When it comes to men’s footwear, we think you can never have too many pairs (but we’re biased!). In terms of styles available, there’s never been more choice in terms of colour, design, materials and finish. So what better time to invest in your wardrobe with a pair that’s exactly right for you. Finding the right pair of men’s shoes can be tricky. In our sixty year history we’re often asked about the differences and benefits between lace up shoes and slip on shoes. Here’s our take on it.

Lace up shoes

We’ve been asked numerous times if lace up shoes are more formal than slip on shoes. Generall speaking lace up shoes are indeed more formal. Of course, you can wear lace-up shoes to informal events too and vice versa. The rules of style aren’t that strict. But there is something more formal about a smart pair of laced shoes that lend themselves to business events or weddings where you have cause to dress up. As with every element of men’s attire there is a correct way to lace your shoes which you can read and practice until you have perfected the technique.

Our most popular laced shoe styles include this classic Oxford shoe, which is available in glossy leather for a formal look, or muted suede for a more casual event.  If Oxford’s aren’t your style, then Derby shoes might be more your scene. Try a mix of colours to make sure you’ve found your perfect ‘solemate’.

Slip on shoes

Slip on shoes definitely have a more casual feel about them, however depending on the style they can look equally as good with a pair of jeans as they can with a pair of smart trousers. Either way, they are an essential part of any modern man’s wardrobe and often the go-to shoe of choice thanks to their versatility. These shoes are on and off in seconds so there’s no tricky lacing technique to master which gives them part of their appeal. Some of the most common slip on shoes include loafers, moccasins, driving shoes and boat shoes.

Slip on shoes are a great choice for the warmer summer months, and already we’ve had great interest from our customers in our new Barker spring summer 16 collection, which includes these must-have Barker Davenport loafers which are perfect for a summer BBQ or a stroll around the park. These Barker Bourne slip on shoes with punched detailing would also make a very stylish addition to your wardrobe this season.

If you can’t decide between a lace-up or a slip on, why not meet somewhere in the middle with a monk strap shoe instead? These stylish buckles can be worn all year round, but look great in the summer when you can show them off with a pair of shorter length trousers. There’s no tricky lacing technique and they are smart enough to wear to more formal events, so they’re an excellent compromise on the two styles.