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The Ultimate Guide: Mens Formal Shoes South Africa

Feb 21

The importance of formal shoes in a man's wardrobe

  • Formal shoes are an essential component of a man's wardrobe as they enhance the overall appearance and add a touch of sophistication to any outfit.
  • Whether it's for a job interview, a wedding, or any formal occasion, wearing the right pair of formal shoes can make a significant difference in how a man is perceived.
  • Formal shoes not only provide style but also offer comfort and support, making them suitable for long hours of wear.
  • Investing in a good pair of formal shoes is a wise decision as they are versatile and can be paired with various outfits, including suits, dress pants, and even jeans for a smart-casual look.
  • Additionally, formal shoes are often made from high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship, ensuring durability and longevity.

Factors to consider when buying formal shoes

  • Fit: The most crucial factor when buying formal shoes is ensuring they fit well. Ill-fitting shoes can be uncomfortable and can cause blisters or foot pain. It is essential to measure your foot size accurately and try different brands or styles to find the perfect fit.
  • Style: Different styles of formal shoes are available, including Oxford, Derby, and Loafers. Consider the occasion and your personal style when choosing the right style of formal shoes.
  • Material: Formal shoes are commonly made from leather or suede. Leather shoes are more formal and durable, while suede shoes offer a more casual and stylish look. Select the material that best suits your preference and the occasion.
  • Quality: Investing in high-quality formal shoes is essential as they not only last longer but also provide better comfort and support. Look for reputable brands known for their craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  • Price: Formal shoes come in a wide range of prices. Set a budget and consider the value for money when making a purchase.

By considering these factors and investing in a well-fitting, stylish, and high-quality pair of formal shoes, you can elevate your overall appearance and be confident in any formal setting.


Types of Formal Shoes

Oxford Shoes: Classic and Timeless

  • Oxford shoes are a timeless and classic choice for formal occasions. They are characterized by their closed lacing system, where the laces are stitched under the vamp, giving them a sleek and elegant appearance.
  • These shoes are suitable for any formal event, from business meetings to weddings. They can be paired with suits or dress pants to create a polished and professional look.
  • Oxford shoes are typically made from high-quality leather, which adds to their durability and longevity. They are available in various colours, including black and brown, allowing you to choose the one that suits your personal style and outfit.
  • The clean and minimalistic design of Oxford shoes makes them a versatile option that can be worn with both formal and smart-casual attire. They are a must-have in every man's formal shoe collection.

Derby Shoes: Versatile and Stylish

  • Derby shoes are another popular choice for formal occasions. They are known for their open lacing system, where the quarters are sewn on top of the vamp. This design provides more flexibility and comfort, making them suitable for wider feet.
  • These shoes offer a more relaxed and casual look compared to Oxford shoes, making them perfect for both formal and semi-formal events. They can be paired with suits, dress pants, or even jeans for a stylish and sophisticated look.
  • Derby shoes are available in various styles and materials, including leather and suede, allowing you to choose the one that matches your personal style and the occasion.
  • The versatility and comfort of Derby shoes make them a great investment for any man's wardrobe. They provide a balance between style and functionality, ensuring that you look and feel your best in any formal setting.

Materials Used in Formal Shoes

Leather: The Preferred Choice

  • Leather is the most common and preferred material used in formal shoes. It is known for its durability, flexibility, and ability to conform to the shape of your feet over time.
  • High-quality leather shoes not only look elegant but also last longer, making them a worthwhile investment. The natural properties of leather allow your feet to breathe, preventing odour and moisture buildup.
  • Leather shoes are available in different finishes, such as smooth, textured, and patent, giving you a range of options to choose from based on your personal preference and the occasion.
  • Proper care and maintenance can extend the lifespan of your leather shoes. Regular polishing and conditioning can help maintain their shine and prevent cracks and creases.

Synthetic Materials: An Affordable Alternative

  • Synthetic materials, such as faux leather or microfiber, are becoming increasingly popular as an affordable alternative to real leather. These materials offer similar aesthetics to leather but at a lower cost.
  • Synthetic formal shoes are often more lightweight and require less maintenance compared to leather shoes. They are also easier to clean, as they are less prone to water damage.
  • However, synthetic materials may not provide the same level of breathability and durability as genuine leather. If you prefer a more eco-friendly option, look for shoes made from recycled materials or sustainable synthetics.
  • It's important to note that the lifespan of synthetic shoes may be shorter than their leather counterparts. Investing in high-quality synthetic shoes can help mitigate this issue and ensure they last longer.

When choosing formal shoes, consider the type of shoe design that suits your style and the occasion. Additionally, the materials used in the construction of the shoes play a crucial role in their comfort, durability, and appearance. Whether you opt for classic leather or affordable synthetic materials, proper care and maintenance are essential to preserve the condition of your formal shoes.


Shoe Construction Techniques

Blake Stitch: Sleek and Flexible

  • The Blake stitch construction is known for its sleek and streamlined appearance. This technique involves stitching the upper, insole, and outsole directly together, creating a more flexible and comfortable shoe.
  • Blake stitched shoes are often lighter and more flexible than shoes made with other construction methods, allowing for a natural range of movement while walking.
  • This construction technique also makes it easier to resolve the shoes since the outsole can be replaced without damaging the upper or insole.
  • However, Blake's stitched shoes may not be as durable as those made with other techniques. The absence of a separate midsole means there is less underfoot cushioning and protection. Additionally, the stitching may be more prone to wear and tear over time.

Goodyear Welt: Durable and Resoleable

  • The Goodyear welt construction is renowned for its durability and ability to be resoled multiple times. This technique involves stitching the upper, insole, welt, and outsole together, creating a strong and stable shoe.
  • Goodyear welted shoes are known for their longevity and can withstand heavy wear. The separate midsole and thick outsole provide excellent cushioning and support.
  • The ability to resolve Goodyear welted shoes means they can last for many years, making them a sustainable choice in the long run. This construction method also allows for easy repairs, as damaged parts can be replaced without affecting the rest of the shoe.
  • However, Goodyear welted shoes tend to be heavier and less flexible compared to black stitched or cemented shoes. The additional layers and materials used in the construction contribute to the overall weight and stiffness.
  • Ultimately, the choice of shoe construction technique depends on your personal preference and specific needs. Blake stitched shoes offer flexibility and sleek design, while Goodyear welted shoes provide durability and long-lasting wear.

Choosing the Right Size and Fit

Getting Accurate Measurements

  • When it comes to buying shoes, getting the right size is crucial for comfort and proper fit. To ensure accurate measurements, you can use a shoe sizing chart or visit a local shoe store for professional assistance.
  • It's recommended to measure your feet at the end of the day when they are at their largest size. Stand on a piece of paper, trace the outline of your feet, and measure the length from the heel to the longest toe. Repeat this process for both feet as they may have slightly different sizes.
  • Be sure to measure the width of your feet as well, as different shoe styles may have different width options available. Measure the widest part of your foot to determine the appropriate width size.

Understanding Different Widths

  • Shoe widths are indicated using letters, with "A" being the narrowest and "EEE" being the widest. In addition to length measurements, knowing your foot's width is crucial for finding a comfortable fit.
  • If the shoes you try on feel too tight, especially around the ball or instep area, you may need a wider size. Conversely, if there is too much space in the shoe or your foot slides around, a narrower size may be necessary.
  • It's important to note that shoe widths may vary between brands and styles, so it's always best to try on different shoes and widths to find the most comfortable fit for you.

By understanding the right size and fit for your feet, you can ensure that the shoes you choose provide optimal comfort and support. Whether you opt for Blake stitched or Goodyear welted shoes, make sure they fit properly to enjoy your footwear to the fullest.


Care and Maintenance

Cleaning and Polishing Tips

  • To keep your shoes looking their best, it's important to clean and polish them regularly. Start by removing any dirt or dust with a soft brush or cloth. For stubborn stains or scuffs, you can use a damp cloth or sponge with a mild soap or detergent.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents, as they can damage the leather. Instead, opt for specialized shoe cleaners or leather conditioners that are gentle yet effective.
  • After cleaning, allow your shoes to air dry naturally. Avoid using heat sources like hair dryers or heaters, as they can cause the leather to crack or shrink.
  • Once your shoes are dry, apply a small amount of shoe polish or cream in a shade that matches the colour of your shoes. Use a soft cloth or brush to spread the polish evenly, paying extra attention to areas that are prone to wear.
  • Buff the shoes gently using a clean cloth to achieve a nice shine. For an extra glossy finish, you can use a shoe shine brush or a polishing cloth.
  • Regularly polishing your shoes not only enhances their appearance but also helps to nourish and protect the leather, prolonging their lifespan.

Storing and Protecting Formal Shoes

  • Proper storage is essential to maintain the shape and condition of your formal shoes. Invest in a shoe tree or insert to help retain the shape of the shoes and prevent creasing.
  • Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Excessive heat and moisture can cause the leather to warp or crack.
  • Consider keeping your shoes in a dust bag or shoe box to protect them from dust, dirt, and scratches. This is particularly important if you're travelling or storing your shoes for an extended period.
  • Avoid piling or stacking your shoes on top of each other, as this can deform or damage the shoe structure.
  • For leather shoes, periodically applying a leather conditioner or cream can help moisturize and prevent the leather from drying out or developing cracks.
  • It's also a good idea to rotate your shoes regularly, allowing them to air out and regain their shape between wears.

By following these care and maintenance tips, you can keep your formal shoes looking great and ensure their longevity. Proper cleaning, polishing, and storage will not only preserve their appearance but also maintain their comfort and support, allowing you to enjoy them for years to come.


Popular Brands in South Africa

Clarks: Comfort and Style

  • Clarks is a well-known brand that offers a wide range of formal shoes in South Africa. They are known for their focus on both comfort and style, providing shoes that are fashionable yet comfortable enough to wear all day.
  • Clarks uses high-quality materials to ensure durability and long-lasting wear. Their shoes are designed with padded footbeds and cushioned soles for maximum comfort, making them ideal for formal occasions or daily wear.
  • With a variety of styles available, including lace-up oxfords, slip-on loafers, and brogue designs, Clarks offers options for every formal outfit.
  • The brand also offers a range of sizes and widths to accommodate different foot shapes and sizes, ensuring a comfortable fit for everyone.
  • Clarks shoes are known for their attention to detail, with intricate stitching and quality craftsmanship. Their timeless designs make them a popular choice among both men and women looking for formal footwear.

Hush Puppies: Classic and Elegant

  • Hush Puppies is another popular brand in South Africa that has been synonymous with comfort and style for many years. Their formal shoes are known for their classic and elegant designs.
  • Hush Puppies uses premium materials such as soft leather and suede to ensure comfort and durability. Their shoes are designed with cushioned insoles and flexible outsoles to provide all-day support.
  • The brand offers a wide range of formal shoe styles, including wingtip oxfords, slip-on loafers, and dress boots. Their versatile designs are suitable for both formal occasions and everyday wear.
  • Hush Puppies shoes are known for their sleek and sophisticated look, with attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. They come in various colours and finishes, allowing you to find the perfect pair to complement your formal attire.
  • With their commitment to comfort, style, and quality, Hush Puppies continues to be a favourite choice among individuals who value both fashion and comfort in their formal shoes.

When it comes to formal shoes, Clarks and Hush Puppies are two popular brands in South Africa that offer a combination of style, comfort, and quality. Whether you're attending a wedding, a business meeting, or any formal event, these brands have a range of options to suit your needs.


Styling Tips

Matching Formal Shoes with Different Outfits

  • When it comes to matching formal shoes with different outfits, it's important to consider the dress code and the overall style you want to achieve.
  • For a classic and timeless look, black formal shoes are a versatile choice that pairs well with a variety of outfits, including dark-coloured suits, tuxedos, and formal dresses.
  • Brown formal shoes, on the other hand, are a more casual yet still elegant option. They work well with lighter-coloured suits, such as navy or grey, and can also be paired with chinos or dress pants.
  • If you're looking to make a statement or add a pop of colour to your outfit, consider opting for formal shoes in shades like burgundy, oxblood, or even navy. These colours can add a touch of personality while still looking sophisticated.
  • When it comes to formal shoes, the style and design also play a role in matching them with different outfits. Lace-up oxfords are a classic choice and work well with suits and more formal attire. Slip-on loafers, on the other hand, can be a great option for a more relaxed or semi-formal look.

Accessorizing to Complete the Look

  • Accessories can play a significant role in completing your formal look. Consider adding a matching belt in the same colour as your shoes to create a cohesive and put-together ensemble.
  • A stylish watch can also add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your outfit. Opt for a classic timepiece with a leather strap to complement your formal shoes.
  • Don't forget about your socks! Choose socks that match the colour of your pants, or go for a subtle pattern or pop of colour to add some personality.
  • For women, accessories like a statement necklace or a clutch bag can elevate your formal look and add a touch of glamour. Choose accessories that complement the colour or style of your shoes to tie the whole look together.
  • Lastly, don't underestimate the power of confidence and good posture. Stand tall and carry yourself with grace to exude confidence and complete your formal look.

By following these styling tips, you can confidently match your formal shoes with different outfits and add the perfect finishing touches to your overall look. Remember to choose shoes that are not only stylish but also comfortable so you can enjoy your formal event without any discomfort.