One of the most formal shoe models for men is the Oxford shoe (often called Balmorals). They have a specific lace up and tie characterized by closed lacing. The characteristic shoelace eyelets are stitched underneath the upper vamp, with the lacing covering the shoe tongue very elegantly and discreetly. They are usually made from leather, like calf leather, patent leather, but can also be made of suede, and they usually come in black or dark brown color. Characterized with low to medium heels, these can also have an additional piece of leather covering the toe section, which gives them nice decorative toe cap. The Oxfords are one of the most formal/dress shoes that have been ever made for men, and are almost exclusively worn with suits.
The Monk Shoe
The second most formal men’s shoe is the so – called monk shoe. This type of shoe is made from leather or suede, depending on the model can have a toe cap, but their main characteristic is the fastening – they are fastened with decorative straps and buckles. The monk shoes are usually made in black or brown version. They have slightly higher heel, but also look great with suits, are not as formal as the Oxfords, but are one of the most popular office shoes.
The Derby Shoe
Next in our list is the derby shoe. In comparison with the Oxfords, these have a shoelace eyelet part sewn on top of the upper vamp, and an open lacing, which means that the shoe tongue is visible underneath the shoelaces. The derby shoes are usually made from leather and most often come in brown colored versions. They were sporting and hunting shoes, but later became popular as town shoes, and today have found their way to the formal part of the closet – not as formal as the Oxfords, but formal enough to be worn with classic cut trousers.
Another variation of the derby shoe is the blucher shoe – a model made with vamp of single piece of leather, with open lacing, where the tongue is visible. These were popular army shoe in the 18 century, but eventually became popular as “not so” but formal enough, so these can be worn to “semi – formal” occasions.
Another low heeled formal shoe is the Brogue shoe. It has a vamp made of several pieces of leather stitched together, fastened with laces. The upper pieces of leather have decorations and serration on the visible edges. They have highly decorated toe caps that can be wingtip, half brogue and quarter brogue design. Back in the day were considered outdoors shoes, but have made their way as popular dress shoes.