your streetwear, oxfords can also be worn with a more casual ensemble for a polished look.
If you can only allow one pair, then choose one with classic detailing and a round toe box. Whichever way you wear them, these leather shoes are versatile and fit for many occasions — which is exactly why oxfords are a must-have for your collection.
Pair black oxfords with a black suit for this classic formal look. These sleek shoes go with virtually anything — you really can’t go wrong. Whether you’ve got a formal event or just a guy’s night out, a pair of Oxfords will always fit the bill.
With navy, beige, and neutral-toned suits, various shades of brown oxfords are complementary and will tie your whole look together. The slight contrast in colors is pleasing to the eye, while adding just enough boldness to your overall look.
With a blazer and a pair of trousers, black, brown, and tan oxfords can add a dapper twist to your usual day-to-day look. Since these outfits are more laidback, you have more room to play around with different style combos.
If you’re looking to take it a step further, have the break of your pants fall shorter and pair your oxfords with some eye-catching (opens in new window) socks. You’ll be showing off a little bit of your personality, while charming the crowd with your undeniable sense of style.
2. A Pair of Casual Sneakers
There’s nothing like a pair of white sneakers (opens in new window) that you can just throw on whenever you’re on-the-go. Whether they’re monochromatic or multicolored, sneakers are best worn with your casual get ups. If done right, they can also be sported in the office. Trainers are both versatile and trendy, making them a no-brainer.
When it comes to pairing your outfit with sneakers, don’t overthink it. White or black sneakers are solid choices, but wearing a striking color can make one hell of a statement.
Depending on how much you want your shoes to play into your look, you can go neutral or spice it up. Try matching your accessories and sneakers in the same color for a coordinated, yet polished look.
If you’re lucky enough to wear sneakers at work take full advantage of it — but be careful not to go too far. Because sneakers fare more casual than formal, be conscious of which ones will pass off as appropriate in the office. Keep it simple and leave the crazy embellished sneakers at home. Depending on your company, neutral colors are probably your best bet at maintaining professionalism.
3. A Pair of Running / Athletic Shoes
Whether you’re off to the gym or to the grocery store, a pair of running shoes are essential for your days out of the office. Not only are they comfortable, but a good pair of running shoes can make your street style even more stylish — like when you’re out in a tee and baggy sweatpants.
If you’re really into outdoor activities, make sure you have a pair that you’re not afraid to get down and dirty in. After all, these shoes could be your most used pair. Find a pair that works with the daily demands of your hectic lifestyle.
If you plan to run errands before heading to the gym, combining your casual clothes with activewear will save you a lot of valuable time. Pair running shoes with tailored joggers and a denim jacket for an outfit that’s flattering, yet functional at the same time. The great thing about sporting activewear with closet staples is that you get to blend in your favorite gym pieces into your everyday attire for the ultimate comfort. The key is to combine basics that will give you a fitted silhouette, so you don’t run the risk of looking like a slouch.
If styled correctly, you’ll be looking sharp on your commute, and afterwards for your evening workouts.
The key is to combine basics that will give you a fitted silhouette, so you don’t run the risk of looking like a slouch.
If your daily routine consists of hiking, running, or any high-intensity circuits, then athletic shoes are a must. Pair them with a technical shirt and basketball shorts for a complete look that’s sweat-proof. After all, your shoes serve as the vehicle to your workouts, so combine them with moisture-wicking activewear to carry you through your workouts.
IF YOU HAVE TWO MORE PAIRS, WHY NOT MAKE THEM…
A Pair of Boots
Though a great pair of boots is a year-round staple, during fall and winter they become your best friend. Dress boots are the best of both worlds with elements from both Oxfords and Chukkas, offering class and a bit more protection from the elements. But if you plan on blazing your own trail, a pair with rubber soles will give you the freedom you need to clomp around without too much worry about damaging your kicks beyond repair.
A Pair of Chukkas or Desert Boots
Known for their incredible versatility, chukkas are the epitome of business casual. Pair these up with a nice pair of chinos or your favorite pair of jeans. Get them in brown, black, tan or blue suede and you’ll be able to wear them in just about any situation that doesn’t involve a workout tee and a protein shake.
A Walk to Remember
For the amount of purposes they have to offer, these shoes speak for themselves. Owning each one, your life will be a walk in the park (literally). So if you find yourself wondering which shoes to add, keep, or throw out, we firmly believe that these ones are definitely keepers.
Do you agree or disagree? What are your shoe essentials? Let us know in the comments.
Photo of Catherine Nguyen
SOURCE: THE GENTLEMANUAL