By Andy Deshong
Your shoes are important. Believe it or not, your shoes are often the first thing that someone notices about you. For men, shoes don't have the same mystique as they do for women. Not a lot of men say "Let's go shopping for shoes on our lunch break?" Why? There are many answers to that question, but one of them is that men don't know what to look for when purchasing new shoes. Shopping for shoes is not as complicated as many men fear. There are two basic rules you should follow. First, pick a shoe that matches or is darker than your pants. Second, if you are wearing a belt, try to match it to your shoes. Below we offer some advice on what to look for when purchasing shoes and what shoes styles to wear with specific clothes.
Before you buy your next pair of shoes, you should have your feet measured by a trained professional using a Brannock device. This measures the width, toe length, and the arch length you will need in order to get the proper fit and style. Many men are wearing the wrong shoe size because they have not had their feet measured since high school. This can cause shoes to wear out quicker and in some cases cause the wearer back pain. Some men with wide feet are not aware that they need a wider shoe. Your feet may have also changed over time. It's worth the few minutes it will take to be measured to ensure you are looking for the right size.
Once you begin looking for shoes, you will need to find shoes that can hold up to everyday activity. The average person takes over 4,000 steps a day, so it is important to look for shoes with a thick sole and a sturdy insole. You should also make sure the heels are the proper size so that the heels do not disrupt your natural gait. If the heels are oversized, your shoes will be uncomfortable.
With shoes, you generally get what you pay for. Inspect the quality of the leather to ensure the material is worthy of your money. Leather quality is graded on a scale from one to five, with one being the best quality leather. Most shoes do not have a leather grade and the salesperson will most likely not know. Quality leather will have a smooth, fine grain with very few blemishes. High quality leather will be higher in price, but it is well worth the investment.
Choosing the correct style for the situation is essential.
Men's Shoes for Jeans : Almost any color and style will work with jeans, but try to avoid shoes that are intended for dressier outfits. Boots, lug soles, sneakers, loafers and sandals all work great with jeans, so you should let the style of your shirt guide you. If you have a sporty polo shirt, wear a loafer; t-shirts go well with sneakers or retro-style shoes; long, button-downs work well with sandals or oxford styles.
Men's Shoes for Casual Pants : For chinos or khakis, there are a variety of loafers, oxford and other men's shoes that work well with casual pants. Let the style of the shoe guide you towards the look you're trying to achieve. For example, a tassel or a buckle is a little more on the dressy side, while a woven pattern or heavy stitching is a little more on the casual side.
Men's Shoes for Dress Pants : With dress pants, go with the same type of shoe that you might wear with a suit. Shinier materials usually indicate a dressier shoe, as do less bulky heels and soles. Choose a shoe that is the same color or darker than your pants, and if wearing a belt, match your shoes to it.
Color Matching for Men's Shoes
- Black Shoes work well with navy, grey or black pants.
- Brown Shoes are best suited to tan, brown, beige, greens, other darker earth tones. You can wear brown with the dark suit, but it is a rather fashion forward statement and please remember the brown belt.
- Burgundy Shoes work well with khaki, lighter browns, blue and grey.
- Tan Shoes look great with lighter earth tones, blue, beige, lighter tan or white.