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Types of Men's Shoes

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Classic types of men’s shoes don’t merely differ from one another in appearance, but also in closure and decoration.

Shoes are usually classified by their types of closure. There are buckled shoes (monk strap), slip-on shoes (loafer, moccasin), and lace-up shoes (oxford, derby, blucher, budapester). The latter category can be further divided into different kinds of lacing: open (blucher, derby) and closed (oxford).


The oxford has been an integral part of men’s fashion since the 1920s

Today, the oxford is considered the most elegant type of men’s shoe; it belongs in every man’s shoe collection. Ideally, the oxford has a smooth, unified appearance. Only the upper edge of the tongue is exposed, which creates a far more elegant effect than those featuring open lacing such as the derby or the blucher.

For oxford shoes, broguing is largely dispensed with as these types of shoes already exude pure elegance through their clean lines, narrow shape, and smooth surface.


Blücher, a Prussian field marshal, commissioned the initial prototype of this kind of men’s shoe at the beginning of the 19th century. The shaft design distinguishes the blucher from the derby.

The blucher is recognizable by its special shaft design; unlike the derby, the blucher doesn’t feature any additional quarters.

In this day and age, the blucher is an indispensable sporty/business half shoe. It combines perfectly with jeans and corduroys, and is fairly well-suited for a standard shirt-and-trousers combo.


The derby is one of the most popular types of men’s shoes Europe-wide. Derby shoes are considered versatile.

For a long time, the derby was considered a purely casual shoe. Today, whenever various kinds of decoration are added to the derby (giving it a light and sporty look), this is still the case. In its smooth and undecorated iterations, though, this is a sophisticated, elegant piece that’s absolutely suitable for suits. Any of the brown shades, combined with a well-matched suit, are appropriate for business meetings. These also pair nicely with corduroys and light clothing. Derby shoes even combine perfectly with jeans.

No matter the color or whether they’re semi-brogues or full-brogues, derby shoes can be worn from sunrise until sunset; they’re a versatile type of shoe that belongs in every man’s shoe collection.


At the beginning of the 19th century, when long trousers dominated men’s fashion, men’s boots were the footwear of choice.

Men’s boots are perfect for cold, wet weather and may be worn in the city or in the countryside.

Even though men’s boots could be generally categorized as lace-up shoes, they’re available in many different varieties, with many different kinds of closures from hook-and-eye to zippers and button tabs to simple slip-on boots with straps.


Although they’re probably known to most as traditional Native American footwear, moccasins are also an indispensable part of 21st-century men’s fashion. Moccasins impress with their high level of wearing comfort—so long as you don’t have too far to walk.

Nowadays, traditional-style moccasins are difficult to find. Current models feature optimized sole construction, which makes them more suitable for everyday wear. For traditional moccasins, the inner sole is also the outer sole; many contemporary models are additionally fitted with an insole or an outsole.


For those who like to dress casually in their time off and who prize shoes that are easy to put on, there’s no better men’s shoe than the loafer.

Since their invention in America at the beginning of the 20th century, loafers have held a firm spot in the pantheon of men’s fashion. This is the casual shoe par excellence, perfect for those who prize shoes that are easy and comfortable to put on.

The loafer is considered an offshoot of the moccasin.

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Monk Straps

The monk strap is a classic type of men’s shoe that’s also known as a “monk shoe.” As with the oxford and the derby, the monk strap consists of a vamp and side pieces and differs drastically from the former models to stand in a category of its own.

All of this lends the monk strap an unconventional touch. This type of shoe isn’t as formal as a lace-up shoe; however, due to its classic, elegant look and feel, it’s a good alternative for men who aren’t subject to especially strict office dress codes. This striking shoe is also a great choice for the larger gentleman. Monk shoes combine nicely with pinstripes as well as with linen trousers worn with a sweater. Aside from some half-brogue varieties, for the most part, these shoes don’t feature decoration as the buckle is eye-catching enough on its own.

Boat Shoes

Over the years, boat shoes have become increasingly suitable for wear on dry land. Shoe manufacturers have duly noted their rising popularity and today they offer boat shoes with a thicker sole profile and a leather lining. These new and more robust varieties aren’t well-suited for wearing on boats.

Boat shoes are mandatory for sailors. For everyone else, they’re a stylish leisure shoe, one that can even be worn without socks during the summer months. Boat shoes were originally always blue; however, if you’d prefer to choose from a range of bright colors, reach for the rough leather varieties. They’re offered in all kinds of color combinations.


The budapester is one of the best-known varieties of men’s footwear.

These sturdy shoes are an excellent choice for the big and tall gentleman, and they work well for all manner of leisure activities. Although black models pair especially well with sporty outfits, the same can’t be said for business suits. On the other hand, they do combine well with corduroys and jeans.

Budapesters are often mistaken for full brogue derby shoes. Here’s a tip for telling them apart: unlike full brogues, budapesters possess a high and relatively wide rounded tip as well as a distinctive last shape.

Buckled Shoes

Buckled shoes represent extravagance and individualism, and they definitely polarize opinion. The monk strap is a prime example of this type of shoe.

As the name suggests, buckled shoes feature a belt-like buckle on the spot where laces should be. The side piece houses the strap that connects to single or double pin buckles.

Buckled shoes have been around since 1688. They were originally crafted as a fashion icon of the time. Thus, it was industrially produced and became popular.

At the time, the purpose of buckled shoes was purely for style. But that changed in the 18th century when they became popular for social events. And nowadays, that still stands true.

Lace-up Shoes

Lace-up shoes enjoy extreme popularity: they’re the most common type of shoe. The best-known types of lace-up shoes are the oxford, the derby, and the blucher. As the name indicates, they’re closed by means of a shoelace that’s laced through eyelets or lugs.

On the other hand, shoes with closed lacing, such as the oxford, feature side pieces attached beneath the vamp and that close above the sewn-in tongue. As a result, these types of shoes look as though they’ve been made from a single piece of leather.

Slip-On Shoes

Lightweight and easy to slip on, these shoes are a leisurewear favorite. The most common types of slip-on shoes are loafers, moccasins, and boat shoes.

Slip-on shoes represent another type of minimalist design. They’re lightweight and provide ample ventilation to your feet. That’s why they’re perfect for summer.

Slip-on shoes go great with different types of shorts. Make sure you don’t pair them with socks. If you do, make sure they are not visible in the uncovered area of the shoe.

The simple form of slip-on shoes makes them optimal for basically any casual happening. Also, they don’t have laces or zippers, so they’re easy to slip on when you’re running late to a party.

Penny Loafer Shoes

Penny loafers are laceless shoes with a moccasin-style upper that’s stitched to a separate sole and heel. They have a strip of leather called a “saddle” that sits horizontally across the instep. Nowadays, a broader definition can include any shoe that has such a strap regardless of its construction.

The saddle is sometimes referred to as a “penny keeper.”


Sneakers (also called trainers, athletic shoes, tennis shoes, gym shoes, kicks, sports shoes, flats, running shoes, or runners) are shoes primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise, but which are now also widely used for everyday casual wear.

“Sneakers” is a term that is mostly used in North America, whereas the term for similar shoes in England and Australia is “joggers” and “trainers,” respectively.

Arabic Sandals

The majority of Arabic sandals usually come in open-toe designs. Wearing a pair of these slippers effectively covers one’s foot thanks to the clever concept behind them. Arabic slippers can protect you from different weather elements without the need for straps or slingbacks. Moreover, their sophisticated appearance makes them ideal for both casual and formal events. It wasn’t long before these elegant sandals evolved into many variations. The changes they experienced affected the slipper’s stitching, material, quality, and more. What was a necessity back then turned into a statement when it comes to fashion. Nevertheless, Arabic sandals never fail to retain their simplicity and that’s why they remain in style today.


Broguing is a decorative feature comprising appealing patterns of small perforations. Brogues are commonly worn for casual events because their neat design topped with decorative little holes makes them suitable for almost any set of apparel you choose.

Historically, the holes in the visible edges of brogues were meant to let water out. That’s because they were originally made for countrymen who travel in wetlands.

It is also important to note that all shoes with broguing are brogues. Even if the initial model is an oxford, when broguing is applied, the shoe will be considered a brogue.


Because of their light but elegant look, espadrilles can be part of anyone’s everyday wear. Even with a minimalist approach to fashion, this simple type of shoe comes in different colors, sizes, shapes, and overall composition.

The primitive construction of espadrilles has an origin that dates back to the 1300s and is most likely derived from the Spaniards. The shoe is plain, has attainable components, and is easy to make because it was made for low-income workers and peasants.

Times have clearly changed because today espadrilles are worn by people at malls, beaches, and boulevards.

Suede Buck

Suede bucks, or simply “bucks,” have that classic touch on them. This vintage style is obtained by sanding away the top grain of the leather. As a result, the smooth and rounded base of the hide is exposed.

At first, bucks were made for tennis players. And that was way back in the 1800s. As the years passed, people included it in their wardrobe for both formal and informal affairs.

Its architecture has similarities with blucher oxfords, which is why shoe enthusiasts often compare the two. You can distinguish the two by their makeup: bucks are easily identified by their brick-red sole and the principal piece, suede.

Chelsea Boots

These ankle-high boots are made not just for the velvety vibe they give off. They’re also made for comfort and boosting one’s confidence. Their sleek colors and elastic side panels are what make them perfect for getting that stylish feel.

Chelsea boots for men are made to be timeless. Their different color schemes and contents are combined exquisitely to fit various styles.

To get that classic appearance, you can choose either the casual suede or the glossy leather. Get a perfect combo by choosing the right color from tan, black, and brown.

Chuka Boots

Much like the chelsea boots, chukka boots also fit up to the ankles. They’re also built for comfort and can be dressed up or down. They’re suitable for any style, from casual to business and formal. Even the materials of their uppers are the same: leather and suede.

What distinguishes chukka boots from chelsea boots is the composition of the other parts. The soles are not only available in leather but also in rubber. And instead of stretchable side panels, chuka boots have shoelaces with four or six eyelets.

This classy shoe has also stood the test of time, being a wardrobe favorite for decades. It remains one of the simplest yet sophisticated footwear out there.