Best Dress Shoe Brands: Top 6 Premium Men’s Shoemakers

Best Dress Shoe Brands: Top 6 Premium Men’s Shoemakers2018-10-01T08:30:31+00:00

There are plenty of brands all around the world that make dress shoes for men. While some are steeped in heritage and tradition, there are also many new manufacturers that seek to provide us with something novel. However, it can be hard to find the brand that resonates with our own values with all of the options out there.

After reviewing many shoes from a plethora of makers, we’ve established this list of the Best Men’s Dress Shoe Brands:

  1. Most Premium: Allen Edmonds
  2. Best Mid-Priced: Johnston & Murphy
  3. Affordable: Samuel Windsor
  4. Durable: Wolverine
  5. Most Comfortable: Wolf & Shepherd
  6. Overall Value For Money: Beckett Simonon

Any of the above take your fancy? You can use the links to jump ahead or scroll down to read more. We’ll also cover our criteria and what considerations we explored when putting it together.

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Quick Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in a hurry and just want to explore what the brands have to offer, use our Quick Buy Guide below, which takes you to their homepages. Alternatively, scroll down to learn about each brand in detail.

Allen Edmonds

Allen Edmonds Dress Shoes Brand Packaging

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Johnston & Murphy

Johnston Murphy Dress Shoes Brand Packaging

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Samuel Windsor

Samuel Windsor Dress Shoes Brand Packaging

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Wolverine

Wolverine Dress Shoes Brand Packaging

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Wolf & Shepherd

Wolf And Shepherd Dress Shoes Brand Packaging

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Beckett Simonon

Beckett Simonon Brogue Shoes & Accessories

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What Are The Best Dress Shoe Brands For Men?

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1. Allen Edmonds [Most Premium Brand]

Allen Edmonds Dress Shoes Brand Packaging
  • Established: 1922
  • Location: Wisconsin, USA
  • Price Range: $300 – $500 [Official Site]
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Overview

A pedigree American brand, Allen Edmonds was founded in Belgium, Wisconsin in 1922. The brand flourished after supplying both the US Army and Navy with shoes during World War II.

Today, Allen Edmonds is renowned for crafting premium shoes that can be maintained, repaired and recrafted over a long period of time thanks to its construction.

Typical Shoe Features

Allen Edmonds is of a small minority of American brands that crafts shoes domestically rather than Overseas. Furthermore, the construction follows traditional methods such as Goodyear welting and handsewn elements all achieved with a variety of lasts. High quality top-grain leather is often used including Horween.

What We Love

With one of the widest ranges of sizes and widths available, Allen Edmonds is by far the closest thing you can get to a custom experience when buying ready to wear. Although their footwear may seem on the pricey side, the value for money is exceptional.

Reviewed Shoes

2. Johnston & Murphy [Most Value For Money]

Johnston Murphy Dress Shoes Brand Packaging
  • Established: 1850
  • Location: Tennessee, USA
  • Price Range: $130-350 [Official Site]
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Overview

Founded in Newark, New Jersey, by traditional shoemaker and European migrant William J. Dudley, Johnston & Murphy traces its roots back to 1850. Today, the brand operates from Nashvill, Tennessee with a flagship store on the corner of Madison and 54th Street, New York City.

Typical Shoe Features

Johnston & Murphy prides itself in offering value for money with quality yet relatively affordable shoes. Whilst its cheapest shoes just over $130 are made from rich calfskin leather, the Made In Italy Collection features beautifully hand-burnished creations at around the $300 price point.

Meanwhile, the J&M Est. 1850 Collection showcases Italian-made shoes with a stylish artisanal aesthetic. Even under $200, buyers have access to Goodyear welt constructions and premium calfskin leather uppers.

What We Love

Johnston & Murphy presents itself as an accessible alternative to Allen Edmonds with similar features at attractive price points. We’ve yet to be let down by their footwear.

Reviewed Soes

3. Samuel Windsor [Most Affordable Dress Shoes]

Samuel Windsor Dress Shoes Brand Packaging
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Overview

Based in Powys, Wales, Samuel Windsor is a brand that specialises in affordable menswear. One of their most prominent departments is footwear in which they offer high-quality shoes at very attractive prices.

Typical Shoe Features

With regular sales and promotions, Samuel Windsor provide access to dress shoes that are otherwise unattainable. We’ve seen and worn dress shoes from this brand that offer good quality calfskin leather and a Goodyear welt at less than $100, which is unbelievable when you think about it.

What We Love

Although it’s difficult to match the quality offered by both Allen Edmonds and Johnston & Murphy at their price points, Samuel Windsor provide excellent shoes for us men with more modest budgets.

Reviewed Soes

4. Wolverine [Most Durable Shoes]

Wolverine Dress Shoes Brand Packaging
  • Established: 1883
  • Location: Michigan, USA
  • Price Range: $100 – $400 [Official Site]
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Overview

Founded by G.A. Krause and Fredrick Hirth in 1883, Wolverine was born as a small leather shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It rose in popularity throughout the 1960s and introduced Cat Footwear in 1994.

Today, Wolverine is based in Rockford, Michigan, and owns brands including Hush Puppies and Merrell. Furthermore, Wolverine manufacturers footwear for other brands including Caterpillar and Harley-Davidson.

Typical Shoe Features

Although mostly prised for their work boots, Wolverine is equally renowned for its 1000-Mile range. Although not strictly a dress boot, the premium leather materials and construction methods render them appropriate for more formal wear.

Handcrafted in the USA, the leather uppers are supplied by Chicago’s Horween Leather Company. You can also expect a durable Goodyear welt construction on each of their boots.

What We Love

With versatility in mind, the 1000-Mile boots feel great for most occasions. Whether their destined use is utilitarian, casual or more business wear, they’re stunning and very comfortable indeed.

Reviewed Shoes

5. Wolf & Shepherd [Most Comfortable Dress Shoes]

Wolf & Shepherd Shoe Box
  • Established: 2014
  • Location: California, USA
  • Price Range: $200 – $350 [Official Site]
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Overview

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 LA, California and continues to impress menswear enthusiasts around the world.

Typical Shoe Features

Foregoing traditional shoe construction, Wolf & Shepherd shoes are inspired by running shoes. They feature patented comfort technology such as sheepskin-lined memory foam footbeds, high-density EVA foam heels and lightweight caron-fibre arch support.

What We Love

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.

Reviewed Soes

6. Beckett Simonon [Overall Value For Money]

Beckett Simonon Brogue Shoes & Accessories
  • Established: 2012
  • Location: Colombia
  • Price Range: $150 – $300 [Official Site]
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Overview

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 handmade shoes at a fraction of the price compared to other brands.

Typical Shoe Features

Ethically handmade in either South America or Portugal from full-grain Argentinian calfskin leather, the shoes often feature a Blake stitch construction. Although not a Goodyear construction, their manufacturing process offers a sturdy and well-built shoe.

What We Love

Unlike some of the other more established brands on this list, Beckett Simonon have 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 their 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.

Reviewed Soes

How To Choose A Quality Dress Shoe Brand

Allen Edmonds Dalton Wingtip Brogue Boot Dianite SoleAt 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

allen edmonds sullivan street bootWhilst 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

Johnston And Murphy Forrester Chukka BootsValue 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.

Conversely, we’ll only recommend cheap shoes if they offer something worthwhile. For instance, Samuel Windsor offer the best quality possible in their price point. However, they don’t quite compare to Johnston & Murphy.

Johnston & Murphy offer some of the best possible shoes that you can buy on a $200 budget. Meanwhile, Allen Edmonds offer better quality but at their price point that’s over $300.

Nevertheless, Beckett Simonon seemed 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, their 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.

Comfort

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 Wolf & Shepherd stood out from the crowd. Whilst their construction features Blake stitching and cemented soles, they surpass other brands with a new level of comfort.

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, Wolverine or Johnston & Murphy footwear.

The Brand’s Story

Sole Of Brown Suede Semi BrogueIf 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 have 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.

The Style

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.

What Next?

Now that you have read about the best dress shoe brands for men, feel free to explore our other related shoe guides:

Best Dress Shoe Brands Guide
Reviewed by Arnold A., on .
"Brilliant shoe brands. Rather than just reading about big names, I was happy to see the range of brands presented here."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

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