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The 5 Shoes Every Man Should Have
23 · 06 · 2020

The 5 Shoes Every Man Should Have

Written by Gavin Humphreys

What are the five most important shoes you should have?

Whether you are changing your style, cleaning out those old clothes, or maybe starting from zero, this blog will tell you which shoes you need to always have in your closet.

These five shoes can be the baseline for a great shoe collection.

The recent trend towards minimalism has also meant that men are slimlining their closets, and looking at what is essential and what’s just taking up space. So if you want to cut your shoe collection down to five pairs, read on.

The best shoe for formal occasions

Dean Oxfords

Formal footwear is essential for any big nights out you have, perhaps for a gala, a premiere, or a date. They are also the shoes you will need for weddings, funerals, and any of those big life moments.

There is one shoe which stands out above the rest for this - the Oxford.

Oxfords are a close-laced shoe, rather than the open-laced system of Derbies. What does that mean? You might not have noticed, but some shoes have a gap over the tongue where the laces go back and forth - whereas on close laced shoes there is no gap.

A black cap-toe oxford shoe is often regarded as the most formal. And an oxford is also slightly understated, which means you can wear it to a variety of occasions, or even to work and meetings.

Another great option from our catalog is our Fonseca Boot, if you need more support for your ankle. When your trousers cover them nobody would know they are a boot!


The best boot for everyday use

Dowler Boots

It’s important to have a boot you can use for moving around - something not too bulky, not too formal. You want to feel comfortable, and give your feet and ankle the great support that boots offer.

For this option, have a look at our Oscar Boots, or Dowler Boots. These Dowlers made with pull-up leather is a great option - this type of leather needs less attention, because natural oils are used in the tanning process to make it rugged and waterproof. They don’t need polishing, just a little cream every now and again.


The best shoe for work and semi-formal events

Yates Oxfords

As well as your special occasion shoe, you need to have a shoe for everyday work and less formal events, perhaps going to a social group meeting, a party, a conference, a second date.

I would suggest an oxford brogue, such as our Yates Oxford range. These are the classic brogue.

A slightly less formal brogue, such as the open-laced Watson Derbies, is also a great choice.

Why have two smart shoes? Firstly you want a little variation. Secondly, because being able to select between super formal and semi-formal can raise your wardrobe to another level. And thirdly, because shoe rotation is a must - if you wear the same shoes every day, both your feet and your shoes can deteriorate quickly. Rest your formal shoes, at least every second day, and store them with a shoe tree.


The best shoe for everyday use

Beaumont Loafers

You also want to have a shoe for more relaxed occasions. Maybe going out for a walk, meeting up with friends, going to watch a game, traveling.

The kind of shoe that is so comfy you can forget you’re wearing it.

It’s an option you can exchange for when you might otherwise wear sneakers (well, not if you’re playing basketball, per se).

A great example might be these Beaumont Suede Loafers - classic slide-on shoes.

You might also go for these gorgeous Anders Split Toe Derbies. They have a leather mid-sole and rubber out-sole - which makes them hardy and comfortable to walk around in.


The best all-rounder sneaker

Reid Sneakers

A high-quality leather sneaker is the final must-have for your wardrobe.

Look for something versatile, which will match your style.

GATs, like our Morgen Trainer range, is a style that you see across the World, and are timeless. This style was originally designed to meet the rigors of German Army training (thus the name) but is now the go-to for everyday use for many people.

Our Reids range, as you can see in the photo above, are another classic look.

But I can’t pick just one sneaker out of our collection - they are all classics - so you’ll just have to have a browse and see.


What about the joker?

So what happens next? You have your five shoes you need. The formal, the semi-formal, the boots, the shoe for relaxing, and the sneaker. What then?

You might want to stop there. You might also want to think about getting something different - a joker card (or maybe an ace!).

These Chelsea Boots in suede are amazing as some signature footwear.

Or Wholecut Oxfords, for example, will really make you stand out at a party.

Your choice of shoes can say a lot about who you are. Take a browse through our catalog and see which designs jump out at you.

If you are choosing five shoes for your wardrobe, it is also essential to ensure that they are well-made, and use the best materials. Take a look at our craftsmanship section - this is the standard to benchmark by! If you need some extra inspiration take a look at this article from Jacob Graye.

If you have any questions, you get in touch with the team here - or leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.

Recommended read:



willie boone Jan 12, 2023

I love the shoes and will purchase more this year.

Heywood Harrison Jan 12, 2023

I discovered Beckett Simonon from a FaceBook advertisement a little over 2 years ago during the midst of the pandemic. After doing some research about the company, I decided to order a pair of boots. While this order took longer due to the pandemic, I did receive regular updates concerning the delay and the process. Since that initial order, I have also ordered three additional pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of sneakers. The quality and the fit (comfort) on all are amazing.

Manny Carvalho Sep 10, 2021

The Valencia wholecuts are actually my favorite formal shoe over my previous favorite the toe-cap oxfords. You see Oxfords everywhere but the wholecuts with their simple elegance really get noticed. I own three pair of wholecuts in different colors. Every time I wear them, they get noticed.

Really lovely shoes, those wholecuts. I just wish you would make them in wider sizes so that I don’t have to buy longer shoes than I need. Come on try wider lasts on a few models – starting with the wholecuts – then they would be even more comfortable.

Rodney Cole Apr 14, 2021

I thought the five shoes you need are rock climbing shoes, ice climbing boots, hiking shoes, hiking boots, and a pair of comfy house slippers. :)

I confess I’m not so much a fan of the loafers or sneakers in your list. Just not a fan of suede. For sneakers I prefer my pair of blue leather sneakers I picked up in Rome a couple of years ago, rather than all white.

But the various lace up shoes you list are gorgeous. Next time I need a pair I’ll come back.

Andrea Dean Apr 14, 2021

As a woman it is great to know, what shoes are needed. My father was a fan of wing tip shoes in various styles and colors.

It is great to see variety in men’s footwear. Thank you for the insight.

Gavin Jan 21, 2021

Hi James, thanks for your comment. I also have high arches – and wide feet too… This might be anecdotal but, in my experience, a good leather sole goes some way to helping any strain in the arch.

If you find the top of your foot is the issue, opt for open-laced shoes rather than closed-laced, e.g. some Derbies, rather than Oxfords.

In fact, I wrote a blog last year to document experimenting with inserts for high-arches:

james Jan 21, 2021

loved the shoes but aways have a problem finding a shoe that fits. because of my high arches. I guess I have messed up feet. but the shoes are nice.

Ajani kalawal Nov 20, 2020

The shoes looks very good and looking forward to get some of them.

Pierre Lescouflair Nov 20, 2020

Simple design that is timeless.

TMAC Nov 20, 2020


Angella Bingaman Nov 20, 2020

I wish I could go on a date with a guy who wears these kinds of shoes even just once. Why because my hubby is a handsome throwback hippie.

Cathy Campbell Nov 20, 2020

Finally! Someone to tell at least 85% of the men in this country what they should have in basic footware!
11 pairs of sneakers and a pair of Birkenstocks does not a basic shoe collection make!
Working at Neiman Marcus in Men’s Furnishings.
They want a great suit, shirt and tie but somehow overlooked shoes!
Your Starter Five are a great collection!
Send me a your on line catalog please.
Thank you

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