Whether it’s for work or just a one-time special occasion, you can’t always splash out on a pair of dress shoes when the need arises. Furthermore, good quality dress shoes can be very expensive so we can’t always justify the expense.
We got frugal and tested dozens of pairs in order to find the Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $100:
- Best Value Oxford: Samuel Windsor Classic Oxford
- Best Value Brogue: Samuel Windsor Classic Semi-Brogue
- Most Durable: Johnston & Murphy Tabor Cap Toe
- Cap Toe Derby: Dockers Hawley
- Business Casual: Florsheim Union
- Monk Strap: Stacy Adams Slocomb
- Derby Shoe: Giorgio Brutini Revere
- Full Brogue: Stacy Adams Dunbar
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 what features are essential at this price range.
Quick Buyer’s Guide
If you’re in a hurry and just want to grab the best dress shoes under $100 according to style, use the Quick Buy Guide to head straight to the retailers. Otherwise, scroll down to see each dress shoe in more detail.
Cap Toe Derby
Cap Toe Derby
See All Bespoke Unit Dress Shoe Guides
Don’t ask us how but Samuel Windsor managed to offer a Goodyear welt construction for under $100! Furthermore, they’re very stylish with uppers made from calf leather. We’re very impressed with what you get for your money and Samuel Windsor even offer two shoes for $130!
How To Wear
Being a classic Oxford, these are versatile shoes for all formal events. Whether you’re at the office or heading out in a dinner jacket, these will look perfect and definitely won’t show that they cost less than $100.
We’d choose black over brown for this style of shoe. After all, closed-lace Oxfords with a toe cap are quite formal in style so black is a more homogeneous choice. However, if you want something a little more casual.
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Like the Oxfords above, these semi-brogues feature the same Goodyear welt construction. As part of their classics collection, they offer excellent value for money and are must-have shoes. For a full capsule wardrobe, you could even pick up both pairs for $130!
How To Wear
A touch less formal than Oxfords, brogues are a great shoe for showing a little flair. Being semi brogues, they’re not as ornamental and great for even cocktail attire all the way down to business casual wear.
Whilst we’re particularly fond of the black calfskin, there’s also a suede option. The suede is a brown colour with a slight hint of olive. However, black is a great choice for professional and formal environments,
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 the price point and look very stylish indeed.
How To Wear
Derbies or Bluchers are easily identified by their open-throat lacing system. This makes them somewhat more casual than Oxfords. However, you can still wear them with business professional attire.
If you’re looking for something that’s strictly for the office or formal occasions, black leather is the best option. However, a dark brown leather is also available for more casual wear.
Made from premium full grain leather, these derbies from Dockers also offer great value for money. We also really like the perforations along the cap toe as well as the quarters. Furthermore, they’re very comfortable thanks to a cushioned latex footbed.
How To Wear
Just like the derbies above,these are less formal than Oxfords. However, they’re still absolutely fine for the office and other relatively formal events. We find that these best work with a suit, mind, rather than chinos or jeans.
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, you’ll only be able to wear these with more relaxed business professional attire.
A unique take on the classic derby shoe, the Unions by Florsheim features denim-style canvas uppers with a tan welt and full-grain leather quarters. Meanwhile, the outsole is a clean white colour. They’re surprisingly durable and very comfortable too.
How To Wear
Being the most casual option on this list, the Unions are best reserved for more relaxed occasions. For instance, they’re ideal for business casual officewear and would look great with either jeans or chinos paired with a sport jacket.
With a wide range of colours available, there’s plenty to choose from according to your tastes. We like the navy canvas. However, there’s also cognac or brown leather, khaki suede, charcoal canvas as well as blue suede.
Usually, monkstraps are quite expensive as a style and hard to come by at good value prices. However, Stacy Adams is renowned for offering chic designs on lower budgets. These are fantastic business casual shoes thanks to their double monk straps and suede leather.
How To Wear
Being suede leather, these shoes are more casual than full-grain leather. However, we feel that these shoes would be excellent with cocktail attire thanks to the midnight blue charm.
Available in navy, cognac and black suede, we’re notably fond of the former. What’s great about the navy suede is that it works well as a casual solution but can add some flair to more formal attire.
Fans of Stan Smith sneakers often applaud how comfortable they are to wear. We must agree that these are the best casual sneakers that offer maximum comfort. Furthermore, they’re a classic and far more wearable than athletic sneakers that offer similar comfort.
How To Wear
Thanks to their classic look, Stan Smiths are a lot more versatile than most sneakers. This means that you’re not limited to wearing them with sweatpants or jeans. In fact, you can happily pair these with chinos or even bermuda shorts and no-show socks in the summer.
Stan Smith sneakers are an iconic white. However, they also come with a variety of different accent colours to choose from on the tongue and heel. We’re fans of the green accent but you can also go for either red, blue or yellow.
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Full brogues on a budget can be hard to find. This is especially in the case of finding a pair that don’t fall apart too quickly. We love the style of these traditional brogues and find them very hardy given their ornate style.
How To Wear
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.
Buying Dress Shoes On A Budget
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:
- Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $200
- Best Men’s Dress Shoe Under $300
- Most Comfortable Men’s Dress Shoes
- Best Men’s Shoes For Work
"Found exactly what I needed on my budget here! Was looking for cheap and cheerful dress shoes to wear for a wedding."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★