Is there an upcoming formal event you’re excited about? Or perhaps your new job has a strict business dress code?

Either way, formal business outfits are important for maintaining professionalism. And choosing the right footwear with those outfits is equally essential.

It’s not uncommon to feel completely clueless when it comes to formal footwear.  Those feelings are compared to the situation when you are looking at your assignment and understand that you can’t handle it without professional help with dissertation. We are here for your rescue. While some rules are different for men and women, some universal rules apply to everyone. 

Factors like the design, colors, heel size, quality, and comfort of the shoe not only determine how you feel but also contribute to the image you’re building.

And before you search for your dream pair of formal shoes, you need to get a good grasp of this information.

Luckily for you, there’s no need to look any further.  This article will give you a run-down of everything you need to know about choosing the ideal pair of formal shoes.

Shoes are often the first thing people notice about you. Footwear says a lot about your personality and how seriously you’re taking a situation.

For instance, wear a pair of crocs to an interview, and the recruiters will undoubtedly know you love comfort. But they’ll also think you’re incapable of professional behavior.

While there are many different types of shoes in various designs, professional settings call for a specific set of criteria. 

So, what exactly is a formal shoe? 

It’s more of a spectrum. Just think of it as any footwear that says you mean serious business!


Well, don’t you worry! Keep reading to find out how to pick a decent pair of formal shoes.

#1. Get the Right Fit

I’m sure you are aware that before purchasing a pair of shoes, the first thing you should get right is your feet’ size.

But did you know that your feet can swell up later during the day? Yeah, this explains why sometimes perfectly fitting shoes at the store might seem a little tight during the actual event.

When body temperatures are running higher than usual, our feet might expand slightly, resulting in a swollen foot. This phenomenon might not happen to everyone to the same extent, but it’s best to take precautions. 

So, the wisest thing to do would be to go shoe shopping or do the feet measuring in the afternoons or evening.

Also, formal shoes are often worn with socks, so make sure to try on the shoe with socks on as well. The thickness of your sock will also affect the fitting.

#2.  High Heels or Not?

It’s an age-old question- do formal shoes need to have heels? 

Well, if you’re uncomfortable with them, then no. But generally speaking, most formal shoes for professional settings should have a bit of a heel. However, you also don’t want them to be too high.

The right size heel for dress shoes is one that is not more than an inch in height. This applies to both men and women.

But if you’re a woman looking to dress up for a fancy formal event, higher heels are sometimes required with the outfit. In that case, please be careful about the type of heel you pick. 

You don’t want to be in pain or have bad posture when giving an important speech. It’s best to choose wide heels or ones that look like wedges. Also, avoid wearing heels that curve or are pencil-like in shape for long periods.

#3. Exploring Colors

For men and women alike, neutral colors like brown, black, and grey are the best and safest choice for formal footwear.

However, black is the most versatile and will match any colored outfit you are wearing. So, if you can only get one pair -always stick with black. Brown shoes are also another good primary color to have in your formal collection. 

Women, however, have a bit more leeway in this aspect. When you’re wearing pastels, nudes are a better option. You can even try on silver, cream white, blues, and purples. 

You can get a little more creative and bolder by adding a different pop of color on your feet. Sometimes even pairing patterned shoes, like those with snake prints, might give your formal look more character. 

Just make sure the shoes aren’t clashing with the outfit. Avoid neon colors and stay away from tacky and loud patterns.

#4. The Perfect Design

If you can afford it, splurge on some designer shoes for formal wear. Look at it as an investment, and pick comfy, good quality shoes with a neutral design you can wear with all sorts of outfits.

Men’s formal or business shoes should usually leather, but if you’re on a lower budget, you can find artificial leather shoes as well.  Oxfords, derbies, cap toes, monk straps, and loafers are popular formal shoe designs for men.

But make sure to pick a toe shape that is moderate and not too long.  The shape you choose might not look good with all your outfits, so to be on the safe side, pick one that is the right balance between square and pointed. 

As for women, professional settings are not the place to try out extremely strappy designs. Opt for closed-toe, less extravagant shoe designs instead.

#5. Comfort is Key

Never sacrifice your comfort to look good for an event. In the professional world, where confidence is the best attire you can wear, shoes play a pretty significant role.

Don’t try anything super new on the day of your event, and definitely avoid breaking in shoes you’ve just bought for the first time. Also, think about how much you’ll have to walk around during the event. Some brands actually do a great job at providing stylish shoes that have good support and cushioning. 

If you find a good pair of shoes, make sure to walk around a couple of times wearing both of them. Also, opt for shoes that fit on the very first try. Don’t fall for the whole “you can stretch them in later” tactic.

And don’t forget to check the minor details like whether your toes are feeling cramped and the flexibility of movement.

Things to Keep in Mind

Although these tips are for all genders, men and women will have different experiences when choosing footwear. Here are some extra gender-specific tips you should keep in mind when looking for formal shoes- 

For Men

Footwear for men may seem boring, but it’s a pretty complicated world to navigate. Always make sure to feel the leather the footwear is made of. The shoes should be shiny and smooth, but not so much that you can see your reflection on them.

Overly shiny, plastic-like shoes might actually be a sign of fake leather. Now, there’s no mandatory rule for choosing leather shoes, but they last longer and are sturdier than your average options.

Another tip – for formal settings, it’s a good idea to wear lace-up shoes. While slip-on ones are definitely easier, lace-ups give more of a professional and serious look. Not to mention, they look really great with suits and tuxedos.

For Women

Women have a myriad of options for formal shoes. However, it’s very easy to get carried away with too many choices. 

Sure, there might be a really great pair of shoes for your particular outfit. But you need to make sensible choices about how appropriate it is for the event.

You don’t always have to wear heels –ballerina shoes or loafers can be a pretty good formal look for women.

Ultimately, it depends on the type of event you’re attending. If you want to go glam and glitz – nobody is stopping you. For more serious, professional vibes, an elegant pair of shoes will speak volumes without appearing too flashy.

Also, don’t stress about matching your shoes to the color of your outfits. Color blocking and mix and matching is all the trend right now – just make sure it all ties together well.

Final Thoughts

The saying “Give a woman the right pair of shoes, and she’ll take over the world” isn’t wrong, you know. In fact, it stands true for all genders.

Shoes not only can transform your look entirely but are also responsible for the aura you give out to people. 

And if you have the right pair of formal shoes in professional settings, you’ll feel confident, supported, and comfortable enough to do your job efficiently.

Now that you know the basics do your research and make smart choices. Remember, much like finding the right outfit, and you need to be patient and thorough when looking at your options. 

So, try not to rush and give yourself enough time for the selection. 

Here’s wishing you find the perfect pair of formal shoes that make you feel like a boss!