Ah, the humble men’s dress shoe. Where would the modern wardrobe be without this champion of sartorial styling. From Oxford dress shoes to double monk straps to dress boots and plenty more variations under the sun, quality dress shoes are an essential part of any formal and smart casual look for guys.
With quality making up a huge factor, the right choice in dress shoe can be a bit harder to nail though. Thankfully we’ve scoured the world to hunt down eight of the best cheap men’s dress shoes you can get your hands on right now that won’t compromise style and quality for price.
But before that, a quick crash course on seeking out good dress shoes for those who know nothing about them.
How To Wear Dress Shoes
Dress shoes have rightfully transcended the strict formal realm and now sits amongst purveyors of smart casual and casual players as well. What we mean by this is that dress shoes can be worn with:
The most important rule to follow with these pairings is fitment of the bottoms. Whilst not as formal, dress shoes are still formal wear so wearing fitted jeans, chinos or shorts is a must for any dress shoe pairing. Get this right and you’ve got one hell of a polished look.
Traits Of Quality Dress Shoes
- Leather. Real leather is a must. It breathes better, evolves to accommodate the shape of your foot, and can be refurbished a number of times.
- Well-made soles. The soles should also be leather, and should be stitched – rather than glued – to the bottom of the shoes.
- The lining. The lining of your shoes should be made of high-quality calfskin or natural leather, not synthetic materials. Wait, your shoes don’t even have a lining? Fill them with dirt and pop a bulb in them. They’re useless as dress shoes, but they’ll make great planter boxes.
- The stitching. It should be neat and barely noticeable. Anything else is not up to your exacting standards and unworthy of your good taste in suits.
More information on every single type of dress shoe style can be found in our simple men’s dress shoe guide.
Stacy Adams has been around since 1875 so you know you’re getting reliable dress shoes from these guys. Founded in the U.S, the company prides itself on quality lifestyle fashion pieces for distinguished gentlemen who know true style and need to make an impression wherever they go.
Carrucci is a no-nonsense name which offers hand-made dress shoes that evoke Italian design without the Italian price tag. The versatility of their range is impressive especially in the colour department, making it the perfect choice for those who need a quick and good looking dress shoe without worrying too much about luxury or premium feel.
Far from the traditional leather makers of Italy we have Cole Haan, a premium footwear maker hailing from the U.S. Their name is shaped by over a century of craftsmanship, innovation and style, and this is reflected in their leather dress shoe offerings for men which won’t break the bank.
Massimo Matteo footwear blends fashion and style with timeless appeal. As a family run brand, Massimo Matteo maintains a core integrity while offering luxury-quality footwear at affordable prices – shoes everyone wants on their feet from wing tips to cap toes to the slip-on Oxford.
Johnston & Murphy
Another power player in the men’s dress shoe game is American shoemaker Johnston & Murphy. For over 165 years, they’ve been outfitting legends, leaders (including every U.S. President since Millard Fillmore) and independent souls everywhere. Through craftsmanship with charm, style and substance that are second to none, the company has been able to champion serious quality, without the serious attitude.
Carlos. Carlos Santana. Yes, the guitarist with a mean riff has his own shoe label and it’s inspired by the passion and energy that surrounds Santana’s music. Their men’s dress shoe range evokes a slick and vintage feel of the golden era and they’re not as expensive as you’d think.