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Grooms Wedding Shoes

Men have a reputation of not caring a fig about what they wear on their feet. Hopefully this guide should go some way to help distilling that reputation - at least if you read it and apply the information when discussing your wedding shoes to your bride to be!

Firstly, remember that your bride will be making every effort to look stunning from head to toe and why shouldn't you, the Groom, go to the same degree of effort, after all it's your wedding day too.

When trying to find the right dress shoes it's important to consider the following factors relating to the shoe:

  • The Stylegroom wedding shoes
  • The Quality of the Leather
  • The Lining
  • The Stitching
  • The Insole
  • The Sole
  • The Heel

The Shoe Style

The style of a dress shoe is extremely important. You have to like the look of the shoe otherwise you'll be reluctant to ever wear it. There are three popular styles of dress shoe which men tend to buy they are 'The Oxford Shoe', 'Brogues' and the 'Slip-up'

The Oxford Shoe

The Oxford shoe began its life in Scotland and Ireland. It would be fair to say that the Oxford Shoe is regarded by many as the elder statesmen of the mens dress shoe world. An ideal Groom Shoe - a classic.

Many of the contemporary shoe styles which we see today are a spin off of this classic shoe design.

The Oxford shoe is traditionally constructed using a heavy leather upper, with an enclosed lacing system.

The Balmoral is often referred to as the true Oxford shoe with its closed throat lacing system. While the Blucher also known as the Derby adopts a less formal open throat lacing system. Although the Blucher lacing system might be considered less formal, it maybe the preferred choice of men who have high insteps or those who wear insoles, as the lacing system offers greater adjustment in comparison to that of the Balmoral.

Another subtle variation which can be seen in the Oxford shoe is those which are constructed with a Cap-Toe and those without are simply known as Plain-toe Oxford.

The Cap-Toe Oxford

The Cap-Toe Oxford was traditionally designed with brogue style ornamentation around the cap-toe area. However this style of shoe can also be seen with double rows of fine stitching. The Cap-Toe Oxford can have either the Balmoral or the Blucher lacing system.

Although the Balmoral cap-toe Oxford shoe would be classified as the more dressier of the two.

The Plain-Toe Oxford

The Plain-Toe Oxford is simplicity at its best. It can either adopt the Balmoral or the Blucher lacing system, although the Balmoral just has the edge in terms of being the more formal shoe.

balmoral cap toe balmoral plain toe plain loafer
Balmoral Cap Toe
Balmoral Plain Toe
Plain Loafer
balmoral cap toe balmoral plain toe plain loafer
Bulcher Cap Toe
Bulcher Plain Toe



The Brogue is thought to originate from Scotland and Ireland. The Brogue is in fact a derivation of the Classic Oxford dress shoe. It has a distinctive set of holes punched into the uppers. Brogues are also known as 'Wingtips' which related to the w-shaped toe cap pattern which is thought to resemble that of a birds spread wings. Depending on the extent of the perferations covering the shoe, full coverage and half coverage are called full-brogue and half-brogue respectively.

Remember to bear in mind the more detailed the shoe the less it will be deemed appropriate attire for a formal occasion such as a wedding.


If however you prefer to wear slip-on shoes rather than laced shoes then why not try the plain loafer.

This leather shoe like the Plain-Toe Oxford is simple and elegant, which will help to draw the eye back toward the grooms wedding outfit.

The Quality of the Leather

Good quality mens dress shoes tend to use leather which feels heavy and stiff such as calfskin, while casual shoes tend to be made from soft leather such as kid leather (leather which comes from the hide of young goats).

Avoid purchasing dress shoes where the upper leather is cracked and blemished, and look instead for those which offer a fine grain. The advantage of wearing a pair of shoes made from leather uppers is it allows the feet to breathe.

If you plan to be a dancing Groom, then better quality leather is a must.

The Lining

The lining of a dress shoe should also be made of leather. Feel inside the shoe with your hands. It should feel smooth, without any sharp edges or lumps otherwise this could lead to your feet experiencing discomfort.

The Stitching

The stitching should be subtle, even and without any exposed knots, otherwise this will cause discomfort when wearing the shoe. The stitching should be protected on the sole of the shoe by a fine leather channel which runs around the sole.

The Insole

The insole of the shoe is the material which you place the foot directly onto inside the shoe. It is commonly made of either leather, cardboard or synthetic fibre.

Good quality dress shoe insoles are made of leather, which allows the feet to breathe.

The Sole

The sole is the bottom area of the shoe other than that which is covered by the heel. Soles tend to be made from either leather or rubber. Although rubber is more durable and offers better cushioning and grip it is associated more with casual wear. Therefore when looking for a quality dress shoe, consider shoes with a leather sole.

The Heel

Like with the soles of shoes, the heel too can be constructed using either leather or rubber. Although one should expect a good dress shoe to have a heel made of leather. The heel is often made up of a number of layers of leather which are nailed together using brass pins.

How to Find a pair of dress shoes that fit

Now you know how to identify quality in a dress shoe, how can you be sure if it fits. Here are a few pointers to help you find a shoe that feels right for you.

Try on a pair of dress shoes in the afternoon as your feet will be feeling tired and they would have swollen slightly.

It's not uncommon for people to have one foot slightly larger than the other, so its important to have your feet measured. Then choose a shoe which fits the slightly larger foot.

Be prepared, wear the socks you intend to wear on your wedding day, when trying on dress shoes. If you normally wear an insole in your shoes make sure you try shoes on with the insole. This will help you to find a pair of shoes with the correct fit.

When you try on the dress shoes they should fit snugly, but still allow you room to move your toes freely. Always try on both shoes otherwise you'll never get a real appreciation of the shoes. Walk around the shop and stand on tip toe with each foot in turn. A crease should form across the foot where it bends.

This demonstrates the shoe has enough flexibility. If however the crease appears on the upper of the shoe before or after where the foot naturally bends then this indicates the shoe is not the correct fit for your feet and may cause you problems if you continued to wear them.

It's a misconception that people need to break into their shoes. If when you try on the shoes and walk around it doesn't feel comfortable it will not eventually become comfortable over time, accept the shoe just isn't right for your feet and look at a different pair.

Caring for Leather Shoes

Once you have invested in your wedding shoes you should make sure that you spend a little time looking after them.

Avoid Contact with Water

Leather is a porous material and when wet it will absorb moisture. To avoid this on purchasing your shoes spray them with a waterproofing agent. The shoe shop will often be able to recommend a product for you.

Avoid Heat

If your shoes do get wet do not place them on a radiator or in direct sunlight to dry out as over exposure can lead to cracks in the leather. Allow the shoes to dry naturally.

Maintaining the Shape

When you aren't wearing your shoes use a shoe tree to stop them from creasing and wrinkling. Use a shoe horn when putting on your shoes as this will prolong the life of the back of the shoe.


Leather shoes need to be cleaned regularly with a wax polish or shoe cream. Always choose a polish which matches that of the leather shoe. If you are unable to find one then use a neutral one.


Your Wedding Shoes

Let us know what your shoes are like, so that we can place details here and maybe give inspiration to others!

"I am giving my sister away, and we are wearing morning suits on the day. So I have purchase some black patent balmoral plain toe, as I thought it would be nice to keep it traditional! Here's to her big day! Shared with William & Kate, who announced there wedding months after my sister" Ian

"I just had plain black shoes from Clarks. Nothing fancy, just clean, shiny, black and most importantly, conformable." Mark, Glasgow