Distinct Dress Shoes

Five unconventional takes on men's formal footwear

While many menswear designers continue to rethink heritage workwear styling, others are returning to the classics to find inspiration in formal footwear. Recent dress shoe design toys with tradition with daring moves toward bold soles and contrasting patterns. Pioneered by the likes of Mark McNairy, many designers have offered their take in new collections, promoting a playful side of menswear. Here are five of our favorite styles from the Fall 2012 collections.


Florsheim by Duckie Brown

A new design from the Fall/Winter 2012 collection set to debut at New York Fashion Week, the Wedge Brogue blends current trends with mountaineering style eyelets, an exaggerated PU sole and warm color for a truly contemporary take on the classic longwing style. The standout design aims to bring a bit of life to the onset of winter next season.


Mark McNairy

Straying from the neon Vibram sole that’s become synonymous with the McNairy name, these suede longwings still manage the signature flair without the overwhelming color palette. Traditionally a rather formal design, the classic silhouette is dressed down nicely here with a platform sole and contrasting green suede upper for a strong look.



Similarly tackling the full brogue, the Tokyo-based brand Caminando injects significant aesthetic impact into a simple idea. Although the colors are a bit tame compared to the rest, the jagged sole on the Wingtip Ripple makes them an a key piece in dressing up an understated outfit.



Bright without being ostentatious, the simple Lou 4 features a brilliant blue PU sole in contrast against the perfectly clean black leather upper. The resulting aesthetic exudes easy confidence.



The 380g insjön runner takes its distinct look from fabric woven by Insjöns Väveri, the sole fabric makers for the Swedish Royal Court. Woven on 1930s-era looms, the heavy-duty cotton and linen blend makes the collaboration shoe an elegant, fun and extremely durable choice.