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First Pair of Brown Shoes

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to buy my first pair of brown shoes to add to my wardrobe. I've been looking at AE, Alden, Peal, and C&J. The AE look a little too clunky for my taste. Does anyone have any recommendations for a nice, classic, conservative and somewhat stylish shoe that would be in the 300$ price range? I was even looking at Grenson's but they might be a little out of my price range.
post #2 of 22
Brooks Brothers Peal Sale ends today.
post #3 of 22
I like the way the Peals look, and they do have the sale right now.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
How good is Peal's quality?
post #5 of 22
Made by Alfred Sargent it seems, they are pretty nice.
post #6 of 22
Can't go wrong with the Peal's. I particularly like the monkstrap and the algonquin shoe (I think the algonquin gives you a choice of brown smooth or brown pebble grain). Other options: Polo's brown shell cordovan plain-toe or wingtip at the polo.com site - it's about $360 when you use the SUMMER code.
post #7 of 22
While most Peals are made by Alfred Sargent, I think the B-B Peal monkstrap might be made by Crockett and Jones. Check the nail pattern on the heel - single row of nails = C&J, double row of nails = Alfred Sargent.
post #8 of 22
One warning: in my experience, the Alfred Sargent Peals are constructed on a fairly wide last.  You will want to go into a Brooks Brothers store and try on both the size you generally wear and 1/2 size down.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
I might miss out on the Peal's since I was planning on making this purchase in July. These shoes are for my conservative work environment, so the monkstrap might be too casual. Are those polo shoes made by C&J? If so, how do they compare to Peal?
post #10 of 22
Like I said before, the Polo cordovans are great, but not appropriate with most suiting. They go great with heavier flannels, jeans, winter suits even -- but not with 4 season suits and such. I too suggest the Peals in the perf balmoral style, or if you go try on the CJ Handgrades at the Turnbull and Asser store in NYC, the CJ Audleys from Plal.com Failing those two options, the Marteganis from francos.com are also an excellent choice, though you would have to order without the benefit of trying on (and for a true "brown" shoe, you might have to go with a special order, since francos balmoral style comes in mahogany, which is much more red than brown).
post #11 of 22
Also, making the purchase on a credit card (open a BB card and get an extra 10% off) will be effectively like paying cash at the end of July.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm leaning towards buying the Peal at Brooks. How do you guys rate them as compared to AE and Alden?
post #13 of 22
BB Peal is about the same in quality as alden and AE.  Some might knock AE down a notch or two in that group. BB's US made shoes (the $378 non-peals) are by Alden, and they price the alden and peal calfskins the same. jn3 is probably right about not having the polo C&J's for your first brown shoe, especially if you need to wear them frequently with a suit or jacket/pants combination....
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Now there is a certain appeal to the perforated cap toe in brown. I'm considering either that or the peal cap toe in dark brown. Are there any main differences in appropriates with a dark brown and brown? Do they both have the same capabilities of matching to the same colors in suits?
post #15 of 22
What they're calling a perf cap is what I would call a semi-brogue. The Peal cap is what I would call a punch cap. The latter has less brogueing and is thus a dressier shoe. The other is just as versatile however, and gives you the hint of wingtip without going full wing. Of course traditionally even though a brogue is technically less formal, the wingtip is the quintessential American conservative business shoe. All that said, they're both brown bals so it really doesn't matter. I would say it's simply a matter of preference. If it was your only pair of black shoes I would say don't go brogue, but since brown is less formal anyway it doesn't matter.
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