Continuing our Affordable Alternatives series, we take a look at 5 formal footwear options that won’t break the bank.

While everyone loves to ogle at street style galleries showcasing the fashion industry illuminati flexing in impeccable outfits, it can get a bit demoralizing seeing your favorite influencers dressed in beautiful but exorbitantly expensive gear. With that in mind, we continue our Affordable Alternatives series giving our fellow Highsnobs insider tips on where to find razor-sharp merchandise at a price that won’t break the bank. We’ve already covered sweatpants, all-black sneakers, selvedge denim and marble-print, but for this week’s installment we’re looking to something a little smarter.

Whether it’s a wedding, graduation or job interview, there are sometimes when not even the cleanest pair of Flyknits or Jordans will be appropriate. We’ve collected a selection of formal hard-bottomed shoes that will do you just fine for those times you need to be suited and booted, but will also slip easily into an outfit of T-shirt and jeans – adding a little refinement where sneakers won’t.

Dr. Martens – 3989 Wingtip Oxford – $80-130

Docs add their signature tough-as-hell soles to a dressed-up wingtip brogue, which also sports a goodyear welt, so if you need resoling you won’t be left wanting. Simultaneously refined and rugged, they’ll be a great way of staying smart even when the weather turns foul. Get them here.

Clarks – Desert Mali – $140

Clarks’ high-top boot nicely straddles formal and casual – they’d look great with both suits and jeans – and come sat atop the brand’s signature crepe sole. These were also the model Supreme used for their Clarks collab from way back in Fall/Winter 2011, so if you slept on the original release then these will do nicely. Cop yours here.

ASOS – Suede Chelsea Boots – $85

One of the more versatile hard-bottoms out there, Chelsea boots look great with everything from tailored suits to torn jeans – Kanye killed it with Chelseas in his GQ cover shoot – and the rich tan suede will work with any color combinations you can think of. Get ’em here.

ZARA – Leather Desert Boot – $99.90

Chukka-style desert boots are a menswear classic and while no one can argue that suede isn’t a beautiful material for boots, it’s not the most practical. ZARA’s take on the shoe has all the smart-yet-casual appeal of the classic desert boot but with a fall-appropriate leather construction. Buy them here.

Timberland – Earthkeepers Brook Park Zip Boot – $150

A full-grain leather upper with a metal side zipper for easy access, Timberland’s Brook Park boot adds a nice formal element for when their legendary work boots wouldn’t be appropriate. Available from KITH and Timberland’s own webstore.

Words by Alec Leach
Freelance Writer/Editor/Consultant

Alec Leach grew up in Brighton, England, but now lives in Berlin