The Amabel Letters

An Ultimate Guide to Understanding the History of Men’s Footwear


What is the first thing you judge them on when you meet someone? Most people say it’s either of these three things: hair, handshake, or footwear. Over the years, the other two factors might have changed, but footwear is still considered an important part of one’s impression. Shoes are the foundation of every outfit for all men and women. They help you create the perfect look and give a good impression of your fashion sense.

Over the years, the sense of style has changed. New and different styles and varieties of shoes have been introduced. Some styles are an example of inspiration from the older times. Let’s have a detailed look at how footwear for men has immersed itself over the years in every field.

Early Days of Working-Class Men

The working-class men of the early days regularly wore leather shoes in the cooler weather. Ankle-high boots with a laced front were among the most popular types in the early days. Buckles and single straps were used to close the designs. The bottoms of the shoes were either made of wood or thick or multi-layered leather. The most common material used was leather.

Felt was also used to make shoes and slippers. The majority of shoes and boots had rounded toes. Some shoes did have pointed toes, but the working class usually wore them. However, workers didn’t often opt for pointed shoes since the upper class wore them. Pointy shoes were known for upper-classmen only.

In the summer season, workers usually preferred going barefoot compared to in summer.

Modern Day Workwear for Men

Over the years, the modern footwear style has been groomed. New styles have been added. Some styles have been removed. As talked about earlier, early day workers used to prefer leather shoes. Now leather shoes have been groomed by adding consoles that are super soft to wear. You can wear it all day long without getting tired. Comfort has become the top priority for all footwear brands. Among these comfortable shoes are loafers. These are lace-less shoes and slip-on. Workers most use oxfords and Derby Shoes.

Oxford shoes come with closed lacing. That is concealed within the upper part of the shoe. They have become a traditional part of men’s dress style for work.

Safety Wear Shoes

Different types of safety uses are currently available in the market. Some of the boots come with toe caps. The toe cap is a built-in feature that is made of various materials. These materials help in strengthening the toe section of the shoe. So, if you hit somewhere, it will prevent injury to the foot. It will also save your foot if a heavy item falls on it. Recently, chemical-resistant splash shoes have been introduced into the market. These safety shoes prevent chemicals from seeping through the shoe and onto the worker’s foot, preventing any injury from the toxic chemicals.

Other than these two, anti-slip are also safety shoes. These shoes have an anti-slip sole in them. These soles strengthen the shoe’s grip and protect employees from slipping and suffering. Slipping can cause major serious issues like fractures due to the fall. If you work somewhere there are many slippery things, then try wearing these safety shoes. It may also be helpful in large restaurant kitchens where spilled food or oil risks sliding.

Materials like steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber are used to strengthen the safety of the shoes. Aluminum, for example, can help from injuries that may occur due to electricity.

Everyday Shoes for Men

Lace-up sneakers, slip-on shoes, and no-lace loafers are some of the everyday shoes worn by men. These go perfect with daily outfits. A combination of a t-shirt with jeans or trousers with these everyday shoes gives a different comfort level. You can do all your tasks easily without getting tired or any pain in your feet.

White sneakers have become a classic option. You can pair these up with your casual wear. A pair of white sneakers are a must-have in every man’s closet. White sneakers have a comfortable and soft insole with a flexible outsole. Hence, increasing the level of comfort. On the other hand, loafers are an excellent pick for bright casual dressing.

Loafers come with a rubber sole with a medium width. Casual slip-on shoes are the new trend. The cushioned footbed increases the comfort level. It comes with synthetic material and a rugged outsole. For gym wear, men nowadays wear trainers and sneakers. These come with either a flat or lifted sole that makes the overall smoothens the workout experience.

Men’s Formal Footwear

Among men’s formal footwear, Oxford’s are those dress shoes that you will find in every man’s closet. It’s ideal for a formal occasion and looks best when paired with a suit. For any formal ensemble, this shoe is ideal. It will go best with the occasion. Whether you wear it at an important meeting or an office party, when paired with a black, navy blue, or grey suit with a white shirt and tie. This will just make your presence more charming.

Brogues are another famous item of footwear that every man owns. They may be worn for both formal and casual professional events. Brogues with a single solid color may be dressed up or down for official occasions such as meetings and casual business functions. Black brogues look great with a black suit and tie, while tan brogues made of tan leather work well with white and navy-blue attire.

Final Thoughts

Footwear is gaining a lot of importance in dressing culture. You just can’t ignore it. Imagine wearing some random shoes to a formal occasion. Do you think that will give a good impression of you to others? Of course not. You have to put a lot of effort into the whole outfit. Wearing formal shoes with a formal suit on a formal occasion makes sense. Hence, not only for women but also for men, footwear needs to be considered important no matter the occasion. It will portray a version of you to others.

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