Though you might have survived your teen years with one scuffed-up pair of sneakers, as an adult man, you need more than one pair of shoes to navigate different social situations. In fact, your closet should have at least eight different pairs of footwear, outlined here:
The name “brogue” comes from the Gaelic word for shoe, but today, “broguing” refers to the decorative perforations that characterize these shoes. You can find brogues with more or less broguing; generally, brogue beginners prefer plainer shoes in darker brown hues, but if you like eye-catching looks, you can go for a full brogue in a tan or cognac shade. The brilliance of brogues is that they instantly dress up or down any outfit, giving you a comfortable, smart-casual look that fits almost any occasion.
Also called a chukka, a desert boot is an ankle-height dress-casual shoe that looks phenomenal with dark-wash denim but also appropriately suits a suit. You will usually find chukkas in suede or leather in a variety of colors; lighter colors tend to read more casual while darker colors are more formal. Desert boots are outstandingly comfortable and effortlessly stylish, so you should not be surprised if you buy more than one pair of this type of shoe.
Not long ago, loafers were the uncool footwear choice of a former generation, but today, loafers are a cool, comfortable pair of shoes that are perfect for summer. As with the previous two pairs, loafers are flexible footwear that can straddle the divide between formal and casual. Brown is a versatile color that will make these shoes more wearable, but you can select your own stylish details, like tassels, pennies, perforations and more. Though there is some debate, it is generally poor form to wear socks with loafers, as this can make the footwear look old and fussy.
You need a pair of stylish sneakers — and contrary to what you might hear, they do not need to be name-brand, limited edition, investor pieces. In fact, the more minimalist your sneakers, the better. A simple sneaker is an essential substitute for a flip-flop, slide or some other egregiously unstylish summer shoe. A neutral-colored canvas or suede pair will always be in style, and it will see plenty of wear with especially casual and comfortable outfits.
If you have only one pair of formal shoes, it better be a pair of black Oxfords. Also called bluchers or balmorals, these shoes can have closed or open laces but should have a classic rounded toe, for timeless style and greater comfort. You will wear your Oxfords only on exceedingly formal occasions, for official work events or important social gatherings. Because you are likely to have these shoes for the rest of your life, you might as well budget a few hundred dollars to ensure you get a durable, comfortable and stylish pair.
Brown Leather Boot
Men’s leather boots come in all shapes and sizes, but they always add something special to your outfit, like ruggedness or rebelliousness. Depending on your general aesthetic, you might opt for a stylish dress boot like a wingtip boot or a casual work boot like a utility boot. In any case, you should try to wear your boots often, especially in inclement weather, to give them a certain amount of character.
A monkstrap is a slip-on shoe without laces that can have a single, double or triple strap that holds the shoe to your foot. Because of their unique look, monkstraps tend to be divisive; some men consider them to be the adult’s equivalent of a Velcro sneaker, while other men like the shoes’ idiosyncrasy. If you do buy a pair of monkstraps for your closet, you should pair them with pants that have no break, so the interesting buckles of the shoe can shine.
A Chelsea boot is an ankle boot with an elastic side panel, making them easier to slip on and off than other boot styles. Because Chelsea boots tend to lack fussy details like laces, straps and toe caps, they boast a simple and chic silhouette that is missing from much of men’s footwear fashion. When you don’t want to worry about what your shoes are saying, you can opt for the Chelsea boot.
Because as an adult you have more than one type of occasion to put on shoes, you need more than one pair of shoes. These eight options should cover every outing in any season, so you are stylish all year-round.