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Step Up Your Style: A Guide to Semi-Formal Shoes

Whether you are attending a semi-formal event - wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate event - or just want to elevate your everyday look, the right pair of semi-formal shoes can offer a perfect balance of polish and functionality. From classic oxfords and brogues to stylish loafers, Chelsea boots, and dress sneakers, there's a semi-formal shoe to fit every personal style and occasion. 

In this guide we break down the most common types of shoes in the semi-formal category, group them from dressiest to most casual, and give you some of our favorite recommendations. Let’s get started! 

Classic Dress Shoes

The Oxford Shoe: The standard. Featuring a closed lacing system and quality construction, these are a staple in any man’s wardrobe. They are extremely versatile and can be paired with formal attire, business casual ensembles, and smart-casual outfits. The most common variations are cap toe or plain toe, and feature a shorter heel. When it comes to colors, there are a myriad of different options. Black oxfords are for more formal occasions, and brown or burgundy pairs strike a balance between formal and smart casual. These pair well with anything from suits to chinos, or even jeans.

Our recommendation: AG1468 by Asher Green



The Brogue Shoe:  Iconic footwear that blends the timelessness of the Oxford with a touch more character and individuality. Known for their perforated patterns or “broguing,” adding more visual interest and texture to the look. This style usually comes in a wingtip design and can feature full, half, or quarter broguing. A stylish pair of brogues can be paired with jeans all year-round, chinos and even cords in the winter. If you are looking to “dress it up” a bit more, brogues pair with smart-casual outfits as well. While they aren’t necessarily up to dress code in a strictly formal setting, the right materials and colors can grant some leeway. Tweeds, khaki, and classic tailoring all pair well with this style. 

Our Recommendation: The AG100 by Asher Green



The Derby Shoe: These are a cornerstone of men’s footwear, are extremely versatile, and bridge the gap between formal and casual attire. The defining characteristic is the open lace system, allowing for more adjustability and is ideal for people with wider feet or higher insteps. These pair well with suits but are less formal than Oxfords and are generally worn with smart casual and casual outfits. Since you can pair them with just about anything from suits to jeans, they are a must for any man’s shoe repertoire. 

Our Recommendation: Conrad by Amali


Contemporary Dress Shoes

Dress Sneakers: These offer a contemporary twist to formal attire and are a stylish alternative to dress shoes. They feature sleek designs, premium materials, and understated detailing. Pair these with more casual and light summer suits, jeans, chinos and even shorts to elevate your ensemble. These combine a formal style and athletic functionality and are an essential piece of any man’s wardrobe. 

Our Recommendation: The Alec by Amali



Chelsea Boot: These iconic boots are a staple for individuals who appreciate style and versatility. They feature a classic design and quality craftsmanship that elevates any outfit, from formal attire to casual ensembles. The elastic side panels, sleek silhouette, and pull tabs all promote a stylish and comfortable shoe for most occasions. Pair them with suits, chinos or even jeans to smarten up any outfit. 

Our Recommendation: The Hayes by Amali


Loafers: The most comfortable and laid back option on the market. Their slip-on design and quality material elevate any outfit. Since these offer a wide range of styles and designs from understated to flashy, you can find a pair (or several) that fit any individual style. Pair them with slim fit jeans, chinos, and shorts for a sharp and casual look. 

Our Recommendation: The Deniz by Amali


In Conclusion

With so many options in the world of men's fashion, knowing which shoe to wear can really elevate any outfit. We hope this guide gives more insight into how and when to choose a particular style. Whether the occasion calls for the classic appeal of oxfords or laid-back style or loafers, there's a semi-formal shoe to suit every taste and occasion. Step up your individual style and let your taste shine!


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