10 Things to Consider When Choosing Dress Shoes to Wear With a Suit

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The right shoes are essential when wearing a suit. With its formal nature — consisting of a suit jacket with matching trousers — suits require a similar type of formal footwear. Wearing your day-to-day tennis shoes or athletic shoes won’t cut it. Casual footwear such as this may offer a comfortable fit, but they lack the formality needed for a suit. Therefore, you should consider the 10 following things when choosing a pair of dress shoes to wear with a suit.

#1) Material

What type of material are the dress shoes made of? Like other forms of footwear, men’s dress shoes are available in a variety of materials, each of which has different characteristics. With that said, you can’t go wrong with a pair of all-leather dress shoes. Leather offers the perfect combination of comfort, formality, style, longevity and durability. And if you choose leather dress shoes, you can easily clean and polish them with a leather shoe wax.

#2) Closed vs Open Lacing

Something else to consider is whether the dress shoes have open or closed lacing. Oxfords generally have closed lacing, whereas Derbies have open lacing. The difference between these two styles is that open-lacing shoes are designed with the quarters sewn over the vamp, whereas closed-lacing shoes are designed with the quarters sewn under the vamp.

#3) Slip-On Dress Shoes

While most men’s dress shoes feature laces, some are designed without laces. Known as slip-on dress shoes, they live up to their namesake by featuring a slip-on design. You simply place your feet through the opening of the shoes, at which point you’re good to go. Slip-on dress shoes are easier to put on and take off than traditional laced dress shoes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should wear them. If you’re getting dressed for a highly formal event, suck as a black-tie evening party, it’s recommended that you wear traditional laced dress shoes.

#4) Heel

Not all men’s dress shoes have a flat heel. On the contrary, most have at least a partially raised or elevated heel. They are typically shorter than women’s high-heeled shoes. Nonetheless, you should consider the heel height when choosing a pair of men’s dress shoes. A tall, oversized heel can make you appear taller and slimmer, but it comes at the cost of your personal comfort. Wearing dress shoes with a tall heel can be uncomfortable, especially if you wear them while walking or moving around on your feet.

#5) Toe

Pay attention to the toe when choosing a pair of dress shoes to wear with a suit. I’m not talking about your own toe. Rather, you should inspect the tip of the dress shoes to determine what design they have. Known as the toe, the tip of men’s dress shoes usually has a pointed design. However, some have a blunt design in which the tip remains flat. Both styles are perfectly fine, but you should choose a style that flows with the rest of your suit and accessories.

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#6) Color

We can’t talk about things to consider when choosing dress shoes without mentioning color. In fact, this is perhaps the single most important thing to consider when choosing dress shoes. The color of your dress shoes will affect the appearance of your suit and yourself in general. When wearing a suit, a good rule of thumb is to wear either black or brown dress shoes, depending on which color looks better with your suit jacket and trousers.

#7) Tassels

Do you want tassels on your dress shoes? Many men’s dress shoes feature multiple straps of leather tassels on the front. They don’t serve any functional purpose. Rather, tassels are used strictly for aesthetics. They introduce a new visual element that helps define your shoes. With that said, the tassels can also get damaged or torn off, so many men prefer wearing shoes without them. If you’re going to buy a pair of dress shoes with tassels, make sure the tassels are fully intact and secure with the shoes.

#8) Fit

Of course, you should consider how a pair of dress shoes fit. If they are too big, too small, too narrow or otherwise don’t fit right, they may cause discomfort or even pain when you wear them. To prevent this from happening, take a few minutes to try on a new pair of dress shoes before buying them. Don’t just head to the checkout after finding the perfect pair of dress shoes at a local footwear store. Instead, walk around the store to see how they feel. Ideally, there should be just enough space between your toe and the tip of the inside of your shoe to squeeze your thumb between. Any more or less space means that the shoes don’t fit and, thus, should be replaced with an appropriate size.

#9) Sole

Don’t forget to check the sole when shopping for a pair of dress shoes to wear with a suit. Even if a pair of shoes are made of leather, the soles may feature a different type of material. Many men’s dress shoes, for example, are made with all-leather exterior but with rubber soles. Rubber isn’t as strong as leather, but it’s softer and more comfortable. Rubber soles are also better at absorbing shock, so they aren’t as likely to cause fatigue.

#10) Quality of Construction

Finally, inspect the dress shoes to evaluate the quality of their construction. If you see poor stitching, discoloration or other signs of manufacturing defect, you may want to choose a different pair. There are businesses that specialize in fixing and repairing shoes. However, you can avoid this headache by choosing a pair of high-quality, well-made dress shoes in the first place. You don’t have to scrutinize the shoes with a magnifying glass, but you should scan the shoes for signs of defect.

Don’t let the appearance of your suit suffer because of your shoes. Find the perfect pair of men’s dress shoes by following these tips. You’ll create a more formal and attractive outfit that compliments the appearance of your suit jacket and trousers.