What is the Best Men's Shoe for the Office?

men sat around a table in an office in various styles of office wear

September marks the start of the new school year and the end to the summer holidays for many. This year however the start of September for many office workers in Britain also marks an end to home working and a return to our offices. So this article is for men of the UK who are now scrabbling in the backs of cupboards for footwear fit for the working environment. It’s for the male office worker who is finding their old work shoes wanting next to the freedom of their now familiar slippers. If you are feeling like the return to the office demands a change from your tired outdated mens oxford or derby shoes, then this is the article for you.

How do I pick the right men’s shoe for me?

To pick the right footwear for any occasion, it’s important to understand your company’s dress code and expectation of smartness. This will help you choose the style of footwear and the materials and colors that they consist of. It’s also essential to keep in mind any travel to and from work as keeping your feet dry and comfortable on your commute can make all the difference to your work day. London Brogues prides themselves on contemporary style paired with comfort, so we are confident that we can find the solution for you. With our hard wearing leather uppers and range of colours and sizing we can find the correct shoe for your work environment and your personality.

A pair of brown suede Hamilton boots paired with a pair of black jeans

What does smart casual mean anyway?

 The most common work dress code is the ever infuriating term ‘smart casual’. To some extent the term is self-explanatory, it’s a mixture of smart office wear and a more casual style. Most offices will fall on the spectrum of smart casual, but within that there is a range of choices to inform your foot wear and your wardrobe.

To help you select the right shoe for you, we have divided smart casual into three different categories. 

  • Casual smart casual 
  • Medium smart casual 
  • Smart smart casual 

What is casual-smart casual?

If your office is more likely to see t shirts and jeans then collared shirts, then it’s likely you and your colleagues lean more towards casual smart casual. If you want to look more professional without sacrificing comfort or looking too stuffy, consider dressing up your top half with a smart jumper with a polo shirt collar finishing your look. 

For your feet we recommend opting for our hamilton chelsea boot for a sophisticated but simple shoe that is easy to slip on and off. They will keep your feet dry and comfortable and need minimal care to stay smart. Available in a range of leathers and suede there’s a style for everyone. From a more traditional chestnut leather to an urban bordo suede which pairs well with a darker navy or black jean. 

How can I look medium-smart casual

A step up from the last style, offices that opt for a mid level of smart casual will see jeans being swapped out for the ever comfortable and yet so much smarter chino. By swapping your jeans for chinos you can achieve the more tailored form of a formal trouser but the fabric they are constructed from is much more comfortable, lighter and doesn’t crease easily. This can often make them far more flattering and professional in appearance.

For this look we recommend a Derby Shoe such as our Tommy Derby. All of our Tommy Derby’s have a mix of different colours, though you can decide if you want to stick with the simpler mix of tan and brown leathers or the bolder tan red and navy combination. The signature open lacing of the derby shoe makes for greater comfort and a looser feel then it’s smarter cousin the Oxford.

Man in wool coat and smart shirt with dark chinos and shelby oxford london brogue shoes in tan and tweed

How smart is smart-smart casual?

Smart smart casual is one step away from a fully suited office. We have written plenty on matching your shoes to your suits but how do you inject some personality and comfort into your workwear to keep it that little bit casual. Try adding a textured blazer to your chino look, or adding a full cotton shirt to your ensemble instead of stopping at a smart jumper. You can of course wear some formal suit trousers, however stop short of going the whole hog with a matching suit and tie. For smart casual you don’t need to be heading into the realms of neck wear so keep that collar comfy and open. 

For this look you can head straight to our Shelby Oxford shoe. Thanks to our mix of materials with leather and fabric included, it is less dressy than our formal Arthur Oxford shoe. The sleek, classic silhouette of the oxford is softened with the addition of navy suede or heritage tweed making it the perfect smart-smart casual shoe. 



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