With many heritage shoemakers and new up-and-coming names, finding a reliable dress shoe brand can be infuriating. After all, we love to be loyal and support a dress shoe brand that resonates with our values.
After reviewing many shoes from a plethora of makers, we’ve established this list of the Best Men’s Dress Shoe Brands:
- Beckett Simonon
- Ace Marks
- Allen Edmonds
- Wolf & Shepherd
- Oliver Cabell
Any of the above take your fancy? You can use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read more. We’ll also cover our criteria and what considerations we explored when putting it together.
See All Bespoke Unit Dress Shoe Guides
Founded in 2012 by Andres Nino and Nicholas Hurtado in Colombia, the brand offers ethically handmade high-quality men’s shoes for less than $200.
The thought of luxury quality shoes for under $200 may make purists scoff, but Beckett Simonon has developed it into an art-form. Thanks to a Group Made-To-Order approach, the brand is able to commission batches of high-quality shoes at a fraction of the price compared to other brands.
Ethically handmade in Bogotá, Colombia, from full-grain Argentinian calfskin leather, the shoes often feature a Blake stitch construction. Although not a Goodyear construction, the manufacturing process offers a sturdy and well-built shoe that can be resoled.
Unlike some of the other more established brands on this list, Beckett Simonon has found an innovative approach that allows them to offer both the high quality and low price tag sought by discerning men around the world.
We were so impressed with the quality that we teamed up with them in order to offer our readers a special 20% discount with their first order. Just use the code BU20 when checking out on their website.
- Beckett Simonon Full Brand Review
- Beckett Simonon Dean Oxford & Durant Brogue Review
- Douglas Jodhpur Boot By Beckett Simonon
- Beckett Simonon Valencia Wholecut Review
"It's simply hard to beat Beckett Simonon's exceptional value for money given its price point and quality."
Another up-and-coming brand, Ace Marks differentiates itself by having embraced traditional Italian craftsmanship while still retaining an affordable price point. Its shoes are benchmade with a closed-stitch Blake flex construction from full-grain Italian or French calfskin leather.
As Ace Marks hasn’t opted for a group made-to-order model, its shoes are slightly more expensive. However, you receive your shoes within days of ordering them whereas you’d have to wait with Beckett Simonon!
Thanks to its partnership with a 4th-generation family-operated factory, its shoes also receive dazzling finishes with hand-burnishing and dying. Since they’re manufactured using standard American Brannock sizing, you’ll have a beautiful shoe that fits.
Tricker’s is one of the few remaining brands in England that can boast of its continued family heritage that has remained unchanged since the 19th century. Indeed, Tricker’s was founded in 1829 and continues to be overseen by Joseph Tricker’s descendants.
As a result, it was awarded a Royal Warrant by Prince Charles on its 160th anniversary. Despite its reputation and prestige, its beautifully-crafted boots and shoes aren’t overpriced. Exuding quintessentially traditional English style, its Goodyear welted footwear tends to retail around the $500 mark.
Idrese is an ambitious project by Jawad Malik who founded the brand when he was just 21-years old. His sole objective was to provide customers with the opportunity to design their own Goodyear-welted dress shoes for less than $300.
The shoes are manufactured in Almansa, Spain from nothing less than Italian full-grain leather. By using the website’s 3D-designer, you can create your own shoe according to your needs and specifications.
Although technically a made-to-order service, it also offers an impressive range of shoe sizes and widths. Therefore, it accommodates even the smallest and largest feet.
Allen Edmonds is a rare American gem that has also preserved much of its domestic shoe production. Founded in 1922, it became particularly well-known after supplying the military with boots and shoes during the Second World War.
Thanks to a wide selection of sizes and widths, Allen Edmonds is by far the closest thing you can get to a custom experience when buying ready to wear. Although its footwear may occasionally seem on the pricey side, the value for money is exceptional.
Something of a young upstart in the dress shoe industry, Wold & Shepherd seeks to change dress shoes as we know them. The brand was founded by Decathlete Justin Schneider in 2014 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Seeking to update traditionally uncomfortable dress shoes, Schneider began experimenting with athletic footwear technology. The brand has since moved to California and continues to impress menswear enthusiasts around the world.
Foregoing traditional shoe construction, Wolf & Shepherd shoes are inspired by running shoes. They feature patented comfort technology such as abrasion-resistant linings, sheepskin-lined memory foam footbeds, high-density & high-TPU soles, and thermal rubber outsoles. Moreover, their uppers are full-grain Italian leather that has been hand-finished and further treated to improve softness and durability.
Despite the hype, Wolf & Shepherd shoes are indeed extremely comfortable. Furthermore, they don’t just perform during a short period of time but if you’re walking for hours in dress shoes, your feet won’t suffer at all.
Oliver Cabell is another young brand that was founded in 2016. Scott Gabrielson sought to create an ethical shoe brand in order to disrupt the luxury industry’s tendency towards fast fashion. Rather than relying on a single factory, he approaches different manufacturers who are the most adapted for the shoes he wishes to create.
For instance, his suede leather drivers are crafted in Italy and his dress shoes will be made in Portugal. Meanwhile, he has developed 3D-printed sneakers made from recycled water bottles in China! Indeed, Oliver Cabell is an intriguing brand to follow for its constant pursuit of innovation and unique ideas.
When John Peters created Amberjack, he sought to introduce a versatile shoe that was both affordable and comfortable. He teamed up with designer John Kraljevich who had worked with brands like Allen Edmonds and Coach.
Together, they created The Original, a hybrid shoe that marries traditional craftsmanship with the latest athletic footwear technology. Its stylish design is ideal for business casual wear.
As well as its distinctive aesthetic, the shoe features a removable footbed with heat-activated arch support, which is three times thicker than similar brands. Just keep in mind that Amberjack tends to run a little large so be sure to order a half-size smaller than usual.
Kory and Mallory Stevens founded their Utah-based brand in 2013, which has grown to be cherished by a cult following. Its shoes are manufactured in a family-owned workshop in Almansa, a picturesque town near Valencia in southern Spain.
Taft seeks to offer its footwear at a consistent and affordable price point. As a result, it will switch between either Goodyear welting or Blake stitching depending on the shoe’s style and raw materials.
The brand is especially known for its rebellious and unconventional styles that are sometimes regarded as controversial. Although its designs may not be for everyone, we certainly recommend that you pay its website a visit!
Husband and wife duo Tarik and Gaye Özkan founded Maglieriapelle in 2010 following their 25 years of experience in the leather industry. Meaning “woven leather” in Italian, the brand’s collections are inspired Italy’s shoe-making tradition but it retains a distinctive Turkish identity.
Although most brands love to claim that their shoes are completely handmade, the truth is that the vast majority will use machinery at some point in the process. However, Maglieriapelle is one of the few that is wholly handmade. Given the price point, this achievement is nothing short of extraordinary!
Maglieriapelle’s Istanbul workshop consists of only 15 artisans who produce the brand’s shoes entirely by hand with a unique finish thanks to a hand-painted patina. Despite the labour-intensive production process, Maglieriapelle prides itself in providing high-quality yet competitively affordable handmade shoes.
How To Choose A Quality Dress Shoe Brand
At Bespoke Unit, we put a lot of emphasis on quality footwear and the benefits that they bring. Furthermore, we value brands whose fundamental philosophies coincide with ours.
Whether their vision consists of embracing and preserving traditions or seeking new techniques and innovation, we take pride in supporting and promoting these brands.
Bespoke Unit founder, Paul Anthony, is a passionate shoe collector with well over 150 pairs of his own. Whilst he’s trying to downsize his collection, no-one understands more than him the value of quality brands that inspire loyalty.
However, on what basis did we establish this list of the best dress shoe brands?
Superior Construction Methods & Materials
Whilst there are many significant and historical brands that weren’t included in this list, we put a lot of importance on tradition and heritage. We find that long-lasting quality is often a key factor in brands developing a reputation. However, they may not always stay true to this founding vision.
Quality usually derives not only from the materials used but also the methods used to make the shoes. We seek to look beyond branding, fashion, and aesthetics but dive deeper into the actual way a shoe was put together.
Similarly, we take a look at the types of leathers used to make the shoe, where they were sourced and how they were treated during the tanning process. These days, it’s particularly hard to find truly good quality leather and we’re always seeking the best specimens.
Both the leather quality and construction have a direct impact on the shoe’s durability. Therefore, we take this aspect very seriously.
For these reasons, Allen Edmonds is currently our favourite shoe brand as they offer unbeatable quality with traditional manufacturing techniques. It’s also why we feature few designer shoes as they tend to be all about style over substance.
Value For Money
Value for money doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest shoes with unbeatable prices but how much you get for your investment. For instance, we love premium shoes as long as the price tag is justified.
In most cases, it’ll be very challenging to find well-constructed shoes for under $200. Below this price point, you’ll often encounter poor craftsmanship with unsustainable construction techniques and materials.
Meanwhile, we’re very cautious of major designer brands. In many cases, they’re expensive because of the name’s prestige. However, they won’t offer the best possible quality.
Nevertheless, Beckett Simonon seems to have found a way to shuffle the market by providing exceedingly luxurious shoes at a fraction of the price. With a unique approach, the experience is somewhat different as you’ll have to wait for your shoes to be made. Still, its price point is hard to beat.
Therefore, it’s never about the cheapest or the most expensive but simply whether you get what you pay for.
Even if a shoe is well-made, they’re hard to justify if they’re unreasonably comfortable. Therefore, it’s certainly a consideration that we take into account when reviewing shoes.
This is where both Amberjack and Wolf & Shepherd stand out from the crowd. Their construction and aesthetic are both different but they’re comfortable by design.
While Wolf & Shepherd has opted for a traditional design, Amberjack has embraced a hybridised appearance that’s reminiscent of athletic shoes.
Thanks to athletic shoe technology that uses materials like EVA, carbon fibre and HDEVA cushioning, they’re ahead of other brands. Nevertheless, we’ve yet to be disappointed or suffer from sore feet after a day in Allen Edmonds, Beckett Simonon or Ace Marks footwear.
The Brand’s Story
If you want to subscribe to a particular brand, we feel that it’s important to feel something from not just its values but its history too. For instance, Allen Edmonds has an impressive backstory where they supplied our military during the Second World War.
Meanwhile, Johnston & Murphy dates back to before the American Civil War and was founded by a European migrant in order to provide quality and highly durable work shoes for men, women and children.
In Beckett Simonon’s case, they were founded by Colombian-born entrepreneurs who wanted to create affordable yet premium footwear while committing to ethical manufacturing. While a comparatively younger brand, they’ve already made their mark in the industry.
For us, the truest brands have their own origin stories that brought them to life. In fact, you could argue that it was these very stories and the heritage that comes with them, which helped create that vision in the first place.
At the end of the day, we’re a men’s style guide so it would be neglectful on our parts to overlook this essential aspect. Indeed, a shoe isn’t simply something that you wear to protect your feet. Instead, it’s closer to a work of art to be admired and worn with pride.
Therefore, from the last all the way to the stitching, we take a close look at the style and how the shoe can be worn to improve your wardrobe and your appearance.
Now that you have read about the best dress shoe brands for men, feel free to explore our other related shoe guides: