Some say shoes make the man, while others claim a man reveals a lot about himself by the shoes he wears. Either way, we all can appreciate the value of wearing shoes and boots that are in style with current fashions. Fortunately for us, there are many styles that meet that criteria today. Styles are determined by various features and components of the shoe, with none, perhaps, being more influential and signifying than their toe style.
Toe styles and their shapes are subject to the "coming and going" of fashion trends like everything else in the world of fashion. Extreme styles, like the Pilgrim, no longer have a place in today's lineup; leaving the more moderate toe styles that have withstood the test of time to grace our feet. There are countless toe styles walking the earth, and whether they are a traditional style, or a modified version, all toe styles fall into four categories of toe shapes:
Round Toe: This pretty much says it all – they're round. Of course, not all round toes are the same. They vary in roundness, with some toe boxes being very full and round, while others are more elongated and narrow. This shape is most commonly worn, and is found on every type of shoe and boot from casual to dressy.
Pointy Toe: Although popular centuries ago, this style has never made a strong comeback among men's shoes. Some designers have recently promoted the style again, with little success. It's rarely seen today, with the exception of cowboy boots.
Square Toe: This shape is still available in some brands, but it's fallen out of style and for good reason. With its guillotine shaped toe box, it's very clunky in appearance and disrupts the whole "flow" of an outfit. One advantage of this "chopped-off" style is it gives the appearance of smaller feet, which some men prefer. Although many shoes have a squarish toe, none are as drastic and blunt as the square toe.
Now, let's talk about the styles or designs of the toe boxes available to us today. Each style can be found in every toe shape; giving an infinite variety of shoes to choose from. Although there are countless varieties of designs, they all basically fall into the following categories:
Cap Toe: This style presents with an additional, reinforced layer or "cap" of leather on the toe box. Found most commonly on oxfords and boots, it's a timeless style worn in both dress and casual arenas.
Wing Tip: This style has a cap that extends beyond the toes to the sides of the foot, giving a wing effect. This traditional cap usually contains broguing, which lends a distinctive style found on more casual oxfords and boots.
Apron Toe: Also known as the moc toe, due to its resemblance of a moccasin, this style has a separate piece of leather that wraps around the sides of the shoe, extending to the front of the toe box. It is sewn to the leather on top (vamp) of the shoe, creating a stitched line that gives the appearance of a draped apron. Typically found on both casual and dress shoes, this style is most commonly seen on loafers.
Bicycle Toe: Very similar to the Apron Toe, this style has a separate piece of leather that only wraps around the sides of the shoe, excluding the front of the toe box. The vamp extends down the top of the shoe to the tip of the toe box in a continuous design, without any stitching. This is a casual style found in loafers, oxfords and boots.
A guy can spend days searching for a great pair of shoes with all the options we now have. To save time, begin your search by narrowing your choices to a specific toe shape and style. Although we each have our favorite style, avoid getting into a rut by wearing an assortment of styles, which will add diversity to both your wardrobe and image. The sky's the limit, so take advantage of the great selection of shoes available today.
by Aaron Marino