Dress shoes mini datasheet

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
There is an old saying that shoes maketh the man.

The world would be a better place if men took more pride in their appearance. It's not vain or gay to look your best in public. And this begins with your shoes. Every serious man needs to have a small but high quality collection of shoes which he maintains with pride and which will last him a very long time.

High quality shoes are not cheap, but they are an investment which will pay for themselves over time. For example, if you paid 100 dollars for a pair of black dress shoes, they will initially look good, but will wear out after three years and will need to be replaced. Over 30 years you'll pay 1000 dollars for the privilege of wearing low quality shoes. Alternatively, you could pay 500 dollars for a high quality pair of dress shoes which will look great, be oh so comfortable, and will last at least thirty years if you look after them and resole them when needed.

The first thing to look for in a quality shoe is their construction. Most cheap shoes have glued soles, (and often fake stitching), which don't last a long time, are relatively uncomfortable and are not very waterproof. They are usually not worth resoling and are thrown out after a few years.

The gold standard in shoe construction is the Goodyear welt, where the upper of the shoes is stitched to the sole, usually with a cork foot bed. This method of construction is exceptionally sturdy, waterproof, and the cork footbed will mould to your feet, making it almost a custom shoe. You will be able to wear these potentially for decades since they soles are easily replaced.



There are other construction methods such as Blake stitching or Stormwelt, and while they are decent, they are nowhere near as high quality as the Goodyear welt. Needlessly to say, Goodyear welted shoes are always expensive, but they are a worthwhile investment.

Next thing to consider is the style of shoe. The main styles are oxfords, derbys, monkstraps and loafers.

Oxfords:

Oxfords are the most formal style of shoe. They are constructed where the eyelets are attached to the vamp in a closed lacing system. Every man needs to have a pair of black capped toed oxfords which he can wear to weddings, to funerals, and in the office. Oxfords are not very versatile as they only work in formal settings and look strange when you wear them with casual clothes.




Derby:

Sometimes called bluchers. These shoes have a piece of leather sewn to the vamp which contain the eyelets. Derbys are less formal than oxfords, but more versatile since they are can work with fomal and casual clothes, depending on the leather.



Monkstraps:

A bit gay in my opinion. But a lot of guys like them. Can be worn in casual and semi formal settings.



Loafers:

These are old man shoes and instantly add ten years to your appearance. Don't wear them, no matter how damn comfortable they are.



Some brands to consider :

Allen Edmonds:

https://www.allenedmonds.com

The quintessential American brand. Many men started their careers buying a pair of black Park Avenues which lasted them many years. Quality has gone down in recent years, but they are still decent. Never buy them at full price, as they regularly go on sale. The great thing about this brand is that they offer many widths of sizes so you can get a perfect fit.

Alden:
http://www.aldenshoe.com/#&panel1-1

Another quintessential American brand, and a big step up in quality from Allen Edmonds. You'll pay a lot more, and it won't often be on sale, but they are worth every penny. Known for their shoes in cordovan leather which is beautiful and durable. Also offers many widths.

Carmina:
https://www.carminashoemaker.com

A Spanish shoemaker with a large following. May be sightly "European" for some people's tastes, but they are beautiful and great quality. Also known for their cordovan shoes.

TLB:
https://www.tlbmallorca.com

They are a very new Spanish company and I don't know much them. But they have a good reputation.

Cheaney:
https://www.cheaney.co.uk

Entering the world of English made shoes. Decent quality at decent prices. Ranges from the most formal to very casual shoes.

Crockett and Jones:
https://www.crockettandjones.com

Premium English shoes and this is reflected in the price. Worth every penny. Will last a lifetime. While you can spend more money on shoes than this, there are diminishing returns after this price point.

Fugashin:
http://fugashin-saigon.com

I put this in as a wildcard. This is a Japanese-Vietnamese company with a large following in Asia, but unknown elsewhere. Very high quality at incredible prices for Goodyear welted shoes. If you're in a major Asian city, you will find them in high end department stores. Or you can visit their factory store in Saigon.

Once you have invested in high quality shoes, look after them and take pride in them. They will last a very long time. Learn how to properly condition and polish the leather.

You don't need a huge collection of shoes, and a few carefully selected pair of shoes will be versatile and sufficient for most people. Quality is definitely more important than quantity.
 
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HermeticAlly

Kingfisher
Good idea for a thread, a few notes:

- Storm welts are still Goodyear welted, it's just an aesthetically different type of welt that allegedly keeps water out more effectively (hence the name.) Stitchdown is another good construction technique, but it's usually found on rugged-style boots (as well as naildown construction.) These are as good or better than Goodyear welt, though debating this is really just nitpicking.

- Loafers can look good, however tassels and the split-toe design (as in your image) does have an old man vibe. I'd recommend something like this as more versatile and suitable for younger guys.

- Given the general informality of the modern world, unless you're a real deviant who wears suits all the time, the average dude is better off applying these principles to a slightly more rugged style of footwear built with these same principles, but which are better-suited to wear with jeans, chinos, and other casual clothing. Red Wing is the most popular gateway brand, though I think Wesco is a better value despite being more expensive (they're also way more customizable.)

If you're really willing to shell out the big bucks, Viberg and John Lofgren are also great choices. Yes, these shoes cost a ton of cash but they'll last you decades, can be re-soled and repaired, and you don't really need more than two, maybe three, pairs of such shoes.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
Good idea for a thread, a few notes:

- Storm welts are still Goodyear welted, it's just an aesthetically different type of welt that allegedly keeps water out more effectively (hence the name.) Stitchdown is another good construction technique, but it's usually found on rugged-style boots (as well as naildown construction.) These are as good or better than Goodyear welt, though debating this is really just nitpicking.
Ah that's good to know.

- Loafers can look good, however tassels and the split-toe design (as in your image) does have an old man vibe. I'd recommend something like this as more versatile and suitable for younger guys.


- Given the general informality of the modern world, unless you're a real deviant who wears suits all the time, the average dude is better off applying these principles to a slightly more rugged style of footwear built with these same principles, but which are better-suited to wear with jeans, chinos, and other casual clothing. Red Wing is the most popular gateway brand, though I think Wesco is a better value despite being more expensive (they're also way more customizable.)
Absolutely, and every man should pick shoes suitable for his lifestyle. If you wear a shirt and tie every day for work, you'll have several pairs of oxfords with other more casual shoes for outside work. If you rarely wear formal clothes, your only pair of formal shoes will be your black oxfords which will necessary to own for formal events but rarely worn.

If you're really willing to shell out the big bucks, Viberg and John Lofgren are also great choices. Yes, these shoes cost a ton of cash but they'll last you decades, can be re-soled and repaired, and you don't really need more than two, maybe three, pairs of such shoes.
Those Viberg cordovan bluchers are right up my alley and might cause me to break my rule of not making an unnecessary shoe purchase.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
Of course it's best to go in person to a store to ensure best fit. You'll find with higher end shoes, many models or even entire brands won't work with your foot.

If you can't go in person, if you're in the states you're in luck because most stores have free shipping and returns, and will refund any shoes to you return in unused condition. So you can order and return until you get the best fit, or you can order several sizes and return the ones that don't fit. Make sure to only try on shoes on a carpeted area, especially if they have leather soles, since most won't refund if there are scratches on the soles.
 
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