What Shoes Should Every Man Have in His Closet?

September 05, 2023

What Shoes Should Every Man Have in His Closet?

Let's face it, gents: A man's shoes are the silent storytellers of his style journey. They're not just a necessity; they're a statement, a personality emblem, and an extension of yourself. As the wise saying goes, "You can tell a lot about a man by his shoes." So, what are your shoes saying about you? 

From the rugged charm of hiking boots to the timeless elegance of the classic Oxford, the shoes in your closet reflect your individuality and priorities. Having the right pair for the right occasion isn't just about looking good—though that's a nice perk. It's about being ready for life's multifaceted adventures. 

In this exploration, we're diving into the 15 essential shoes that every man should own, uncovering the “why” behind the “what.”

What makes a pair of shoes essential?

When we talk about essential shoes, we're not just discussing aesthetics. We're delving into a realm where functionality, versatility, and timeless appeal converge. So, what ingredients mix together to create this essential footwear recipe? Let's break it down:

  • Functionality: Essential shoes aren't just for show; they have a clear purpose. Whether it’s the support from a pair of Kiziks or the formality of polished dress shoes, each type of shoe has a function that aligns with specific scenarios and needs.
  • Versatility: The shoes we're highlighting aren't one-trick ponies. They blend seamlessly with various outfits and occasions. A classic loafer, for example, can sail smoothly from office meetings to weekend gatherings without missing a beat.
  • Timeless appeal: Trends come and go, but essential shoes stand strong, weathering the whims of fashion's ever-changing tides. These are the shoes that never lose their charm or relevance. They have a universal appeal that transcends generations.
  • Quality and comfort: An essential pair of shoes isn't just about how they look; it's also about how they feel. Quality materials and craftsmanship ensure that these shoes aren’t just eye-catching; they cradle your feet in comfort, proving that style and ease aren't mutually exclusive.
  • Reflecting personal style: Essential shoes resonate with your personal style and preferences. They're an expression of who you are, mirroring your taste, your life's rhythm, and your unique path.

Essential shoes aren't just footwear; they're the foundation of a well-rounded wardrobe, ready to adapt, inspire, and complement every stride of your life's journey. 

The best essential shoes for men

As we journey into the world of essential shoes, it's important to recognize that this isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario. Different lifestyles, preferences, and needs will shape what constitutes an "essential" collection for each individual. 

Still, there are certain key players that find their way into many a man's wardrobe. Let’s dive in: 

1. Oxfords: Classic elegance defined

If there were ever a poster child for men's dress shoes, it would be the Oxford. Defined by its closed lacing system and sleek design, the Oxford shoe is the epitome of elegance. Whether it's a black tie event or a crucial business meeting, the cap toe Oxford never disappoints. 

Often found in dark brown or black, its understated style, often with subtle perforations, speaks of a man who values tradition and sophistication. Pair it with chinos or a formal suit; its versatility is its strongest suit.

2. Loafers: The epitome of smart casual

From the penny loafer to tassel loafers, this style of shoe embodies the smart casual aesthetic. Whether it's suede that catches your fancy or the classic leather look, loafers effortlessly bridge the gap between formal shoes and casual shoes. 

Their moccasin-inspired construction, often with a distinct vamp, can complement both a laid-back weekend outfit and a more polished office ensemble. The absence of laces and eyelets only adds to their easygoing yet dapper charm.

3. Chelsea boots: Timeless and trendy

Chelsea boots, recognized by their ankle-high design and elastic side panels, are a fusion of style and practicality. Whether it's a suede version for a more casual outfit or a leather boot for those smart casual days, they're a staple in men's fashion. Inbetween a dress boot and a work boot, these are the staple boot a man needs in his closet.

With their rounded toe, snug fit, and often featuring a handy pull-tab at the back, they're easy to slip into and promise an ensemble that's both stylish and comfortable. Pair them with skinny jeans or chinos, and you're ready for anything from a coffee run to a night out on the town.

4. Chukka boots: The desert's finest gift

Also known as desert boots, Chukka boots bring a certain rugged elegance to the shoe game. With their ankle-high design, typically two or three eyelets, and a simple leather or suede finish, Chukkas are the very definition of versatility. 

Originating from the desert terrains, they boast a durable rubber sole designed for comfort and longevity. Their open lacing system allows for ease of wear, while the plain toe design offers a clean aesthetic. Whether you're pairing them with casual jeans or more formal chinos, Chukka boots are a must-have for any discerning gentleman.

5. Mars Roamer: The next frontier in footwear

Introducing our latest innovation, the Mars Roamer. Designed for the modern man who's always looking ahead. These low-top shoes blend cutting-edge technology with impeccable style. With a unique lacing system inspired by interstellar designs and a durable sole crafted for terrestrial terrains, the Mars Roamer is not just a pair of shoes; it's a statement. 

Its futuristic design, combined with out of this world comfort, puts you a step ahead for a day in the city or going on an expedition. 

6. Derby shoes: Relaxed refinement

Derby shoes, often confused with Oxfords, stand out with their open lacing system. Characterized by eyelets sewn on top of the vamp, Derby shoes offer a relaxed fit, making them an excellent choice for wider feet. 

Typically crafted from leather but also found in suede, Derby shoes strike a balance between formal and casual. Paired with chinos or jeans, they elevate a casual outfit, while with a suit, they lend a touch of laid-back sophistication. Their versatility ensures they remain a mainstay in men's fashion.

7. Brogues: The pinnacle of perforations

With origins tracing back to the bogs of Ireland, brogues have long been a staple in men's dress shoes. Distinguished by their intricate perforations and serration along the pieces' edges, brogues come in various styles—from the full brogue or “wingtip” with its pointed toe cap to semi-brogues and even quarter brogues. 

Often found in leather (though suede versions aren’t uncommon), brogues add an element of intricate detail to any ensemble. Suitable for both formal occasions and smart-casual settings, their style versatility is accentuated by their rich history and timeless design.

8. Sneakers: The casual essential

Sneakers are an absolute must-have in any man's shoe collection. Perfect for everyday wear, they offer a comfortable and casual option for running errands, hitting the gym, or enjoying a laid-back weekend. A pair of black sneakers can stay with you for years—no matter the current trends—while white sneakers are always a sartorial staple.

Available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and colors, sneakers can range from athletic to more fashion-forward designs. Pair them with jeans, joggers, or even a casual suit for a trendy, street-smart look.

9. Sandals: For leisure and comfort

Sandals may not be the first footwear to come to mind when considering essential men's shoes, but they certainly have their place in the wardrobe. Perfect for warm weather, vacations, or leisurely walks, sandals offer comfort and breathability. 

Whether it's a classic leather sandal, sporty design, or trendy slides, having a good pair of sandals is essential for those moments when you want to take it easy and let your feet breathe.

10. Monk straps: A blend of formality and uniqueness

Monk strap shoes add a distinctive flair to men's footwear, offering a blend of formality and uniqueness. Characterized by a buckle and strap—single or double—rather than laces, monk straps provide a sleek and sophisticated option for the office or special occasions. 

Available in various materials and finishes, these shoes provide a touch of individuality while maintaining a polished appearance. They can be worn with both suits and more casual attire, depending on the design and finish.

Bonus shoe: The Venice

Just when you thought you'd seen it all, Kizik introduces The Venice. Pushing the boundaries of what's expected, The Venice challenges and changes the slip-on narrative. Boasting a unique design, it’s the only slip-on you'll find with a heel that maintains its shape and integrity, regardless of wear and tear. 

Say goodbye to using fingers as shoehorns; thanks to our innovative hands-free tech, slipping into The Venice is a breeze. Crafted with a stretch canvas exterior, a generously padded heel collar, and dual underfoot cushioning, comfort takes center stage. This isn't just a slip-on; it's a slip-on that completely reinvents the heel. 

Wrapping things up

There you have it: A comprehensive collection of essential shoe styles that every man should consider having in his wardrobe. From the lace-up formality of Oxfords to the futuristic allure of the Mars Roamer, this list covers a wide range of different styles, purposes, and aesthetics.

At Kizik, we believe the right shoes are not just about following trends or adhering to rules; they're about reflecting your personality, lifestyle, and the journey you're on. Plus, with wide fits for men and women, we’re making sure that your shoes are the perfect fit for whatever life throws at you.

Shoes are a significant part of your story—make sure they tell it well.


Walking and Your Feet: Choose Proper Walking Shoes | American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine

Oxfords | Fashion Encyclopedia 

Treat Your Feet Right | American Heart Association 

Written By: Chris Fry

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