The right pair of shoes can really make an outfit. The wrong pair, however, can break it just as easily. Stash these shoes and boots in your closet and you'll be set for every occasion.
Every man's wardrobe should include at least one smart pair of dress shoes. Styles these days run to the flamboyant, with Italianate tooled leather and pointed toes much in evidence. While this kind of extravagance works well at a friend's wedding, you might want something a little more understated for job interviews or funerals. It's not a bad idea to have one pair of high-fashion leather dress shoes along with a pair of subtle black dress shoes. The current trend is to wear your dress shoes without visible socks but this is a bad look in more formal settings. Choose dress socks in a color that matches your suit.
Dates and socializing: the Chelsea boot
Neither too formal nor too casual, the Chelsea boot is the perfect footwear when you want to dress to impress — but don't want to look like you're trying too hard. A pair of these smart ankle-length boots will put a stylish touch to any outfit, from a dress suit to your favorite pair of skinny jeans. Some would say black is the best color for a Chelsea boot but you'll look more relaxed in brown or oxblood.
The great outdoors: hiking boots and Western boots
If you plan on getting away from the pressures of day-to-day life on a camping or hiking expedition, a pair of solid hiking boots is a must. Go for a boot with some give in the sole and plenty of ankle support. This will give your joints the help they need as you trek through the mountains. For shorter strolls or outdoor events where you need something relaxed and practical, you can't go wrong with a men's Western boot. Go for a mid-calf or ankle-length style rather than knee-high and opt from a more neutral color. These styles will look good with a larger variety of outfits.
City expeditions, leisure, the gym: sneakers
You really need a few pairs of casual sneakers. They're great for strolling around town or for situations where you need to stay comfortable, such as a long flight or train ride. Sneakers can look shabby or lazy so be careful to choose a stylish pair that will stand up to a certain amount of heavy wear. High-tops will give you a sporty look while mid-tops are easier to slip on and off if you're going through airport security. Don't try to wear the same pair of sneakers everywhere. Have a dedicated pair of good-quality gym sneakers for workouts: they'll keep you on your feet when you hit the weights.
The all-rounder: loafers
To round off your footwear wardrobe, invest in a pair of classic loafers. They're great for socializing after work or weekends relaxing on a city break. Choose a neutral brown or tan shade so you can wear them with anything.
Matching your shoes to the occasion and outfit is the most important part of this equation, make sure to balance the needs of comfort and style and your friends will be looking to you for advice.