5 Smart Casual Shoes Every Man Should Own

5 Smart Casual Shoes Every Man Should Own

Jul 06 , 2021


Tags - Smart Casual Shoes for Men

It goes without saying that shoes can have a significant impact on the overall appearance of your outfit, and you as a person.

As much as we say, “never judge a book by its cover”, if you turn up anywhere in scuffed up, muddy trainers, you are going to be judged - unless you’re about to tackle a mud run!

But when people say, “oh, the dress code is smart casual”, we often get confused - what does smart casual even mean?!

Well, according to the Collins Dictionary, smart casual is defined as “neat, conventional, yet relatively informal in style”, and for the past two decades, smart casual is the common dress code, which will not be changing any time soon.

However, whilst clothing is quite easy to put together, like simply sticking on a pair of jeans and a shirt for example, when it comes to smart casual shoes it can be a little trickier.

Thankfully, there are many different styles of smart casual shoes that you can rely on to never be over or underdressed again.

In fact, the best smart casual shoes for men will make dressing for almost any situation, during any season, a total breeze; be it day-drinking, your niece’s birthday party, a business dinner and so on.

With that in mind, we believe that every man should have at least 3 - 4 pairs of smart casual shoes in their wardrobe to cycle through.

That said, let’s take a look at 4 smart casual shoes every man should own.

1. Oxford Shoes

Oxford shoes are defined by their closed lacing system and the eyelet tabs form a “V” shape.

And, a lot of men believe these can only be worn for formal occasions, so they will only wear these with a formal trouser or suit.

Think again!

You may be surprised to know that Oxfords make for a stylish, yet casual clothing companion, and although deemed “formal”, they are a great staple piece in any wardrobe.

Simply, with so many different designs available now, when styled correctly they can work for smart casual outfits too.

So, what’s the trick to dressing down these classic dress shoes?

Well, if you still want to wear a sophisticated, but casual outfit, Oxfords and chinos are a winning combination and will make the perfect impression; your chinos just be well fitted and in terms of colour, opt for sand or navy. Then, finish off with either a button-up shirt or a merino wool jumper. In hotter months, you can even wear Oxfords with chino shorts.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a jeans man, believe it or not: Oxfords will look great to finish this look off. The secret here is to choose a tapered leg which is cut off at the ankle and well fitted at the waist to match the elegance of the shoe. In regards to your top half, throw on a relaxed blazer or a smart jacket.

Today, there’s a whole host of style and colour options available and choosing something out of the ordinary, like a bold, bright colour, is a fun way to break down those formal barriers.

Essentially, choosing a less conventional shoe colour will help to blend this formal shoe seamlessly with less formal outfits.

2. Derby Shoes

Derby shoes are another classic dress shoe, but like Oxfords, are a great addition to your smart casual wardrobe.

And, their sleek but simplistic design lends itself perfectly to smart casual outfits; you just need to select the right pair for your needs.

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of designs and they can easily be dressed down whilst still adding a slightly polished touch.

On the formality scale, Derbys are seen as less formal than Oxfords but more formal than loafers, but depending on the colour, detailing and the material, is what will make the difference between formal and casual.

For example, black and dark brown will always look more smart than lighter coloured shoes; it’s the most formal and the least versatile and it’s quite hard to pair these other than with a suit.

Hence, tan or brown Derbys with chinos and a shirt will look great for a summer soiree; but like Oxfords, Derbys are available in brighter and bolder colours too.

In regards to the detailing, the more patterns, the more casual it will feel; plain will look formal.

Moreover, suede uppers offer relaxed elegance; leather will always look more formal than suede; however, calfskin has a rougher texture and less sheen.

In terms of clothing, chinos and Derbys will strike the perfect balance between smart and casual, and this can be finished off with a sports coat or blazer combination.

Again, like Oxfords, Derbys too can be worn with jeans, just don’t forget to consider colour and detailing.

3. Loafers 

Slip on loafers are an essential for any man’s wardrobe and are easily adaptable for a smart casual setting.

You’d be surprised - try swapping your usual trainers for loafers and see how your whole outfit can change.

For example, loafers with jeans have been a favourite for a long time now, so you can still wear your favourite denim but in a more dressier way; the only thing to keep in mind is to avoid excessively baggy jeans, but ripped jeans will still be suitable.

Generally speaking, suede and lightweight textures (rather than leather) work well - particularly in the summer where powder blues and light greens look great.

4. Monk Strap

Monk straps shoes are classy yet fashionable and an absolute must-have to add a dash of formality to any smart casual outfit.

For instance, if you’re wearing a pair of slim fit jeans, instead of trainers or loafers, try on a pair of monk strap shoes - specifically tan coloured, then wear an unbuttoned shirt and a relaxed blazer.

In fact, monk strap shoes also look great with shorts, but these should be slim fitting and never wear socks. An outfit idea is navy shorts, a relaxed shirt and a cream blazer with brown monk strap shoes - perfect for afternoon drinks.

5. Chelsea Boots

Chelsea boots are not only incredibly stylish, but they create a refined look effortlessly. 

With their round toe and elasticated sides, they offer a smarter aesthetic than any other boot.

In regards to colour, brown leather works well for smart casual dress codes as well as choosing suede uppers which will always be perceived as more on the casual side of the spectrum.

Outfit wise, Chelsea boots work well with a simple pair of jeans, roll neck jumper and a double breasted coat in colder months, but, they work well with chinos, shirt and a blazer too.

Concluding Thoughts

There you have it: 5 types of smart casual shoes that you should own to add sophistication to any casual outfit.

You may already have these styles, but now you should have more of an idea how to wear them for a smart casual dress code.

Find out more by contacting us today.

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