The problem with men's shoes is the fact that there have been no significant changes in the last hundred years. You only have three design choices for the vamp: straight cap, wing cap or plain toe. They come in either blucher or balmoral version (open or closed lacing). They also can be decorated in a more or less flamboyant manner with stitching and punched holes (brouging). A plain toe shoe can look very puritanical, particular in the blucher version. Millions of work shoes (with integrated steel cup) have been made to that design. Alternatively you can go for a Norwegian style, a shoe with a split toe and an apron or lake across the vamp. Norwegians were once sport shoes; therefore in France this style is still called "chasse " (hunt). Even in its most elegant versions like John Lobb. Edward Green or J.M. Weston it is still a more casual style. Probably nobody has worked more with plain toe stiles and ways of decorating them then Olga Berluti. But here we are taking about serious money, and, as far as I know, the shoes are not available in the US. Have a look at their website (unfortunately only in Japanese): http://www.berluti.co.jp/collection/index.html
A number of Italian manufacturers like Testoni or Lattanzi play with the established iconography of shoes, (but again it's a major investment time). I believe a well fitting, plain toe balmoral oxford should be the backbone of every man's shoe collection. I would not dismiss them so easily.