Best Tuxedo Shoes For The Savvy Gentleman Reviewed
A tuxedo is a two or three-piece suit, with the jacket’s lapels made of satin or grosgrain, and stripes out of the same material along the outseam of the trousers. It originated in the 19th century, largely thanks to King Edward VII, and the word itself - ‘tuxedo’ - came from Tuxedo Park in New York State, where this evening wear was first introduced, mimicking the European style.
Footwear that goes with this style, however, is quite complicated. You need to think about color, and type - there are slippers and loafers and oxfords and brogues - and materials, and an abundance of choices that may be confusing. That’s why, in this guide, we have collected only the best tuxedo shoes which go perfectly well with a tuxedo.
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Leather Upper and Sole
Clean and Sleek
Top 10 Mens Tuxedo Shoes
1. Magnanni Dorio
Leather Upper and Sole
Clean and Sleek
Magnanni is a family owned Spanish company which produces only the finest of men’s footwear. It utilizes special Bologna Construction techniques and finishes the designs with expert hand detailing. The Magnanni Dorio is a loafer which simply radiates class. It is made out of polished leather, with a clean, sleek appearance and a slip-on silhouette. It has a leather sole and a heel of around one inch in height. The Dorio is a design which is a perfect blend of traditional and modern, one that is worthy of Hollywood stars and world-famous fashion models.
The Bologna Construction with which the Dorio is made represents a special technique where the upper and the lining are rolled into a tube which is then stitched into the outsole. This adds exceptional flexibility to the design and makes this loafer one of the most comfortable options there is.
It speaks volumes that in this guide of nothing but elegant footwear, the Magnanni Dorio still stands out from the rest. You will hardly find a more posh, more seamlessly sophisticated design than this one. Black-tie approved!
Cost and Value
Magnanni footwear is famously expensive, and the Dorio is no exception. It is the priciest choice on this list, and there is simply no way around it. However, if it helps, we do think that the cost is definitely worth it. This is a one of a kind shoe, carefully constructed for maximum elegance and comfort, and it is certainly one to last you a lifetime.
2. Florsheim Kingston
High-Shine Patent Leather
Classic Black-Tie Option
Needs Breaking In
Narrow Toe Area
If you’ve ever stopped to picture what black-tie footwear looked like - you likely imagined something exactly like the Florsheim Kingston. Because this design is exactly that: a perfect representation of a tux shoe. It is made out of patent leather polished to a gleaming shine, with a leather lining and sole as well. There is cushioning in the footbed for support, and a lace-up system in the front of an adjusted, secure fit. The Florsheim Kingston is truly a classic which will seamlessly complement all of your most formal outfits.
It is not only the upper of the Florsheim Kingston that is made out of leather but the lining and the sole as well. This natural material brings much-needed breathability to the design, as well as the ability to conform to the shape of your foot, providing you with the ultimate comfort experience.
The unassuming bit of lacing at the front of the Florsheim Kingston has two purposes: one, it helps you adjust the fit to however loose or tight you’d like it to be, and two, it makes sure that your foot stays in place and that the shoe isn’t slipping off.
Cost and Value
The Florsheim Kingston is one of the most expensive options in this guide. However, it is not overpriced, and we feel that its cost accurately reflects its quality. It is certainly a staple design, one that will fit perfectly with any tux look, and which you will wear for many a formal occasion to come.
3. G. H. Bass & Co. Winnie
Tassel and Moc Stitch Accents
Multiple Color Choices
Fun and Playful
Not for Wide Feet
Needs Breaking In
With the G. H. Bass & Co. Winnie, we have tuxedo shoes that are a little more out there in terms of detailing. While it is a polished black leather loafer, it doesn’t have that clean, streamlined silhouette that most other black-tie footwear does. In fact, the Winnie is decorated with tassels at the end of its laces, as well as moc stitch accents, to add a modern flair to a timeless design. To complete the look and feel of this hand-sewn loafer, there is a genuine leather lining and a genuine leather outsole, for the ultimate luxurious experience and comfort.
Industrial manufacturing is the standard - a quick and easy way to mass produce anything you can imagine. However, there is something to be said for hand sewing. In the case of footwear, this method of construction guarantees quality and comfort since more attention is paid to details, and every stitch is checked and rechecked for its reliability.
Tassels and Accents
What we love the most about the Winnie loafer is that it isn’t boring in any way. In a sea of uniform, black patent oxfords without any interest to them, this loafer will stand out with its lighthearted accents and bouncy tassels on the laces. Formal but whimsy!
Cost and Value
The G. H. Bass & Co. Winnie is one of the lower priced options we’ve looked at. It is not traditional or classic, mostly due to its playful decorations, but it is a design that we can’t help but be charmed by. It will make a great addition to your formal wear, as it is also comfortable and well-crafted to boot!
4. Florsheim Brookside
Black Patent Leather
No Bad Odors
Cushioned and Flexible
Not for Flat Feet
Needs Breaking In
Florsheim spices up the classic black patent oxford design with a wingtip, brogues detailing on the Brookside. You don’t have to limit yourself to sleek, simple footwear if you feel like it is too uninteresting for you. With the Florsheim Brookside, you will look as dashing as ever, while being comfortable as well. This oxford comes with a cushioned insole, a leather lining, and a durable and flexible leather outsole. The approximately one-inch heel is made out of rubber for traction and slip-resistance, and there is the traditional lace-up closure in the front. The Florsheim Brookside puts a different spin on the timeless tuxedo look!
Even though you are attending a formal event, you still want your feet to be comfortable and sweat-free. The leather lining on the Florsheim Brookside helps with that, as it wicks moisture away from your feet and promotes a healthy foot climate. Say goodbye to bad odors!
Too often dress shoes are stiff and uncomfortable. They don’t fit right, they don’t move right, and they are a literal pain to wear. However, none of this is an issue with the Florsheim Brookside. This is a highly flexible design which moves with the movement of your foot, and which keeps you cushioned and supported every step of the way.
Cost and Value
Within the category of formal footwear, the Florsheim Brookside is not expensive at all. It is a great option for when you’re tired of the same old smooth leather designs and want to bring a little interest to your looks. This oxford is made out of high-quality materials, and it definitely won’t let you down.
5. Johnston & Murphy Conard
Italian Leather Upper
Two Sets of Laces
Break In Period
If you want a pair of shoes that’ll make a statement, the Conard is a great choice of tuxedo shoes. This Italian leather shoe features beautiful broguing details to make it stand out from the typical formal lace up, and even comes with two sets of laces - one that matches the leather upper, and one in a contrast color to kick things up a bit.
You don’t often find really elegant footwear with a comfortable sole, so it’s great news that the Conard features cushioning in the sole, protecting you from the fatigue and joint pain that often happens after long hours of standing or walking.
In addition to protecting you from shock, a rubber sole is also a great feature in terms of traction and durability. For one, it won’t deteriorate if you happen to be caught in a rain, and it won’t slip on slick surfaces such as tile and hardwood floors.
Cost and Value
This is an averagely priced model that perfectly combines quality and value, and can be worn on a number of occasions, not just formal ones. Pair it with a suit, tux, or even some jeans, and you’ll look dashing. The fact that it’s a comfortable shoe is a huge bonus.
6. Cole Haan Lenox Hill
Polished Leather Upper
Full Rubber Sole
Cole Haan is a brand with 90 years of experience in crafting only the sharpest, most luxurious footwear for both men and women. It combines artisan quality and impeccable style and creates products which are stylish, modern and comfortable at the same time. And this is exactly what the Lenox Hill is. This Venetian loafer is made out of leather, with a leather lining and a full rubber sole. It has a slip-on construction with small gore panels on the sides for that easy fit. The sleek, polished shine of the Lenox Hill won’t leave anyone indifferent, and you will be one of the suavest people in the crowd at any event!
For those who have a high instep or a wide foot, it can be difficult to fit into a slip-on design. However, in the case of the Cole Haan Lenox Hill, getting in and out is made easy by the elastic inserts in the sides. These stretch out to accommodate your foot, and you won’t have any problems sliding into this gorgeously elegant loafer!
Elegance and Class
With the Cole Haan Lenox Hill loafer, you will not go wrong. This is a classic silhouette, one that complements all formal outfits - suits and tuxedos alike. No matter the formal occasion you find yourself in, you are never going to look out of place in this shiny, streamlined design.
Cost and Value
As far as the price goes, the Cole Haan Lenox Hill doesn’t stand out in any way - either by being too cheap or too expensive. It is a comfortable, elegant design which you will love wearing, and which will bring you loads of compliments on your stylish choice of footwear. As simple as that!
7. Calvin Klein Bernard
Black Patent Leather Upper
Slip-On Loafer Design
Lightly Cushioned Footbed
Sleek and Stylish
Long Toe Area
Not for Wide Feet
From a brand which is renowned for its minimalistic aesthetic and elegant but functional designs comes the Calvin Klein Bernard loafer. This option is made out of synthetic black patent leather - the most common of materials for a black-tie affair - with a slip-on silhouette, and a grosgrain trim across the instep. The lining and the sole are man-made, while the insole is lightly cushioned for extra comfort. There is a half-moon heel of about one inch in height. The Calvin Klein Bernard is a great choice for when you want to stand out in the crowd and impress with your suave, fashion-forward style.
The contrast of the grosgrain overlay on the Calvin Klein Bernard against the high polish of its patent leather upper offers a point of interest in the design. It also pairs well with a tuxedo which has grosgrain lapels or stripes down the outseam.
If you are tired of constantly keeping an eye on your laces - or if you are someone prone to accidents caused by stepping on them - then this slip-on design of the Bernard will be a breath of fresh air. Simply slide your foot in, and be on your way without a moment’s pause!
Cost and Value
When it comes down to cost, the Calvin Klein Bernard is neither more nor less expensive than its counterparts in this guide. However, this loafer is made of synthetic leather. It is environmentally friendly, sure, but for the same amount of money, you would be able to purchase a genuine leather pair of shoes, which are far more breathable and long-lasting.
8. Frye James Oxford
Limited Color Options
Frye has been a go to brand since 1863, and for good reason. Not only are their shoes made with the bes leather you can find, but they are always designed in a way to be both stylish and versatile, as well as timeless in terms of style so you can wear them for years to come. The James Oxford is one of those shoes you can purchase and wear for years to come on any special occasion, or wear daily, and still get a lot of use out of.
Nothing says sophistication like a pair of dress shoes with a quality leather outsole that molds perfectly to your foot, while providing you with the protection you require. Though this shoe won’t do well in wet conditions, it can easily be resoled and repaired by your cobbler.
You want the inside of any pair of shoes to be soft to the touch and breathable, regardless of what you plan on using it for. The James is lined with leather that’ll feel great, won’t trap moisture, and will last for a long time, without you having to worry about it.
Cost and Value
This leather shoe definitely costs more than the rest of the models listed, which is, in a way, to be expected from a company such as Frye. If you really are after something that’ll do great, not just with a tux, but a number of outfits, then you definitely can’t go wrong with the James.
9. Dr. Martens 3 Eye
Abrasion and Slip Resistant
Rebellious and Non-conforming
Sole Comes Apart
Throughout most of this guide we talk about classic styles, the importance of timeless color combinations and conformist designs - well, the Dr. Martens 3 Eye is anything but that. This option fits the bill for a tuxedo design just barely, with its round toe silhouette and smooth leather upper. However, it also comes with a platform of over one inch in height, and a thick rubber sole with deep grooves characteristic of the Dr. Martens brand. While it is sturdy, this design is also comfortable with its air-cushioning in the sole. If you’re not the one for sleek, polished and impeccable, throw a rebellious twist in your tux look with the 3 Eye Oxford.
The upper of the Dr. Martens 3 Eye is smooth and semi-bright. It is a signature leather of the company, firm and yet comfortable, allowing your feet to breathe. Not only that, the quality of this material makes this design unbelievably durable.
The sole of the Dr. Martens 3 Eye offers superior comfort with its air-cushioning in the sole, but it is also oil and fat resistant. This means that you don’t have to worry about slipping or skidding on any type of terrain in this oxford.
Cost and Value
The Dr. Martens 3 Eye is a design which belongs in the middle range of price. We will be the first to admit that this look is not for everyone - or for every formal event, either - but if you find that it fits your aesthetic, you won’t regret investing money into this high-quality, exceptionally comfortable oxford.
10. Sperry Colton
Genuine Leather Upper
Color is Off
This is the perfect shoe to have in your child’s closet for special occasions such as weddings and parties. Not only is it a stylish piece of footwear made by a reputable brand using quality materials, it also looks great, combining a formal look with the comfort features any boy or girl will love. It can even be worn to school, or to dressed up outings.
These come with a leather upper that’s soft and supple - perfect for those who hate breaking in their shoes. It’s available in two color options, classic black, and a more modern burgundy version.
Easy to put on and off, this model won’t have you bothering with laces when you’re in a hurry to get out the door. Additionally, the flexible rubber outsole allows for full range of motion, and will perform well on all types of surfaces.
Cost and Value
With a price that’s affordable, especially when compared to the amount you’d pay for a model of similar quality by a different brand, this is quite a good investment. It comes in big kid and little kid sizes, as well as three width options, so you can easily get the perfect fit, and stop worrying about your little ones screaming to take their shoes off at the worst possible moment.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When it comes to footwear for a black-tie event, there are really only two ways you can go: modern and traditional. The modern way involves designs which are contemporary, which a gentleman of the 19th century wouldn’t necessarily associate with formal wear, such as the derby and the brogue. Times change, fashion evolves, and nowadays there are more options than there were in the olden days.
However, that is not to say that the traditional route is in any way wrong. Go for slippers or a traditional pump and you will be the most debonair person in the room.
So let’s learn more about each of these options, and what they offer.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing suitable footwear to pair with your tux is the material it is made from. Because of the nature of black-tie events, everyone wants to put their best foot forward, figuratively and literally, and it is advisable to look as expensive and as put-together as possible. This is why natural materials, such as leather and suede, are the first choice. However, synthetic, but expensive-looking materials - velvet, for example - are a great alternative.
Traditionally, you would always wear black shoes with a black tuxedo, and for good reason - these are usually formal events where putting your best foot forward is not just a matter of style, but also etiquette. However, in this modern day and age, rules have become less strict and our society is more open to expressions of personal style. This opens up a door for a variety of fashion choices that includes our footwear as well.
Yes, most people will still go with a pair of black oxfords if they have to dress up, but those more bold among us may decide to show off an intricate design or a bold color choice. You shouldn’t be surprised to find people wearing footwear in bright colors such as red, gold or yellow, or even finding that they’ve gone with a glittery or opulent velvet version of the classic Albert slipper.
Before choosing to wear bright colors, however, do make sure you’ve checked the dress code, and consider whether it will be appropriate for your outfit to greatly stand out.
Have you ever been to a wedding, and realized halfway through that your shoes were killing you, just wishing you could change into your sneakers? The answer is probably yes - we’ve all been there. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case, as a huge number of formal footwear options now come with comfort features that, until a few years ago, were reserved for athletic sneakers.
If you’re after something you can wear without having to endure pain, there are definitely a few features that are worth looking into:
You should never judge a book by its covers, and the same goes for footwear, but the brand name can still often tell you a lot about what you can expect from a certain pair.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
One of the classiest looks is found with tuxedos, dating back as the go to formal wear for fancier affairs, as well as affluence.
Modern days won't have you breaking the bank however, to look the part, as many tuxedo shoes can be quite affordable compared to their high end counterparts.
When selecting your next pair, go for something that fits your budget, and your style sense to make a lasting impression.
Most tuxedo shoes will keep clean lines and simpler look about them, helping to make your suit the statement maker in the room. However, if you have a bit more daring sense of fashion, go for footwear that has elements of color added, or perhaps brogues or a toe cap design, like a wingtip, to bring your footwear to the spotlight.
Other Factors to Consider
Buying a pair of shoes to wear with a tux (especially if you’ve never worn one before) can sure seem like an intimidating task, but you definitely shouldn’t worry about the process. There are a few simple steps you can follow, that’ll make the process so much easier and more streamlined.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How can I clean my tuxedo shoes?
Fortunately, patent leather is very easy to clean. Simply use a damp cloth and wipe down the upper until you remove the stain.
You can use a similar method for cleaning your velvet designs as well - go for a microfiber cloth this time, and if the stain is more persistent, use a soft toothbrush to scrub it with a mixture of dishwashing soap and water. If all else fails and you still can’t get the stain removed - take your shoes to a professional cleaner.
q: What is the difference between a suit and a tuxedo?
There is a multitude of differences between a suit and a tux, but here we will outline the most important, most obvious ones.
Tuxedos are worn only in the evening. They are usually made in traditional black and midnight blue colors, and complemented with bowties only, along with a white shirt with bib and French cuffs. The trousers have a plain front and a plain bottom.
Suits, on the other hand, can be worn day and night. Any classic color works for them, and they can be paired with a necktie or a bowtie. Any type of shirt can go with a suit, and the trousers can be either plain or pleated front, with a plain or cuffed bottom.
q: If I can rent a tux, can’t I rent shoes to go with it, as well?
Usually rental places also offer the option of renting extras that go with a tuxedo as well, such as shirts, studs, and shoes. If you don’t feel like investing money in footwear which you will wear once in a blue moon, renting is a great alternative!
q: Can I wear sneakers with my tuxedo?
You can, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Whereas dress codes are not as strict as they used to be in the previous centuries, there are still situations where pushing the boundaries of fashion is frowned upon. If you don’t know the host of the event you’re attending, if it is not going to be an even remotely playful atmosphere, it’s best to stick with the classics.
However, if you’re sure that your unusual style won’t be seen as distasteful, then by all means! Go for it!