Shoes. Kicks.  What are you wearing? What do you rock?

Here’s a secret:

It’s a cliché that ladies judge men off the shoes they wear. But it’s still true.

Most people’s eyes start at the top of your outfit and work their way down to the shoes you’re wearing. Without the right shoes, your outfit isn’t complete, no matter how much time or money you’ve invested in it.

Everybody knows this. But what some people fail to understand is that going too far in the other direction is counterproductive & expensive.  We all love shoes, but it can get really costly to adopt the latest fads, and this are no different.

But don’t worry:

I’ve narrowed it down to 6 essential types of shoes that black men need for any type of wardrobe.

Once you’re done reading, you’ll be able to go out and get the ones you need without breaking the bank on expensive options.


FREE BONUS: Two More Shoe Types You Need!

Share to unlock a free extended version of the article (in PDF Format). It shows you two more shoe types you need in your wardrobe + all six included below.


The Color Rule

A quick note about color to kick us off:

The two colors of shoes that black men need in their wardrobe are the most common ones – brown and black.

Those colors go with literally every outfit.  Those shoe colors will never look out of place.

One other color you want:

White shoes as well – because they offer a visual effect that most other shoes simply don’t. (Keep the whites clean as you can!)

So, if you’re adding new shoes to your closet and you want to keep it simple, getting shoes in brown or black will let you pull off simple color coordination without much hassle.

Now, without further ado:

Here are the 6 types of shoes you’ll need for any outfit.


Oxfords / Derbys

It’s essential for any brother to be able to dress up from time to time. And nothing completes a well-dressed outfit like a set of good dress shoes. Preferably, Oxfords or Derbys.

Every man needs a pair of black, and possibly also brown, Oxfords / Derbys in his wardrobe.  Both types of shoes go well with almost anything, except for the super casual outfits. If you’re rocking a business or formal outfit, some Oxfords and Derbys will do the trick. In particular, if you’re wearing a suit or a vest, Oxfords fit the bill very cleanly.

Oxfords are best for formal, and Derbys for business casual, but both are fine for both occasions. These are absolute classics – start here if you’re building out your wardrobe from scratch, or want shoes that are universal and synonymous with style.

I typically wear Derbys to the office if I’ve tucked in my shirt. I wear my Oxford for a formal function of any kind.


Broad Toe Boots / Work Boots

Keeping it moving:

When you’re out and about in intense weather, it’s not the time to wear more delicate / higher maintenance shoes.

You need something that works for the elements, whether it’s snow, rain, mud, or oil.

You need shoes that don’t stain or scuff very easily: work boots. These give your feet the protection they need, they shield your ankle / keep it straight, and they have amazing traction so you won’t slip.

Plus, they’re sturdy, so they won’t easily lose their shape (unlike others), and they’re meant for the field. And, of course, ladies love to see you wearing them.

These deserve a place in your wardrobe, whether your job involves manual labor or not. You probably already have a good pair if you live in harsh weather conditions…

When I lived near Detroit, Michigan, I was dealing with heavy snow and rain 5 months out of the year…Timberlands were a necessity.


Athletic Sneakers / Athletic Shoes

Listen up!

You most likely already have a good set of athletic shoes…. but I can’t lie:

The logo on the shoe seems to matter a little more with athletic apparel than it does with other types of shoes. But you can still make do with plain running shoes.

You have to look as stylish in the gym as you do in the streets. On the other hand, for the folks who prefer to hoop, go for a run, play intramurals, or engage in any other kind of athletic activity…

You need athletic shoes for that, too.


Our only suggestion here is to lean on a dark color – and focus just as much on function as you do with style & fit.

Dark colors cover up dirt better – white athletic shoes are a bad idea. These get dirty pretty quickly and you want to avoid having beat-up looking shoes if they aren’t work boots.

We like to go with black and white, or black and grey. This way, your sneakers have the best chance of complimenting whatever color you’re wearing for a shirt or shorts.


White Sneakers

These right here are necessary!  These are the classic shoes such as the white Converses, white Adidas Stan Smith and so on.

Known as ‘Plimsolls” in the UK, we really consider these an essential part of a well-dressed brother’s outfit –while not good for suits and formal wear, these look amazing when combined with black pants.

That’s why I always say black men should really have at least one good pair of white sneakers. They look perfect with dark pants, socks and skin.

Having articles of clothing contrast (in material, fit or color) from the article of clothing next to it – that’s a hard and fast style rule.

White sneakers are no different…rocking these with dark denim, chinos, or black pants create a fly look that looks great on you.


Casual Sneakers

You were probably expecting a category like this:

A good pair of casual sneakers match well with any kind of casual look.

Here, you have the most options.  You can go with Vans, you can go with Converse Chucks, or you can rock the Adidas Tennis Classics with three stripes (known as Samba).

All these are popular streetwear styles. And while you may not rock streetwear frequently, having a casual look for the streets (jeans, plain tees, shades and shoes) is very simple to do. Plus, it looks great when you can pull it off.

Sometimes, the “anti-fashion” / dressed-down look can actually be very fashionable (if you’re sticking to the style rules with color coordination, fit, and are fit).

Which brings me back me back to the casual sneakers: I’m not too worried about the style you gravitate towards. You do you on this one…

Just remember:

They deserve a place in your wardrobe as long as they are clean, well-kept. Don’t let these ones get too old – many aren’t built to last forever.


Dress Boots



Everyone knows what’s up when it comes to dress boots.

How about you?

You can’t afford to leave dress boots out of the picture if you want to be stylish.

Boots aren’t just for bad weather or working outdoors – having a good pair of dress boots in your closet screams high fashion. Especially when I’m in the city or at work – having some dope dress boots in my outfit will get me get second glances.

Personally, I like rich brown leather – but many other folks like to incorporate, red, grey, or blue into their boots and outfits.

Keep in mind, these boots require care…treat them with oil and leather conditioner like they depend on it.

So, as we promised earlier, if you have these six types of shoes, you’re in business. Are there any types of boots here you’d like to add to your wardrobe?


DON’T FORGET: WDB Stylist helps you get great prices on all menswear apparel – check it out.


Did we leave out any? What are your favorites? Contact us or leave a comment!

H Bashir
H Bashir

I write about black men's style, and menswear in general, at Follow us on IG @welldressedbrother

    1 Response to "6 Types of Shoes A Black Man Needs in His Wardrobe"

    • Ulesc

      I’m pleased that I recently stumbled upon your magazine. I’m in the process of building and updating my wardrobe. Your shoe article was helpful; it placed ideas into my head. THANKS!

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