Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best men’s dress shoes that will keep you feeling comfortable and looking smart. Pair any of them with a slick suit, holster and firearm and you’re on your way to being James Bond. Well, almost…
In a few movies, the bad guy easily identifies the good guy who is wearing a suit. The good guy asks, “How did you spot me? I’m wearing a nice suit.” The bad guy says, “The cheap shoes you’re wearing make you look like what a cop would wear.” You want to stand out for being stylish, and not for lacking it! Check out the shoes we listed in our article.
Boots, jackets, pants, shirts, guns, and sights, you name it and the tactical world sells it all. Or do they? When it comes to ‘tactical’ footwear there are a lot of boots to select from but in the realm of dress shoes the choices are very limited. In the 2004 movie Collateral the actor Tom Cruise does an excellent job mowing people down all while dressed in a slick looking grey-tonic suit. We never get to see his footwear.
How do you determine what is a good shoe for your foot and for your purpose?
Although the pickings seem to be slim the shoe market is catching up with the demand for a functional, stylish shoe that doesn’t sacrifice comfort over utility. Standing for hours in a suit and tie, running along a motorcade, and having to fight, scuffle, or run at the drop of a hat require you to be trained and outfitted properly. Hopefully, you look cool doing those things. I do not buy a suit, jeans or shoes that I cannot run or fight in.
Look at this image of Bond against his aggressor. They look stylish however they are wearing soft soled, flat-bottom shoes (without heels) for the stunts or for the style.
Bond’s dress pants are also rolled; it appears this is done so that he could perform the stunts. I’m going to assume his shoes were selected for the same reason; comfort and function. Even heroes need some help. Read my article on selecting dress pants.
You do not want your aggressor to have the advantage, whether you are the groomsman at a drunken wedding, or wrestling security while being the drunken groomsman at a wedding, or while on duty as a protective agent guarding your client at a drunken wedding. Think about the kind of ground your feet will encounter while in the line of duty:
- Snowy and icy conditions.
- Drink covered dance floor or hotel lobby with marble tile.
- Muddy conditions while changing a flat tire.
- Scree, and any kind of loose soil.
- Oil stained parking lot.
When purchasing footwear always look for ‘dress’ shoes with good traction ability. In fact, to do your job well, you will need a good pair of shoes with a lot more features than just traction. So how do you determine what are the best shoes for your feet?
The word “tactical” is way overused. A search online for tactical dress shoes turns up very little. Look for dress shoes with a good outsole. Look for good footwear that can be worn with formal, semi-formal or even casual wear. A combination of a good shoe and a reliable shoe insert will get you closer to your goal of a “tactical” shoe and get you away from the clunky styles prevalent in the marketplace.
Make sure your purchase is based on these features:
Look for shoes that have a low, and wide profile heel or outsole. Shoes with a thicker, stiffer heel heighten the probability of rolling your ankle when pursuing or wrestling your opponent. Stiffness in the upper and the outsole also make it harder to run. Responsiveness is key. Remember, low-heeled, softer outsole shoes are safer and more comfortable; they’ll do better for you than higher-heeled shoes. The more surface area touching the ground the better.
I’ve written a lot about the benefits of using shoes with a non-elevated “zero-drop” heel for proper posture. The drop is the height differential between where the heel and forefoot sit. Most dress shoes have a “high” drop between 12 and 15 mm. Many running shoes have drops that are a “zero” drop (no heel), or usually between 4mm-8mm. You essentially want a shoe that mirrors the shape and therefore the responsiveness of a running shoe. The higher the drop of the shoe or the thicker the heel of the shoe will mean the shoe is not as responsive to your toe-off when moving to spring or pivot to react to an aggressor.
AGILITY: Stay with shoes that have a rubber or EVA foam outsole instead of a leather outsole. Rubber or EVA foam mean comfort and they lessen the chance of you slipping; particularly on marble or high shine floors. The best “tactical” shoe will have a cushioned rather than hard outsole that flexes in all directions the way that your foot does. This will give you freedom to move despite most obstacles. Rubber or foam outsoles put a spring in your stride and provide all day support.
COMFORT AND INSERTS: Look for shoes with good outsoles for added cushioning. Look for good memory foam insoles if possible. Good cushioning, whether foam or rubber, ensure you can stand or move for long periods of time. Good shoes reduce foot fatigue. EVA outsoles provide better shock absorption than rubber. A padded heel-collar helps prevents blisters. A good heel cup will cushion your heel. Take a look at the Superfeet brand if you get a chance. If they fit in the shoe give them a try for added comfort.
STYLE: You want to look sharp and have a professional profile. You want good leather that give the shoe a nice appearance and will take a shine. Full-grain leather is easiest to clean and maintain and it will extend the product life. If you don’t like leather, look for synthetics or a durable suede.
STABILITY and FIT: A high density collar provide a good heel lock while also being supple enough to provide all day comfort. A shoe with a shallower fit or collar, especially slip-ons can come off the heel when you run. Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimal amount of slippage. The shoes should not ride up and down on your heel when you walk. Try to purchase shoes that use shoe-strings or shoes with a good, heel encapsulating collar. Premium materials give you a glove like fit. A padded heel-collar can prevent blisters. Slip resistant or oil resistant soles are a must.
When a load is applied to your foot by running, your foot will spread up to half an inch in length. One shoe size up is only 1/3″ inch larger. Go larger rather than smaller if you can. You can always wear thicker socks with a larger shoe but you can never make your foot smaller. Get the best fit.
WEIGHT: Go for lightweight, and check for tough material. Thin material can tear at the most inopportune moment. Buy the best that you can afford.
DURABILTY: Look for shoes with anti-microbial linings as they help reduce foot odor and will wick moisture to help keep the foot dry. Synthetic uppers will often dry more quickly than leather but depending on the material used, some can degrade more quickly than others. A good quality leather or synthetic upper will last a long time. Strong material will protect your feet. Some shoe brands have inner toe caps or some kind of reinforced toe guard.
- Have your feet measured. People’s feet size and shape can change over time. Don’t rely on the fact that you have always worn a certain size.
- Most people have one foot that is larger than the other, so make sure you have BOTH feet measured. Fit your shoes to the larger foot.
- Take your time and try several shoes on, preferably at the end of the day when your feet are most flattened and swollen.
- Try on shoes with the type of sock that you will wear for your activity.
- Walk on a firm surface, not a carpeted one.
- Walk quickly in the shoes if you are able.
- Don’t plan on the shoes stretching over time; they should fit well when you buy them. Shoes won’t stretch like pants or shirts do overtime.
- Pivot in the shoes.
- Always stand and walk around in the shoes to see if they are comfortable, fit well, and don’t chafe or rub anywhere. Your heel should not slip or slide while walking.
Whether protecting a client, watching over a venue, or working to keep a crowd safe, our Mission Ready Oxford helps you stay focused and ready. The D3O® Lite EVA midsole and Ortholite® X-25 footbed provide extra cushioning and all-day comfort, and an Ortholite Achilles Cuff adds even more comfort and heel hold. And when you need to move, the Vibram® Overland high traction outsole with XS Trek lets you step up without slipping up. Put on a pair to complete your undercover tactical wardrobe or dress up your go-to pair of jeans.
- OrthoLite® X25 molded foam insole for better cushioning, shock absorption and comfort
- OrthoLite® ankle foam for better heel hold and comfort
- Vibram® Overland non-marking rubber outsole with XS Trek formula for better traction in wet and dry environments
- D3O® Lite midsole for added shock absorption, rebound and comfort over traditional EVA
- WR Full grain leather upper
- Agion® antimicrobial treatment on lining
Whether you’re standing for hours, moving through a crowd or de-escalating a situation, the Mission Ready Chukka is ready to back you up. The D30® Lite EVA midsole and Ortholite® X-25 footbed provide maximum cushioning and all-day comfort. Need more support? The Ortholite® Achilles Cuff adds to your comfort level and strengthens heel hold. And when you need to move, the Vibram® Overland high traction outsole with XS Trek lets you step up without slipping up. This boot is perfect for complimenting your tactical undercover gear or dressing up your favorite pair of jeans. Imported.
- D30 Lite EVA midsole
- Vibram high traction outsole w/XS Trek
- Full grain leather upper
Equal parts poise and performance, the Crossover is Wolf & Shepherd’s newest dress shoe built to bridge the gap between work and play. Featuring a lightweight construction, shock absorbent cushioning, and premium Italian leather, the Crossover gets you where you need to go, no matter the route you take.
- Full-grain Italian calfskin upper
- Ultra soft, abrasion-resistant sheepskin lining
- Leather treated with custom-blended formula to improve softness and durability
- FloatForm memory foam footbed for industry-leading comfort
- High-density TPU outsole
- A portion of sales will be donated to the Steve Nash Foundation
This classic 5 eyelet oxford has an air of authority. The genuine leather welting, the waxed laces and the refined eyelets highlight the soft leather uppers. This dress shoe will elevate your look and give you the confidence to stride into every meeting and dinner.
- Full glove-leather lining delivers buttery soft feel and eliminates pressure points.
- Custom Vibram® soles put a spring in your stride and provide all day support.
- Lightweight shank provides sturdy arch support.
- Triple-Density memory foam insole, topped in silky smooth leather. Easily removed if you wish to use your own orthotics.
- Easily resoled for years of comfort.
- Designed in Mill Valley, CA. Handcrafted in Portugal.
Looking for a cool new shoe you can wear to work, or out on the town? Not only do these Deer Stags® Benton Brogue Dress Shoes look good, they’re packed with comfort features. Molded EVA insole sock features a memory foam heel pillow for extra comfort.
- Faux leather
- Wingtip brogue detail
- Molded EVA insoles
- Memory foam insoles
- TRP tracked outsoles
The Total Motion Sport Plain Toe Dress Shoes from Rockport® are all about 24/7 support and style. They feature a removable, cushioned footbed and have exceptional flexibility and breathability. The outsole is shock absorbing for easy footing all day.
- Lace style
- Leather upper
- truTECH® provides lightweight shock absorption
- TPU molded stability plate supplies stability and flexibility
- Removable EVA footbed provides lightweight impact absorption cushioning
- EVA outsole offers flexible, lightweight impact absorption
- Spot clean; imported
Offering that casual sneaker feeling in a formal shoe, the ECCO ST.1 HYBRID LITE Wingtip Brogue is an effortless update to your professional look. The innovative SHOCK THRU point offers a softer step for all-day comfort.
- Crafted from either smooth full-grain leather, hand-finished full-grain leather, or hand-finished calf leather, all made in our own tanneries
- Lined in rich leather and textile for softness and breathability
- Innovative SHOCK THRU point for shock absorption with every step
- Lightweight sole provides cushioning and flexibility, using innovative ECCO FLUIDFORM™ Direct Comfort Technology
- Waxed textile laces are easily adjusted for a secure fit
- Removable, leather-covered insole for added comfort and customisable fit
- Soft leather upper with knit mesh padded collar and tongue
- Breathable Open Cell PU moves moisture from foot for a cooler, healthier footbed. Plus our Embedded EVA cushioned board for comfort.
- Thermally controlled rubber provides long lasting responsive cushion that keeps feet energized
- Propét Vinn classic leather oxford shoe
- The classic oxford feaures soft leather with a mesh collar and tongue, removable open cell insole and a siped EVA and Rubber compound.
- Sole Height: 1.25 inches
- Leather top material.
- Rubber outsole.
- Soft leather upper with knit mesh collar and tongue
- Soft velvet lining and open cell foam insole
- Lightweight thermally controlled rubber outsole provides long lasting responsive cushion that keeps feet energized
- A5500 pending
- Removable footbed
- Lace up closure
- Wingtip and brogue detailing
- Canvas upper
- EVA midsole, rubber sole
- Features Cole Haan Grand.OS™ technology soles for enhanced cushioning, greater flexibility and reduced weight