Top Must-Own Shoes for Men

Tuesday Bote - Dec 18, 2020


"All I need is a pair of sneaks, and I am good to go!"

We usually hear those words from teens and younger guys who want to live a relaxed and easy-going lifestyle. But the truth is a long way from that: no matter what kind of lifestyle you lead, your shoes need to fit the occasion.

Sure, we're all for the freewheeling, anything-goes-bro aesthetic. Still, we're also pretty sure that any man worthy of being called one is not going to show up at a formal job interview in ratty sneakers that he’s worn since junior high or, worse, in flip-flops.

As you grow older, several footwear staples ought to be part of their wardrobe. Here are the most popular picks that you need to have on hand.

Types of Shoes Every Man Should Own

Sneakers: Casual Classic

From high-topped Chucks to standard-issue ankle-high types, sneakers are often referred to as “democratic footwear” by many fashion writers because practically everyone wears them. While initially made with canvas, numerous brands now make these comfortable shoes with a variety of materials, including sustainably-sourced leather and other eco-friendly options. 


Available in lace-up and slip-on versions, sneakers are go-anywhere shoes that go with everything from cargo shorts and a t-shirt to a sweater and slacks.

Oxfords: Dressed to Impress

The Oxford is the classic formal shoe: these elegant closed-lace shoes are the ones you wear for formal events, power meetings, and job interviews. Even the most elegantly tailored suits seem incomplete if these aren’t the wearer’s footwear of choice. Properly cared for Oxfords can last a lifetime and are considered worth investing in, so be sure to choose the best possible brand for your feet.

Derbies: Workingman’s Shoes

If we were to compare shoes with actors who played James Bond, formal Oxfords are like Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan: always neat and impeccably groomed. Derbies, on the other hand, call to mind the rougher charm of Sean Connery or Daniel Craig: smart and sharp looking, but ready for action. 

While the closed-toe construction of the Derby is similar to the Oxford's, the opened-lace front calls to mind work boots and the material used for making these shoes is usually sturdier: waterproof, slip-proof, and scuff-proof. These qualities make a pair of Derbies an excellent choice for work in practically all seasons.

Loafers: Smart Simplicity

These snazzy-looking slip-ons have a fascinating history: the iconic design – with or without tassels – was inspired by the humble, low-heeled shoes worn by Norwegian farm hands at the turn of the last century. 


Lightweight yet built to last, loafers became the shoe of choice among the prep school crowd (hence their longstanding connection to the preppy look) as these could be worn to class in the daytime and then on to the party come evening. 

Always made of leather with a sturdy all-weathers sole, loafers add an effortless elegance to a shirt-and-chinos outfit.

Sandals and Espadrilles: Field to Shore Footwear

Worn since the dawn of civilization (and there's lots of archaeological evidence to back that up), sandals were to our ancestors what sneakers are to us now: footwear worn by everyone from noblemen to the humblest workers. 

Today, sandals are worn by people on vacation and make fabulous beachwear as these are sturdier and more comfortable than flip-flops when walking on sand.

Espadrilles, on the other hand, have been worn in much of Mediterranean Europe since the 14th Century. Considered the midpoint between sandals and slip-on shoes, espadrilles are made with breathable canvas uppers, and the soles are woven or braided from esparto, a hardy type of grass that grows in Greece and Italy, or from raffia. These go with practically everything except for the most formal outfits and are very comfortable.

Whatever you do, though, never make the mistake of wearing socks with either sandals or espadrilles – it just isn’t done.

Boots: Rugged Energy

Is there any shoe manlier than a classic pair of boots? While originally the footwear of choice for lumberjacks, farmers, miners, and other hard-working laborers, boots add a hard edge to even the most sophisticated city slickers' outfits. Boots like the Oliver Cabell Wilson Boots collection are still popular despite the evolution of fashion from the punk rock movement of the '80s and the grunge scene of the '90s. 

Yet, the rough-hewn look of brown leather work boots has also earned its fan base among the outdoorsy crowd. Rain boots, while nearly in an entirely different category altogether, are also considered a necessity for one's wardrobe, particularly for those living in places where rainfall gets particularly heavy or where the streets are slick with ice in the winter.

Athletic Shoes: Empowered Fitness

Whether you follow the NBA or the NFL, athletic shoes are a must-have for those who play hard – and play to win. Designed specifically to suit the needs of professional players, many of these shoes can withstand hard running and scuffing. Running shoes, the most commonly worn footwear among gym-goers and joggers, are appropriate for track work, rhythmic activity, and even extreme activities like skateboarding or parkour. 

For those who play specific sports, however, it is necessary to invest in appropriate footwear. Not only do these make you look good on the court or in the field, but these also minimize the risk of foot and ankle injuries in play. While football, soccer, and baseball teams have long insisted on specially designed shoes, basketball and tennis players have also cottoned on, and brands have been developing ergonomic footwear that works.

Oliver Cabell: Great Shoes for a Great Look

Rugged yet elegant, practical yet stylish: these are the hallmarks of Oliver Cabell’s footwear for men. Each pair combines effortless style with maximum comfort, making them the perfect choice for both work and play.

Oliver Cabell - Sustainable Shoes

Through the use of European shoe making methods, each Oliver Cabell shoe can be worn just about anywhere from stylish high streets and well-appointed offices to cobblestone paths and grassy meadows. The company's use of sustainably-sourced Italian leathers not only speaks of its commitment to delivering products of the best possible quality but also of its concern for the environment.

From sneakers and boots to driving shoes, Oliver Cabell has the right pair for you.