Best Foot Forward

By Chelle Cordero

May 30, 2017 5 min read

The perfect pair of shoes is the finishing touch for any outfit. Modern footwear trends for grooms and groomsmen range from classic and chic to casual and country. A common thread between them is a desire to dress for ease, and express style and personality.

Casual groomsmen attire and footwear is growing more and more popular. Many couples opt out of traditional black tuxedoes and spit-shined shoes for groomsmen as an opportunity to reflect their personal taste and wedding theme. For example, in weddings in the sands of Hawaii, groomsmen have been seen wearing linen suits with espadrilles, sandals or even bare feet. For backyard weddings, many groomsmen adorn high-top sneakers. And it's not uncommon to see groomsmen in cowboy boots at a country-themed wedding.

Mix-and-match attire is one form of casual dress, where the clothing pieces and shoes differ slightly but have a cohesive color scheme and style. The groom simply picks a general vibe and lets his buddies choose the pieces. What's great about this is each groomsman can pick a style he prefers that also works for other occasions beyond the wedding. Say the groom suggests brown leather semi-formal shoes. Head to the Martha Stewart Weddings website and you will find some beautiful selections by fashion pro John Paul Tran. Of the Berluti Alessandro lace-up box calf leather shoe, he says: "The below simple lace-up shoe is made from a single piece of leather, and the design dates back to 1895. The epitome of clean, classic style, these shoes will last you for years." Or take the Salvatore Ferragamo plain toe derby, which is "a great shoe that pairs easily with any business suit or jean, making it a great investment for the future." Interestingly, mixed-gender bridal parties have appeared as well, which adds another layer to mix-and-match outfits. In this case, the same guidance applies.

Footwear is also being chosen in part for practicality and comfort, especially for outdoor weddings. On the My Wedding website, Sarah Pierce offers 10 casual groom attire ideas. She notes that one couple had to climb up and down a rocky hillside for a coastline elopement, and as such, considering weather and landscape was necessary in the planning. Focusing on the bigger picture of the big day will ensure there are no distractions during the ceremony.

Adding a pop of color is one consistent trend, though it has appeared in more clever ways as of late. In "33 Cool Ideas for the Groomsmen," an article on the Wedding Wire website, writer Sarah Zlotnick suggests a suede loafer in a rich color for a casual fall wedding. The Tommy Hilfiger desert boot and Topman Mint Green suede derby shoes are striking examples. With a more formal look, two options are swapping out colored shoelaces to match the tie or throwing on socks with a vibrant pattern in the groom's favorite color.

No matter what shoes are chosen, you might have to make a few adjustments ahead of the big day to ensure they are workable and classy. In one article on the Smart Groom website titled "Groom's Guide: How To Pick The Perfect Wedding Shoes," the writer advises: "If you've invested in a brand new pair, before the wedding, be sure to wear your shoes around the house for a few days after you buy them -- this way you'll soften and break them in, which means le sss chance of sore feet and blisters. ... Also remember to scuff the soles a little so you don't slip." Being frustrated or preoccupied with your steps is not ideal for celebration and enjoyment. Alternatively, it may be necessary to spiff up already-worn footwear to look presentable. The writer notes: "It's not unheard of for a groom to wear Converse or Vans on the big day. ... If your heart is set on casual, at least make sure your wedding shoes are sparkling clean."

Modern groomsmen footwear trends beget staying true to what feels right for you. With that in mind, they are sure to be standing next to the groom in comfort, confidence and love.

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