Sometimes men’s dress shoes for under $100 seems to good to be true and unfortunately, it’s often the case. While we generally find the $200 price point to be more reliable, there are occasionally exceptions to the rule.
We got frugal and tested dozens of pairs in order to find the Top 10 Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $100:
- Oxford Shoe: Florsheim Corbetta
- Oxford Shoe: Massimo Matteo Bal Classic 19
- Derby Shoe: Johnston & Murphy Tabor
- Cap Toe Derby: Dockers Hawley
- Derby Shoe: Florsheim Midtown Plain Toe
- Wholecut Shoe: Carlos Coltrane
- Brogue Shoe: WALK London Tribute
- Double Monk Shoe: Massimo Matteo Classic 19
- Brogue Shoe: Stacy Adams Dunbar
- Tassel Loafer: Stacy Adams Donovan
Interested in a particular pair? Just click on the link above to jump right to it! Otherwise, scroll down to see them all. You’ll also read below our thoughts on the expected quality under $100.
See All Bespoke Unit Dress Shoe Guides
Florsheim is a celebrated historical brand in the USA and is well-known for providing excellent value. For instance, these oxford shoes are manufactured using full-grain leather.
As a result, they look the part and the cemented rubber soles are quite subtle and not a huge giveaway of their low price. If you’re looking for a versatile dress shoe for any formal occasion, including black tie, this is probably your best option under $100!
"Crafted from calfskin leather, Florsheim's Corbetta oxfords offer the best value for money under the $100 price point."
Made in Brazil with a burnished leather upper, the Massimo Matteo Bal is part of the affordable Classic 19 range. They’re extremely versatile and can be worn in any formal environment such as the office or black tie.
You’ll note that the rubber soles are cemented, which is a telltale sign of their low price. While they can’t be resoled, they should offer you decent performance for a good number of years.
We’re really fond of Johnston & Murphy as they offer excellent quality and fair prices. Made from calfskin leather, these are very durable derbies for their price point and look very stylish indeed.
Derbies or Bluchers are easily identified by their open-throat lacing system unlike the Oxfords above. This makes them somewhat more casual than Oxfords. However, you can still wear them with business professional attire.
Made from full grain leather, these Dockers derbies also offer great value for money. Just like the derbies above, these are less formal than Oxfords and feature additional ornamentation with perforations across the cap toe. However, they’re still absolutely fine for the office and some relatively formal events.
Only available in black, this somewhat limits your options on how to wear these shows. As black is quite dressy yet the derby shoe style is rather informal, they’re not quite sufficiently dressy for particularly formal occasions.
Although sitting slightly over the $100 price point, we thought that the Forsheim Midtown also deserved a mention. Although a wide range with a variety of styles, we are particularly fond of the plain toe Derby shoe.
Like the Oxfords above, they’re made with full-grain leather and they also feature an Ortholite footbed, which likely explains the additional cost. As a result, they’re far more comfortable and will probably be suitable for long days spent on your feet.
Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that these are derbies and not oxfords. As a result, they’re not quite formal enough for particularly conservative environments.
Although not strictly whole cut shoes, this is without a doubt the closest that you’ll get on this price point. We’re very fond of Carlos Santana’s shoe brand and we believe that they don’t nearly get the attention that they deserve.
Like the Corbetta, the Coltrane is also made from calfskin leather but also features a distinctive hand-burnished finish. As a result, it oozes with artisanal craftsmanship and offers additional visual interest with its deep blueish colours. Not bad for under $50!
Walk is a relatively new brand that we only recently discovered. Nevertheless, they show a lot of promise and we’re keen to see what they offer in the future. These traditional albeit stylish brogues feature a leather outsole, which is very rare at this price point.
With pinking and perforations, they resemble traditional brogues. However, the absence of a toe medallion renders them more versatile for business wear. Therefore, if you were to opt for the black shoes, you could happily wear them even in a traditional setting. That said, we do love the tan leather!
Another entry to Massimo Matteo’s Classic 19 range, fans of double monk shoes should certainly give this model some serious consideration. Like the oxfords above, they’re made in Brazil with a cemented construction.
Nevertheless, they’re a stylish pair of shoes that will look simply fantastic in a business casual or casual setting. They’re well worth the investment if you’re looking for an affordable pair of monk shoes.
Stacy Adams is simply a fantastic brand when on a budget. We love the style of these traditional brogues and find them very hardy given their ornate style. Featuring all the hallmarks of traditional brogues including perfing, pinking and a toe cap medallion, these are traditional in style.
Therefore, they look their best with a tweed suit but work just as well as a business casual shoe with chinos. There are three options to choose from in this model of brogue. We find that the mid-brown shoes are the most versatile. However, you can also pick from a tan or brown leather instead.
We realise that these are just over $100 but we simply couldn’t pass them up! Another fantastic shoe by Stacy Adams, the Donovan is sleek and aesthetically similar to premium handmade loafers that we’ve reviewed in the past.
As a very business casual shoe, we would refrain from wearing them with a suit. However, they’re a stylish option and look simply breathtaking in cognac!
Buying Cheap Dress Shoes Under $100
Although shoes are essential to wear, they can often be quite expensive. This is particularly the case when working in most professional environments as you’ll likely need to wear dress shoes.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those expenses that you can’t avoid even if you’re not a shoe buff. At Bespoke Unit, we love shoes but we also realise that not everyone shares our passion.
Therefore, sometimes you simply want the shoes that stick to a reasonable budget and offer the best value for money.
Where To Buy Shoes On A Budget
There are a number of ways and places to buy shoes in order to keep the expense at a minimum. Each choice has its own set of advantages as well as a number of drawbacks.
Buying Shoes In-Store
Likely the most classic choice when buying shoes, heading to a store is the easiest solution. This is because you’ll be able to get your feet properly measured and try all the shoes you want before you buy.
However, it does have its disadvantages too. Firstly, shops have their overheads and these are reflected in the prices. Therefore, your best bet will be to shop on sale to benefit from lower prices. Nevertheless, everyone else will probably have the same idea and stocks might get low in the most common sizes.
Thrift Shops & Secondhand Shoes
Although not everyone likes the idea of wearing shoes that had been worn by somebody else, it does have certain advantages. Firstly, they’re going to be much cheaper than any other option on this list.
Furthermore, you can often find some real gems when thrifting for shoes. If you get lucky, you can even find unworn vintage shoes at very low prices. However, there are other drawbacks aside from the obvious fact that someone else wore them before you.
For instance, the selection available is really a question of luck. You won’t necessarily find all the styles that you want and there’s often a chance that your size isn’t available either. Furthermore, used shoes may need resoling, which is an extra cost to consider.
Buying Shoes Online
Being an online publication, we have a lot of experience in buying shoes on the internet. Whilst the obvious drawback is that you can’t try them on beforehand, this is something that is less of a problem these days.
Most retailers are fully aware that sizes vary and the shoes you buy may not fit first time. Therefore, they usually offer free returns so you can get them changed after trying them.
You also can’t check the quality before hitting the check-out button, so you’re always taking a risk. However, we’ve learned to trust certain brands and retailers and these days we shop in confidence.
Finally, the greatest advantage of buying shoes online is the access to brands, styles and deals. Even when you’re not in sale season, there are often excellent prices on offer. Furthermore, websites enjoy the luxury of large storage facilities so you usually have access to a much greater range of styles and sizes than in-store.
What To Expect From $100 Shoes
Whilst $100 is indeed a lot of money, it’s on the lower end of typical shoe prices. Therefore, you won’t necessarily be able to access the quality or more premium shoes simply due to the sheer construction costs for the manufacturer.
One of the greatest risks in buying cheaper shoes is that the materials and construction methods cut a lot of corners. After all, shoe makers need to make a profit no matter the budget!
Nevertheless, this runs the risk of cheaper shoes wearing poorly, being uncomfortable, or even falling apart! Therefore, you should keep in mind a minimum of features in order to guarantee and element of quality when buying on lower budgets:
Full-Grain Leather Uppers
Overall, dress shoes are made using various grades of leather that use different parts of the hides. Cheaper shoes will often use inferior parts, which can still produce decent-quality leather.
Similarly, retailers rarely offer much detail on the grades or types of leather that make up budget shoes as they’re often not very sexy.
However, really cheap shoes will often use synthetic or engineered types of leather that are usually very poor quality. They can have a strong smell and fall apart quick easily. Furthermore, they’re not a natural material and very hard to maintain as scuffs don’t always polish out.
Additionally, there are cheap leathers known as “wet blue”, which can crack and deteriorate as well as lose its pigmentation very quickly.
Aiming for full grain leather means that you avoid these so-called “man-made” materials. Whilst it will rarely consist of the higher grades when on a budget, you can still get decent quality shoes for the price.
Welting Rather Than Cementing
Welting is a technique used for fixing the soles onto the shoe. There are several techniques that can achieve this but they can drastically affect the cost in manufacturing the shoe.
One of the most common methods that you’ll encounter among cheaper shoes is known as cementing. It’s the cheapest and fastest way in which an adhesive compound glues the sole to the shoe.
Whilst it’s the best method for rubber soles, it’s also very cheap to do. The benefit of this is more affordable footwear. However, cemented soles can’t be replaced and may come away from the shoe over time.
If you can find a pair within your price point, go for Blake or Goodyear welted shoes. Both are more expensive techniques where the sole is attached via stitching. Blake stitching is cheaper and offers good value for money but finding Goodyear welted shoes under $100 will guarantee extra durability and quality.
Outsoles & Insoles
Other corner-cutting areas for cheaper shoes are the outsoles and insoles. In the case of the outsole, you’ll likely come across rubber materials. However, even these can vary in quality and finish.
Seek out soles that give a little more than a single chunk of rubber. For instance, you could potentially find some leather soles with a reinforced heel, which provide extra durability. However, leather soles do require more care so rubber might be more to your liking.
With regards to the insole, cheaper shoes will often skimp on cushion and only provide a flat footbed. If you’re going to be wearing these for work, try to find shoes that offer something a little extra and preserve your feet!
You can learn more on the subject thanks to our dedicated guide to shoe construction!
Remember that you’re buying shoes that were made on a tight budget. Therefore, whilst they may perform well, they’re not going to last as long as you may like. Sometimes, manufacturers make the shoes so they’re just good enough to outlive the guarantee, which means that they’ll need replacingafter one or two years.
At bespoke Unit, we actually find that sometimes investing a little more into your shoes can give you exponentially better shoes. Whilst it’s not at all the same budget, $400 shoes could give you around 8 -10 years as opposed to 1 – 2 for a $100 investment.
Now that you’ve read about the best dress shoes for $100, check out some of related guides with other budget considerations: