Believe it or not, it is possible to get yourself a pair of comfortable dress shoes. We know, we know, you’re probably thinking that most men’s dress shoes are not comfortable. But they’re essential to any man’s wardrobe; particularly for those who have to don them most days for work.
But when most of us think of comfortable dress shoes for men, we picture hideous shoes that no one under the age of 80 would wear… So, this begs the question: how can I get comfortable dress shoes that look great?
Sole and behold. That’s where we come in.
You need to know what to look for in a shoe that’ll make it comfortable, what leather type is best for your lifestyle (and budget), and you also need to know what brands have mastered how to embed technologies that make dress shoes comfortable in a way that still makes them stylish.
What Makes A Dress Shoe Comfortable?
Think of your favourite pair of running shoes, they’re probably super comfortable, right? You could wear them all day without any issues whatsoever. The most comfortable dress shoes that feel like sneakers exhibit similar features, which we’ve detailed below:
Feet are designed to move in a very specific way, and what makes most dress shoes so uncomfortable is that they restrict this natural movement. Running shoes better mimic the natural movements of your feet and hence are more comfortable. When looking for comfortable dress shoes, look for pairs with a more flexible upper (the part that covers the top surface of your foot).
Most high-quality dress shoes have a leather insole, which is great for durability but not for comfort, at least to begin with. So, for extra comfort, you’ll want to look for dress shoes that have extra cushioning on the inside. Clarks is a great brand for this, but you will be able to find other brands that offer added cushioning for all-day comfort.
Leather dress shoes aren’t just leather dress shoes. Those who are serious about how their feet feel need to consider the leather types that comfortable dress shoes are made from and there are four common types to consider.
Full Grain Leather
This is the most common type of leather used and is also the best quality found in comfortable dress shoes. Full-grain leather is characterised by its luxurious and smooth surface with minimal flaws. This means that it’s often used in its natural state without the need for sanding or buffing of imperfections.
More importantly, it’s strong because the fibres and grain haven’t been modified from their natural state. Aesthetically, full-grain also develops a natural patina layer that protects the leather from wear. We still recommend you look after your comfortable dress shoes with additional supplements though.
Top Grain Leather
Top grain leather is the second-highest quality leather found on comfortable dress shoes. It is thinner and therefore more flexible than full-grain leather. Its surface is often sanded and is less breathable. The positive to this is that it has better stain resistance than full-grain leather.
If you needed proof that marketing is a powerful tool then this is it. Genuine leather dress shoes are made from leather but they’re the lowest quality you can get. These kinds of shoes are made from the leftover leather of high-end products – the ones that quality shoemakers reject. As a result, these dress shoes are less comfortable on the feet and don’t last as long. Their advantage is that they’re widely available and affordable.
Corrected Grain Leather
One of the lesser-known leathers is the corrected grain. think of this one as a hybrid leather that takes a special type of leather that is further fixed or refined by leatherworkers. What this means is that an artificial grain has been embossed over the top of it before it is refined with sanding, dyes and stains.
It’s also one of the more affordable options for comfortable dress shoes.
Some other helpful DMARGE stories about footwear:
Still a tad confused or overwhelmed? To make this seemingly impossible task of finding comfortable dress shoes easier, we’ve curated a selection of brands that you simply have to check out.
Whether you’re after a wingtip oxford or a cap toe, you’re guaranteed to find the comfortable dress shoe you’ve been looking for with one of the brands featured below.
Price: From $179
Customer Reviews: “They look and feel amazing. I bought these for my husband for Christmas and he loved them. Comfortable like a sneaker. He’s hard to please in the shoe department so bravo Amberjack.”
Amberjack may be a brand you haven’t heard of before, but they’re one you really should be taking note of. The team behind Amberjack have years of experience in the footwear industry, working with some of the biggest heavyweights such as Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds, and Adidas.
They only have one dress shoe to offer, ‘The Original’, which is a stylish comfortable dress shoe available in nine timeless colours (across both leather and suede materials). But this shoe is secretly a serious game-changer when it comes to offering comfort in a dress shoe style. The soles of The Original are crafted with new, proprietary materials created by Amberjack that deliver comfort all day long! They also feature heat-activated arch support made with foam (that’s more durable than memory foam) that when heated by your body warmth will mould to your foot for custom arch support.
Not to mention a dual-density outsole with high-performance athletic technology in the front for flexibility and strong hiking boot material in the back for support. Oh, and the sustainably sourced Italian suede used for the upper is water repellent, meaning you can wear these dress shoes in rain or shine, and the suede will stay protected and fresh. Seriously, these will be some of the most comfortable dress shoes you’ll ever own.
Price: From $90
Customer Reviews: “Smooth and absolutely comfortable. Business casual at it’s best!”
Founded in 1928, in Chicago, Cole Haan is an American brand renowned for its footwear which is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Cole Haan employs various technologies when crafting its footwear, to ensure ultimate comfort, most notably the Zerogrand, and Original Grand collections.
Cole Haan has a fantastic range of comfortable dress shoes, all of which look incredibly dapper. The Original Grand dress shoes are extremely lightweight and feature extreme cushioning that was inspired by walking on the moon. And the Zerogrand dress shoes mimic the foot’s natural movement, so you can move smoothly with less fatigue. Both are good options, but if you’re planning on standing for long periods, go for the Original Grand, and if you’re planning on walking a lot, go for the Zerogrand.
Price: From $95
Customer Reviews: “1st time customer and very pleased with quality + fit! Most likely purchase other color!”
British company, Clarks, may invoke a flashback to schoolyard days and handball courts, but trust us, Clarks makes comfortable and stylish shoes for adults too (even though you most likely know the brand for their ‘school shoes’).
Their Men’s Ortholite range includes smart comfortable dress shoes, that all have cushioning and moisture-wicking technology in the footbeds to keep feet comfortable. In fact, Clarks boasts that, with their cushioning technologies, their footwear will provide you with comfort and support 24/7, 365. The Ortholite dress shoes also feature open-cell foam technology that absorbs impact and reduces shock.
Price: From $145
Customer Reviews: “Timeless, elegant and well-made, sporty shoe.”
For over forty years, Camper has looked to technology to engineer footwear that’ll provide the wearer with the most comfortable shoe that’ll keep your feet healthy and supported.
For a pair of comfortable dress shoes, Camper’s Lightweight range is an excellent option. All of the men’s dress shoes in the Lightweight range provide advanced everyday performance in terms of mobility. Plus, with cushioned insoles for arch support and EVA rubber outsoles that’ll make you feel like you’re going barefoot, you’ll feel comfortable all day. Oh, and did we mention Camper’s dress shoes are also elegant and handsome?
Johnston and Murphy
Price: From $185
Material: European leather
Customer Reviews: “A beautiful crafted shoe. Simple but elegant. Very comfortable right out of the box. Dress them up or down.”
Founded in 1850, Johnston & Murphy first specialised in crafting quality and highly durable work shoes but in 1880, took the craftsmanship and durability of their work shoes and built them into a line of higher-fashion footwear, which quickly became popular around the world. In 2010, Johnston & Murphy held an online “Ultimate Comfort Contest”, asking customers to send in why they find shoes uncomfortable, so that Johnston and Murphy could rectify those issues with their next line of shoes.
And boy, did they. Johnston & Murphy launched their XC4 range, which stands for Extreme Comfort and the number 4 represents the four main features of XC4 shoes: moisture-wicking, lightweight, cushioning, and an extra removable insole for a perfect fit. They have a large range of comfortable dress shoes for men within the XC4 collection that’ll keep your feet feeling but also looking good.
Price: From $109
Customer Reviews: “I got the shoes and they are very comfortable. They also look really nice on.”
With over 17 million pairs of shoes sold every year in 150 countries around the world, Hush Puppies has become a globally known household name since its inception in 1958. The American brand is best known for its casual style of shoes, but Hush Puppies also make some seriously stylish dress shoes for men.
Aside from being stylish, Hush Puppies’ comfortable dress shoes also employ their Bounce technology, which reduces the stress on your feet by absorbing the energy generated when you walk. Dual-density outsoles release energy with each step by absorbing and redistributing shock through the air pods at the heel and ball area of the foot for unparalleled comfort and support. Talk about comfortable dress shoes.
Price: From $149
Material: Calf leather
Customer Reviews: “Brilliant! It arrived almost immediately and I love these shoes. They are comfortable and look good.”
Founded in 1892, American brand, Florsheim has been producing fine-quality footwear for quite some time. Renowned for being at the forefront of new trends whilst simultaneously staying true to their classic styling and quality workmanship, you’re guaranteed an excellent shoe when purchasing from Florsheim.
Florsheim has a great range of comfortable dress shoes for men in different colours and styles, but they all employ Florsheim’s technology, Comfortech. This means all dress shoes include features like cushioned footbeds, breathable linings, rebounding insoles, and outsoles designed to make your stride easier. Talk about comfort meets style.
Price: From $150
Material: Bovine leather
Customer Reviews: “Elegant, well-made, and comfortable right out of the box. Walked 4 miles in my brand new shoes and no issues whatsoever.”
When a company’s vision is “to be the leading premium brand for shoes and leather goods” you know you’re in the right place to find comfortable dress shoes. Ecco prides itself on innovation and providing improvements to the footwear and leather industry.
Ecco achieves this with their Vitrus collection of dress shoes for men. The innovative Viturs shank, featured in all of the company’s shoes, allows the formulation of a soft, cupped heel that’ll bring you closer to the ground for greater stability and comfort. Ecco’s Vitrus dress shoes also feature Fluidfrom, a lightweight and fluid material, that’s wrapped around the Vitrus shank so the interior of the shoe follows the natural contours of feet, meaning you can comfortably wear any Ecco Vitrus dress shoe all day long.