Shoes are one of my favorite things.
As with many aspects of an ensemble they can totally make or break your look.
However, maybe more so than any other item of clothing it’s hard to get away with cheap shoes to really pull off a million dollar look. This is especially true when wearing a tuxedo.
Thus, when donning the penguin suit, I always opt for quality and if the event deems something a little less formal, enter the tuxedo slipper.
It’s a somewhat unexpected option, but when chosen correctly can add you’re own flare to a formal look.
In this article we shall briefly explore tuxedo shoes in general, dive into tuxedo slippers and where I personally get them custom made in England by Foster & Son. [Note: they are extremely affordable, and are in fact cheaper than the likes of “off the rack” Del Toro slippers even though they are custom made].
What Shoes To Wear With a Tuxedo?
There are in fact many options beyond the “traditional” patent leather seen below to the left.
I’ve personally worn all of the four above to black tie events, and have even / would wear all the below too!
Slippers are very comfortable and offer a great variety of options. One can match the season with, for example, a Harris Tweed in winter, or match the colors of an event. The possibilities are quite endless, and are sure to be a great talking point at any event you attend.
Tuxedo Slippers – Made To Order In London, England
I personally get all of my slippers made to order from Foster & Son in the heart of London’s sartorial district. Based on Jermyn Street, a stones throw from Savile Row and Buckingham Palace, it’s one of my favorite areas of the world for its heritage and current shopping draw.
Foster & Son is also special in that it’s only one of two places left in the City of London that still has a fully bespoke workshop on site. Although these slippers are not made at the London location, they are made in England close to the capital.
Above you can see their London display for slipper options, from the standard stock they hold to the outer and inner fabric book options.
Below you can see their more traditional tuxedo slippers. If you’re on the fence about going for a slipper at your next event, this is a great stepping stone. The more traditional varieties still give you that patent leather look, while being a slipper and has that bit of flare with the bow on front.
The Design Process
Personally, I always like to go custom when I can [sometime with no choice, aka XXXL flat cap requirements that are not sold off the rack].
I’ve always dealt with Andy Murphy seen above, a true industry veteran with an infectious passion for shoes.
You can select one of Foster & Sons’ house fabrics, from suede to velvet for the outer, and leather or quilting for the inner. I’ve always gone for the quilted inner for comfort and the ability to wear without socks more comfortably over leather.
They also have a large array of crests, emblems and lettering you can have embroidered on the shoes too.
Your Own Fabric
To go one step further, like I’ve chosen to do, you can take your own fabric. I always source mine from Benson & Clegg [located just around the corner], either specifically for a shoe order or as excess from a suit jacket or hat order. The below fabrics were from a recent custom flat cap order I had made by them.
Andy can be seen here laying out the fabric patterns to best match up the fabric I had with the design I would like to see as well.
This is a really fun process, and something I encourage everyone to do at least once [well at least if you’re a shoe guy that is].
Behind The Scenes Manufacturing Process
Once a design has been decided, it’s off to the factory.
Each pair is handmade by master shoemakers in the heart of England. From start to finish, you can expect your order to take about 4 weeks.
I’ve seen and owned my fair share of shoes, and nothing beats the quality and craftsmanship of the shoes that Foster & Son turn out.
How To Protect Your New Shoes
It is worth noting, however, that the shoes themselves come on a relatively soft and thin leather sole [which provide some of the fantastic sleek look of the slipper itself].
This is fine if you intend to just wear them inside. If, however, you want to wear them to events like I do, I suggest getting them soled with a thin rubber sole to protect them as a long-term investment.
I personally opt for the 4mm black Vibram soles. They are a little more expensive, but about 10 times more resilient than the cheaper non-name brand ones you can get.
Expect to pay around $30 – 40 dollars for this service from your local cobbler, and further expect some complements from them in owning such fine shoes!
It’s also worth noting that Andy got my last few pairs soled in London with a tan rubber which is arguably a more attractive option as stands out less. So it’s really up to you’re preference of color.
The Finished Shoes
So far to date, I’ve had five pairs of slippers made by Foster & Son [you can see my purple Harris Tweed pair in this article], all of which can be seen below. Next up, I think that I’ll get some of the formal patent leather slippers.
As stated in this article, they are fantastic when paired with a tuxedo, but not restricted to just that. I also sport them with a suit, jeans and even shorts in the summer months. They really are a sleek option for the modern man.
Velvet Tuxedo Slippers
Many men are opting for some really fun tuxedo jackets these days away from just black. The first option for many people is to go for the navy jacket. If going that route, why not try a pair of navy blue slippers to really polish off the look.
Purple With Tassels
Purple is my favorite color. This fabric was actually given to me by Andy and is quite simply perfect! Paired with the black tassels, they are my favorite formal pair of shoes that I own.
Houndstooth Slippers With Tassels
How To Order
You can contact Andy Murphy directly here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also see his Instagram accounts documenting his world travels fulfilling the shoe desires of many a well-heeled man: @andymurphy333