5 Replies to “What’s the Best Type of Dress Shoe for Business?”

  1. For full business dress you’ll want a black balmoral lace-up, well-shined. Slightly less formal would be black shoes with any kind of decorative punching (called “brogueing,” and the shoes are often called “brogues”), dark brown shoes, and any kind of blucher.

    The big difference between balmorals and bluchers is the “lacing system” — those pieces of leather with holes for shoelaces that the laces join together. An oxford-style shoe has those pieces sewn completely into the construction, so that the surface is smooth across the top of the shoe. A blucher leaves those pieces separate, so that there’s two distinct pieces of leather stitched on top of the shoe’s surface.

    You’ll also hear people refer to “oxfords” as the dressiest type of business shoe, but that’s actually because of a bit of confusion here in America. In Great Britain the two words “balmoral” and “blucher” describe the lacing system differences, while “oxford” just refers to the height of a dress shoe that comes up to the base of the ankle. In America that particular height got associated with the dressiest business shoes, so now some manufacturers will say “oxford” when what they really mean is a closed lacing system, i.e., a balmoral.

    Confusing, no? The simple answer is “black balmoral oxfords,” and just about any shoe store will know what you mean if you say that.

  2. We did a video explaining the difference between dress shoe types a while back on the Real Men Real Style YouTube channel:

  3. I would go with black oxfords as mentioned above, but with a plain front. Meaning no cap toe or wingtips. Again, this is just my opinion, I feel that in a business setting you should convey professionalism and simplicity instead of flamboyancy.

  4. I take back my previous comment. I’m not sure how to delete it. Wear whatever kind of style you want on there, cap toes and wingtips are fine, I shouldn’t have given that advice, I myself wore cap toes for business so thats not fair for me to say that.

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