At some point in your life (men), you’re likely going to need to take the plunge and grab yourself a pair of dress shoes. To some, such as myself, his is a terrifying idea that comes complete with nightmares of shopping for hours trying to find the right shoe that will cost to much and only be worn VERY rarely. While there may be no way to easily avoid some of these things, there are some tips you can follow to make the process go as smoothly as possible, get you into the most comfortable shoes possible, and generally make the entire experience as pleasant as possible. If you’re face to face with having to make the purchase, take a look at the tips below and save yourself some grief.

Tips for choosing men’s dress shoes

1) Consider the Event:

Often it’s an event that forces us to take the dreaded action of shoe shopping. When you’re buying men’s dress shoes, it’s especially important to consider the event you’ll be attending. Formal? Semi-formal? More relaxed and casual? Not matter what the situation there is a style of dress shoe that will work better than another. A little research or a short discussion with a sales rep. will help you sort out what might work best for your event.

2) Consider how the shoe can be used in the future:

Dropping 0-0 on a pair of shoes might be easy for some to do, but I personally have an aneurysm every time I think about it. Consolation lies in the fact that the shoe, if flexible in style/color, can likely be used in a variety of situations. If you can, buy something that will work with a variety of outfits and a variety of situations. Sometimes this is practically impossible.

3) consider what you’re wearing:

This is a big time no brainier, but worth mentioning. Make sure your shoe matches whatever you’re doing to be wearing. This guide will be helpful for matching pant color to shoe color. Again some are more flexible than others and might help you get more mileage from the shoes.

4) Check your size:

When you’re trying the shoe on, don’t be afraid to jump around in size, and bring different socks that you might wear with the shoes. If you do the right thing and treat the shoe like an investment (#5), then you’ll need to make sure it’ comfortable. Take a walk around the store if possible and/or check the return policy and try at home for a while if needed. This can save you a lot of pain later…in many ways.

5) Treat it like an investment:

As was just mentioned, treat the purchase like an investment. Take care of the shoes, buy something comfortable, and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra cash to get the right thing if you can. This ultimately can help you save big in the long run. Check the quality here too. Look at stitching, ask about the leather, and look at the details of the shoe as well as the basic construction.

6) Maintain the shoe:

Utilize shoe trees to remove odor and preserve shape (or newspaper like me), be sure to polish and clean as needed and generally do your best to maintain the shoe and likely leather that is on it.

7) When shopping bring the clothing and socks you’re likely to wear:

Simple enough. Don’t guess at what will look good if you have trouble with styles and colors (…me), just bring what you need and test the shoe. Sometimes bringing a friend, girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, cat, or whoever is necessary to make sure you get this right. Just kidding on the cat…leave the cat at home.

Now that you’re well prepared for tackling your dress shoe-shopping task, go forth conquer!