When looking for the best dress shoes to buy online, you often try to stick to a particular budget. Overall, most people tend to aim for a budget of around $200 as this offers solid mid-range quality between either $100 dress shoes or $500 formal footwear.
We’ve tried dozens of shoes from different brands in order to establish the ultimate list of the Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $200:
- Premium Quality: Beckett Simonon Durant Brogue
- Classic Oxford: Johnston & Murphy Melton Cap Toe
- Brogue Shoe: Samuel Windsor Prestige Bartlett
- Derby Shoe: Johnston & Murphy Chambliss Plain Toe
- Wholecut Shoe: Massimo Matteo Bal
- Monk Strap: Johnston & Murphy Mitchell
- Wingtip Boot: Massimo Matteo 7-Eye
- Longwing Brogue: Johnston & Murphy Conard Wingtip
Found a style that suits your needs in the list above? Simply use the links to jump ahead or scroll down to keep reading. Furthermore, we’ll cover the sort of features and shoe characteristics to expect on this budget.
Quick Buyer’s Guide
Don’t want to scroll through all the different shoes featured on this page? You can use this Quick Buy Guide below to head straight to the retailers. However, if you do scroll down, you’ll be able to read about each one in detail.
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Stating that a sub-$200 dress shoe offers premium quality may sound like a bold claim. However, Beckett Simonon have achieved just that thanks to their MTO process. Handmade from Argentinian calfskin full-grain leather with a Blake stitch construction, these offer outstanding value for money.
How To Wear
Thanks to the modest broguing with an Oxford cap toe, these are great versatile shoes. We like to wear them from business casual to the upper tiers of professional dress codes.
Available in black, tan or Bordeaux, there’s a variety of colour schemes to choose from. We prefer both the tan and Bordeaux but thanks to the subtle brogue design, they also look great in black.
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If you haven’t already, you’ll soon notice that Johnston & Murphy dominate this list. This is because Johnston & Murphy have mastered the mid-priced shoe market and offer exceptional quality for the price. These Oxfords are a prime example with their Optima comfort system and Goodyear welt construction.
How To Wear
Being classic Oxfords, these are ideal for wearing in any formal situation. For instance, you could easily wear these on a daily basis at the office. Otherwise, they’re perfect for formal black tie events too.
Whilst black is the best and most traditional colour for a pair of conventional Oxfords, you could opt for either burgundy or tan calfskin instead. However, these are more casual so keep this in mind when purchasing.
Out of all the brogues at this price point, the Bartlett by Samuel Windsor was our favourite. As part of their prestige collection, these are higher-end than Samuel Windor’s usually selection. We especially loved the rust red sole that was reminiscent of Allen Edmonds’ Strandmok Dainite finish.
How To Wear
We find these to be a touch more casual than other brogues due to their colour and finish. Therefore, whilst they are indeed dress shoes, they seem better suited to business casual attire or possibly with a suit during the summer months.
Only available in tan, it’s certainly a beautiful colour with rich and deep hues in the leather. You can also find a little contrast in the welt as well as the red rubber soles.
From Johnston & Murpy’s 1850 collection, these classic derbies feature the range’s distinctive artisanal style. This means that the full-grain leather is hand-stained with a burnished finish for an overall vintage patina.
How To Wear
With their artisanal vintage look, these are a touch more casual than regular Derby shoes. Therefore, they’re more adapted to business casual attire such as jeans or chinos with a shirt and sport jacket.
These are only available with the distinctively burnished tan leather. As mentioned above, they’re a great casual colour and we love the all-leather design between the sole, welt and upper.
Quality wholecut shoes are hard to fins on lower budgets as high-quality leather is needed to make them. Therefore, we ere really impressed with Massimo Matteo’s work here. Comfortable and made in Italy, these are stylish shoes indeed.
How To Wear
Depending on the colour of the leather, the formality of wholecut shoes can vary. However, they tend to lean towards more formal styles as they’re lacking ornamentation. However, we’d say these look good with anything more formal and including business casual.
Although available in black, the burnished tan leather offers an extra level of texture. Furthermore, the brown leather will be easier to style with a variety of different outfits whilst the black will restrict you to more formal attire.
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With a few brogue-style perforations, these Italian calfskin leather monk strap shoes are stunning. With their Ortholite footbed cushion and calfskin lining, they’re as comfortable as they are stylish.
How To Wear
Thanks to their versatile style, you can dress these shoes up or down to fit the occasion. You can wear these very casually and all the way up to cocktail attire with ease.
We’re particularly fond of the brown Italian calfskin leather, which has been hand-stained and finished to create a burnish. However, there’s also a black option if you want something more formal.
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An exceedingly popular style these days, brogue boots tend to cost a small fortune. However, we were astonished to find these from Massimo Matteo that offer stylish Italian-made wingtip boots that don’t skimp on quality.
How To Wear
Although a more casual boots, these are great to wear with less dressy suits with a rustic or vintage style. For instance, they look great with jeans but would be just as effective in a three-piece tweed suit.
Available in either tan or black, we’re actually more fond of the tan as a boot to wear regularly. We love the burnished finish for a vintage look and they’re much more versatile for your wardrobe.
An alternative to regular brogues, Longwings feature wing tips that wrap around the entire shoe. We love this take by Johnston & Murphy with the hand-burnished Italian leather and cushioned insole.
How To Wear
Like brogues, these are shoes that can be worn both casually and formally. If you decide on casual wear, they look particularly fantastic with jeans, a shirt and sport jacket. However, they’ll look quite stylish with a plaid or tweed suit.
You can choose from either black or dark mahogany brown. We find that the brown is the better colour of the two. Due to the ornamentation, it’s more in line with the shoe style. Furthermore, we do love the finish of the burnished calfskin leather.
What You Get From $200 Dress Shoes
Although it can be tempting to buy dress shoes under $100 when on a tighter budget, there are benefits to forking out a little extra. Firstly, to be able to sell shoes for under $100, manufacturers are obliged to use shortcuts and will skip important processes.
When you buy shoes for $200 instead of $100, you’ll own a more durable shoe that benefits from higher-quality materials and construction methods. Let’s take a look at some of the features that you’ll gain access to on a $200 budget.
Whilst $100 shoes may use low quality leathers for the uppers, a higher budget will grant access to higher grades. Consequently, cheaper shoes tend not to offer much information on what leather is used.
Meanwhile, more expensive shoes will provide greater transparency. Whilst “genuine leather” sounds like a reassuring claim, it’s actually one of the lowest qualities and is best avoided especially when paying three figures for a pair of shoes.
If possible, try to settle on top-grain leather, which comes from the outer layers of the hide. With denser fibres, the leather is stronger and more durable. Ideally, you’ll want full-grain leather from areas that are close to the spine as this will be tighter.
Furthermore, top-grain leather consists itself of five subgrades. However, a $200 budget won’t necessarily give you access to the very best. Nevertheless, you’ll likely be able to find something of relatively suitable quality.
When purchasing the shoes, make sure that they’re free of any blemishes or veins. You’ll also want the shoes to look the same. If they don’t, it may be because the manufacturers used different hide parts.
Of course, this isn’t easy if buying shoes online but you can always check them out once you’ve received them. If they’re no good, you’ll likely be able to send them back for no extra cost if the retailer is reputable.
Welting & Construction
An aspect that can drastically affect the final retail price of a shoe, the welting method impacts their overall quality. In short, welting is the process of fixing the soles to the shoe.
There are many different techniques for doing this and most cheap shoes under $100 will opt for cementing. This is the quickest and cheapest method, which involves using an adhesive to fuse the shoe with sole.
However, cementing tends not to last much longer than the guarantee and the shoe can’t be resoled. Therefore, it’s best avoided especially on a $200 budget.
Meanwhile, the Blake stitch is likely to be the most common welting method that you’ll find at the $200 price point. This is one of the least expensive welting methods and relatively quick to accomplish.
Nevertheless, there are several types of Blake stitches known both as the McKay and Rapid methods. You can learn about the difference between the two with our shoe construction guide.
Both these methods offer somewhat more durability as well as the ability to resole your shoes.
If you’re really lucky, you might find a shoe featuring a Goodyear welt on your budget. Although this is rare, Goodyear welts are by far the best and most durable welting method that offers extra water resistance. Furthermore, they can be resoled an almost innumerable number of times.
In any case, if you do find a shoe with a Goodyear welt, it will offer more value for money than those with lesser construction methods.
Better Quality Soles
On the subject of soles, you should expect higher quality with $200 shoes than with cheap ones. You’ll want to avoid soles that simply consist of chunks of rubber.
Instead, seek out a combination of higher-quality rubber and leather. Although it will eventually boil down to personal preference, leather is traditional the best material for dress shoe soles. These are usually stacked in the heel, which is why you may see faint stripes.
However, some dress shoes will provide layers of rubber on the outsole, which will give the wearer better traction. This is especially the case in the rain where leather soles can get very slippery.
Although $200 is a very reasonable budget for acquiring quality shoes that will last a good number of years, remember that your investment will often reflect the resulting experience.
For instance, cheaper shoes will last just a few years whilst more expensive, high-end shoes may last decades. If you wear dress shoes everyday for work or as your personal style, you may want to invest a little more.
Not only will the shoes likely be more comfortable as they’ll feature more meticulous construction, they’ll also be more durable. Therefore, you’ll benefit from exponentially more miles and years from your shoes.
If you want to take a look at some of our other budget-related shoe guides, you can use some of the links below:
- Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $100
- Best Men’s Dress Shoe Under $300
- Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $500
- Most Comfortable Men’s Dress Shoes
- Bespoke Unit Shoe Homepage
"Perfect for my budget. This list featured exactly what I needed with what I can afford."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★