Guys, shoes are one of the most import parts of a men’s essential wardrobe. People will judge you by your shoes. If you’re wearing cheap poorly made shoes or shoes that are dirty and scuffed up, people will assign unflattering personality traits to you before you open your mouth. In order to have a complete capsule wardrobe you need to have your footwear adequately covered for all occasions, all weather conditions and for every outfit in your wardrobe.
Below, I’ve covered the 5 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet. The first 5 shoes in this guide are absolute must-haves. If you have these you’re pretty much covered for anything. After the first 5, I’ve added 5 more which you need to round out your wardrobe. First up is the black oxford.
1. The Black Oxford
Check Out The Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap Toe Oxford
Talk about a versatile shoe. Black Oxfords can be dressed up or down. They can pretty much be worn with anything in your closet other than super casual attire like shorts and t-shirts. If you’ve followed my advice and you have a navy suit and a charcoal grey suit, then you need a pair of black oxfords. If you’re going to dress up a pair of dark wash jeans with a navy blazer, then a great pair of oxfords will finish everything off nicely.
4 Of The Best Men’s Black Oxfords
2. The White Leather Sneaker
Check Out The Common Projects Achilles Lows
The next shoe on my list is probably the most versatile shoe on the list. White Sneakers are simply timeless. There’ve been articles written on white sneakers being the new dress shoe. I’m not over exaggerating when I say white sneakers will literally go with anything in your closet, all the way from the most casual outfits to suits. You can throw on a crisp white oxford dress shirt with a pair of chinos, or a navy blazer with some dark wash jeans, or even dress down your navy or charcoal grey suit. I’m sure when you buy your first pair of white kicks that your collection will grow quickly.
If you’re going with a white sneaker, you’ll want to go with a sleek tennis shoe profile and not a basketball shoe. Basketball shoes are too clunky for the sleek clean look we’re shooting for.
Also, it’s of the utmost importance that you keep those suckers clean. By all means, pick yourself up shoe cleaning kit like the one from Jason Markk here ->. Jason Markk Essential Kit PLUS Repel.
3 Of The Best Men’s White Sneakers
3. The Running Shoe
Check Out The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 Running Sneaker
A good running shoe is a great addition to any essential wardrobe. You probably already have a couple pairs in your closet. They’re not only perfect for the gym but great for your casual outfits. Whether you’re headed out to the gym or the grocery store a good clean pair of running shoes are a necessity.
When I’m talking about running shoes, I’m not talking about lifestyle sneakers I’ve listed below. I’m talking about a functional running shoe you could run a marathon in.
Most of my workout gear is black so I like either going with a grey or black sneaker, or a grey and blue sneaker, like my favorite sneakers by Brooks.
3 Of The Best Men’s Running Shoes
4. The Work Boot
Check Out The Red Wing Heritage Moc Toe Work Boot
Work boots can be very stylish, but every guy should have one of these in his closet to handle in-climate weather, a little mud, or some actual work. These are the boots that you can throw on with your favorite pair of selvedge jeans for a night out on the town, or put on to handle the construction site.
3 Of The Best Men’s Work Boots
5. The Water-Resistant Sandal, Slide or Flip-Flop
Check Out The Reef Fanning Mens Sandals With Bottle Opener
I have a pool, and most of you either have a pool, have a friend with a pool, or like to go to the beach or the local lake. So for all of us, sandals are an absolute necessity. Sandals are great when you’re on the go and need to throw something on quickly. For our purposes with need sandals that can handle the water. Please do not wear leather sandals to the beach or around water, they’ll just end up falling apart.
3 Of The Best Men’s Water-Resistant Sandals, Flips, and Slides
5 Bonus Shoes Every Guy Should Have In His Closet
The first five shoes in this list I consider must haves. If you’re missing any of the shoes in the top section I suggest grabbing a pair. You’ll be making your life a lot easier. The bottom five I could not say in good conscience are must-haves but I firmly suggest you add these to your shoe arsenal. Because I dress casually more often than not, my Ludlow Brown Brogues Kenton Pacer Boots, and Suede chukkas get a ton of use
6. The Brown Leather Brogue Blucher Derby
Check Out The Alden for J.Crew Longwing Bluchers in Tobacco
My second favorite dress shoes are my Brogues. They’re less formal than oxfords and can add a nice pop of color to a navy suit. One look I love with these is with a navy suit and a matching brown belt. They can also be dressed down nicely with jeans, an Oxford dress shirt, or a navy blazer.
3 Of The Best Men’s Brown Leather Brogue Bluchers
7. The Brown Leather Boot
Check Out The J. Crew Kenton Leather Pacer Boots
The leather boot is an absolute must-have for the fall & winter seasons. Brown leather boots combine the style of a dress shoe with some of the protective properties of a work boot. Think of it this way, when the weather changes to the point you have to put your white sneakers away it’s time to put your leather boots back in rotation. I love pairing my leather boots with my favorite pair of dark wash jeans and navy chinos.
3 Of The Best Men’s Brown Leather Boots
8. The Suede Driving Shoe
Check Out The Brook’s Brothers Suede Driving Mocs
These shoes are a great way to add a little pop to an otherwise casual outfit. Suede Driving shoes are not for the timid. These shoes were originally created for guys who wanted a little extra grip while driving their Italian Sports Cars. Nowadays you can find them on the Hampton crowd and the like. To pull off driving shoes though you need to follow some rules:
Suede Driving Shoes are not dress shoes. They’re made for sharp casual wear for eating out on the town or chilling at the club, not for the office or heavy duty activities.
Don’t wear socks with driving shoes it’s just a bad look. If you need a sock, go for the no-show variety.
If you’re wearing suede driving shoes, they should hold the attention of the outfit, meaning keep your pants to no-break or a slight quarter break and keep the colors neutral with tonal stitching. It’s very easy to go overboard with these shoes.
Just like white sneakers, once they get worn toss them.
3 Of The Best Men’s Driving Shoes
9. The Suede Chukka
Check Out The Clarks Suede Chukkas
If you’re looking for something a little more casual and comfortable than a leather boot, the Suede Chukka is your next best bet. Just like the leather boots they go great with chinos and jeans and add a nice splash of light color to otherwise dark fall outfits. Just keep in mind that suede and water don’t go together at all, so keep these bad boys dry.
3 Of The Best Men’s Suede Chukkas
10. The Casual Sneaker
Check Out The New Balance 574 Sneakers
When I say casual sneakers I’m talking along the line of New Balance Lifestyle Sneakers like the 574’s or Nike Kill Shots. Not really made for sports but comfortable and perfect for walking around town. I suggest starting with a dark blue or grey pair and then adding a black pair with white soles. These shoes are great for bringing an outfit together by matching the color tones of your sweatpants, dark wash jeans, or chinos, t-shirts, v-neck sweaters or lightweight jackets.