They say that shoes make the man. So naturally, they're a really important part of your entire outfit - sometimes they're even the centerpiece of it. There's a crazy amount of different shoes out there, and it can be a bit overwhelming to know which ones you should incorporate into your wardrobe. Luckily for you, I've put together a list of the 5 types of shoes that should serve as the base of your shoe collection. These 5 types of shoes give you the most versatility to get the optimum amount of style from your outfits without having to own 10 or 20 different pairs of shoes.
1. White Sneakers
Time and time again, I always go to these as my "old reliable" shoes. That's because they're a classic and will never go out of style. Plus, white sneakers look great with any outfit - shorts, jeans, chinos, and even a suit if you're bold enough. The key is to get a pair that's simple and without any fancy detailing or colors. Also, this is my personal opinion, but I think white sneakers look much better with a little bit of wear and dirt. They just looks more natural that way and don't blind you in the sunlight or distract people from your overall outfit. The best white sneakers you can get are from Adidas, Nike, Shoeology, and of course, Common Projects.
Pictured: Adidas Continental Vulc
2. Dress Shoes
Alright, I'll admit I'm cheating a bit with one. Really, you need 2 pairs of dress shoes: one brown and one black. But if you had to only choose one (like really really had to choose), you should get a pair of good quality black ones. And go for the traditional oxford look like the ones shown here. This is because dress shoes are necessary for the more formal parts of your life, such as weddings, presentations, and other events. By getting a pair of black oxfords, you're covered for almost any dressy situation. Brown dress shoes are slightly more casual and look less conservative, but they may not fit into every single kind of environment, whereas black dress shoes can. Again, you really should get one of each. My personal favorite dress shoe brands are Ted Baker, Calvin Klein, Beckett Simonon, and the holy grail of dress shoes, Allen Edmonds.
Pictured: similar to Calvin Klein Dillinger Baby Scotch Grain Oxfords
If there's one piece of footwear that can instantly elevate your whole outfit, it's a pair of boots. Similar to white sneakers, these can really work with any outfit (except for shorts), and they can add a lot of style instantly. This pair from TAFT is extremely well-made and definitely worth its price. It also looks really, really good. Some other types of boots that you can look at are chelsea boots (especially in suede) or chukka boots. Chelsea boots are very stylistic and chukka boots are very simple - I think these TAFT boots fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless of which one you pick, you won't regret it.
Pictured: TAFT Jack Boot - Grey & Oxblood
4. Lifestyle Running Shoes
I specifically mentioned lifestyle running shoes, because any ordinary pair of running shoes won't do you any good in the style department. You'll need something that will not only work for all of your athletic activities, but also as a lifestyle shoe for more casual outfits. The athleisure look is real, and it's awesome because you can look incredibly stylish by just wearing a hoodie, track pants, and a pair of nice sneakers. When Adidas came out with their original Ultraboost shoe, they revolutionized the running shoe. The Ultraboost 19s shown here build on that, and they're excellent for both running/working out/playing sports and strolling around the city on a weekend. Nike has a similar type of sneaker called the Epic React, but my biased opinion leans towards the Ultraboost for its combination of style and comfort.
Pictured: Adidas Ultraboost 19
5. Casual Loafers/Drivers
Lastly we have the slip-on loafer or driver. These are perfect for when you want to look less streetwear-ish and more dapper. They come in various types - you have penny loafers, tassle loafers, slipper loafers, etc. But my personal favorite is the horsebit loafer, which was made popular by Gucci (the one pictured here isn't Gucci, unfortunately). This style strikes the perfect balance between classy and casual, which means you can wear it with shorts and a t-shirt just as much as you can wear it with a pair of chinos and a tucked in shirt. You can really find these type of shoes everywhere, with every company making their own variation. Gucci is the obvious choice here, but if you want to save some cash you can find great options at DSW, New Republic, Aldo, and Beckett Simonon.
Pictured: De La Rentis Wrapped Loafer