How to Buy Men's Wingtip Shoes

Men's wingtip shoes were originally known as "full brogues" back in the United Kingdom when men wore them only for walking outdoors in the damp countryside. Today, "wingtips" are a common sight on businessmen all over. They exist in many forms from business to casual.

If you're interested in buying a pair of men's wingtip shoes, there are a few things to consider.

True wingtips will have a toe cap that forms a "W" shape and extends to the heel of the shoe, resembling a wing. The "wing" will be sewn to the leather vamp and have little perforations on top. These perforations used to serve a purpose; they allowed water to escape the shoe rather than pooling inside. Today it's rare to find perforations on men's wingtip shoes that run through to the other side.

Men's wingtip shoes traditionally have sturdy leather soles and heel and a reinforced counter on the back of the shoe.

When purchasing a pair of wingtips for men's business wear, buy brown or black. You might often see a shoe with a mahogany hue on the feet of some businessmen, but this color isn't for traditional business wear. It is a clever cheat favored by some men because the color matches a wider variety of suits.

White or tan leather wingtips are acceptable in the warmer months of course, and look handsome with the warm weather fabrics in suiting. Yet they shouldn't be your only pair of business wingtips.

Spectator shoes are similar to wingtips in that they have the "W" shaped toe cap and often have the same perforations as wingtips. They are usually lighter in weight and the toe cap is a different (darker) color than the vamp. Today these shoes are considered inappropriate business wear for most jobs.

While the true wingtip shoe and even the semi-wingtip (where the wing shape ends at the toe cap) are traditional shoes, the modern wingtip comes in many variations. You can purchase sleek dress wingtips with no perforations or wingtips with thin soles. The casual wingtip made with nubuck leather and rubber soles are a popular option for less stressful times. You can find the wingtip design flourish on punk boots by Doc Marten's or on flashy cowboy boots.

Look foremost for solid construction in the stitching and sole when buying men's wingtip shoes, as with any other shoe.

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Always check if new shoes need waterproofing or regular polishing before you wear them. Preparing the material can help prevent damage, as can regular cleanings and proper storage. When storing shoes, stuff them to keep their shape, and store them standing up, never laying on one side.

Balance your selection of men's shoes with a little bit of classical and a little bit of modern style. Wear dress shoes for work or formal affairs and casual shoes for kicking back, and try not to mix the two styles.

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