Types of Men’s Formal Shoes

Types of men's formal shoes

Getting dressed up for a formal occasion is not a complicated task. You only need a suit, tie, and formal shoes. Well, it sounds very simple but in reality, it sometimes turns into a big headache if you do not usually wear formals. The first thing usually people pay attention to is their suit and they neglect the importance of shoes they wear down. In reality, shoes are something that can change the overall look of an outfit. So, today we focus on shoes, and types of men’s formal shoes, and what fits well according to the occasion.

Before directly jumping to the shoes. First, it is a must for you to know some terms which we use throughout this article. These terms are important to differentiate between different kinds of shoes.

Vamp – vamp is the uppermost area of the shoes that joins with the quarter at the sides of the shoes.

Quarter-quarter is the side area of the shoes where vamp usually ends, quarter begins and wraps across the heel. Most of the shoes use a different piece of leather for quarter and vamp except in wholecut shoes where the one-piece leather is used for vamp and quarter.


Toecap- this is the extra piece of leather that is stitched on the top of the shoe toe.

Types of Men’s Formal Shoes


Bluchers shoes are one of the top priority for men in style, because of its versatility. You can wear them with formals and as well as with casuals.

Blucher is a shoe with open lacing just like Derby shoes. The vamp of Blucher shoes is made of one-piece leather on which shoelace eyelets tabs on the top.

Key features of blucher shoes

● Due to the open structure, the longevity of Blucher shoes is more than any other shoe.

● It is defined by its open lacing.

● Blucher shoes are more durable and remain functional without any damage or drop in quality.

● Versatility is what Blucher shoes prioritize. You can style these shoes with formal suits and as well as with a dress shirt and chinos.

Now, you know the characteristics of Blucher shoes it’s time to know the types of Blucher shoes. Yes, there are different types of shoes available in the market, and as a buyer you should know what’s best for you.

Types of Blucher shoes

Plain Blucher shoes

As the name suggests these are simple Blucher shoes with no decoration or brogueing on it. These Blucher shoes are more preferable with formal outfits.

Semi brogue Bluchers

These Blucher shoes have brogueing, which means decorative elements like holes on the toes and the sides of the shoes. These are less formal than plain blucher shoes.

Wingtip bluchers shoes

The term wingtip is used because of the wingtip stitching on the vamp of the shoes. These shoes have brogueing i.e decorative elements on both sides, heel, and toe of the shoe. These Blucher shoes are funkier and usually styled with semi-formal and casual outfits.


The most popular version of formal shoes for men from young professionals to a royal gentleman, Oxford shoes is what all prefer for formal occasions and workplaces.

Oxford shoes are named after Oxford University when it became popular there in the 19th century.

Oxford shoes are more formal and no.1 priority if you want to dress up smart. Because of its popularity, these shoes are present almost all around the world, loved by professionals.
Unlike Blucher shoes, Oxford shoes are closed lace shoes.

Key points to define Oxford shoes

● Oxford shoes are closed lace shoes.

● Oxford shoes have a low heel

● Oxford shoes are usually lower than your ankle, which means your ankle is exposed in Oxford shoes.

Because of all these features and characteristics, Oxford shoes are a more formal and mature style pic for professionals and gentlemen.

Types of oxford shoes

Cap toe Oxford shoes

The term cap in these shoes refers to the piece of extra leather stitched on the toe as an element. These type of shoes are more preferred by work professionals in a daylight.

Plain Toe Oxford shoes

As the name suggests these shoes are plain i.e without any decorative elements on the shoes. These are more formal and an option for black tie events.

Whole cut Oxford shoes

Whole cut Oxford shoes are popular among gentlemen because of its clean sleek look.
Wholecut term refers to the upper cut from one single or same leather. Most of the shoes are made by using multiple pieces of leather swen together, but this is not the case with whole cut Oxford shoes it is made of single leather which gives it a more elegant and simple look.

Whole cut Oxford shoes without any brogueing on it is best for evening events.

Saddle Oxford shoes

Saddle Oxford shoes are opposite to cap toe shoes because it does not contain any toe cap, instead, an extra piece of leather is used that begins from the middle top section of the shoe and ends at the heal of the shoe.
There is half chance that a saddle Oxford shoe has a heel cap or not.

Seamless Oxford shoes

This type is the same as whole cut shoes, the only difference is that whole cut shoes have a seam on the heels, and seamless, as the name suggests does not have any seam on the heels.

More leather and time is required to produce seamless Oxford shoes. Which makes it an expensive yet good investment.

Derby shoes

One piece that work for every men whether you are a casual person or a formal and that is Derby shoes. These shoes are versatile and can be worn in the office with chinos or jeans, the best thing about these shoes is that you can even style them with joggers.

Derby shoes are defined by the lacing system as other shoes. Unlike Oxford shoes, Derby shoes have open lacing which makes them semi-formal shoes. While on the other hand, Oxford shoes are meant to be styled with only formals.

Because of open lacing, the quarters are sewn over the vamp with the shoelace eyelets, which are stitched on the quarters.

Key points or characteristics of Derby shoes

● Open lace system, makes it more comfortable and relaxing than Oxford shoes

● More versatile- one pair of Derby shoes can work with most of your outfits, which makes it a nice and mature investment.

● Derby shoes contain pointed toe or rounded toe.

● Derby shoes contain stitched leather sole.

Types of Derby shoes

Plain Derby

This is a classic pair, consists of only vamps and quarter without any decorative elements, caps on hells, etc. On the shoes.

Plain Derby shoes are more formal and come in a variety of different colors under the sun. It also has a casual version that usually comes in suede leather material.

Moc toe Derby

These are also apron Derby shoes, this term refers to the apron on the sides of the shoes with an extra leather layer is stitched around the shoes. There is a slight difference between the apron and Moc Derby shoes and that is, unlike apron shoes, Moc shoes are usually mocassion, doesn’t contain any extra leather layer.

The wingtip Derby

Just like other shoes, Derby shoes also have wing shape leather stitched on the front of the shoes. They have a pointed toe cap. The wingtip Derby shoes are more on the causal side with holes, makes them a perfect pair with casual outfits.

Don’t look for too much detail because then it loses its versatility, stick to the basics i.e sleek and slim stitched wingtip Derby shoes.

Cap toe derby

Cap toe Derby shoes are defined by the cap that is stitched across the toe of the shoes. Although they do not contain heel caps, and also no brogueing, some do.

Cap toe derby shoes are formal than other Derby shoes except for plain Derby shoes.

Monk straps

The monk straps shoes b came popular around 1901 when it was first registered in a design.

Monk straps shoes come without laces, and instead, straps are used to allow the foot to fit properly.

Early in 20 th century, only one strap shoes are available but as the popularity of monk strap shoes reached heights the second version of shoes with two straps is introduced. Which is now a trademark and most preferably option by men all around the world. But, later 3 straps are also added by designers which does not gain much appreciation in the industry.

Monk strap buckles come in different colors, shapes, and material. The most popular ones are oval, square, rectangular-shaped buckles, made of brass or chrome, silver, or gold.

Single vs double vs triple straps

Choosing the perfect option is always hard and difficult but not with monk shoes. Yes, it is not as complicated as it looks.

If you want a shoe to style with formal attire then go with a single strap option. If you are looking for versatility that goes well with most of the outfits then go with the double strap option.

Personally, I will never suggest a 3 strap option because it becomes too much complicated and doesn’t define any style properly, also it is not recommended by many designers as a good option to invest in.

Types of Monk strap shoes


Wingtip monk shoes are less formal than all of the types because of the w shape wing stitched on the top of the toe, which comes across the sides of the shoes. There is brogueing throughout the shoes which makes it the best pick for casual occasions than formal.

Toe cap

Toe less formal monk shoes but formal than wingtip. These shoes have an extra layer of leather stitched over the top of the toe which makes them the perfect pick for a workday at the office.


Plain is the classic version of monk shoes without any caps or decorative elements on the sides of the shoes, and no brogueing.

A single plain monk shoe is the best pick for formal occasions. And a double strap option is good for events.

Monk boots

As the weather turns around and becomes cold. Monk boots are what keep you dressed up while protecting from cold weather at the same time.

Hi, gurbi is a fashion blogger, designer, and fashion consultant. He is 25 yrs old man who love the world of fashion.