Like most guys that have been living in baggy clothes and sneakers their whole lives, I dread the occasions when I have to put on formal wear. In fact, my hate for dressing up in tight suits and rigid footwear was the reason I’ve turned down so many wedding invitations. But when it was my brother’s turn to get married, I simply couldn’t say no – so, off I went shopping for my first suit and pair of dress shoes.
What I’ve learned in the process is that dress shoes might not look as hip and urban as sneakers, but they do bring a touch of manly sophistication that really has an effect on your confidence. Just like when women put on heels, putting on my shiny, leather dress shoes made me feel sexy (in a manly kind of way). And I was surprised that they can be as comfortable as sneakers – if you know how to choose right.
In my case, that meant getting men’s orthopedic dress shoes. Struggling with flat feet my whole life, sneakers and orthopaedic shoes were the only types of footwear I could ever think of wearing. Luckily, there are specialized ranges of men’s orthopedic dress shoes that are designed to suit people with all kinds of foot issues ranging from high/low arches to wide feet. In fact, you won’t even feel any different than wearing sneakers, as many orthopaedic dress shoes come with sneaker-like soles that provide comfy cushioning and great arch support.
But even if you don’t experience any foot problems, choosing dress shoes with orthopedic features minimizes the risk of developing blisters and painful sores. Some basic features that promise comfort are a cushioned heel, a firm outer sole that doesn’t twist or bend easily, and a flexible upper that conforms to the shape of your foot. An upper made of a soft breathable material can allow your feet to stay fresh for long periods of time and makes it less likely to experience rubbing and irritation.
If you have wide feet, check whether the shoes come with features that make them adjustable to the shape of your foot. This means looking for laces, straps, or shoe bands. And remember, just like clothes, the size of the shoe may vary across different brands. So by all means, don’t let a simple number dictate your decision. Always try the shoes on to see how they fit. But if you prefer to shop online, make sure to measure your feet and check how they correspond with the dimensions of the shoes’ size chart.