In a previous 2 part article we discussed the importance of dress shoes and how to go about selecting the right pair. In that series, we also mentioned that men should absolutely avoid buying clunky, rubber soled, square toed dress shoes.
This past week I found myself spending some time at the airport while on vacation. As much as I loathe airports, the time I spent waiting for my flights did give me an opportunity to do one of my favourite activities: people watching.
While I was sitting at the gate waiting to board my flight I got the opportunity to see a lot of different businessmen and other professionals walking around the airport and I couldn’t help but notice their choice in footwear. In a word it was tragic. More specifically, I can say with little exaggeration that about 75% of these men were wearing ugly, rubber soled, slip on dress shoes.
Unfortunately this is an all too common Style NOPE! and one that men should do their utmost to avoid committing.
Why are square-toed, rubber soled shoes so bad?
The problem is that these types of shoes are aesthetically unpleasing because the heft of them adds unnecessary bulk to the end of your leg, throwing off the overall balance of your look. That’s why when you are choosing a shoe you should always look for something that compliments the natural shape of the toe (rounded) and that is sleek in design.
What about comfort?
I’m told one of the biggest reasons why men choose to buy clunky, rubber soled dress shoes is because of comfort and convenience. With a thick rubber sole you don’t have to break in these types of shoes like you have to with leather soled dress shoes. They are usually comfortable from the get go. Furthermore, the convenience of slipping them on and off is a major selling point for those guys who can’t be bothered fussing with laces.
But what you gain in comfort and convenience you lose in style and design. What a lot of men don’t know is that quality, leather soled dress shoes ARE comfortable. It just requires a little bit of time to break in the stiff leather. Once that happens though, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t buy a quality pair of dress shoes sooner. As for the laces, if you can’t be bothered to spend an extra 15-20 seconds to tie up your shoes like a grown man, you’ve got bigger problems.
What if I can’t afford nice dress shoes?
Another reason why men opt for rubber soled dress shoes is because they are often more affordable than quality, leather soled dress shoes such as Allen Edmonds or Aldens. Some men state that they simply can’t spend $300 or more for dress shoes. We’ve mentioned in our previous 2 part series on dress shoes that quality shoes are an investment and that you truly get what you pay for. So although you might spend a bit more up front for quality dress shoes, they will end up being cheaper in the long run as you won’t have to replace them as often.
With that said, we also understand that some guys may not need to wear dress shoes too often and therefore they are not looking to spend a lot of money on them. Fortunately, you can find a good looking pair of lace up dress shoes at an affordable price. For example, the shoes I am wearing in the image below are a pair of Mercanti Fiorentini cap toe oxfords (a DSW shoes house brand). I got them on sale for $125. Not bad for a pair of Italian made leather soled dress shoes.
Should I avoid all slip on shoes?
Of course not! There is absolutely nothing wrong with slip on shoes in and of themselves. In fact, there are several different types of slip on shoes that we fully endorse such as loafers, boat shoes, and driving moccasins to name a few.
The problem is with the recent trend in rubber soled, slip on dress shoes that have become way too common in men’s business wear. They are clumsy, awkward and just plain ugly looking. You’re better off avoiding them entirely.
Shoes are arguably one of the most important aspects of your wardrobe. The type of shoes you wear says a lot about you. That’s why it’s unfortunate that so many men choose to wear clunky, square toed, rubber soled dress shoes. Not only are these types of shoes a stylistic nightmare, even from the standpoint of comfort and convenience, there is very little reason to buy them. The fact is that a quality pair of leather soled dress shoes not only look better, but they can be just as comfortable and affordable as their rubber soled counterparts.
So do yourself a favour and ditch those clunky, square toed, rubber soled dress shoes. Instead, invest in a pair of quality dress shoes and separate yourself from the majority of style impaired men.