Looking for formal shoes to wear with a tuxedo? Here’s a list of 15 great options.
Even as fashion gets more casual, tuxedos remain strictly formal. Fancying itself as the last stand for high-formal dress, there is not really room for casual elements when it comes to black tie.
Fortunately, unlike tuxedos, which always need to be paired with dress shoes, there is formal footwear out there that can go with more than just a penguin situation. This is good news for those of you who rarely go to black-tie events.
You’d be surprised at how much a pair of tuxedo-appropriate shoes can accommodate different personal styles!
Short on time? Here are our top picks for the best shoes you can buy right now:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Types of Shoes That Are Good with Tuxedos
Unless you’re making some kind of social commentary or are on the red carpet of MTV Awards, only black leather shoes are acceptable with tuxedos.
I’ve seen successful pairings of gray leather dress shoes with blue tuxedos, but it’s a risky balance and one that won’t work on every formal occasion.
Safe Bets: Oxfords and (Certain) Loafers
Black Oxford shoes are the traditional way to go. The simpler the better, though a cap-toe is a nice, acceptable detail if you like a little more texture on your shoe’s silhouette (although black-tie purists may scoff at those who wear this “business” shoe style).
And yes, loafers can be worn with tuxedos too. Super minimal models like opera pumps, Venetians, and Prince Albert slippers are all appropriate.
Overall, extra details make dress shoes look more casual — kilties on a loafer or broguing on an Oxford, for example. You can go for these styles as long as it’s balanced out visually and comes together in a refined way, but this can be very hard to do.
However, the more simple and sleek the dress shoe, the better.
Shiny or Matte?
Either works! Remember, it’s all about balance. Since shoes with a lot of detail tend to look more casual, if you like that style, balance it out with a glossy construction (though keep in mind, a shiny heavily-brogued dress shoe can look pretty flashy).
Exceedingly simple Oxfords with a slim and sharp silhouette can up its versatility factor with a matte build. They don’t have to be black-tie-only shoes.
You can get away with some types of regular black dress shoes. They should have leather soles and should be kept clean and polished should you wear them with tuxedos.
Remember that there is an aspect of conformity when it comes to formal dress codes. Black-tie isn’t the time to try and stand out with something flashy. Instead, the fit of your tux and the quality of your clothing and accessories is what’s important here.
The 15 Best Shoes for Tuxedos
Here they are in no particular order!
Florsheim Tux Cap-Toe Oxfords
Florsheim is an interesting brand because it’s definitely a go-to for affordability, but people often forget that it’s a brand that came out and grew up with more high-end heritage shoemakers like Allen Edmonds.
That being the case, though they’re built on a budget, they’ve inherited a lot of the classic, tried-and-true designs (even if their quality has suffered a lot in the past few decades).
These Tux Cap-Toe Oxfords, coming in at a sub-130 price, have a breathable leather lining and a fully-cushioned memory foam bed. If you waited until the last minute to find dress shoes for a formal event, these shoes will be immediately comfortable.
I’m personally not opposed to going budget for a shiny leather shoe, especially one that looks as good as these do. I don’t patent-leather shoes that often, which means they’ll last me longer than a pair I’d wear regularly.
Allen Edmonds La Scalia Italian Oxfords
If you think you’ll need a patent-leather shoe at least a few times a year, you might want to invest in a really well-built model like these Allen Edmonds La Scala Italian Oxford Dress Shoes.
Glossiness aside, they have a high lip and a dramatic side collar dip, which adds to their formality. Still, they’re traditional Oxfords that will go with any tuxedo — black, white, or even navy.
These shoes are handcrafted in Italy and made with full-grain, high-shine leather. They’re also fairly comfortable, with moderate flex — at least more flex than you’d typically see on such a high-luster, substantially-heeled dress shoe.
Allen Edmonds Park Avenues
Allen Edmonds Park Avenues are icons, and I attribute that to two reasons. First, they’re pretty versatile. They’re definitely dress shoes that you can wear with a tuxedo, but you can wear them to work too.
Second, Park Avenue models throughout time are often adorned with small details that make them distinct without compromising the classic template. Some have subtle broguing across the stitching, for example.
And of course, they boast premium construction and materials. The supple calfskin, known for its high strength-to-weight ratio and tight grain, is 360-welted to the outsoles. It takes a bit of break-in time, but they’ll get relatively comfortable, and are always resoleable.
However, Allen Edmonds’ quality has dropped a bit in recent years (although not as drastically as Florsheim’s) without seeing a drop in prices. However, if you can get a pair on sale or second hand know that they are still fantastic shoes.
Thursday Boots Executives
A dress shoe for the gent who prefers relaxed style sensibilities, Thursday Boots took their leather and boot know-how and applied that to this adaptable dress shoe. The Executives have a super matte look which makes it easy to pair with more casual trousers.
As always, Thursday implements top-notch materials and construction, including full-grain leather and handcrafted, Goodyear welted outsoles.
These guys are also one of the more comfortable models in the group. The cork bed midsoles conform to your feet the more you use them, and the insoles are shock-absorbing and antimicrobial as well.
Overall, they’re a good choice if you’re going to a formal event in which you’ll be running around all day, say as the best man at a wedding.
Todd Snyder Loake Patent Dress Shoes
The high-gloss Loake Patent Dress Shoes from Todd Snyder are so sleek and minimal, they’re just one step below an opera pump.
Unlike an actual opera pump though, they’re traditional laced shoes which makes them adaptable to professional settings, albeit highly dressy professional settings.
They’re too shiny for everyday professional shoes, but they’ll serve you well at big board meetings and are definitely perfect with a tuxedo.
The styling of these shoes is sophisticated and their leather is good, but they’re of cemented construction. This means that they’re comfortable immediately, but won’t be resolable. I wouldn’t wear these as everyday shoes.
Magnanni Cesar Cap Toe Oxfords
Maganni does a good job of working within a strict design constraint, in this case black leather standards, and making it interesting but not flashy.
You immediately see this with the matte Nappa panels on the otherwise shiny patent leather build. It almost gives it a playful saddle shoe appearance. (The keyword here is “almost”. You don’t want playfulness in a tuxedo shoe).
Despite this, this contemporary design likely won’t go out of style thanks to its high-quality build and classic shape.
Magnanni shoes are made using the generations-deep Bologna technique, in which the insole and lining are stitched together before being attached to the upper. This allows the highly-structured shoe and strong leather to feel light and flexible.
Suit Supply Tuxedo Oxford
Along with their quick-turnaround suits, Suit Supply also creates a super sleek, almost sculptural Oxford. Their Tuxedo Oxfords are impeccably polished, with minimal but distinct details that make them inoffensively unique.
The exquisitely-textured laces have a clean finish, while the vamp is slightly raised from the sides. It’s supremely modern and new-looking.
This Blake-stitched shoe is made of Italian calfskin, otherwise known as the strong yet finely-grained counterpart to regular bovine leather. This explains why the leather is so fascinatingly smooth.
Suit Supply Black Tuxedo Slip Ons
Here’s a funny style juxtaposition that people often forget: You can be formal and relaxed. An effective, though possibly outdated example, is wearing a silk cravat instead of a tie. A more relevant and actionable example are the Tuxedo Slip Ons by Suit Supply.
These shoes have a beautiful velvet exterior and a calf leather lining, so they’re super comfortable. If you like a more easy-breezy look that doesn’t compromise on formality, these are a good option to pair with your tuxedo.
And as their Oxfords are, these are Blake-stitched, which means they won’t take as long to break in as Goodyear-welted shoes.
Saint Laurent Stan Monk-Straps
A perfect example of how a lot of details can be balanced out by quality and sleekness, the Saint Laurent Stan Monk-Strap Dress Shoes have three buckles on each upper. All of that hardware almost makes this shoe downright biker-esque.
The low-profile, sharply pointed tip, and substantial tonal heel temper all of that though. Plus, it flaunts Saint Laurent’s signature skinny build as well as, a strong and smooth calfskin construction.
Going for these shoes is definitely a bold choice for black tie, but they’re dressy and premium enough to go with a tuxedo if your personal style requires a little bit of metal action.
Beckett Simonon Dean Oxfords
Thanks to the magic of a small batch, made-to-order model, the Dean Oxfords from Beckett Simonon punch way above their price point on basically every level.
They’re made out of full-grain leather and feature a classic style that includes a slim shape and wood-like detailing on the outsole. They can be worn with a tuxedo, jeans, or chinos.
The Blake-stitching and rubber-capped heel provide structure, comfort, and traction. On top of all of that, these shoes boast a high level of handcrafting.
What you don’t pay with dollars, you’ll pay with time since they take almost a month to ship, but they’re one of the best deals out there if you plan ahead.
Kenneth Cole Tully Oxfords
Though mostly on-template, the Kenneth Cole Tully Oxfords are adorned with a bit more topography, giving it a contemporary and less stuffy look.
The cap toe and the slight step where the vamp meets the sides work with the extra stitching by the eyelets to serve up just a touch more detail than the average Oxford. Those stitches are pretty cool as they seem to imply the sides of the lip beneath the lacing.
Basically, these shoes are perfect for you if you don’t like to take risks with style, but need something a little more than the standard. Moreover, cushioned insoles and shock-absorbent gels make them perfect for standing all day.
Paul Stuart Heron Opera Pump
If you want to go super formal, you might consider an opera pump. The Paul Stuart Herons lean fast and hard into the traditional black-tie look, in case you were going to an actual opera opening (or maybe even a coronation?).
Still, there are a lot of details about these shoes that make them relevant today, like their suede band instead of a bow, and their squared-off toe. They have a time-honored design, but they don’t make you look like you’re in a production of The Age of Innocence.
Handcrafted in Italy, you can also wear these guys with a white dinner jacket (à la James Bond).
Gucci Horsebit Loafer
Yes, there is a Gucci Horsebit, the epitome of resort casual, that can go with a tuxedo. These variants are high-gloss and 100% tonal — and that includes the horsebit, which is made with shiny black metal instead of silver-toned steel.
Between the brand recognizability and the hardware detailing throughout the upper, this shoe is lowkey flashy. It doesn’t scream for attention but those with a fashion eye might notice your discerning taste.
Naturally, it’s made with all of the highest-end materials, all handcrafted in Italy.
Tiger of Sweden Trent Oxfords
Uniqueness doesn’t have to mean adding details, and in the case of the Tiger of Sweden Trents, its distinct styling comes from taking away details.
With the exception of where the leather meets on the back, the upper is 100% minimal. This whole cut style is an interesting take on dress shoes that combine elements of Oxfords and slippers.
It’s also a cool but classic aesthetic that allows the buffed leather, which is supple and beautifully waxed, and the silhouette to speak for themselves. The less-is-more approach makes these shoes look extremely confident.
Cole Haan Lenox Oxford
Rounding out the list is the ultimate budget pick. At the time of this writing, Cole Haan’s Lenox Oxford is easily found for under $100, and will likely always be below market for a leather dress shoe.
Classic, matte styling aside, the Lenox might just be the most comfortable shoe on the list. As with all matte Oxfords, it’s versatile and can be worn at work or out and about town.
The sole is rubber, but the stacked heel ensures it looks formal enough, and the rubber cap on that heel provides grip on top of easy-of-wear.
However, to be honest, this isn’t a great choice to wear with a tux. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll get the job done but it’s a budget option for a reason. The leather quality isn’t great, the rubber sole isn’t very formal, and the open lacing makes for a more chunky profile.
Here are some common questions about tuxedo shoes!
What socks should you wear with tuxedos?
Black dress socks strictly. You can go for dark navy if you have a navy tuxedo, but otherwise, this is a set standard. Try to find dress socks that come above the calf to avoid all possibility of showing off your leg hair when you sit down.
Can you wear loafers with tuxedos?
Absolutely. Simple, dressy loafers go beautifully with a tuxedo. Some examples include Venetians, slippers, and opera pumps.
Can you wear brown shoes with tuxedos?
You can pull off dark brown, simple, highly-refined leather shoes with a gray or navy tuxedo, but black is always the best and safest way to go.
It does seem though that the further you want to stray from the simple, traditional tuxedo shoe, the more you’ll end up paying for in quality. Don’t push the rules with cheaply-made shoes.
After all, it’s important to be respectful to your guests and hosts, especially when there’s a formal dress code.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!