Choosing the right Shoes
While the majority of modern Army Officers do not get too excited about shoes, there are still a few who judge potential officer candidates by the shoes they wear. This section will give you some idea what to look for when considering what shoes to wear to your interview and AOSB.
Colour and Material
When it comes to considering the colour and material of the ideal shoe to wear with your suit, if it is navy, black or grey I am only going give you two words of advice. Black leather. Brown shoes work with tan suits, as well as some shades of navy and black, but in general unless your particularly brave I really wouldn’t go there. You should never wear brown shoes with a black or grey coloured suit. Now that’s been cleared up let’s move on to the nitty-gritty.
You should always go for a lace up variety and stay away from the slip on style normally worn in bars and night clubs. Turn up in loafers, Monkstrap, boat shoes or hush puppies at your peril; although some Army Officers occasionally wear these styles once commissioned they are far too informal for and AOSB and RMAS. The laces of dress shoes lace so that the string makes horizontal lines, not the crisscross pattern that you normally have on your trainers. When it comes to considering the sole, leather-soled shoes are normally more formal than the rubber-soled variety, however they are usually tend to be more expensive.
Avoid pointed toe, or square front styles and stick to traditional rounded shape. Always choose a smooth and shiny leather shoes over Suede and nubuck, the latter is considered to be less formal. However, avoid Patent leather (a high gloss, reflective style) which I think look a bit tacky and are often worn by lazy individuals who can’t be bothered to polish their shoes.
Don't Forget to Polish
Finally, having gone to the effort of choosing the perfect shoe, do yourself justice and take the time to polish them before an interview. I have lost count of times that a potential officer has let themselves down by failing to spend a couple of minutes simply brush polishing their shoes. At AOSB the staff will understand that not all candidates will be able to afford to fork out on expensive shoes, and most Officers will not be so petty as to judge you by brand or age of your shoes - as long as they are clean and polished. There is no need for you to bull polish your shoes to a mirror finish, a simple brush with a good quality polish is all that is needed.
When it comes to choosing socks, a safe option is to choose a thin cotton sock that matches the colour of your trousers. Again there is flexibility here if you are feeling brave to experiment with colour. I have met several more eccentric Officers (yes I’m thinking Cavalry) who are able to pull this off with a certain style. It would make for an interesting selection board if all the Potential Officers turned up in different colour socks; why not pack some anyway and make a judgement when you get there! Don’t be afraid to show some character.