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How to Choose Mens Shoes

Updated on August 20, 2012

To all men who don’t understand why women keep insisting this shoe over that for this or that occasion: here is a great guide to stop your wives, girlfriends, and friends from laughing at you, bothering you about shoes, or trying to get you to wear a different pair of shoes because your current ones are not satisfactory. It’s generally a stereotype that men really don’t care about shoes and all women do—in fact, many men have large, varied wardrobes full of different types of shoes. However, as a general rule, men feel uncomfortable wearing many different types of shoes—they tend to like to stick to one type. For instance, if you wear sneakers to work, then you will generally wear sneakers the rest of the time. Conversely, if you wear work boots to work, you will tend to like wearing work boots when you go out shopping, as well as at work. A lot of guys I’ve talked to have tended to avoid certain types of clothing or even formal events because they were not allowed to wear sneakers. This is simply a tendency men have—most men don’t feel confidence, or don’t know how, to choose a pair of casual or dress shoes that will match the occasion or the clothing they want to wear

So here we go. As a general rule, you don’t want to wear shoes that are lighter in color than your pants. The exception here is when it comes to jeans, in which case white sneakers are perfectly acceptable. However, if you’re wearing black dress pants, matching them with white shoes is a no-no. Also, the color of your socks does not need to match the color of your shoes, but it’s usually nice if match at least one thing in your outfit—in fact, think of socks as you think of ties, and choose accordingly. Try to match your shoes to the color of your belt, unless it is a strange color (such as neon orange, which you might not want to be wearing anyway) or striped. Shoes will bring the outfit together better when matched not with the pants, but with the belt.

If you’re wearing jeans, you can wear almost any color of shoe, as mentioned earlier, but it’s good to avoid shoes that are too shiny because it’s obvious that those shoes should be worn with dressier pants. You can wear boots, lug soles, loafers, sneakers, and sandals with your jeans, so usually if you’re wearing jeans, you want to consider the type of shirt, and not pants, that you’re wearing. If you have on a polo shirt, loafers may be more fitting than sandals. For t-shirts, sneakers are a good match, and button down shirts may go with nice sandals

If you’re wearing casual pants (such as khakis), loafers and oxford shoes can work well. Don’t wear any shoe with anything shiny on it or any fancy designs with khakis, because even though it’s not as casual as jeans, formal shoes just don’t match. A buckle is dressy, heavy stitching is casual. If you have formalwear on, shinier dress shoes are a must.


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