Understanding Boot Formality
Unlike dress shoes, which are usually designed following distinctive styles, boots tend to be more subtle in their variations. For instance, most dress boots are usually lace-ups with an open-throat lacing system.
Meanwhile, shoes often rely on the clear distinction between close-laced Oxfords and open-laced Derbies. Furthermore, there are other distinctive styles such as wholecuts, monk straps, penny loafers, brogues and tassel loafers.
You can read all about these and their differences by heading to our dedicated shoe style guide.
As for boots, the differences are more nuanced. Whilst you do get various styles such as Chelsea and Jodhpur boots, the differences are more limited due to practical constraints.
Therefore, it’s often more complicated in finding the right boots in terms of formality and searches may take longer.
What To Look For In A Formal Dress Boot
Let’s now explore the various characteristics to look for in a classic lace-up boot that affect formality. You can use the checklist below as a reference when looking for formal dress boots according to your needs:
- Full-Grain Leather: Whilst pebbled leather and suede are quite casual, full-grain leather is considered the most formal.
- Black Leather: This is considered the most formal leather colour. Meanwhile, brown and lighter colours are quite casual.
- Toe Cap: A feature borrowed from classic Oxford shoes, toe caps add a sense of formality to a shoe’s design.
- Sole Thickness: Thicker soles are evocative of utilitarian boots and chunkier in design. Therefore, thinner soles are more refined and feel more formal.
- Wingtips: More ornate than a toe cap, wing tips are less formal alternative as they’re reminiscent of brogues.
- Broguing: Boots that feature broguing details such as perfing, pinking and toe medallions are less formal due to their rustic origins.
- Non-Black Colours: Even black boots that feature other colours in the stitching or their soles suddenly become less formal as they become flashier.
Hopefully, the above information should help you to find the more formal boots that best suit your needs. If you’re still unsure, you can also refer to our full guide to shoe formality.
Now that you have discovered the best dress boots for men, why don’t you check out some of our related shoe guides for a wider perspective?