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 it offers a relatively decent mid-range selection. Therefore, we present the Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $200:
- Beckett Simonon Durant Quarter Brogue
- Oliver Cabell Driving Shoe
- Allen Edmonds Factory Seconds
- Johnston & Murphy Melton Cap Toe
- Beckett Simonon Dean Oxford Shoe
- Amberjack The Original
- Massimo Matteo Bal Cap Toe Shoe
- Beckett Simonon Hoyt Double Monk Strap
- Carlos Santana Freedom Monk Strap
- Ace Marks Mystery Box
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.
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Stating that a sub-$200 dress shoe offers premium quality may sound like a bold claim. However, Beckett Simonon has achieved just that thanks to their MTO process. Benchmade from Argentinian calfskin full-grain leather with a Blake stitch construction, these offer outstanding value for money.
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.
"At the $200 price point, Beckett Simonon is by far and wide the best investment for your money."
Oliver is an up-and-coming brand that seeks to destabilise the luxury fashion industry by providing affordable quality with ethical standards. Although it is soon to release a dress shoe range, its Italian-made driving shoes are an excellent business casual choice.
Made from stunning suede leather with stylish pebble soles, they’re made for behind the wheel but they’re excellent for running on errands. If your office has a relaxed dress code and you want something both comfortable and stylish, it’s one of our favourite options.
Allen Edmonds is known for its beautifully-crafted American dress shoes. However, it has a reputation for being pricey. Therefore, its factory seconds range offers a very interesting proposition when you’re on a budget.
Factory second shoes have all the same benefits and construction as Allen Edmonds’ regular footwear. However, they’ll just have a minor aesthetic blemish that has failed the brands high-standard quality control. Therefore, it is sold at a heavy discount just for this reason.
Otherwise, they’re perfect and in most cases, the blemish can be concealed with some clever use of polish.
The selection is a little eclectic so you may not always find exactly what you’re looking for. Nevertheless, you’re bound to find an appropriate shoe at an unbeatable price given the quality.
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.
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.
As mentioned above, Beckett Simonon offers unbeatable value for money when you’re on a budget. Therefore, don’t be surprised that we’ll be featuring its shoes on several occasions in this guide.
Beckett Simonon has a wide selection of shoes. However, its range slightly rotates on a monthly basis depending on the campaigns it’s running. The way it works is that every month, a selection of shoes are made available for sale.
At the end of the month, the campaign closes and the orders are processed by the factory, which only makes the shoes that have been ordered. Although you’ll have to wait for them to be made, it means that the price can be reduced as there is no excess stock that needs to be made and kept in storage.
That being said, the Dean Oxford shoe is part of Beckett Simonon’s core line, so it’s usually for sale every month.
Amberjack is a new and exciting brand that seeks to marry the latest comfort technology with office-friendly aesthetics. The result is a stylish hybrid dress shoe that features design elements inspired by athletic footwear.
John Peters approached John Kraljevich who had worked with brands like Allen Edmonds and Coach in order to produce a design that is versatile for most business-casual occasions. You can learn more by checking out its full story with our review.
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.
Massimo Matteo is well-known for its Italian-made yet affordable shoes. With a vast selection of different styles at great prices, you’ll easily be able to find an appropriate pair of dress shoes without breaking the bank.
Bear in mind that its shoes look fantastic and are quite cheap, but they’re usually made with cemented soles. As a result, they can’t be recrafted after heavy use. That being said, the brand occasionally has slightly more expensive models that are Blake-stitched.
We did warn you that there would be more Beckett Simonon! However, we also wanted to provide you with an overview of the brand’s different models that it produces. If you check out its site via the link above, you’ll see that there is plenty to choose from.
From boots to loafers and oxford shoes, the selection is rich and they’re all made equally well. With regards to dress shoes, the quarter brogue and oxfords noted above are great choices. Yet, if you want something a little different that stands out, consider also these stunning double monks.
We’re quite fond of Carlos Santana’s eponymous shoe brand and we feel that it doesn’t get enough love. Indeed, it’s a great affordable choice and presents great value for money given that the shoes are made in Spain from full-grain calfskin leather.
Furthermore, the shoes exude an elegant design with a distinctive Latin streak. The profiles feature sleek silhouettes, which look simply splendid with a suit. On most occasions, the shoes are made with a Blake stitch construction as well.
The Freedom monk strap displays all of the brand’s hallmarks in a stylish way and given the price point, it’s an excellent option.
Willing to take a gamble? Ace Marks is one of our favourite shoemakers and is featured among the best Italian brands that you can buy online. Usually, its footwear is slightly more expensive than Beckett Simonon at around the $300 price point.
However, it doesn’t follow a group made-to-order business model so it ships out the shoes within days of you checking out. Nevertheless, its mystery box is worth a spin if you don’t mind what you receive!
Ace Marks will occasionally run the mystery box when it has an excess stock that needs moving. The heavily discounted shoes can be anything including loafers, boots, sneakers, and oxford shoes.
Unlike Allen Edmonds factory seconds, they have no defects and are exactly the same as the order you’d otherwise place. That being said, you don’t know what you’re getting and if you need something specific, you may receive something else entirely.
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. Unfortunately, cement-soled shoes are still prevalent within the $200 budget range.
Occasionally, some brands will opt for a Blake stitch at this price point. Indeed, investing in this construction method would be a much wiser use of your money.
Although it is often looked down upon by people who favour Goodyear-welted shoes, bear in mind that the Blake stitch does have its advantages.
Firstly, the break-in time is quicker and the shoes tend to have a lower sole profile. Additionally, the outsoles can still be recrafted multiple times, unlike cemented shoes.
Therefore, you’ll have shoes that will last you many years to come if you look after them.
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, but 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: