We took it upon ourselves to outline the definitive list of shoes that should be part of every mans arsenal. However, by no means is this the definitive list but we’d like to think of it as a the foundation of a lifetime of style, no matter the occasion.
Lace-up leather brogues
Brogues were made and worn in Scotland and Ireland as early as the 16th century, and the shoe-type probably originated there. Primarily used as work boots for wear in the wet, boggy Scottish and Irish countryside. The word “brogue” is still used in Britain for a style of dress shoe, which may or may not have an ankle high top. The early brogans of the Scots and Irish were made of heavy untanned leather. The development of civilian brogans follows the general development of civilian footwear, with construction of brogan-style shoes benefiting from improvements in other styles of shoe, and with styles changing with the times. Think of them as your workhorse shoe. Perfect with everything from jeans to suits, and appropriate for everything but formal occasions and (very) important meetings with (relatively) conservative business partners.
Black Cap-Toe Oxfords
The shoe is characterized by shoelace eyelets tabs that are attached under the vamp, a feature termed “closed lacing”. Oxfords were originally plain, formal shoes, made of leather but they evolved into a range of styles suitable for both formal, uniform, and casual wear. Oxfords were derived from the Oxonian, a half-boot with side slits that gained popularity at Oxford University in 1800. Based on function and the dictates of fashion, Oxfords are now made from a variety of materials, including calf leather, faux and genuine patent leather, suede, and canvas. They are normally black or brown, and may be plain or patterned.
The Chelsea boots are close-fitting, ankle-high boots with an elastic side panel. They often have a loop or tab of fabric on the back of the boot, enabling the boot to be pulled on. The boot dates back to the Victorian era, when it was worn by both men and women. Chelsea boots and some of its variants were considered an iconic element of the 1960s in Britain.
For a hike through the woods. Or, you know, a walk around the corner. These dress boots are short leather and built like dress shoes, but with uppers covering the ankle, versions of the boots are used as an alternative to these in bad weather or rough outdoor situation, and as a traditional option for day time formal wear.
Desert bootsare ankle-high leather shoes with suede or leather uppers, leather or rubber soles, and open lacing with two or three pairs of eyelets. Better known by the name chukka possibly due to the game of polo, where a chukker is a period of play. A form of chukka boots originally worn by British forces in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II are desert boots. More dressed-up than a sneaker, but not quite as proper as hard bottoms. Your go-to option for a casual everyday outfit.
A derby is a style of boot or shoe characterized by quarters with shoelace eyelets that are sewn on top of the vamp. This construction method, also known as “open lacing”, contrasts with that of the oxfords. The derby became a popular sporting and hunting boot in the 1850s. By the turn of the 20th century, the derby had become appropriate for wear in town.
The loafers are mid-heel slippers with an upper or top part that is slightly open to the kick of the foot and the ankle bone. Loafers are “slip-on shoes with a moccasin toe construction and slotted straps stitched across vamps”. A loafer may even be “decorated with metal chains or tassels” (Drummond). A penny-loafer has a “tongue and strap”. The slip-on loafers are common footwear that included low, laced oxfords in various leathers, ankle boots, and specialized sport shoes.