It Must Be the Shoes: The Shoes Every Man Should Own

Upgrade your footwear game with our essential guide on the shoes every man should own. From versatile classics to stylish staples, we'll walk you through the must-have shoes that will elevate your style to new heights.
Image Credit@Armandomadrid

It wasn’t the vicious dunks, long shorts, or the haircut for Michael Jordan.

So, it’s gotta be the shoes!


Like Mars Blackmon we thought, deep down, it had to be the shoes.

But it wasn’t just the shoes for His Airness. It was a little bit of everything. The ultra-cool gotta-have-em shoes were just the cherry on top.

We’re no Michael Jordan, but wearing amazing shoes should be a priority for all of us every day.

You can buy eight, nine, ten, eleven pairs of shoes. But it won’t mean you’ll have the right shoes for the right occasion. (Sorry, Air Jordans are not the right shoes for every occasion.)

Buying eleven pairs of shoes also means you won’t have space in your closet or money left to add to your wardrobe.

Save money and space for the shoes every man should own. These six types of shoes are all that you need to create timeless and classic looks every day.

Athletic Shoes When You Want to Break a Sweat

Onitsuka Tiger

You might not dunk like Mike, but you go out and break a sweat every now and then.

Whether you’re a gym rat, a runner, or a regular at pick-up basketball, you need shoes to help you keep fit and stay comfortable.

Choose the right shoes for your activity. Cross trainers are great for when you lift weights at the gym. But you’ll need running shoes when you train for a 10k. Logging the kilometres (or miles) means you’ll want the support, cushioning, and stability of a good running shoe.

The same goes if you join pick-up basketball games. Running shoes and gym shoes are built for those activities. Most of them don’t have the ankle support you need when you shoot hoops. You don’t want to literally break your ankle when someone “breaks your ankles.”

Athletic shoes come in all sorts of colours. Stick to white, black or grey. Crazy colours like vapour green or an intense red will clash with casual outfits.

A sleek pair of athletic shoes in black or white may look great with casual joggers, but you should never wear them with dress pants.

We can get on board if you’re dressing for a casual gathering. But make a good first impression in professional settings by going with our next shoe instead.

The Shoe Every Man Should Own When They Suit Up

BRAUN Hamburg

Wearing a pair of Jordans with your suit will no doubt attract attention and a few compliments. But remember, you want each piece of clothing to complement not overshadow your overall look.

Dress for the occasion and put on a pair of Oxfords instead. You’ll put together a sophisticated outfit because you won't have one element screaming for attention.

You get the attention and not your shoes when you wear Oxfords. Considered a shoe for professionals, you can wear Oxfords to the office, weddings, job interviews and any formal event in between.

Invest in a high-quality pair, and you’ll always have your shoe for the days (and nights) when you wear your suit. A plain toe Oxford will suit you fine. But you can get capped toes for some added personality. Brogues and bolder colours can look great too, but you risk venturing into distracting territory.

Of course, it could be worse. Your shoes could be distracting for the wrong reasons. Unpolished shoes can topple an otherwise immaculate outfit. Spend a few minutes to inspect and clean your shoes before you leave the house. You’ll be glad you did.

Cool and Casual Sneakers for Everyday Sophistication


Now that you have the shoes to pair with your suit, it’s time to start thinking about the shoe every man should own and can wear every day.

Clean and classy sneakers like Jack Purcells or Stan Smiths look great with your casual outfits. But you can also throw on a great fitting blazer and dark wash slim fit jeans for a dynamite outfit on a night out.

While it’s tempting to wear sneakers with your suit, you’re better off sticking with the Oxfords. Your suit is an elevated look. You don’t want to bring it down with the same sneakers you wear to the pub on a Friday night.

Brown Leather Boots for a Rugged Look


For a more rugged everyday look outside of the office, get a pair of brown leather boots. Leather boots are the ying to your casual sneakers’ yang. They add flexibility depending on the message you want to send that day.

“Brown leather boots” come in a wide range. We don’t mean boots for snow or rain. (Although you should absolutely get a good pair of snow and rain boots depending on your climate.)

Get brown leather boots you can wear on weekend outings to the lake or camping. These boots can withstand rough weather conditions and look great in your dark wash jeans or wool trousers.

The Ideal Summer Shoe: Espadrilles


Brown leather boots are great for the fall and winter. But what do you do about the hot summer months? Sliders and flip-flops are readily available, but we have a better idea.

Espadrilles are one of the oldest styles of shoes. With a sole made of esparto rope and canvas or cotton upper, it’s a great casual shoe to wear in the summertime.

They’re perfect for short strolls on the boardwalk or for wearing by the pool or on the beach. Espadrilles transition well to the bar or sightseeing around a beach town too.

Wear them with your chino shorts, light jeans, or linen pants. The right espadrilles can even accompany your summer suit to a beach wedding. 

Espadrilles can help you bend the rules in the right situation. But there is one rule you can’t break with espadrilles: never wear them with socks.

Honourable Mentions

Leaving out Chelsea boots was really hard. A black pair of Chelsea boots look great with a suit or dark wash jeans. But you have to make hard decisions when you want to create an essential list of shoes every man should own.

There’s so much choice out there for men’s shoes! We didn’t talk about loafers. Just remember that you create your own wardrobe. If the loafers’ preppy look is your vibe, then go for it.

Creating this list is our attempt to make sophistication easy for you and everyone like you. Having these essential shoes in your arsenal makes creating elegant looks easy every day.

Is there a type of shoe you love that we didn’t mention? Give us a shout on social media or by emailing

The right shoes for the activity also need the right socks. Don't slip up by wearing gym socks with your dress shoes. Make sure you have the right socks for your day and read the article: Step Up Your Style: Aklasu's Guide to Men's Socks for Every Occasion.