There are actually more options than you’d think. Quality waxed cotton laces are best for dress shoes. You can choose your length, color, and style (i.e. flat or round laces). Some laces have special metal tips, which I appreciate.
For professional dress shoes, try matching your shoelaces to your shoe color. Contrasting laces are better suited for casual shoes or boots.
Correct length is also important: long laces can droop and look unappealing. Short laces look odd and are difficult to tie.
See first how many eyelets your shoe/boot has (because a shoe with two eyelets requires shorter laces than a shoe with five eyelets).
It’s hard to say what lace length you need. It depends on your shoe size, and how you lace and knot your shoes. Experiment with one length first. Once you fit the shoelaces in, eyeballing is quite easy.
If you order bespoke shoes, you can choose the spacing between the eyelets of your shoe. The spacing can be the exact same length for each eyelet, creating a very uniform, clean effect. Most MTO shoes look like this, and I personally prefer this style. Or the spacing can increasingly widen, which is quite trendy now.
Happy lace hunting!
*Photo by Eiji Murata