Masculine Shoes in My Size?

Reader question? No, more like dozens of reader inquiries and legitimate freakouts about where to find men’s and menswear inspired women’s dress shoes that come in dapperQ sizes, be it large or small. Deep breath. dapperQ is here with a dress shoe 101 to get you started in the right direction.

  1. Make friends with fashion search engines, such as ShopStyle, which allow you to browse hundreds of thousands of products from stores and brands all over the world. Begin your dress shoe search by entering keywords such as “monk strap,” “loafers,” “oxfords,” “wingtips,” brogue,” “derby,” etc. in the search query boxes. You can then narrow your results by gender and size depending on your preference. You’ll be surprised at the range of sizes you can find, even as small as size 4!
  2. dapperQ style icon Rocco Katastrophe recommends for dress shoes; they carry, as Rocco said, “shoes that can add up to 4 inches in height for short dudes,” as well as “good looking wingtips.” Sizes come in men’s 6-12 (women’s 8-14).
  3. Of course, if you wear a women’s size 9 or up, you have a bit more flexibility, as many men’s sizes start at around 7, which converts to about a size 9 in women’s. Sure, you can find men’s size 7+ shoes anywhere from Macy’s to Zappos, but what oh what should you be looking for…

What is a “monk strap”, “loafer”, “oxford”, “wingtip”, brogue”, and “derby”?

This is important to answer before we give you specific brand recommendations, which will follow our dress shoe mini-lesson. We’ll simplify this as much as possible. There are four types of closures: oxford, derby, ghillie, and monk. We’ll start with the first two.

In short, oxfords and derbys are a type of dress shoe defined by their closure type. To the untrained eye, they both look very similar, but oxfords have historically been considered the more formal of the two. Oxfords have closed laces, whereas derbys have open laces. Say wha?

The derby’s open laces allow the shoe to open wider and slip on easier. This alone gives them the distinction of being less formal than the oxford.

Now, let’s move on to monk strap. Monk shoes have no laces and are closed by a double or single strap and buckle. Monk shoes are considered moderately formal; less formal than an oxford, but more formal than a derby.

Last but not least (for the closures anyhow), is the ghillie closure. According to Mr. Wikipedia, these are “laced shoes where rings or loops that project over the tongue are attached to the upper as an alternative to the use of eyelets punctured in the upper.”

Now that you know the closure types, let’s explore some styles. First, there’s the loafer (see above), a casual slip-on shoe with no closure and a moccasin-like construction.

Brogue shoes are characterized by distinctive decorative perforations (or “broguing”) and serrations. Brogues can come in any of the four closure types previously discussed and are commonly found in one of three wingtip (named for the signature “W” ornamental patterns) styles – short, half, and long:

While brogues are traditionally considered to be outdoor or country footwear, some now deem them appropriate for business occasions as well. And, if this weren’t all too confusing as it is, keep in mind that you can also find wingtips without any broguing.

So far, so good? We move on to brands we love:

Brands such as Wanted, Charles David, Bass, BP, Dolce Vita, Aldo, Steve Madden, Cole Haan, Splendid, Ralph Lauren, J-Crew, and Dr. Martens have oxfords, derbys, and wingtips in dapperQ sizes. Depending on the brand and availability, many offer sizes that run from women’s 5-12.

Some of the brands listed above also carry menswear inspired monk shoes, depending on season, availability, and popularity. For example, we’re fans of Cole Hann’s Breslyn monk strap shoe. We also like the Candela N.Y.C. monk loafer (orange shoe in center above), which comes in women’s sizes 5-10. Fossil (more affordable) and Burberry (luxury) often design monk shoes in dapperQ sizes.

Again, some of the previously mentioned brands, especially Aldo and Steve Madden, regularly carry loafers in dapperQ sizes ranging from women’s 5-12. Additionally, we highly recommend the Odin Tassel Loafer by Brass Boot if you are lucky to find some remaining in your size. ASOS sometimes sells menswear inspired loafers, such as the green slip-on Ravel Heinz loafer (picture on left above). Again, the Heinz is a hot commodity being that it is both affordable and comes in women’s sizes 4-11. If you cannot get your hands on a pair in your size, keep stalking ASOS for other options.

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  • I’ve also had good luck at ASOS since their men’s shoes come in UK size 5 (US men’s 6). So, if you’re almost to men’s sizes but not quite, their shoes are an affordable option. Similar US sizing (6 and 6.5) is also available from Allen Edmonds although their BEAUTIFUL shoes are very pricey.

  • Does anyone know where to buy vegan shoes like this? The only brand of those mentioned before that have some vegan (fake leather) shoes is Dr. Martens.
    I often find shoes that I like, but they are always too big and almost always made in real leather.
    And one other big issue is that I live in Sweden and a lot of companies that sell vegan-friendly products won’t ship overseas.
    Maybe this is the wrong forum, but I’ll try anyway…

  • Rag and Bone, Frye, and Wolverine are a few brands you can check out. As for stores, Eric on 7th Ave in Park Slope (near 3rd Street?). The man has men’s shoes for women, basically. I have no other way to describe it.

  • Also try Moo Shoes (Vegan Shoes NYC). I’m not sure if they ship to Sweden, but you can try. Also keep in mind that they lump all of their flats together and boots together, so you may have to scroll through some pretty feminine items when searching for great menswear inspired shoes, such as their Dayton oxfords.

  • Hey everyone! As a woman who prefers menswear styles and also as a footwear designer (I have previously been a designer for Reebok and Cole Haan), I decided to finally take this eternal queer problem and fix it. For the past year I’ve been working with a small, family-run footwear factory in Portugal to design and develop sustainable, high quality footwear in styles inspired by classic menswear shoes. And will be making them in ALL sizes. We’re getting ready to launch on Kickstarter. Please check us out at

  • I really found this post informative, as I am a working guy and actually wear working boots or everyday boots on a daily basis. Comfort and safety is crucial when I buy shoes. I guess, it is useful to know the dress shoes as well, just in case I need to dress up for a wedding or other occasion. Thanks a lot.

  • What about cute feminine shoes (including boots and heels) for someone with a size 11 wide (women’s size) foot? Where do the queens buy their shoes? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks!

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