Three shoes necessary for every young man’s closet

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Shoes can say a lot about a guy.

Regardless of your lifestyle, there are three types of shoes that should be in every young man’s closet: boots, casual sneakers and Oxfords. These three shoes are a great investment for any wardrobe and look great on everyone if worn for the right occasions.

First, let’s begin with the largest trend amongst college guys: boots. For the last few years, many footwear companies have picked up on men’s gravitation towards obvious masculine styles. Almost every major footwear company now offers a leather boot or high top chukka.  Here are two tips when selecting a pair of boots. First, do not expect to spend less than your last pair of tennis shoes. Well-made boots are an investment that should last you at least 10 years and should be made with tough leather that will last. Second, avoid square- toed and zip up boots. This style is quickly fading and is hard for a college student to pull off.

Boots are usually worn during the colder seasons, but can work anytime pants are worn. A good boot can endure any climate and can be worn in the rain and snow. However, it is important that waterproof boots are waxed and oiled to prevent the leather from drying out. Many new dress boots have minimal designs and can be worn casually and on semi-formal occasions.  There are some newer boot trends such as native molded boots, duck boots and European hikers that would look great in class but may be a little too flashy for work or an internship. Some brands known for their quality and style are Red Wing Shoes, L.L. Bean, Timberland, Sebago and Frye.

Another style of men’s shoes that has been undergoing a major overhaul in design is the casual sneaker. Many shoe companies have begun opting for designs featuring new materials and emphasizing single features rather than clunky and overly decorated sneakers.  Most of these designs emphasize a particular feature and avoid ostentatious displays. When shopping for a new pair of sneakers, try looking around at brands that you have never heard of or even considered. Many of the less popular brands are currently releasing some of the more original designs. Some brands that I would recommend are Creative Recreation, Generic Surplus and New Balance’s recent designs.

As the name implies, casual sneakers are intended for informal everyday wear. As a man grows up, there are fewer opportunities to wear sneakers. By the time a student reaches senior year, he should probably be wearing a more sophisticated Oxford shoe or a very conservative sneaker. Whether you’re going out for the night or just headed to class, you should consider sneakers as a second alternative to the other options mentioned in this article.

The final style of shoe that every young man should be familiar with is the Oxford shoe. Oxfords are low-cut simple shoes that became popular in the United Kingdom around the 1800s. There are two primary types of oxford shoes: balmoral and saddle. Balmoral Oxfords are conservative and tend to be a single color usually made of leather. Saddle Oxfords have an extra layer over the instep of the shoe, which adds a little more flair.  When purchasing a pair of Oxfords make sure you know when you will be wearing them the most. If you plan on wearing Oxfords casually, avoid glossy and black Balmorals and opt for a pair made of either suede or nubuck.

The design of Oxford shoes screams college student; however, many American students believe the Oxford is too formal and belongs only in the corporate world. The minimal and understated design is perfect for the typical functions of a student and can be worn in nearly every lifestyle.   Within the last few years top-sider shoes have gained immense popularity amongst college age students but typically only last a year or two and are not designed for a serious wardrobe. Purchasing a pair of Oxfords is a step toward maturity and is sure to augment your wardrobe. Some brands that offer well-made Oxfords are: Clarks, Bass and Hey Dude.

The shoes you wear are a personal statement and should be chosen with much consideration regardless of individual aesthetic.  If you do decide to purchase a new pair of boots, sneakers or Oxfords, make sure you shop around online for a few hours. If you have something specific in mind, do not make a compromise because you will regret your choice everyday you put those shoes on. Some websites that I would recommend visiting for a great selection of shoes are myhabit.com, gilt.com and jackthreads.com.