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Shoe wardrobe overhaul

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello fellow SFers. I've been lurking a while on these forums and have slowly been studying up on how to try and remedy my current shoe situation...

I'm a graduate student (in physics), so up until very recently, clothing and footwear were much further back in my mind. Last fall though, after getting a teaching assistantship, I felt I wanted to spruce myself up a bit, and got some good advice from you folks the last time I was here. (See: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=98916 ). Now i'm not teaching anymore, but still enjoy looking presentable from day to day. My shoes however, are still somewhat lacking...

My main problem is really lack of any sort of rotation. For far too long I've been the type of person who buys one pair of sneakers or whatever, wears them every day for about a year, then has to throw them out as they start to fall apart.

Behold my appalling shoe wardrobe (yes, flame away for the crappy cell phone pic):
Attachment 18604

Starting from the left:
A black moc toe Sandro Moscoloni oxford that I got from men's warehouse right before graduating from college. They're the most comfortable dress shoe i've ever owned so I'm hoping to bring them into my rotation instead of hiding them in the closet for the rare times when I need to "dress up".

Next: my current "daily" shoe. Some Doc Martens from bought right before winter. They were kinda rough to break in but are now supremely comfortable and have held up great through the nasty snow/salt i've had to deal with this winter.

The rest: some laughable looking hush puppies from high school (they rip up my Achilles heels whenever I wear them..), some perry ellis suede loafers I bought for a party (hardly worn, but similar deal), and some about to die new balances.

So anywho, now that you'r done laughing at my horrible footwear, on to suggestions. I've perused through various shoe related threads including:
Doc Marten Thread

The Alden Thread

Clark's Thread

And many others including the WAYWT threads etc. And I've gotten a few ideas so far.

1. Doc Marten's 1461 For Life Edition


After seeing how well my current docs put up to a good amount of abuse, I figure a pair of black docs would fit the bill nicely as an alternate for heavy wear. It should be noted that my comute to work is a 1.5 mile walk each direction rain/snow or shine, so I enjoy a shoe that can handle that sort of abuse. I know there has been a lot of praise for the MIE variety of docs, but I enjoy this pebble grain leather look more than the almost glossy corrected grain in standard 1461's. I figure with their "for life" guarantee that the construction should be similar.

2. Sperry boat shoes in navy:


This would be a later purchase for summer mainly, but I haven't tried boat shoes and feel like they might be interesting. I also think the navy color is a nice departure from the standard black/brown i've always used. One caveat though is I've never owned a boat, and spend very little time dockside. Would it be too contrived for a frail nerdy kid to wear boat shoes to his physics building?

3. This one's a toss up, as I'd like to get at least one true dress shoe for my wardrobe. I was thinking something like a black brogue wingtip, but hopefully under $150. I've heard a lot of good things about allen edmonds on the forums, at least in the <$400 range, so a pair of AE's on deep discount like these would seem appropriate:

AE Hudson

AE Birmingham

On that note, I'm also a little wary regarding leather soled shoes, as my aforementioned commute would not be very good to them. How hard are leather soles to care for compared to rubber? Should they not be worn in rain, let alone anything worse?


Last note: shoe trees & polishing.
I see that a lot of people, especially in the men's clothing forum, swear by shoe tries for all their shoes. I know I should probably get shoe trees for my dress shoes, however what about for my docs?

With regards to polishing, I've seen some folks here experiment with polishing a shoe with a different color change the color of the shoe slightly. I've been toying with the idea of taking black shoe polish to my sad little hush puppies, and seeing if anything good can come of it. The shoes are still basically like new, so I feel I should try and do something to make them look a little less laughable.

I know I just spewed out a tremendous amount of drivel that most of you probably won't read, but I feel i'd rather be "too" detailed on some things than me like all the other "my clothes suck, tell me what to wear" threads i've seen in my short time here.

Please feel free to inform, critique, or straight up flame me all you like, as I will take all of it somewhat constructively. Also, if you feel you have something that might be a good addition in a 9.5 or 10 please let me know!
LL
post #2 of 18
if the weathers bad, you gotta do what you gotta do. i have some nice shoes but i end up wearing these really hideous and beat up shoes with goretex lining all the time because of the salt/snow/rain. the AEs look fine, maybe the second one with the rubber sole would be better for walking through the bad weather, but if its a really occasional thing that you wear dress shoes, the first one could work too. lots of people here dislike rubber soles, but i find leather soles to be terrible if theres any water at all on the ground. boat shoes are good for spring/summer you should definitely get shoe trees for any shoe that shouldn't have creases in the leather everything else, i know nothing about
post #3 of 18
You have some nice shoes posted, but I get the sense that you're just picking stuff out based on what SF posters would "approve" of. Doc Martens are nice, and so are Top-Siders, but they fit into completely different aesthetics. AE's have good price-to-quality going on, but they're pretty blobby. That may be what you're going for, but I personally prefer a sleeker shoe.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmmk View Post
You have some nice shoes posted, but I get the sense that you're just picking stuff out based on what SF posters would "approve" of. Doc Martens are nice, and so are Top-Siders, but they fit into completely different aesthetics.

AE's have good price-to-quality going on, but they're pretty blobby. That may be what you're going for, but I personally prefer a sleeker shoe.


I guess a bit of SF "group think" has rubbed off on me with the top-siders. I honestly need to go into a store and try some on before I see if the "look" is right for me. The Docs on the other hand I grew interested in back when I got my current pair, which was before I found this forum, so not sure what you mean there.

Also, regarding the AE's. What do you mean by them being "blobby"? What suggestions might you have for a "sleeker" shoe? I'm still leaning towards something wingtipish, but am open to suggestions.
post #5 of 18
My advice is go slowly.

By seeing so many other shoes, observing what's shown here, your tastes can grow and change. You might think that throwing down 150 for AEs is a good deal now, but later you might be craving some 600 Cordovan Aldens instead.
post #6 of 18
^^No need to feel bad about the top siders. I'm wearing some BoO x Sperrys right now. All I meant was that while Sperrys and DM's are both nice shoes that get love on SF, they [usually] don't really belong in the same wardrobe. Regarding the AE's, it's just that their lasts have a chunky, less than shapely feel to them. For AE wingtips, the Strand is as sleek as you'll get. Edward Green (or even John Lobb, if you really wanted to splurge) would b sleeker and better-made, but also more expensive. Then again, they'll last longer and be a better investment in general...
post #7 of 18
No real advice, but kudos on making a well thought out and well ersearched post with pictures!

This makes our job a lot easier rather than just saying, "Whats a fancy shoe I can buy" or "what goes best with jeans".
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexicorn View Post
I guess a bit of SF "group think" has rubbed off on me with the top-siders. I honestly need to go into a store and try some on before I see if the "look" is right for me. The Docs on the other hand I grew interested in back when I got my current pair, which was before I found this forum, so not sure what you mean there.

Also, regarding the AE's. What do you mean by them being "blobby"? What suggestions might you have for a "sleeker" shoe? I'm still leaning towards something wingtipish, but am open to suggestions.
AE are fine. They might look "blobby" (this is apparently the adjective de jour) compared to what some people have, but you'll like a million times better than just about everyone else you run into on the street. Dropping 600 dollars on a pair of shoes right now would be lunacy. If you're in the market for a good pair of shoes, AE is a good bet. Get them on eBay or B&S and use the money you saved to buy a nice pair of jeans or something.
post #9 of 18
Take your time building your wardrobe. Speaking from experience, $150-$250 items that you quickly dislike do add up
post #10 of 18
If you want to get some shoes and not spend a bundle on them just go to Macy's and look for their shoe sale rack. If you do not want to spend too much at once start there and then collect higher end shoes at your leisure.

I turned a couple of co-workers on to this and they got some pretty good work shoes and like the results. One got the square toed Kenneth Cole New York's but they fit his age and they were not the stupid Kenneth Cole Reactions.
post #11 of 18
Take your time building your wardrobe. Speaking from experience, $150-$250 items that you quickly dislike do add up
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexicorn View Post
2. Sperry boat shoes in navy:
These are an excellent choice for summer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexicorn View Post
3. This one's a toss up, as I'd like to get at least one true dress shoe for my wardrobe. I was thinking something like a black brogue wingtip, but hopefully under $150. I've heard a lot of good things about allen edmonds on the forums, at least in the <$400 range, so a pair of AE's on deep discount like these would seem appropriate: AE Hudson AE Birmingham On that note, I'm also a little wary regarding leather soled shoes, as my aforementioned commute would not be very good to them. How hard are leather soles to care for compared to rubber? Should they not be worn in rain, let alone anything worse?
AE's are great "gateway" shoe into the world of dress shoes. But honestly, I would get a brown pair as I think they are more versatile. And don't be weary of leather soles. You can get a pair of overshoes for $30 and they will protect the leather soles on days of rain and snow.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmmk View Post
Regarding the AE's, it's just that their lasts have a chunky, less than shapely feel to them. For AE wingtips, the Strand is as sleek as you'll get. Edward Green (or even John Lobb, if you really wanted to splurge) would b sleeker and better-made, but also more expensive. Then again, they'll last longer and be a better investment in general...

Some AE's are sleek and some AE's are "blobby". I have a pair of brown Moras and brown Bel Airs and they are pretty sleek for AE's.

Also, don't even look into Edward Green or John Lobb. > $600 for your first pair of "nice" dress shoes is just ridiculous advice.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all the advice so far. I think right now I'll probably pull the trigger on the docs since they will enter the heavy wear rotation immediately. I'll also head over to the mall some time soon and see how sperry's fit/look on me. As for dress shoes, I have a bit more time to think about since they will mostly be for going to weddings which will start mid may for me. I have a gray pinstripe cotton BR suit seen here: Attachment 18608 I will probably be wearing to most of them (other than the one's I'm participating in) and have generally worn black shoes/belt with it. Would it be more appropriate to wear brown with this type of suit? Also back to shoe-trees. I haven't heard much regarding them other than that they are pretty much required for dress shoes. Should my docs have these as well? I don't mind the creasing that's building up in my current docs, but I will definitely start using shoe trees on them if it's shortening the life of the shoe.
LL
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lel View Post
My advice is go slowly.

By seeing so many other shoes, observing what's shown here, your tastes can grow and change. You might think that throwing down 150 for AEs is a good deal now, but later you might be craving some 600 Cordovan Aldens instead.

Quoted for truth...Go slow and enjoy the journey!

Navy boat shoes are a great idea, but I may be biased here..I would also suggest a pair of brown suede wingtips which are extremely versatile.. works with a suit as well as they would with denim and chinos. With regards to AE being blobby and shapeless, ignorance is pure bliss. I am happy as it is with my AE suede macalisters and really would not want to start lusting after edward greens. My pocket thanks god that I will never see those devils up close in Singapore!

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