When it comes to a guy’s footwear collection, his dress shoes are undeniably the most important pair. Sure, they’re a little high-maintenance, especially if you have a pair that’s topped in leather or suede, yet these fancy kicks are most likely the most versatile options any guy has in his closet: They’re perfect for weddings, job interviews, and even trying out that new upscale restaurant. But just because you can wear them virtually anywhere doesn’t mean you need to shell out thousands of dollars for a handmade pair. For starters, not every guy has a four-figured shoe budget. And let’s not forget that there are tons of affordable, and equally stylish, options on the market. Below, a few of our favorite dress shoes under $300.
1. A pop of color from Brooks Brothers
Forget what you’ve heard, dear reader: Your dress shoes don’t need to be black, brown, or tan. On the contrary, picking up a pair of kicks in a colorful hue adds an unexpected pop of color to your ensemble. These lace-ups from Brooks Brothers give a jolt of energy to a simple silhouette. While this pair is available in a variety of colors, we prefer this navy shade because it’s striking against a sea of neutral shoes but doesn’t veer into clown territory. Plus, this pick is available in a soft nubuck leather so you know you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
2. Invest in a pair of polished dress boots
Kick your reservations to the curb: Boots aren’t only suitable for the outdoors and those slushy winter streets. With the right sleek silhouette, boots can even be a stylish option for the office and your fancier affairs. For example, this dapper pair, available at Macy’s, are a gentlemanly alternative to your trusty combat boots. Whether styled with cropped cargos or traditional trousers, this leather option can easily be dressed up or down. Plus, the perforated detailing by the pair’s cap toes are a thoughtful addition without breaking the bank.
3. Keep it classy with monk-strapped shoes
Tired of your average lace-up dress shoes? Try a pair of monk-strapped kicks. According to Heddels.com, this style of shoe was originally designed as an alternative to sandals for European monks. Fortunately, this type of shoe is still en vogue. Calibrate creates an affordable version that’s bound to up your footwear game. This brown leather iteration is faded in just the right places, offering subtle hints of character to the sleek silhouette.
4. An elevated loafer
Aren’t loafers the best? Not only are they free of buckles, laces, or any other time-consuming hardware, but they’re insanely comfortable. However, sporting your handy Sperry Topsider or loafer-esque slippers to the office is a major fashion faux pas. Fortunately, these kicks from Magnanni blend the comfort of a casual set of loafers with the appeal of office-friendly shoes. Whether you wear these with a structured suit for that big interview or with khakis for a casual wedding, these are sure to quickly turn into a wardrobe staple.
5. A traditional, masculine derby pair
Finding a nice pair of derby lace-ups that don’t look like something your grandfather used to wear is difficult. Finding ones that are actually affordable? Even more difficult. But this option from Alfani, which is exclusively available at Macy’s, offers a youthful take on this silhouette. The key for this pair is an interesting upper, which boasts smooth and perforated leather. There’s no denying that these will look great with a suit; however, these kicks will look just as cool with a pair of jeans and a button-down shirt.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs