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.
 

Salinger

Woodpecker
I need to buy a good pair of Derbies but it seems there is always too much room in the heel. It always feels like the shoe is too wide in the back. I don't experience this with other shoes, just dress shoes.
 

semilla

Pigeon
I need to buy a good pair of Derbies but it seems there is always too much room in the heel. It always feels like the shoe is too wide in the back. I don't experience this with other shoes, just dress shoes.
I’ve had this problem as well. A remedy that works for me has been adding a layer of a low cut thin sock on before your dress socks. It isn’t a perfect fix, but it improves the sturdiness of my ankle and heel in the shoe.
 
Would you happen to know any dressy looking shoes which also are minimalist?
Leather plain-toe chukkas.


I need to buy a good pair of Derbies but it seems there is always too much room in the heel. It always feels like the shoe is too wide in the back. I don't experience this with other shoes, just dress shoes.
Visit an Allen Edmonds location, find a few styles of Derby that you like, and try on all the sizes they have.

They don't just size in length, they also size in width. And their shoes have different lasts (aka moulds or model types), that would fit your foot differently.

So with those 3 factors, you could find something that fits you very well.

Sign up for their mailing list. Wait for a sale (there are about 6+ of them per year), and save big bucks on a solid shoe.

Then of course you just wear it in a bit and take good care of it, and it will soon fit very close to a custom made shoe.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
Would you happen to know any dressy looking shoes which also are minimalist?
I don't, but if they exist they would look terrible. The construction of the sole is important to the appearance of the shoe, and a minimalist dress shoe would be flat soled which would look weird.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
What about wholecut Oxford?

View attachment 23808

They are nice, but a little too "fashion forward" for my taste. A cap toe Oxford is timeless, and a pair that you buy today would look as appropriate in 1940 as they will in 2040. Perhaps they are a good choice if you already have a decent collection and want something for when you want to look a little fancy.

And although I've never seen them, Ace Marks are apparantly a fine shoe considering the price.
 
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Meermin shoes of Mallorca, Spain, offers high quality goodyear welted shoes. A fashion conscious friend of mine says they are the best buy in shoes for the money (ie you can spend more and get nicer shoes but this is the best bang for your buck). On top of that, they sell heavily discounted seconds on eBay, but in about 6 months I have never seen my size come up (10 to 11 size in US).

 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
Leather plain-toe chukkas.




Visit an Allen Edmonds location, find a few styles of Derby that you like, and try on all the sizes they have.

They don't just size in length, they also size in width. And their shoes have different lasts (aka moulds or model types), that would fit your foot differently.

So with those 3 factors, you could find something that fits you very well.

Sign up for their mailing list. Wait for a sale (there are about 6+ of them per year), and save big bucks on a solid shoe.

Then of course you just wear it in a bit and take good care of it, and it will soon fit very close to a custom made shoe.
Yep Allen Edmonds is a great brand if you have a tricky shaped foot. The other option is to buy heel inserts which will reduce the area in the heel for a more snug fit.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
Meermin shoes of Mallorca, Spain, offers high quality goodyear welted shoes. A fashion conscious friend of mine says they are the best buy in shoes for the money (ie you can spend more and get nicer shoes but this is the best bang for your buck). On top of that, they sell heavily discounted seconds on eBay, but in about 6 months I have never seen my size come up (10 to 11 size in US).

Yes Meermin is excellent quality for the price. But sizing can be a problem for many people's feet. You really need to try these in the shop. And I've heard the break in period is brutal.
 

HermeticAlly

Kingfisher
A derby (like in Horus' first post) is a great choice for a fairly minimalist dress shoe. I assume that by minimalism, you simply mean a dress shoe without all the fancy flourishes (like on a wingtip shoe.)

Another great brand that deserves mention is Tricker's. Made in England, nice blend of classy and rugged in a lot of their designs.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
One thing I forgot to mention is that cedar shoe trees are essential for maintain high quality shoes. They maintain the shape, reduce wrinkles on the leather, and absorb moisture after you wear them. If you neglect to use shoe trees, they will wear out almost as quickly as cheap shoes.


Also, you should never wear one pair two days in a row. If you don't allow the shoes to dry out, they will quickly lose their shape. They will also be more prone to wrinkling and scratches. If you need to wear dress shoes at work, two pairs is a bare minimum.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
A derby (like in Horus' first post) is a great choice for a fairly minimalist dress shoe. I assume that by minimalism, you simply mean a dress shoe without all the fancy flourishes (like on a wingtip shoe.)

Another great brand that deserves mention is Tricker's. Made in England, nice blend of classy and rugged in a lot of their designs.
Oh I assumed he meant minimalist soles, like those Vibrams shoes crossfitters like to wear to mimic the feel of bare feet. And yes, Trickers are great shoes and very versatile for formal or casual settings.
 
One thing I forgot to mention is that cedar shoe trees are essential for maintain high quality shoes. They maintain the shape, reduce wrinkles on the leather, and absorb moisture after you wear them. If you neglect to use shoe trees, they will wear out almost as quickly as cheap shoes.


Also, you should never wear one pair two days in a row. If you don't allow the shoes to dry out, they will quickly lose their shape. They will also be more prone to wrinkling and scratches. If you need to wear dress shoes at work, two pairs is a bare minimum.

Great post, the shoe trees and proper lotions/polish cannot be overlooked. If you want something to be good to you, and to get the utility out of it as it was meant, you need to put some care into it.


I'd also add that if you are too strapped to buy two pairs of say Allen Edmonds or Aldens, or can't wait for a sale, I can vouch for Undandy (out of Portugal).

It's not quite the same quality, and has a different construction (Blake stitch). However it's decent leather, well made, and quite customizable. I've actually visited their office in Lisbon. Nice folks. The shipping to USA is not so expensive, either. Two week turnaround.

Horus also made a good point that a cap toe is a timeless shoe.

One thing you have to remember is that certain shoe types really only look good with properly tailored and pressed suit pants. Plain toe oxfords, for instance. I'd argue cap toe as well.

If you want to wear an oxford shoe with jeans, I'd say it looks off unless you go for a less formal design like brogues (meaning decorative squiggles on the toe/sides).

For a derby shoe, I'd say unless it was plain toe I would not wear it with a suit, because the shoe is too informal.

So a good rule of thumb is the more individual pieces you can identify on the shoe, and the more decoration, the less formal. But a very formal looking shoe just looks silly with slacks or jeans.

For less formal suits (eg. a summer linen suit, my favorite), a derby or even loafers+barefeet looks slick as hell. Although that's more of a European look.
 

Horus

Ostrich
Gold Member
Would you happen to know any dressy looking shoes which also are minimalist?
I think this is what you're looking for. Carets brand. See what I mean that they look ugly and strange because of the sole construction? Also they are 350 dollars for what looks like a glued sole. Don't buy these.

 
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