A few days ago, I got a message from my friend Adam. This is what he said:
Mon! Can I ask you a men’s fashion question about tux-appropriate footwear? I’ve been seeing your posts on Instagram and thought you might be able to help me out …
Of course I wanted to help, so I asked him for some more information. Adam’s part of the wedding party, for which he will be wearing a very stylish Vera Wang tuxedo. All of the groomsmen can select their own shoes. Being in a wedding can be expensive, so Adam is hoping to buy a pair of shoes that he could wear again but that would look appropriate for the big day.
He found a pair of oxford boots that would be perfect, but they are way over budget at $475. And I have to say, they are amazing oxford boots. Just look at these dazzlers:
Adam would prefer a boot, since winter is on it’s way. This is going to a major challenge, because the boots he found are so perfect! I looked around quite a bit, and noticed how extreme the market is for men. Things are either very cheap and generic looking, or fashionable and very costly. I spent several hours researching mens shoes, and found lots of great sites. Soletopia
is a great resource. The site is easy to navigate, and makes developing personal style a snap. They highlight great designs and brands, explaining the materials used and where to purchase the items. I found a lot of great styles, like these Masion Martin Margiela
mixed media boots:
But at $890, I felt like I was striking out of options for Adam. SSense
had some more great options, but again, many of them were way over budget. I did find these edgy, black leather studded boots by Underground
. The boots have a wingtip, pointed toe. The three pin-buckles are laid over a zip closure, for an easy on and off. At $220, the price is within budget. But they might be too edgy for a wedding . . .
Black studded leather boots by Underground. $220. Available at SSense
Most of the other boots on the market were in the $900+ range, or very poorly designed. I resorted to expanding my search to loafers. Calvin Klein makes a great, affordable pair. These patent leather shoes have a grosgrain trim. A classic, they would look great with the tuxedo, and cost only $130.
Calvin Klein “Guilford” loafer. Patent leather with grosrain trim. $130.
Available at Zappos
Still, I wasn’t really satisfied with the options. I had come across several custom shoemakers, which led me to Etsy. Goodbyefolk
creates custom made shoes, and offer this super cool vintage inspired pair. They take 10 days to make, and cost $220:
1920s inspired custom made boots. Available at Goodbyfolk
All of the shoes I was drawn to shared a characteristic: they mixed different textures and materials together. This variety within the shoe makes the design more interesting. A great inexpensive way to achieve this is with a pair of spats. Spats are an accessory that cover the instep and ankle of a shoe. They were extremely popular during the 1910s – 1920s, and remained on the fashion scene for quite some time. While less common today, they are still available. Spats offer an inexpensive way of sprucing up a pair of shoes you might already own. There are some great pairs available on Etsy and eBay. Here are a few of my picks for Adam:
Vintage black wool spats with leather strap. Starting bid of $12.99. Available on eBay.
Vintage gray wool spats with leather strap. Starting bid of $9.95. Available on eBay
And I just couldn’t resist including these custom made leather spats. They might be a bit much for a tuxedo, but Etsy seller Eidol seems really creative and willing to work with their customers. Perhaps it’s worth contacting them directly for a more specific design. But aren’t these just so cool?
Men’s strappy leather spats with buckle. Custom made by Eidol. $129
I hope this post helps Adam, and other men, able to navigate shoe options for formal events. I’d love to hear any suggestions on this topic. Please leave a comment!