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Ideas For Orthopedically Supportive Men's Lace Leather Dress Shoes

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I am seeking your suggestions for a very stylish yet orthopedically supportive pair of men's leather lace-up dress shoes. I have "flat feet" but not severe enough foot problems that I must wear orthopedic inserts. Yet I do want the shoes to be very supportive anyway, ideally with steel shanks or something just as rigid in their construction.

Besides support I am looking for a beautiful shoe of high grade leather. My budget will preclude the most exotic shoes as I want to stay below $350 US for the pair, ideally below $300. I want a shoe of impeccable construction that with reasonable care will last many years. And it must be of the "old fashioned" repairable variety with heels and soles that could be replaced.

My first preference would be toward either Italian shoes (for the style) or English shoes (for the build). I would want the brand to be available in the United States, even if only in New York or Chicago. I can always mail-order.
Visually I'm looking for clearly attractive shoes, but in a reasonably understated way, nothing "flashy" or gaudy" but more "timeless" with just a hint of flair. Something that makes an impression but not in neon lights!

Presently I am wearing Alden shoes, a model 757, and these are from their special orthopedically supportive line. they are good shoes, and one of the very last makers based in the USA, but again for a change of pace, I am tempted to find a European shoe, if I can find one offering the combination of sturdiness and impressive style with very choice leather. I think I am looking for the "Derby" style, or possibly Oxfords.

I've also owned another American shoe, by ET Wright. These have been wonderful shoes of comparable quality to my Aldens, but when I purchased the Wrights, they were made in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts, and subsequently the company was sold and they are based in Wisconsin but actually most of the shoes themselves are imported. I'm not certain that the quality is as good but it might be.

Another American brand of which I'm aware that specializes in foot support is PW Minor. I've never had the opportunity to see the shoes in person but my impression is that they don't offer too many styles in the men's dress leather lace up shoes with repairable heels and soles, plus generally they may lack somewhat in visual appeal.

My shoe size is generally a 12-C or possibbly 12-D.

I guess I should add that I'm located in a smaller state without access to the choices probably available in a major city. So besides a great shoe, finding a very customer-service-oriented shoe store and/or ethical mail-order website would be useful.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with the most rewarding (ideally imported) men's dress leather lace-up shoes you've owned. Or if yourexperience suggests that for my $350 maximum budget I can't realistically beat the Alden or Wright shoes, then I need to hear that too!

Best regards,
Jerry52
post #2 of 15
Allen-Edmonds has some shoes with removable inserts. Those might work, or at least allow you to use your own inserts.

You could keep an eye out for vintage Wrights on eBay, too. They don't command very high dollar.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the Allen Edmonds suggestion. These are widespread enough that I've seen them in person and they seem to be of good quality. They do not offer the steel support shank though. But they are another example of a high quality American-made shoe, something of a dying breed.

My understanding in thusfar limited research of just a few British shoe brands is that they offer "wood" or "cork" shank commonly instead of steel, and I'm not certain whether that is of comparable support???
post #4 of 15
second the Allen Edmonds. if i know that i'm going to be on my feet for a good part of the day (business travel especially), i always plan to wear my Allen Edmonds.

my Grensons would take a very close second. also very comfortable after long walks and standing around.

-Jeff
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply too Gamelan. I must admit that the Grensons are new to me. Where are they made? Do they make leather lace dress shoes? I still hope somebody will give me suggestions on the best Italian or British leather dress shoes available for around $350 US that offer the best combination of style and support.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry52
Thanks for your reply too Gamelan. I must admit that the Grensons are new to me. Where are they made? Do they make leather lace dress shoes? I still hope somebody will give me suggestions on the best Italian or British leather dress shoes available for around $350 US that offer the best combination of style and support.

Grenson's - http://www.pediwear.co.uk/stock.php?range_ID=162

-Jeff
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelan

THANKS!
post #8 of 15
Are you sure you need the full-foot support offered by a ridgid shank? I have flat feet and find that insoles with ridgid arches (specifically, Superfeet Black) are all the support I need. And they're thin enough that I can wear them with dress shoes that do not have removable insoles. (Although when I'm trying on shoes I always make sure to do it with the insoles, because sometimes I need slightly more width.)
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Jared

Sorry for the delay in reply, I've been off for a while.

I don't currently really wear any sort of special support. My feet aren't that bad. But I don't want to take chances, so I'm looking for a well-built shoe. Anyway, well-built means better value for money. But it doesn't have to be "extra deep" because I don't anticipate needing inserts other than perhaps the ones you describe.

I'm still hoping for a great pair of British, possibly Italian, dress derby men's shoes for under $350. I know Crockett and Jones, Edward Greene and John Lobb are all highly respected shoes but all seem priced out of my range unless there's an ethical "B Stock" outlet???

My shoe size in the Aldens that I now have is a 12 A/C. What I'm finding out is that many of the British shoes are specified "D" width and may be too wide for my feet. I'm not certain if this is true for the Italian shoes too.

So much as I'd like the "flair" and novelty of a European shoe, unless I can find the right combination of sizing, build quality, comfort, style and price, I might have to go back to Alden again...Deja Vu All Over Again!

Best,
Jerry
post #10 of 15
jerry i have the same condition as yours. i just use spenco inserts (the one with the hard plastic bottom where the arch is supposed to be) and it has totally helped me out a lot.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes, I've heard of that brand, in fact I think I may have a pair somewhere. They're good!
post #12 of 15
As a flat-footer and former broken achilles tendon-er, I second the superfeet inserts and Allen Edmonds for good arch support.

I highly recommend Crocket and Jones´s shoes, though they are somewhat more expensive and, as always, fit is a very individual issue.
post #13 of 15
I have flat feet too. You have to avoid loafers and other laceless shoes at all costs. Allen Edmonds has a good reputation for supportive shoes, but I have no experience. My most comfortable shoes are Grenson.
If you're interested in inserts, I like the birkenstock, powder blue 3/4 insert.
post #14 of 15
If you're interested in Grenson, another source is www.shoe-shop.com .

Since I wear orthotics, which I simply transfer from one pair of shoes to another, I can't really address your primary question (The orthotics necessitated that I buy shoes 1/2 size larger).
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the recent replies. Yes, stylistically Allen Edmonds is a very fine shoe, seems heavily built. If I choose American it's something to consider but they design their shoes without a steel shank. Then again, so do most of the British makes. It's also interesting that several of you like the Grenson. I will definitely check out the extra shop link. Thanks again for your opinions.

Jerry
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