Ever wondered what is the most appropriate shoe for a certain event? I know I do, all the time! I’ve decided to make your life easier by creating a list for formal and semi-formal shoes for men to wear. Let’s get started!


Let’s commence the list with the most common formal dress shoe, the Oxford (a.k.a. Balmoral). They are second in their formality only to the Opera Pumps, which are reserved for the dressiest evening occasions such as white ties. Oxfords are worn to formal events such as black ties, weddings, funerals and important meetings or interviews. Every guy should own at least one black Oxford. After which, of course, you can build up on it by purchasing ones with more colour, brogues, and other elements. Now, these shoes are often confused with a Derby (which we will discuss about in a minute), but they mainly differ in their lacing. The Oxfords have a closed lacing, that is, the quarters (flaps where the eyelets for lace are punched) of the shoe are tucked under the vamp (front of the shoe), making it less flexible but more formal. This is the shoe you should invest in; so make sure to buy something of good quality. Although they are considered formal and reserved for more dressy occasions, you could also wear them with your semi-formal attire. That’s another advantage of investing in good formal shoes, they are more versatile than your casual ones. 


Monk Strap

Monk straps have similar silhouette to that of a Derby, in that the quarters overlap the tongue of the shoe. While they are less formal than the Oxford, many people consider them more formal than a Derby. These shoes don’t have a lacing system but rather have buckles, making it easier to wear. However, this does not compromise on the style or popularity of the shoes. A little fact; this shoe gets its name because monks in 15th Century Europe needed practical sandals for their daily use. The buckles provided extra stability for the otherwise durable shoes they used for work. Needless to say these shoes have some a long way, evolving in their structure, style and make. The double stap version is more commonly used compared to its single and triple strap counterparts. Now, they might not be for everyone. But when you do wear them, make sure to give the well-deserved spotlight to the buckles. You can wear them with your daily office attire, or even with casual outfits. But do not wear them to black ties.


I think this is most probably the first type of formal shoes that a guy would own. As I’ve mentioned before, they are often confused with Oxfords, which are more formal. The key difference is that the lacing is more open here, meaning that the quarter overlaps the vamp and the tongue of the shoe. They have more room for adjustment which provides excellent comfort for people with wider feet. But this relaxed fit means that are not appropriate for black ties and other super important events. They are most appropriate for daily office wear, however, they can also be worn with casuals. Wear them to give a more laid-back look to your suits or to sharpen up your casual outfit. If you want to achieve a full on casual look, then choose a suede Derby. They are definitely more versatile and comfortable than Oxfords, and an absolute necessity in the wardrobe. Invest in a simple black round toe Derby first and then build it up with different elements such as colours and brogues.


What?! Yes! Though loafers are slip-ons, making them much most relaxed and the least formal of all the other shoes in the list, they can still be worn in semi-formal situations. They are in fact the only slip-ons that can be worn in a work environment. They are more structured and formal than other slip-ons such as boat shoes, espadrilles and moccasins. Now, thy come in different colours, materials and types. Obviously, the non-suede leather variety in black, brown, oxblood or navy is considered more formal in terms of colour and material. But what about the type? There are 4 main types of dress loafers, namely, the Tassel loafers, Belgian loafers, Penny loafers and Horsebit loafers. The horsebit loafers are considered to be more formal than the rest.



Visit Marhabha if you are looking to buy formal shoes for men online or good quality leather shoes for men in Dubai or anywhere in UAE. We are an online shopping store located in the UAE. Our main aim is to provide the customers accessibility to authentic imported brands that are not easily available in the UAE. Additionally, we also produce products consisting predominantly of high quality leather goods, sourced from India, under the brand name of Uxurious. Although we have the option of cash on delivery in UAE, we provide 25% discount when you purchase by card. Also there is free shipping across UAE without any limit on the minimum amount spent.



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