Thanks for your replies--
if it has a leather sole and is comfortable, I aimed to spend 0-250; it appears though that the Allen Edmunds shoes are slightly over, which is OK, if they are 'worth it' (comfortable enough to give an hour long talk in and then stand and talk to people in receptions and walk building to building on a hilly campus and then to evening events--at least twice a week, to err on the safe side).
Those Meermins look nice--are they sold in any US dept stores?
I'm a size 9 in sneakers but have found that I go down a little in dress shoe sizes. I also am terrible at deciding when a shoe fits me...I'm sure there is a thread for this and will proceed to search for it, but any pointers on that issue, especially if they involve any of the shoes mentioned in this thread and personal experience..