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What are the Different Types of Shoes for Men? Formal & Casual Shoes

Do not think that the world of men’s footwear fashion is limited, even if most of it is dominated by nothing but sneakers. While there is nothing wrong with this minimalist approach, especially if the design choice is solid, we can do much better than that.

Learning about the different facets of men’s footwear and understanding their uses is quite the work though. So, whether if looking to expand your own knowledge about the different types of shoes for men or need a gift for him, this guide has got you covered. Let’s get started.

Types of Men’s Shoes

The world of men’s shoes might look daunting at first glance. There are hundreds of unique designs, with each bringing something new to men’s fashion. How can one possibly learn about all of them?

First off, most of these unique designs are obtained directly from a dozen or so types. Understanding these broader types will give you a clear understanding of their offshoots. Secondly, almost all of these major types can be further categorized into two sections, formal and casual.

What Are Formal Shoes?

At their simplest, formal shoes are the footwear dedicated to suits and tuxedos. These are usually made from materials like leather and are either black or some shade of brown. They are also known as professional leather shoes for their extensive use in offices and workplaces.

Not all shoes in this category are equally formal though, as only a handful of designs are reserved for stuff like white tie events. Some designs are also used with everyday white shirt outfits, no matter the style.

What are Casual Shoes?

Casual shoes are the ones you wear in casual day-to-day scenarios. These situations can range from going grocery shopping all the way up to homecoming parties and social gatherings.

Just like formal shoes, however, not all items in this category are equally casual. Some super casual footwear is only reserved for home use, while others can be worn to the office as business casual.

Types of Formal Shoes for Men

Now that you have a better understanding of what formal shoes are, here are the top examples.



Oxford shoes are one of the most popular types of formal shoes, and it’s easy to see why. Black dress shoes, for example, are super versatile. They work with pretty much any full or broken suit, no matter its shape, color and design. They also look great in an office environment with shirt and tie outfits.  



Blucher shoes are one of the cleanest formal footwear options out there. Their design consists of two hockey stick shaped flaps with laces in the middle, and that’s it. The rest of the shoes are free of any stitching, design or details.

Their soles are often carved from layered wood and look spectacular under the light. The only downside of these is that their cleanliness takes a lot of time and effort to maintain.

Chelsea Boots

Chelsea Boots

Chelsea boots have the vibe of high-top sneakers but in a formal body. These go up to your ankles and do not have laces. Their tightening mechanism is either a wide high-quality elastic on the outer side or a short zipper.

In either case, wearing and removing these takes mere seconds, making them ideal for day-to-day use. Their full-foot coverage is also why they work so well in winter. As for the materials, Chelsea boots are often made from either suede or leather.

The leather variants work great in most scenarios while the suede shoes are better suited for causal outfits. They’re also decently warm but lightweight.

Derby Shoes

Derby Shoes

Derby shoes are the closest relative to oxfords and inherit all of their positive traits. However, unlike oxfords, derby shoes are mostly matt and reflect very little light. These are also available in many uncommon colors like light olive and earthy brown.

One major difference between derby and oxford shoes is that the lace flaps on derby shoes are sewed on, while they are a part of the main shoe body for oxfords. A benefit of this approach is that it improves movement and reduces wrinkling over time. Other than that, you can’t go wrong with either one of these, especially with their brown leather jacket matchup.

Brogue Shoes

Brogue Shoes

Brogue shoes are the most stylish and unique entry in the formal shoe category, and nothing else even comes close to their pizazz. Their entire top is covered in overlapping layers of leather with holes of different sizes carved in geometric sequences.

The color around some of these patterns is also darkened to further emphasise their presence. These are the shoes you bring out when the rest of the formal outfit contains lively elements like red blazers, navy blue pants, or colorful ties.  

Types of Casual Shoes for Men

The world of leather casual shoes is a lot more colorful and livelier. Here are the ones you need to know about.



We’ve put loafers in casual, but the reality is that they do not belong in either of these categories. They are the ideal middle ground between formal and casual, and they’re fantastic at both. You can wear a pair of loafers to a business meeting and a night-time party on the same day.

The best part about loafers is their variety. First are the different types of loafers like tassel and apron. Then there are all of the different colors, patterns, design and details. You can also find custom loafers made from a thin fabric, fluff fabric, velvet, denim, canvas and even leather.

Leather loafers stand out among the rest with surprisingly good matchups with chinos, leather vests and button-ups.

Running Shoes

Running Shoes

Running shoes are optimized for practicality first and look second. These shoes are designed to cushion your impact on the ground, keep your soles supported from all sides, and provide above-average running friction. A mesh top with tons of padding and a flexible silicone-like sole is fairly common, though the exact materials can vary drastically between manufacturers.

As far as looks are concerned, running shoes are the epitome of aesthetic and sporty fashion. A side benefit of integrating them into your regular clothing is that your feet will always be comfortable.



Sneakers are to shoes what jeans are to pants. They are everywhere and for a good reason. Sneakers are some of the most versatile casual shoes on this planet. You can rock a pair of low-top white leather sneakers under a blazer business casual outfit, a hip-hop-inspired street ensemble, shorts + Hawaiian shirt summer combo and more.

There are also tons of subcategories of sneakers, with the distinction between low-top and high-top being the most common.

You’ll also find sneakers with all sorts of fitting mechanisms, from friction-fit to zippers, laces and elastic bands. Suffice to say; if you have to choose only one pair of shoes for your casual use, there is no better option than a pair of sneakers.


How many types of men’s shoes are there?

There are around 15 primary types of shoes for men. Almost all of these primary categories can then be divided into hundreds of unique designs.

What are men’s shoes called?

The two common names for men’s shoes (both formal and casual) are lace-up and slip-on.

What are classic shoes?

 Any item that doesn’t lose its charm and appeal over time and becomes the default for any occasion is called a classic. Same goes for footwear and oxford shoes are a fine example.

What are the three types of running shoes?

Men’s running shoes are categorized by their level of support. The three types of support systems in running shoes are Neutral, Stability, and Motion Control.

What shoes go with anything?

Loafers go with almost everything in your wardrobe. They transcend the barrier of traditional compatibility and work well for both casual and formal outfits.

Final Words:

Spending time to find the right footwear is arguably more important than crafting an outfit because the shoes will see a lot more use than a particular outfit in your arsenal. Hopefully, this guide was helpful in explaining the different types of shoes available to men and their broad uses.

The next step is to look inward. Think about the situations you encounter most or will encounter in the future. Weigh these findings against your personal taste, and you should find the right pair of shoes in no time. 

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