The ultimate guide to men’s dress shoes: Part 1

Having a versatile selection of dress shoes is something every man should include in their wardrobe – there will always be an occasion.

Even men who favour casual shoes and trainers will at some point need to suit-up and a great pair of formal shoes will complete your outfit.

Anatomic & Co has put together a guide to help you understand the differences between the formal shoe options available.

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Types of men’s dress shoes

Some men may not understand the world of formal shoes, but the right dress shoe is a surefire way to earn some style points.

Generally speaking, you want to include the following formal dress shoes in your wardrobe:

  • The Oxford
  • The Brogue
  • The Loafer
  • The Desert Boot
  • The Chelsea Boot
  • The Boat Shoe

The Oxford Shoe:

Oxford shoes scream sophistication and class, and are the ideal shoe for the office or several formal events. It’s important to choose a pair that is comfortable, as occasions that call for an Oxford shoe tend to last most of the day.


  • The shoe gets gradually narrower closer to the point
  • A blunt pointed front
  • Colour of the leather may vary from one end of the shoe to the other

What to wear with Oxford shoes:

While the most ‘acceptable’ way to wear the Oxford shoe requires a smart style, you can experiment with your outfit.

You can either treat the Oxford shoe as strictly office gear or with a full suit for a formal occasion (left) or partner them with a more casual office outfit, like with a turtleneck instead of a shirt under your suit (right).

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Shop Oxfords:



The Brogue

While Oxfords were initially plain formal shoes, they evolved into a range of styles both formal and casual. Some of these styles feature broguing or perforations along the edges of the individual leather pieces – these are known as brogues.

Although the classic brogue is crafted in brown leather, there are now many different colours, styles and materials available.


  • Low heels
  • Toe caps
  • Heel caps
  • Lace panels
  • Broguing or decorative perforations

What to wear with Brogues:

A highly versatile shoe, the brogue can be worn with various different outfits. This includes everything from slim denim jeans and simple v-neck shirts, to smart shirts and chinos.

Now days, you can even wear the classic brogue with a two-piece pin-stripe suit.

Also read: How to Wear Men’s Brogues


Shop brogues:



The Loafer

Loafers, or slip-ons, are ideal for more casual settings. The great thing about them is that they can be worn with or without socks.

Today, loafers have a wide range of formality from casual to dapper.


  • Ability to Slip On and Off
  • No Buckles or Laces

What to wear with Loafers:

Loafers can be styled with rolled up trousers or jeans and depending on the colour, dark or light, a shirt or a plain T-shirt.

You can even wear certain loafers with a fine tailored suit – you want to make sure that your trousers do not hang over the shoe, but rather show a little ankle.


Shop loafers:



In part 2 of the ultimate guide to men’s dress shoes, we’ll discuss the Desert Boot, the Chelsea Boot and the Boat shoe.

With the right dress shoes, you’ll be half-way to looking your best at any event, interview, meeting or date.

Style Editor

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