If you’re looking for comfortable dress shoes for men, you’re in the right place. We’ve got the 15 best right here.
If you’re looking for comfortable dress shoes for men, you’re in the right place. We’ve got the 15 best right here.
Out of every style of shoe, dress shoes rank at the bottom on the comfort scale. They’re built for style, often rooted in tradition, with comfort rarely taken into account. We may not have it as bad as the ladies, but let’s be real.
Those of us who suit up for work aren’t always just sitting at a desk all day. We might be running from meeting to meeting, sometimes on marble or concrete, or stomping around town to get to clients. Formal occasions like weddings often call for standing or dancing.
For you fellows who’d rather not suffer for fashion, we’ve rounded up the 15 most comfortable dress shoes for men. From clever hybrid footwear to well-padded dress shoes, we’ve got a range here for smart casual and formal situations.
Here are our top three recommendations from the list:
Amberjack Originals feel comfortable right out the box thanks to the soft buckskin lining. The removable insole is three times thicker than memory foam which makes it a lot more comfortable.
The Rockport Tanner is a super simple and versatile dress shoe and it’s also a practical budget buy. It has an Ortholite footbed for supportive comfort and a rubber outsole with excellent traction.
The Allen Edmonds Dalton Wingtip is a very comfortable traditional dress boot. Rubber soles ease your foot’s pressure points and add to the flexibility of the shoe. The metal eyelets add ruggedness to the look.
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Comfortable Men’s Dress Shoes
Here are 15 of our favorites.
Wolf & Shepherd Crossover Longwing
As a footwear company, Wolf & Shepherd’s focus is to create athletic-inspired professional shoes. They even use pro athletes instead of models or actors to market their brand. That being the case, any of their lines are good choices when it comes to comfortable dress shoes.
The Longwing is their flagship of sorts, and combines a full-grain leather upper with sneaker-like soles.
The leather itself is Italian calfskin, which is long-lasting and durable. The non-black variations sport a patinated look in the front and back.
I think this actually looks dressier than the all black variation because it adds a sophisticated complexity. It also adds a nice balance to the design. It’s made of only two visible pieces and sports no-tie lacing that doesn’t criss cross.
As genuine hybrids, the Crossover Longwing’s comfort comes from its shock absorbing soles. The removable footbed is dual-density memory foam and is lined with sheepskin leather that molds to your foot when it’s broken in.
The thick athletic outsole looks a bit like the Allbirds trainers since the back slightly juts out, which helps provide agility.
You might get away with wearing these to important business meetings, depending on your office dress code. I’d say that for everyday office wear or running around town, the Crossovers are appropriate for most work situations.
Another dress-athletic hybrid, Amberjack’s Original is currently their only offering, though it comes in seven leather and suede variations.
The biggest aesthetic strength of the Original is that all the parts, dress and athletic, blend together really well. It’s the visual opposite of the Wolf & Shepherd, which looks great because it embraces the contrast of the upper and sole.
The subtle perforation on the Originals’ traditional Derby upper provides ventilation underneath the vamp. The collar has comfortable padding on it, but the shape descends neatly into the face of the shoe.
The leather itself is supple, and certain colorways have patinated tips, though they’re more subtle than the Wolfe & Shepherds patina.
These feel comfortable right out the box thanks to the soft buckskin lining. The removable insole is three times thicker than memory foam. Like a work boot, it cups and supports your feet, but is a lot more comfortable.
On top of that, the arch support is heat activated, so you don’t get overheated despite how heavily padded this shoe is throughout.
Cole Haan OriginalGrand Wingtip Oxford
Cole Haan is actually one of the undeniable leaders of the comfort dress shoe movement. When they were owned by Nike, the two brands started mixing and matching technologies with styles.
The midsole of the OriginalGrand Wingtip is based off of Nike Free, which is light, comfortable, and exceedingly flexible. The pink elephant in the room here is that intense eye-catching midsole.
I think that if any dress shoe upper can sit at the same table as that thick mult-lined sole though, it’s a brogue-accented one. It’s just a dandy shoe, style-wise. Cole Haan describes the look as “progressive” and I fully agree.
The sole is constructed with systematic layers of proprietary cushioning, including an EVA midsole for padded comfort and a rubber outsole for an athletic-like bend.
The outsole even has a slight tread to it. It isn’t work boot thick, but it’s definitely a beefed up athletic outsole, which contributes to shock absorption. Top that off with its buttery leather, and you’ve got a loud and fancy-looking hustle shoe.
Cole Haan ZeroGrand Wingtip Oxford
Cole Haan’s ZeroGrand Wingtip Oxfords are even livelier than the Originals, sporting sole colors like bright red, lime green, and sky blue (the latter paired with a darker blue upper for full effect).
The EVA midsole sports deep-set rubber pods for a teeth-like profile that actually matches the ornate leather upper. Not only is this a louder shoe than the original, the ZeroGrand is actually lighter and sportier too.
It’s designed to follow the foot’s natural motion and lessen foot fatigue, and includes a padded sock lining for extra cushioning.
Style-wise the Mephisto Marlon is conservative and timeless. Quality-wise, it’s definitely the most upscale option on the list. The upper is made of full-grain tumbled leather, which is top grain leather that’s been spun in a machine with small pebbles to loosen the fibers.
The result is a soft natural grain upper with a semi-sheen and a sophisticatedly subtle texture. This traditional and versatile Derby upper is Goodyear welted to the latex rubber sole.
As far as what makes it so comfortable, the Marlon’s leather lining will conform to your feet once it’s broken in. Even prior to that though, Mephisto’s proprietary soft-air technology provides an ultra-soft insole and shock absorption.
This eases any joint pressure in your toes even prior to break-in. The only two caveats here is that these shoes run large, and since you get what you pay for, they tend to be in the $400 range.
Mephisto Cap Vert
The Mephisto Cap Vert has more personality than the conservative Marlon, and is one of the most comfortable penny loafers in the market right now.
In addition to boasting all of the high-end comfort technology as the Marlon, it also has a padded tongue for extra cushion. This helps ease tension in your foot’s pressure points.
The Cap Vert sports a smooth leather, still full-grain, and comes in black and brown.
Rockport Total Motion Sports Wingtip
Similar to the Wolf & Shepherd shoes, the Rockport Total Motion Sports Wingtip is an unabashed hybrid shoe, with a leather dress shoe upper and a sneaker midsole. It’s mostly simple on the visual front, but the wingtips add some pizazz without going overboard.
Rockport loads the Motion Sports up with tons of comfort and agility technology.
Zoned flexibility means that usual hotspot suspects, like the ball of your foot and the pinkie toe, are soothed as you walk.
The heel cup provides support and structure, while the heel cushioning absorbs shock. Similarly, the nylon shank is designed for stability and flex, and won’t set off any metal detectors like a steel shank would.
As far as the middle of your foot goes, there’s a TPU stability plate, making this a good shoe for those of you with plantar fasciitis. And of course, there’s an EVA outsole for lightweight impact management.
The Rockport Tanner hides its comfort shoe status better than the Motion Sports Wingtip does. Easily found in the $60 range, it’s also a practical budget buy.
It’s a super simple and versatile dress shoe that you can get as a plain toe or a wingtip. It has a cozy padded collar and more sectioning on the back upper compared to a regular dress shoe.
It also comes with an Ortholite footbed for supportive comfort, and a rubber outsole with excellent traction and pretty good shock absorption.
This is an excellent shoe for those of you who travel in between client-facing front-of-house situations to back-of-house contexts all day long. Guys in operations at a corporate building, hosts at fancy restaurants, and museum workers, are just some examples.
Clarks Un Tailor Tie
If the Rockport Tanners have too much going for your tastes, the Clarks Un Tailor Tie features a similar style with a more minimalistic approach. Again, it’s a basic full-grain leather Derby shoe that works in most, if not all, office dress codes.
Clarks is known for their practical footwear, so you really do get a lot bang for your back with the Un Tailor Tie. The molded Ortholite insoles sit over an EVA foam sole, a rubber toe, and heel pads.
This provides a great balance of stability and structured softness, perfect for those of outbound professionals who spend just as much time on streets and in cabs as you do in meeting rooms. It’s also one of our lightest weight options on the list.
Ecco Seattle Tie
Ecco Shoes are a Danish brand that’s known for performance footwear and quirky technologies. You can’t tell by looking at it, but there’s a lot of athletic-inspired features in the Ecco Seattle Tie.
The interior is mesh-lined, instead of leather-lined like most dress shoes, providing effective moisture-wicking qualities. I recommend this shoe to sweaty gents and those of you who work in hot climates. On top of that, it sports a PU midsole that helps with energy loss in your foot and adds flexibility.
As far as square-toe shoes go, the Ecco Seattle Tie is actually pretty sleek looking. The square tips aren’t too wide, making the silhouette fairly long and elegant.
Another big plus about this particular Ecco model is that it’s one of their more affordable offerings. Regardless, the upper is constructed from full-grain leather.
Florsheim Midtown Plain Toe Oxford
Since they live in completely different price points, people forget that Florsheim grew up with Allen Edmonds. They’re both Midwest heritage brands, but at one point, Florsheim shifted its focus towards efficiency.
The good thing about this is that you get some pretty great designs, using more reasonable materials and constructions, at lower prices.
The Florsheim Plain Toe Oxford is simple, versatile, and classic. It works with your suit and tie, with your tuxedo, and even a nice pair of jeans.
There are three reasons why this shoe is so comfortable.
First, the leather upper requires zero break in and bends perfectly with your foot as you move. Second, the moisture-wicking synthetic lining is more breathable than most dress shoe linings. Finally, the generously cushioned sole includes Ortholite, similar to the Clarks and the Rockport Tanners.
Johnston & Murphy Holden Wingtip
The Johnston & Murphy Wingtip is another fun hybrid, and it comes from the brand’s Holden collection of athletic dress shoes. All of the colorways have the same wing-tip, brogued look, but the brown oiled variation has a lot going on texture-wise, distinguishing it from the litter.
The full-grain leather upper features a unique basketball-like pebbling, giving the shoe just as much athletic qualities as it does dress qualities.
The top of the interior is lined with a foam-quilted leather which feels cushy on the top of your foot, while the sheepskin-lined footbed adds a sumptuous thickness. Beneath that is memory foam cushioning so that the inside of the shoe molds to your foot.
The EVA sole is flexible, thick, and shock-absorbing. I think that the monotone colorways are dressier looking. The contrast sole versions likely won’t go beyond a smart casual situation because of that big athletic sole.
Beckett Simonon Dean
The Dean oxford shoe is definitely traditionally-crafted, but direct-to-consumer Beckett Simonon does a great job of building a comfortable and mid-priced dress shoe here. They’re Blake stitched, which won’t last as long as a Goodyear stitched shoe, but is far more flexible with a quicker break-in time.
Personally, I didn’t experience any break-in time with this shoe. The full-grain leather upper is treated with shea butter and carnauba wax, so it’s quite soft from the beginning. Plus, the Vachetta leather lining is breathable, naturally regulates temperature, and absorbs moisture.
Is it as comfortable as a hybrid shoe? Of course not. This is an excellent choice for stricter dress codes though.
You can’t run laps in these, but as far as dress shoes go, the Deans are comfortable to stand in for hours at a time, and won’t leave your feet sore if you’ve been running from boardroom to boardroom at work all day.
Beckett Simonon Lopez
The Beckett Simonon Lopez has all of the same comfort offerings as the Dean Oxfords, including the Blake stitching, the well-ventilated and rub-fighting Vachetta lining, and the soft leather upper. On top of that, it sports rubber outsoles for extra pressure management, shock absorption, and traction.
These are a great year-round option because of this. Especially since they’re dress boots, the generously-sized instep is pretty impressive and doesn’t ruin the slim formal look.
On the style front, the Lopez is a sleek and simple boot, but the stacked strata-designed heel and outsole gives it a fashion-forward touch. Again, these traditional shoes won’t be as comfortable as a hybrid, but it’s a refined and cushy option for more formal occasions.
Allen Edmonds Dalton Wingtip Rubber Sole
The Allen Edmonds Dalton Wingtip, with a rubber sole, is another traditional dress boot that’s more comfortable than comparable models.
The leather sole versions aren’t especially uncomfortable by any means, but they’re definitely more standard compared to the shock-reducing Dainite versions.
Rubber, in general, creates a better barrier between your foot and the ground, but the studs on the outsole ease your foot’s pressure points and add to the flexibility of the shoe. It also performs well on snowy or wet floors. The insole is a good old-fashioned cork which forms a custom fit.
The upper sports a lot of broguing, but the simple lacing tempers this for an overall classic shoe. I do think that the metal eyelets add a ruggedness to the look, but not one that is distracting or inappropriate in the workplace.
Whether you’re a waiter or running around the floor of the New York stock exchange, many professions require shoes that are equal parts comfort and style.
The good news is that these days, these qualities aren’t mutually exclusive. Sure, a few of these shoes wouldn’t work in the most formal occasions (do not wear the lime green Cole Haan ZeroGrands with tuxedo), but each option is versatile enough for most professional situations.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!
Greg Howes says
Hi Brock! Great piece on comfortable work shoes.Wondering if you might be able to address narrow shoes for men? Increasingly hard to find much without spending $400.00 dollars. Thanks!
JOHN MOTZI says
I’ve had experience with several of the brands your presented and can attest to the comfort level in models from years past. I am glad you featured at least a few models here which can be resoled. I have in the past year replaced nearly all of my shoes with those that can be resoled. Everyone has their own view on sustainability, but I tired of throwing away otherwise decent shoes because of quickly wearing soles which could not be replaced. Now I buy for the long term at a price point $500 or less, and will rebuild shoes as they wear.