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A suit or tuxedo might boast a full set, but a pair of dress shoes completes the look. When choosing a pair of dress shoes, finding a designer or brand you can rely on for both style and comfort is key. Whether you’re a groom looking for a pair of unique, made-to-order dress shoes or a wedding guest on the hunt for a pair of oxfords or loafers that will last you years versus seasons, the brand is one of the first things to consider when finding your perfect pair.
With so many dress shoes on the market, we scoured the internet to find the best of the best and interviewed expert Enrico Cuini. From luxury to casual, we’re sharing our top picks.
Read on to find the best dress shoe brands available now.
When we think of designer dress shoes, Gucci is the first to come to mind. From their timeless loafer designs to their classic lace-up styles, Gucci is the go-to brand for luxurious dress shoes that never go out of style. Whether you’re a guest or shopping for your big day, choosing a pair of Gucci shoes can add a touch of class to your wedding wardrobe. And, we love how versatile their designs are. Their loafers, lace-ups, and oxfords are sophisticated enough to wear with a tuxedo or three-piece suit, yet they can also work well with a pair of slacks and a blazer.
If you’re on the hunt for a pair of men’s dress shoes that fit the assignment with a touch of personality, look no further than Uptown Yardie. Inspired by Jamaican heritage, the British fashion brand features a collection of artistically crafted saddle shoes (we love the option to customize with a separate Kiltie), plus the option to go full custom with their made-to-order bespoke dress shoes.
Choosing a pair of made-for-you dress shoes for your big day adds a unique touch to your wedding look. Beckett Simonon is all about crafting handmade and high-quality custom dress shoes that are made to last at a reasonable price. On top of that, the brand offers a variety of different styles to choose from. And, because of their made-to-order business model, Beckett Simonon shoes have a layer of sustainability, too. Purchasing a pair of these dress shoes promotes smarter consumption, lean production with zero unsold inventory, and less waste.
Ted Baker London
Ted Baker is a brand we love for comfortable wedding day attire. Their dapper Brogue designs come in a myriad of styles, including several sneaker designs for a dressed-down take on men’s dress shoes. Perfect for the casual groom or wedding guest, these designer shoes are made to last on the dance floor and for years to come.
When shopping for a pair of men’s dress shoes, we like options — and Magnanni has them all. Whether your wedding day attire calls for something classic like a pair of lace-up shoes or something more sophisticated like buttery leather loafers, Magnanni has a wide selection of stylish men’s dress shoes, including some with extra flair (we love the Aranga style!) The brand even features a line of stylish wedding-appropriate sandals for destination events.
From patent leather lace-ups to dress boots, Bruno Magli’s collection of men’s dress shoes brings a variety of designs to choose from for your wedding day ensemble. The legacy brand has been designing shoes since the 1930s, bringing authentic Italian luxury to soles for nearly 100 years. Simple put: They know how to craft a great wedding shoe that will last years to come.
If comfort is at the top of your must list for men’s dress shoes, Cole Haan is always an excellent choice. Known for putting a comfortable, supportive twist on classic designs (without sacrificing style), Cole Haan shoes are some of the most comfortable dress shoes on the market. From classic cap-toe oxfords to stylish sneaker-inspired dress shoes, the brand blends comfort technology and traditional design for long-wear.
What to Look for When Shopping for Dress Shoes
The way shoes look is important but, according to Enrico Cuini, a Luxury Shoe Designer and Co-Founder of Enrico Cuini, comfort is key. “We have all been to a wedding, or even been in one, where our feet are destroyed afterward,” he says. “I think the world is learning its lesson and people are shifting to wearing shoes that are comfortable, they can wear more than once, and fit their personal style,” he adds. Before they make their dancefloor appearance, ensure your shoes fit comfortably.
An important thing to consider when shopping for dress shoes is where you will wear them and what the event’s dress code is. If it is a black-tie wedding, tuxedo shoes might be the better option. And, if you’re attending a destination wedding, formal shoes might not even be required. “Many weddings or black-tie events are destinations so, while they may be formally dressed, we also need to address their need for warmer weather shoes like sandals,” says Cuini. “For destination weddings, the so-called traditional formal shoe is very different and an open toe and sandal is more appropriate,” he adds.
As Cuini mentioned, personal style is at the forefront of the decision process when it comes to purchasing a pair of dress shoes. Choosing dress shoes that feel more “you” is important because it will make you feel more confident and stylish and also prevent them from sitting in your closet and collecting dust post-wedding. You want a shoe that you love enough to wear again.
What Is Considered a Dress Shoe?
“A dress shoe is any shoe that is not a sneaker, boot, or a type of footwear that exposes your feet such as a sandal,” says Cuini. On the technical side, Cuini says these shoes typically consist of four parts: The toe, vamp, facing, and quarter. “It’s the placement and construction of these four pieces that determine the uniqueness of a dress shoe,” he explains.
What Dress Shoes are Acceptable for a Black-Tie Wedding?
According to Cuini, black-tie wedding attire is going through an update as more people choose comfortability over a traditional dress shoe. That being said, if the dress code is more in line with the classic black tie look, Cuini recommends an oxford or loafer as a safe bet. “These can be brown or black, but it depends on what color tuxedo you are wearing,” he notes, adding that brown shoes tend to be slightly more casual. In addition to shoe style, Cuini says to make sure shoes are “nicely polished” before the big day.
Do You Have to Wear Dress Shoes at Your Wedding?
Good news: Cuini says you do not need to wear dress shoes at your wedding. “Comfort seems to be the key component for most people today, whether you are in the wedding or just attending it,” he says. “Wearing sneakers with a suit is trending today and more people are foregoing the traditional attire to wear what makes them feel best.”
Why Trust Brides
Jessie Quinn is a bridal-obsessed style writer with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism. When researching men’s style stories—such as the best dress shoes—she is all about putting personal style and quality first. After all, you want to wear the shoes, not have the shoes wear you! And, if they are an investment item, you might want to get multiple wears out of them.