‘You can judge a man by his shoes’. They reveal a lot about the man’s personality and choices.

Also, shoes can truly make or break an outfit. Every detail and every scuff counts.

It is given that not every formal shoe will compliment all formal outfits. So it is important to pick styles that match your personality and the occasion and more importantly look good in what you are wearing.

There are several things to be kept in mind when choosing a pair of formal shoes which are inarguably one of the most important investments a man can make for his wardrobe, rather than treat it just as an ephemeral buy.

What are the things to look for before buying a formal shoe?

1. Type of Shoe

First, you need to know the kind of shoes you are looking for. Since, today, there is a wide assortment of options to choose from, determining the type of formal shoes you want to buy is key. For example, among the dress shoes, Oxfords are considered the most formal one, followed by Derby, and these are ideal for black tie events, meetings and weddings.

2. Leather

Since leather is the most prominent and common material for men’s formal shoes, the quality of leather plays a very important role in the quality of the shoes.

A few tips to identify quality leather:

  • Good quality or original leather will not smell like chemicals or plastic and will smell of polish
  • The stitching on the leather will be subtle and neat
  • There would be a few blemishes, patches or scars on the surface of the leather

3. Fit

Just like in clothes, the fit of your shoes (or footwear) is of extreme importance, not just as part of looking neat but also for the wellbeing of your feet. Always, choose fit over style.
Just to make sure your shoes fit well, keep in mind the following:

  1. Try out both of your shoes (pair) and walk around a bit in them to gauge the level of comfort (too tight or loose).
  2. Ensure there is no added pressure on your legs when walking around in them
  3. It’s better to wear your socks (that you would normally wear or plan to wear with your formal shoes) when you are trying out the new pair
  4. Try to wiggle your toes when wearing the shoes. As a thumb rule, there should ideally be one-inch space between your big toe and the toe box.

Also, do keep in mind that, unlike suede or cloth material, leather shoes will not stretch much. Hence, while investing in one, thinking your feet will adjust to it  soon will only prove to be a myth.

4. Shape of the toe

There are different types of toe shapes, ranging from plain toe to cap toe to wing tip and semi brogue, to name a few. It’s best to choose one with a reasonably shaped toe rather than opting for dress shoes with very narrow or wide one, and thereby strike a balance.

5. Heel

Dress shoes should ideally have a short heel (not flats) and this heel should not be more than one inch. Ideal heel height: One inch or lower; but avoid picking flat heels at any cost.

6. Color

Though black and brown are the most common shade in dress shoes, black is the most versatile one, letting you pair it up with almost anything. Browns and tans are more ideal for business casuals and needs much more care when styling.

7. Lace

Formal shoes should ideally be laced, this is because they look more professional as compared to other models like loafers and slip on.

Best formal shoes for men in India

Traditionally, black is considered the go-to color for formal shoes. But in the recent times, suede especially, in various colours and browns has gradually begun to challenge the black leather monopoly. While the brighter counterparts have not yet got a full formal acceptance, brown has managed to get a strong foothold in the formal party.

For the confused souls, who have trouble picking the right formal shoes, from the overwhelming number of options, we have rounded up some of the best formal shoes for men. So shoe on…

Red Tape Men Tan Leather Formal Shoes

This simple and minimalistic yet trendy pair of tan Derby brogues from Red Tape is sure to give you a tasteful and masculine appearance. Due to its rugged look, it is ideal for business attires and smart casuals.

Price Range: Rs 1,500 – Rs 2,500

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Hush Puppies Brown Elan Oxford Genuine Leather Formal Shoes

The least complicated yet the most sophisticated kind of shoes are the classic Oxfords and among that the brogue category would be the most fashionable one. They are perfect for anything formal. You are sure to create a style statement with this pair of brown Oxford brogues from Hush Puppies.

Price Range: Rs 1,500 – Rs 2,500

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Ruosh Brown Formal Shoes

This smart and trendy pair of brown shoes will help you create a refined and smart look that oozes confidence. And is the perfect one for any formal occasions or even black tie events.

Tip: Best to avoid wearing black trousers with brown shoes since they might not always be the best combination but can work well with colours like navy.

Price Range: Rs 2,500 – Rs 3,500

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Alberto Torresi Tan Formal Shoes

Tans and browns are now gaining popularity just like the all time favorite blacks. They now come in different shades and tones and are versatile enough to create smart outfits for office to casual look for a relaxed day out. With this elegant pair of derby styled shoes from Alberto Torresi, you can never go wrong!

Tip: Don’t forget to match your shoes with your belt!

Price Range: Rs 3,500 – Rs 4,500

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Red Tape Brown Formal Shoes

Simplicity is the highlight of this pair of derby shoes from Red Tape. The color especially, adds to the charm and is great to be worn to office or for a date! With a rustic look, these shoes match the comfort and style quotient.

Price Range: Rs 1,200 – Rs 2,500

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Louis Philippe Tan Derby Brogue Formal Shoes

Another pair of Derby brogue shoes, but with a touch of intricate designs, fit for a slightly less formal occasion. This is ideal when you want to wear it as part of your smart casuals. When paired with denims, they can transform the whole look. Being versatile, this one can easily straddle both the semi formal and informal world pretty efficiently.

Price Range: Rs 3,000 – Rs 4,000

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Alberto Torresi Tan Formal Shoes

While tan shoes are not the kind you can pair with just everything, you can still go on to create some sharp and formal looks with them. One good combination with tan is grey, especially for ones like this Alberto Torresi’s pair of tan shoes with elaborate patterns that screams flamboyance and splendor. With something loud like this, it is best to choose slightly muted colours.

So if you think a little grandeur is in order, then these shoes are for you!

Tip: It is best to stick to the middle when it comes to the shape, avoiding anything too square or extremely pointy toes.

Price Range: Rs 1,500 – Rs 2,500

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Blackberrys Men Black Leather Semiformal Slip-Ons

Though not ideal for highly formal occasions, these black leather slip on shoes from Blackberrys, is one of the must-haves in a man’s wardrobe, and can steal the thunder when part of a semi formal or casual attire. These can create a relaxed yet stylish look.

Note: This is not a 100% formal shoe, but can be worn on certain occasions where you needs to slip on and off your shoes quite often.


Price Range: Rs 2,000 – Rs 3,000

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