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The 8 Types Of Shoes Every Man Should Own in 2024

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Dean founded The Adult Man in 2016 with the simple idea to help men navigate adulthood with more confidence via science and expert-backed content that entertains while it informs. Originally one of the site’s primary content writers, Dean’s day-to-day now lies in leading our talented team on that same collective mission. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Mar 25, 2024
9 min read
Red Wing Iron Ranger Types of Shoes Every Man Should Own

Put away the flip flops and Crocs, boys.

You’re a man, and you shouldn’t settle for anything but the best.

We put together a list of the essential shoes that every man should own.

From high quality sneakers to a killer pair of boots, come see how many of these shoes you can check off the list.

Must-Own Men’s Shoe Styles

1. The Chelsea Boot

profile view of mgemi dritto leather chelsea boot

The Chelsea boot is the perfect representation of casual meets corporate. Falling somewhere between boots and dress shoes, they’re an awesome way to modernize your style.

Choose leather Chelsea boots for smart occasions, pointed for Friday Night drinks, and suede for casual (most popular and highly versatile).

The editorial team here at TAM waxes poetic on Chelseas so we really struggled to limit ourselves to just two picks. Forgive our enthusiasm.

Most Comfortable
Amberjack The Chelsea

Style meets supreme comfort with these Chelseas. A dual-density outsole gives needed support and flexibility at the same time to keep these comfy all day long, and a perforated inner lining helps keep your feet cool and dry.

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Bridlen Dark Snuff Suede Chelsea

A snuff suede Chelsea is a sophisticated add to any well-rounded man's closet, and if you want to get it right the first time then you can do a lot worse than Bridlen. What I love about these is they have a unique elastic closure system which means you can get in and out of them more easily than other Chelseas.

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My Favorite Boot Socks
Camel City Mill Lightweight Wool Work Sock

My Dad is a builder and I got these for him after he kept complaining to me that all his socks gave him blisters and sweated up his feet. The good news? He loves them and now he won't stop talking about socks. The bad news? Now he won't stop talking about socks.

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2. The Dress Sneaker

Model Adjusting Oliver Cabell Low 1 sneaker

Everyone needs a pair of kicks with a casual vibe that still uphold a clean sense of style.

A simple pair of sneakers goes well with just about any outfit. Pick up one of our top picks and have fun wearing them with jeans, shorts, chinos, or even parachute pants. OK, maybe not parachute pants. But everything else is game.

Best Black and White
Oliver Cabell Low 1

The Low 1 is Oliver Cabell's most popular shoe. It boasts a classic low-profile silhouette, with color options that are expressive, but not overly trendy or unprofessional.

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3. The Trainer

model sitting on concrete step with asket chino everlane tread white sneaker and vincero apex watch

Sometimes you need a shoe that’s easy to slip on and jet out the door. This is the kind of shoe you use to power through the tough days.

Of course, you don’t need to keep these sneaks relegated to the world of errands—paired with some joggers, trainers can be the base of an amazing laid-back casual Saturday outfit, too.

While the category “trainers” can also technically refer to any running or exercise shoes, we’re going to stick to the fashion side of things. Specialized footwear for sports is a whole different game, and not something we’re going to cover here.

My Top Pick
CLAE Malone

The Malone from L.A. eco-friendly sneakerheads, Clae, has been one of our sleeper hits of the year. With a stylish profile and super comfortable premium court sole and EVA footbed---you'll sleep easy at night if sustainability is important for you given the brand's focus on recycled materials. We dig.

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4. The Chukka Boot

Model wearing jack mason watch and clarks desert boot adjusting pant cuff

Chukka boots are simply designed and can range anywhere from supremely casual to dressy and formal.

When deciding which chukka you’re going to get, take a quick assessment of what your wardrobe needs.

If you work in a business-casual setting, then a more formal, sleek chukka is your best bet.

But if you want comfort over all else, and formality and structure isn’t as important, a desert-campaign-style WWII-era boot like the Clarks Desert Boot or the Crown Northampton Desert Boot is more in order.

Best Desert Boot
Crown Northampton Woodford Desert Boot

Featuring Kudu suede from C.F Stead tannery, these are some of the best Desert Boots on the market.

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Best Dress Chukka
MYRQVIST Gyllsjö Dark Brown Suede Chukka

The Scandinavians are known for producing hard to pronounce words, but did you know they can make a mean chukka? This boot features a Goodyear welt, with premium water repellent suede from British Charles F. Stead. It's an elegant dress boot that also fits in with an upscale business casual outfit.

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5. The Loafer

Volo Due on Park Bench Legs Crossed

Loafers are the signature slip-on shoes of adulthood.

They’re a solid mix of high-end style, with that low-key desire to have a fun time.

Once the kingpin shoe of the 1950’s, and now, the newest addition to your walk-in.

My Favorite Penny Loafer
MYRQVIST Stenhammar Loafer in Dark Brown Calf

We've found MYRQVIST to consistently offer great value for money with their Portuguese handcrafted dress shoes and the Stenhammar loafer is no exception. They'll effortlessly elevate your business casual or dinner date outfit. Consider ordering half a size up.

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And if the penny loafer is a little too simple for you, you can always add a touch of flair with the classic horse bit loafer.

Idrese Andre Horsebit Loafer

Idrese handmakes their shoes in Spain, and it's hard to find better quality than this. Made with a 360-degree Goodyear welt, these loafers shine with an Italian wide-lapel suit.

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Based on Aldo Gucci’s famous design, horse bit loafers add a touch of sophistication and Italian gusto to an otherwise simple design.

Or, if you’re just looking for an easy slip-on for that morning drive to your local coffee shop, the driving shoe makes an excellent choice. I like OC’s range of Drivers, they’re well priced for the quality on offer and they have a stunning range of colors.

Oliver Cabell Driver

This suede slip on is constructed in Marche, Italy with Italian suede and lined with calfskin leather. The Arneflex foam insole makes for a supremely comfortable loafer.

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6. The Service Boot

Model in woods wearing Thursday Captain

Want to look like a tough guy? Of course you do. Service boots are a little old-fashioned looking because they’re based on military boots used by service members (hence the name, service boots).

But just because they’re old-fashioned looking doesn’t mean they’re out of style. Far from it: these types of boots are all the rage right now, and here are the best of the best.

Best Value
Thursday Boot Company Captain

The Thursday Boots Captain is an excellent deal. The leather is similar to Horween's Chromexcel, so it has a subtle shine and plenty of rugged durability. When (if?) these ever wear out, I’ll be picking them up again.

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Best Premium Pick
Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger

The Red Wing Iron Ranger is built with the heart of America. Not literally, though. These are based on a design from iron miners and they're beefy, tough, rugged and handsome.

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7. The Oxford

teal and navy polka dot sock rolled into leather oxford shoe

Oxfords are characterized by their low heel and closed lacing system. And it’s the latter this that gives them that oh-so-peculiar yet classy look.

They come in multiple variations and they’re perfect for office wear, black tie (the less detailed versions), and smart-casual events. The Oxford should be your go-to whenever you need to look respectable.

And their versatility makes them a no-brainer inclusion on this list.

Bridlen Melbourne Oxfords

Find me a more versatile color Oxford than burgundy. I shall wait. And while I'm waiting, I'll keep drinking in these beauties from Arteton. With their oak-tanned leather sole, these are my go-to suggestion Oxford for any guy looking for a stunning pair that will last a decade with proper care.

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Best Suede
MYRQVIST Skytteholm Chocolate Suede Oxford

The full leather and cork Goodyear welted construction ensures these will last a long time, and the dark brown suede from CF Stead tannery in England ensures they'll look good while doing it.

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8. The Dress Boot

closeup beckett simonon douglas jodhpur boot

Dress boots are a little less common, but when you’ve got a pair in your closet, they can easily help you look like the best-dressed guy in the room at the next wedding you go to. Not that you want to outshine the groom, but you definitely will.

Dress boots add a little more height, keep you in comfort by wrapping your ankles, and often provide more insulation than standard dress shoes.

My Favorite Dress Boot
Beckett Simonon Elliot Balmoral Boot

A Balmoral boot is essentially the boot version of an Oxford. With closed eyelets, this boot is a sleek stunner, and Beckett Simonon is one of the best values you can find on the market today.

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Thursday Boot Company President

Thursday Boot Co's Lace-Up Presidents make a prominent statement about who you are and what you're about. Leather build, rubber sole, they're made from all the right stuff. But they also offer some of the best arch support going. This one snagged our editor’s choice.

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Further Reading: How to Lace Boots Like a Pro: 6 Expert Ways

What Did We Learn?

Wearing proper kicks to an occasion slip you into an ironclad sense of confidence. It paints you as a prophet of sensible male style.

model walking with green suit and black shirt and ace marks black chelsea boots
Chelsea Boots: Ace Marks Troy

If your walk-in doesn’t have at least half-a-dozen pairs of shoes on the rack, it’s probably time to slowly invest in building it out.

thursday captain on train tracks 1
Service Boots: Thursday Captain

Your overall style and ability to be versatile with your wardrobe will dramatically increase with each style of shoes you introduce to your collection.

Model wearing olivers passage pant and oliver cabll low 1 minimalist sneakers
Dress Sneakers: Oliver Cabell Low 1

But the right shoes are just the start.

Breland Kiltie Tassel loafer sitting on steps
Tassel Loafers: Johnston & Murphy Breland Kiltie

You’ll find current attractive hairstyles, fashion guides, and dress code rules of thumb to live by, all right here. We set high standards for all fashion and grooming products that we suggest, because your trust in the quality of our content is the most important thing to us.

Do you think we blanked out on a whole category of shoes? Let us know in the comments. And be sure to follow us on Pinterest to keep track of all of our ideas.