Thoughts on mens’ “Dress shoes” that are also practical?

I subscribe to the belief that the “best” piece of equipment is the one that you have, when you need it. Not the one sitting in a closet at home or on a store shelf.
With that in mind, in regards to every day carry, my employer requires business casual, dress shoes required.
Dress shoes usually fall under a category of Form>Function. While the “dress-boots” I have now are certainly comfortable and don’t hinder me at all, I was wondering if anybody had any recommendations for footwear that they enjoy and provide some protection without the “look” of work or combat boots? Any thoughts appreciated.


  • Comments (10)

    • 10

      Dude, shell cordovan for the win, always. The ultimate triple threat: boardroom, bedroom, bloodbath.

      Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 3.07.41 PM

      Dainite sole, and you can use that buck antler from your recent kill to smooth the bumps in your vamp.

      This is, of course, entirely unhelpful. But I do miss the days when my biggest concern was subtle coordination of pocket squares and trying not to over-rotate my shell beauties during the week.

    • 6

      You could look into shoes that are geared towards waiters/waitresses. They’re typically designed to be slip and water resistant, durable, comfy enough to wear while moving around for hours, and you can find them in varying levels of formality in order to blend in with the restaurant’s style. Skechers and Dr. Scholl’s have some affordable options, but they may lean towards the more business casual rather than the dress shoes end of the spectrum.

    • 4

      Could you give an image/link example of where you think “the line” is between acceptable and not? For example, does high ankle coverage automatically mean it feels too work/tactical?

      I was a full-time traveler for a few years while living out of a carry-on backpack and spent an insanely long time looking for “the one shoe” that met both personal/rucking needs and work needs. There’s just not a lot out there, afaik. The pair I ended up with essentially had the form of sneakers but were in a neutral brown color with less-athletic-looking materials.

      Edit: They were Clarks.

      • 7

        Here’s what I’m wearing now. It has enough ankle support, but the <½” (flat) soles and lack of steel toe don’t really satisfy me. Maybe I’m asking too much from a single pair of shoes/boots.IMG_20200619_185911

      • 8

        Florsheim, Wolverine, Red Wing all make steel toe dress shoes – Although I haven’t used them personally.  I totally understand wanting dress shoes that don’t suck and I can walk home in or run if needed.  The best I’ve had that pass as dress shoes and I can still run at full speed are the zero grand line from Cole Haan – these are what I wear most days now.  Construction is closer to a sneaker, so don’t expect 20 years of sole replacements, but very comfortable and I could ruck home with no blisters.

        Bomb proof boots I’ve used in the office are wolverine 1000 miles, Allen Edmonds Long Branch, and Red Wing Iron Rangers.

        I think the ultimate in the form/function do everything boot would be something like an Alden Indy’s, or Viberg Service Boot with a cap toe – but they are very expensive and more like a BIFL item.

    • 9

      They’re not boots, but I bought a pair of these Ecco shoes a few years ago based on a Rick Steve recommendation and I love them.  Walked all over the UK over 3 weeks using only this pair of shoes and I never got a blister (after breaking then in before I left).

      <span class=”vIEnb0ipdTBQ4VsrUwYyGO5RXDafM1ePHJc7Sx9FNmhtCKguAzZ26jLqW”><iframe style=”max-width: 100%;” title=”ECCO Men’s Fusion II Slip On Slip-On Loafer, Amber, 39 EU/5-5.5 M US” src=”https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=kpd&ref_=k4w_oembed_YohmoZqFU3husR&asin=B071RMKHQX&tag=kpembed-20&#8243; height=”550″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe></span>

    • 7

      The Australian brand Blundstone is my choice when I need something between smart, casual and sturdy. They used to be only brown but nowadays there are different colors (and black) to choose from.

    • 3

      Rockport dress shoes are the only ones I could walk all day in.

    • 4

      I’ve worn something similar to these for the last 4 years for work. No ankle support, but my feet have been comfortable and dry. Not cheap either, but 4-5 days a week for 4 years, they have certainly lasted, and still look fine. Heel is starting to wear though.


      • 4

        Those look nice. Do you wear inserts with them or are the stock ones still good after 4 years? That’s always been my issue with nicer shoes is that they’re almost never comfortable for me. Haven’t tried Clarks though.