A dress shoe is a shoe to be worn at smart casual or more formal events. Dress shoes are worn as daily shoes, for parties, and for special occasions.


Possible colors include:

Men’s dress shoes are most commonly black or brown. Cordovan or oxblood dress shoes are worn by men sometimes in the United States, while men of many nationalities wear the other colors.


Most men’s dress shoes are made of leather, usually entirely, including the outer, lining, and sole, though for more durability at the expense of elegance, many shoes are made with rubber soles. Non-leather men’s dress shoes are also available.

Shoes are usually made with many pieces of leather, and the seams can be decorated in various ways; most revolve around some type of brogueing. Brogues have rows of decorative punching in patterns: full brogues, or wingtips (the standard American name), have a toe cap in a wavy shape, with punched patterns on various sections of the shoe; half brogues have a normal straight-edged toe cap and less punching; finally, other terms such as quarter-brogue, etc. may be used to describe progressively less brogueing. All of the standard styles below may be brogued.


Men’s shoes are often categorized by their fastening, and the various possibilities are listed below in roughly descending order of formality.


Oxfords (British), or Balmorals (American), lace up and tie to keep them on the wearer’s foot, and have a closed lacing, where the pieces of leather joined by the laces are sewn together at the bottom. Many Oxfords have an additional piece of leather sewn over the toe section, known as a toe cap. Oxfords are the standard shoe to wear with most suits. White Buck shoes are a variant of the oxford that are made of buckskin and considered the companion to seersucker and other summer suit fabrics.

Monk shoes

A monk shoe (also called a monkstrap) has no lacing and is closed by a strap with a buckle. Monk shoes are typically regarded as less formal; they are often considered appropriate for business formal, but rarely appropriate with any kind of formal attire.


Derbies, or Blüchers in America, are similar to Oxfords but have open lacing. They are a little less formal and are often worn in brown, with some brogueing.


Loafers, or slip-ons, come in both men’s and women’s styles. It is not unusual for a man’s loafer to have a tassel, although this can be seen in women’s varieties too. Loafers were originally men’s shoes, and are usually thought of as such, although women do now wear them.

Other styles

In addition to the above, there are various other types of footwear to accompany formalwear, such as boat shoes i.e. Sperrys, the court shoe (also called opera shoe, or patent pumps) for eveningwear, and the dress boot for daywear.