5 formal shoes for your wedding dress

Formal shoes

When choosing footwear, consider the wedding dress code, the level of formality of the event, and your own style preferences. That way, you can ensure your shoes not only complete your outfit, but also give you more confidence throughout the event.

1. Oxfords patent leather

The patent leather Oxford shoe is a formal classic with a formal look

Patent leather Oxfords are a specific type of shoe with a low heel and closed lacing. Closed lacing essentially means that flaps of leather containing lacing eyelets are sewn underneath the vampire as opposed to its top. This is similar to what you see in a derby shoe.

READ MORE: Defining style: Oxford Dress Shoes

Due to the way they are made, Oxford shoes almost look like they are made from a single piece of leather. This gives them a sleek, elegant aesthetic, making them perfect for any formal occasion.

The smooth leather Oxford is the most formal shoe style for men. So you should wear them with a classic two or three piece tuxedo or to black tie events.

If you want to go for a more sophisticated style, consider buying a wholecut shoe. Although Oxfords have the appearance of being cut from a single piece of leather, they are in fact an entire cut of leather. This results in a very clean, sophisticated look that is both sophisticated and very stylish.

2. Oxfords smooth leather

Black smooth leather Oxfords can act as a formal shoe style if they are beautifully polished.

Smooth leather oxfords are another popular style of formal shoe, but they are a bit less complex than the previous option. This is mainly because these shoes are not shiny. That said, you can still get full cuts for an extra layer of elegance and formality.

For more formal weddings, opt for plain leather Oxford shoes without a toe cap or any kind of shoe (perforated in leather). These features detract from the elegance of the shoe a bit, but they can still look great in most formal spaces. Avoid wearing this style at events with a black tie, optional black tie or semi-formal.

3. Opera Pump

Opera Pump is a very old school style formal shoe

The Opera Pump is a classic style formal shoe. They differ from loafers in that they have a deeper cut, meaning they reveal more of the sock.

The classic opera pump is easily recognizable in its bow. However, there are more modern versions that feature a single strip of fabric that evokes a bow-like feel without coming out all the way.

These shoes are quite elegant and timeless, ideal for events with a black tie.

4. Belgian Shoes

A pair of Belgian patent leather shoes

Originally made by a small boutique in New York City, Belgian shoes have become quite popular today. This style of formal footwear is unique in that it features an exotic aesthetic that includes an iconic little bow.

Patent leather Belgian boots are a great alternative to other loafers, especially if you’re going to wear a full tuxedo. Because of their differences, these shoes are a natural choice for semi-formal wear, cocktails, optional black tie and black tie creative dress code. However, in each of these cases, choose smooth or suede as they are less formal than patent leather.

5. Velvet sandals

Velvet sandals are a great way to add some personality to your tuxedo outfit

Velvet sandals are probably the least formal shoe style on the market, which is why some recommend just wearing them at home. However, in the modern era, these shoes can add a bit of color and interest to semi-formal events.

They come in a variety of colors and often have some sort of embroidery, which can be used for a monogram or to express your taste and personality. Since they’re quite formal, they look best when worn with a cocktail outfit, optional black tie, or creative black tie wedding. Avoid wearing them with a full wedding dress.

Socks and ropes

Black silk stockings with a tuxedo are the most classic choice.

When it comes to everything, you can’t go wrong with black silk on calf socks. This style is highly traditional, has a see-through look, and pairs well with formal footwear for an elegant aesthetic. If you don’t have these, don’t worry – most slim socks will do too.

However, never wear white socks or sports socks with work shoes. Sports socks in particular tend to be bulkier than dress socks. As a result, they often clash or bunch up around the legs of your pants and shoes, making your clothes look sloppy.

As for the laces, they should be black. The most classic and formal laces are satinbut waxed cotton lanyard is also acceptable. If you go with waxed cotton, choose round lanyards as they look more formal.

Things we need to avoid

Besides the ones already mentioned, here are the biggest things to avoid when it comes to formal footwear:

Square toe shoesbox shoes, or shoes with rubber or plastic soles. These look cheap and don’t match the gloss and elegance of formal wear.

Boots. Even if they are considered boots, they will not fit the form of a tuxedo or any outfit that includes a night jacket. This type of shoe will stand out in the worst way.


Whether your preference is patent leather Oxford shoes or opera heels, choose them based on the dress code and or the level of formality required for the occasion. With that, you should invest in a few different styles of tops that you can wear over and over and combine with different outfits. That way, you’ll be ready for anything.


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