Bold shoes can be a great way to add some flair and individuality to your style. But what exactly are bold shoes?
What makes a shoe bold? How do you shop for them, and more importantly, should you really wear them?
Before you invest in a pair (or two) of bold shoes, it's important to understand what makes a shoe bold, as opposed to trendy or tacky.
Since we live in a “fast fashion” society, many shoes that are marketed as bold are really just gaudy and will look ridiculous by next year – if they don't already!
So, when shopping for bold shoes, you don't want to sacrifice timelessness or quality. Luckily, there are two obvious, defining characteristics of bold shoes you can look for.
2 Characteristics of Bold Shoes
The two characteristics of tastefully bold shoes you should look for are: contrasting colors and mixed materials. Let's review each one in more detail…
#1: Contrasting Colors
Most dress shoes are one color, like brown or tan or black. I mean, let's be honest: who doesn't have a pair of solid brown leather dress shoes?
Two tone shoes, on the other hand, are unique. Take these two tone cap toe Oxfords, for example. They're the same classic shape and construction as any well built Oxford, but the slight contrast between the dark brown and light brown leather makes them unique.
The more contrast you have, the more bold (and casual) the shoe will be. For example, black on white is much noticeable and bold look.
It's almost important to remember that more contrast = more casual.
#2: Mixed Materials
In the same way, different materials can be used to create a bold look.
I'm a big fan of suede, and like a lot of guys, I have several pairs of suede shoes or boots. But what I don't have and don't see very often is shoes made from suede and leather.
Using two different materials in the same shoe adds texture and depth and contrast that you just don't get with most shoes.
If the leather and suede are the same color, it's pretty subtle. Now if you have brown leather and blue suede, for example, that would be an extra bold look that's sure to get some attention and comments.
Other Ways to Get Bold Shoes
Rather than buying a new pair of shoes, you can modify your existing shoe collection to add some small doses of boldness.
Here are some quick ways to spice up your footwear:
- Change the shoelace tips (especially if you're already shortening your shoelaces)
- Swap out the shoelaces for a new color entirely
- Add color with contrasting shoe polish (for example, black on brown)
- Resole with a different color sole (for example, blue or red)
These four ideas are much cheaper than buying new shoes, so they require much less risk and commitment from you.
Of course, if you're sold on the idea of bold shoes, the best option is just to buy yourself a brand new pair from a company like Ace Marks.
Should You Wear Bold Shoes?
Now that we know what makes shoes bold, we have to ask: So, should you wear bold shoes?
Well, they're not for everyone, but if you have a relatively solid shoe collection and are pretty confident with your style, I think it's a good idea to mix things up with a pair of bold shoes.
They're definitely a conversation starter, and they radiate confidence in a subtle but powerful way.
Personally, I got to a point where I was pretty confident with my everyday style, and I found myself craving variety and individuality.
This means experimenting with trends and adding statement pieces to my wardrobe, including bold shoes.
I recommend choosing the style of shoe that you wear most often. So, for example, if you wear loafers 3-4x per week, get yourself a pair of bold loafers.
If you're an Oxford guy, go with those instead. Either way, have fun with it, and don't be afraid to take risks, which really help your personal style evolve over time.
Thanks again to Ace Marks for supporting The Modest Man!
Do you or would you wear bold shoes? Leave a comment below!