In the modeling industry, it’s common knowledge that women are expected to wear heels, but it’s not always clear what type of footwear male/masculine presenting models need, even though their footwear is just as important.
You never know what shoe you’ll be requested to wear to a booking, but you don’t have to break the bank when purchasing shoes for your model bag. Many people don’t have the extra funds to spend on a lot of different shoes, so you want to focus on getting the styles you can get the most wear out of and that can go with a variety of looks.
There are three must-have shoe styles every male (or masculine-presenting) model should own. If you have these shoes, you can get by at any casting or booking, as these shoes will be able to be paired with a wide variety of outfits.
Desert/Chukka or Chelsea Boots: These three styles are pretty similar in look and are great because they ride the line between casual and dressy and can easily be worn both ways. This style in black and either brown or taupe will be able to be paired with a variety of looks, so it is a great shoe to have in your bag.
Oxfords/Dress shoes: Since male models will often be put in suits or very formal-looking attire, they need a shoe that can go with such an elevated look. Oxfords or a similar-looking Derby-style dress shoe in black and dark brown are classic styles that check the formal box.
Minimalist Sneakers: Not to be confused with a trainer or a casual sneaker, this sneaker style gives off elevated casual vibes, not gym vibes. Getting this style in white is your best bet; just ensure they always stay clean!
You want to make sure the shoes you get are sturdy and can handle a lot of wear, but it is not necessary to only purchase designer labels. You also don’t have to buy them all at once. If you can only get one pair, I would start with a desert/chukka or chelsea style boot in black and work your way down the list as you can!
If you have extra room in your budget to invest in shoes, some bonus styles are loafers for a dressy summer option, a service/combat boot for a more rugged look, and a casual sneaker for when you need to pull off gym vibes without wearing your actual workout shoes. While these styles aren’t “must-haves” per se, it is good to have them as an option in case they are ever requested if your budget allows!
When it comes to choosing shoes to purchase or wear to casting calls, here is what should be avoided:
Open-toe shoes: Wearing shoes such as sandals or flip-flops to a casting is a big no-no. These are much too casual and can come off as sloppy.
Scuffed/worn-out sneakers: This goes along with the above. It is usually best practice to avoid wearing your everyday sneakers to a casting call because they’re usually pretty dirty and worn, making you look unprofessional or unprepared.
Cowboy boots: While these may be considered formal shoes in some cultures, in the modeling world, this style should be avoided unless you’re casting for a western-themed booking.