Wing tips are, in many ways, the aging pop idols of a previous generation: they’re constantly lampooned for more embarrassing moments in their long history, and scoffed at by those who see most trends of the past as horrible lapses in judgment. But there are some idols that come roaring back into fashion because, at the end of the day, they were that good all along. Allow us to reintroduce the wing tip.

Left with a clownish image of two-toned black and white shoes that only kings of rock and pop alike could pull off, it’s no wonder this simple shoe has a stigma. In truth, a good wing tip gives some much-needed (and regretfully pun-causing) soul to your wardrobe.

The same wisdom that says you can tell a lot about another man’s character by the state of his shoes can now be more widely applied. Wing tips are quite versatile. From suede to cordovan, two-tone and brightly accented, there’s a lot of room for trying new things. Pair them differently with more rustic and texture fabrics, add an off-color pop to a dark pinstripe, or spice up a pair of jeans on Friday night after you leave the office.

Darker leather and traditional toned wing tips (like those from Ferragamo and Allen Edmonds respectively, left) pair well with most suits and can dress down to fit with jeans for the evening. But at the same time, it’s easy to dress up a more casual look, with those offered by Sperry and Rockport (center and right).

Flexibility also comes in the laces: many pairs of kicks this fall, including those offered by Sperry, come with a couple of sets of laces. Feeling bold? Take a traditional pair and splash in some color. But if the blast of color is a little too much for your style, it’s not hard to tone them down. It’s on you to decide how much soul your soles deserve.

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