As much weight as a man puts on his feet, the comfort of his dress shoes should be the number one concern of his wardrobe.
Profession business attire from the head down to the foot must fit comfortably, and must remain comfortable throughout the work day.
For men, a comfortable dress shoe has to be a top priority. Because most shoe purchases are final, it is important to know before you begin shopping exactly what features in dress shoes bring the most comfort to your feet.
There are four major factors to consider when reviewing shoe comfort. First, what style of shoe is most comfortable? Secondly, how is the interior of the shoe constructed?
Thirdly, does the heel of the shoe feel comfortable? Finally, what is my foot size in length and width?
There are two basic styles of dress shoes for men: those that tie with laces and those that slip on. Each style has a very different feel to it. The tie up shoe tends to feel more snug and enveloping of the entire foot. The slip on is more open, and allows a freer motion of the foot. How comfortable each is depends greatly on the individual consumer. The pitfall of the tie up shoe is a cramped feeling. For the slip on, since there is no adjustment, it can feel either too loose or too tight as the shoe breaks into its mold.
More important than the style is the interior construction of the shoe. The thickness of the shoe’s pad may not have an effect when the shoe is first purchased, but it will have a great effect when the shoe is three to six months old. If it is not thick enough, the heel will quickly wear through to the rubber of the sole. If the pad does wear through, shoe inserts will correct the problem for a while, in most cases.
The thickness of the pad is hard to gauge from mere observation. Shoe manufacturers often provide written information about the interior construction of shoe. If such information is not readily available, ask the sales associate about the thickness of the pad.
Arch support is also very important. Even though arch support is a standard feature, make sure it feels right for your foot. Some men have flatter or deeper arches than what is normal for their size of foot.
In addition to arch support, metatarsal support is becoming very common. This is a slight ridge in the pad behind the balls of the toes. Metatarsal support is a new feature that takes some getting used to. It has a funny feel at first, but over time it does add to the overall comfort of the shoe. Simply stick your hand into the toe of the shoe to check for this feature.
The height of the heel on a dress shoe is less of a factor for men than for women, but it can still have an impact on long term comfort. Body muscles in the legs and back get more use sustaining correct body posture as the heel of the shoe heightens. If a man cannot stand at ease in a pair of dress shoes, the heels may be too high. This posture discomfort is why many men who want to dress in a western style have such a hard time breaking in cowboy boots, which typically have higher heels.
Finally, the size of the dress shoe is paramount. First, know the width of your foot: narrow, normal, or wide. Most shoes are designed to fit the normal width. If your foot is not standard, do not compromise your comfort for a standard shoe. Shoes designed specifically for narrow or wide feet do cost more, but the comfort in the feet far exceeds the pain in the wallet.
Secondly, dress shoes are constructed all over the world, and the size standard is not always the same. It is good, therefore, to look at the shoes of your normal size and in one half sizes each direction of your normal size to find the best fit. If you just look at the size you have always worn, you may be missing out on the pair a half size larger, that actually looks and feels better.