After having tried and tested many shoes, we’ve established this foolproof list of the Best Men’s Dress Shoes Under $300:
- Ace Marks Griffin Cap Toe Oxford
- Idrese Custom Shoes
- Ace Marks Vincent Brogue
- Taft Branson Boot
- Beckett Simonon Valencia Wholecut
- Johnston & Murphy Hyde Park II
- Magnanni Cotillas II
- Johnston & Murphy Cormac
- Florsheim Kenmoor Longwing
- Taft The Grail Shoe
Use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to learn more about each one! Furthermore, we’ll go over our thoughts on what shoe characteristics you should expect at this price point.
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Beautifully crafted just outside of Rome, Italy, Ace Marks shoes consist of full-grain calfskin leather from their native country. When we reviewed Ace Marks in detail, we were impressed by both the quality of the materials and the construction.
They’re assembled using a Blake stitch and feature a quintessentially sleek Italian design. The Griffin cap toe Oxfords are perfect for both formal and officewear, especially in black. Otherwise, you can opt for the lighter colourways for a more casual look.
"Authentic Italian craftsmanship and solid value for money make Ace Marks one of the best options in the sub-$300 price point."
High-quality Goodyear-welted dress shoes for under $300 presents already excellent value. However, having the opportunity to design your own custom shoe on that budget almost seems too good to be true!
Nevertheless, we can guarantee that the dream is certainly a reality after our in-depth Idrese review. The shoes are manufactured in Almansa, Spain, and can be designed according to your own specifications. Furthermore, there’s a wide selection of sizes to accommodate for both the smallest and largest feet.
Like the Griffin above, the Vincent is a creation by Ace Marks. It’s somewhat more casual but can still be worn with some styles of suit. For instance, we often wear the Vincent with a more laidback tweed or heavy wool windowpane suit.
The Vincent demonstrates the variety of styles that Ace Marks designs. However, a quick browse on its website linked above will reveal a whole spectrum of hand-painted colourways and designs.
Taft is renowned for its rebellious and unorthodox shoe designs. Indeed, it has become a hit among adventurous men who seek to push the boundaries of the businesswear dress code. We love the way the Branson boot marries textile and leather in a unique yet traditional way.
In fact, the quarters are somewhat reminiscent of early 20th century spats, which evokes a somewhat vintage vibe. While perhaps not suitable for more conservative workplaces, it’s a great option if you want to explore a more elaborate wardrobe.
Although at a price point that would see it best suited to our guide to the best shoes under $200, Beckett Simonon’s quality easily competes its more expensive peers. Crafted in an ethical workshop in Bogotá, Colombia, they’re made from the Mastrotto tannery’s Italian Gold Standard full-grain leather.
Such craftsmanship surely comes with a catch, no? Indeed, there is just a small one. Beckett Simonon keeps prices down by using a group made-to-order business model where the shoes are made in monthly batches.
Therefore, you’ll have to wait about two weeks for the shoes to arrive. Whether an 8-week wait is worth a shoe that’s $100 cheaper is up to you. We think that it’s worth being patient but it’s ultimately your call!
When looking for dress shoes, Oxfords are a classic design and solid choice. We love the Hyde Park from Johnston & Murphy, which features a fibreglass shank and Goodyear welt construction.
As a classic dress shoe design, these fare well with almost any choice of suit or formal wear. Whether it’s for the office or a black-tie event, these are a perfect choice.
Made from European calfskin, you can choose between either black or tan. We find that black is the best option for this shoe style as it’s conventional and traditionally stylish.
Magnanni is featured among our favourite Spanish shoe brands and for good reason. It has a wide variety of footwear that caters to different budgets but the quality is always there. Since it was founded in 1954, Magnanni continues to operate in Almansa as a three-generation family business.
The Cotillas is a classic double-monk strap that usually retails for around $350. However, you can pick it up for $100 less through Zappos via the link above!
As part of their Made In Italy collection, these premium handmade shoes are absolutely stunning. Made from vegetable-tanned Italian calfskin with a unique hand-painted patina, each pair is has its own individual aspect.
Monk straps are wonderfully versatile and the same goes for their double-buckled variants. From business casual to professional, they’re easy to wear with most suits. Black pairs also look great with more formal evening attire too.
In this case, there’s only one colour available. However, we do love the mahogany brown, which has a deep patina and unique hues. They’re slightly more casual but still look fantastic with a business professional suit.
The Longwing is a shoe style similar to a brogue but the wing tips reach all away around the shoe instead. With a Blucher-style throat reminiscent of derbies, these longwings are quite unique. Their construction is solid and they feature a Goodyear welt.
With their intricate ornamentation and Blucher-style open-throat, these are somewhat more casual as dress shoes go. Nevertheless, they’ll look great with more rustic suit styles that feature a touch of tweed or plead. They’re also ideal for business casual wear too.
We prefer the smooth black calfskin option, which is a great formal choice. However, you could also potentially opt for a brown pebbled leather, which is a distinctly casual style.
The Taft Grail shoe isn’t featured last because of any quality concerns. On the contrary, the construction and materials are impeccable. However, we have to admit that the design is an acquired taste!
Overall, these are classic full brogues. Yet, they feature a bold metal chain across the cap toe. It’s quite different, to say the least, and a style that you’ll ultimately love or hate. Regardless, it’s a testament to Taft’s daringly rebellious approach to contemporary dress shoes.
What You Get From $300 Dress Shoes
Unsurprisingly, investing $300 into dress shoes will offer you far better quality than other budgets that we’ve covered such as $100 or $200. Meanwhile, you’ll get very slightly less quality than if you bought men’s dress shoes under $500.
In fact, the $300 budget is on the high end of mid-range dress shoes, which is between $150 and $300. At this price point, you should be able reap a great number of benefits in leather quality and construction.
In this section, we’ll explore the various details you should expect from $300 dress shoes.
Whilst this is a feature that’s rarer among shoes under $200, it should be quite commonplace at this price point. In fact, you shouldn’t expect anything less unless the shoes have other features that stand out.
In short, welting is the process of attaching shoes to the soles. Particularly cheap dress shoes will have cemented soles, which use an adhesive to attach them. As the cost increases, you’ll start to see welts where the shoes are stitched to the soles.
The first ones that you’ll see are Blake stitches, which have several variants such as the McKay and the Rapid method. These perform well and you’ll be able to resole your shoes.
However, the most desirable is the Goodyear welt as mentioned above. A much more time-consuming and expensive method, it’s also considerably more durable and water resistant.
Furthermore, a Goodyear welt means that the sole can be changed as many times as you need. Therefore, you can potentially use these shoes for decades, which offers added value for money.
You can learn more about the various welts with our dedicated guide to shoe construction methods.
Premium Leather Uppers
Once you arrive at the $300 budget, the types and grades of leather used to make dress shoes will be of a much higher quality. Rather than using leathers that are closer to the hide’s below, manufacturers will start using areas closer to the spine.
These areas produce tighter leather that’s more durable and will retain its shape. Furthermore, you’ll encounter better top-grain leather, which is from the outer layer of the animal’s hide. Of this, you’ll find top-grain leather, which is the highest quality.
However, even top-grain leather consists of three grades, which each have their own subgrades too. As you edge towards a higher budget around the $300 mark, you’ll likely discover higher grades too.
Avoid anything that shows signs of blemishes or veins and make sure that both shoes look the same. If they look different, it may be because different types of leather grade were used to make them.
Shoes Made In A 1st World Country
Whilst you’ll probably not see many handmade shoes on the $300 mark, you will start to see shoes that are made in European countries such as Spain, Italy and Portugal. Furthermore, you may start seeing some made in the UK, USA as well as France and Germany.
When on this price point, you won’t want to be seeing shoes that are made in developing countries anymore. Although sometimes they make shoes with a similar level of craftsmanship, the working conditions and quality control won’t be the same.
Similarly, when investing in premium shoes, it’s better to be funding skilled artisans rather than supporting poor factory working conditions. Finally, you’ll expect better quality control as well as improved communication between the brand and the manufacturer.
Shoes under $300 tend to offer great value for money and overall reliable quality. However, $400 to $500 will grant you access to exceptional quality and brands that offer some truly magnficient shoes.
Furthermore, many of these will be handmade in the USA or Europe with some truly prestigious materials and traditional techniques.
You can see some of our other budget-related shoe guides in the following list: