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Advice for the aspiring Gentleman... You're first pair of "nice" shoes?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I've been running on lower-mid range Johnston and Murphy's for the majority of my young life, and for Christmas, I was pondering the purchase of a new watch (I'm a watch guy) or my first pair of authentically good quality shoes. (Johnston and Murphy has served me decently, but... still.) I've been saving my pretty pennies, and my watch collection I think is at a good standstill size (for now. hehehe) People tell me that nice shoes now will be something to build a history with and will last me a good time. I like the thought of that, and I really like shoes. So... any advice on what I should get? I love Cap-Toed Oxfords, but I'm also fond of Saddles and Plain-toed, but I love Cap-Toes. My budget may not seem as high as others may consider as "nice" but I think it's all I can muster up without being yelled at. $300-$450 maybe. I'm very sure I can get a good pair for that price, unless you think that's too much for me to be spending on shoes. Allen Edmonds, some Santonis... Anything? Should I get shoes at all or just keep on with the Johnston and Murphy's. Thoughts?? Thank you!

post #2 of 16
As many before me have suggested, look no further than the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue for your first pair:

http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF270_1_40000000001_-1

Do not move on to a second pair until you are convinced you have the right size and the shoes feel comfortable on you all day.
post #3 of 16
Allen Edmonds BelAir, Larchmont,Williams, or Jefferson are great. All wingtips and look great with a suit or jeans.
post #4 of 16
Depends on your location and the function.

If you're in the USA I'd suggest Allen Edmonds. Go to a store, try on some pairs, find a few lasts that fit you well.

You also need to consider your function. Do you want this for work or not. If so, what is the dress code at your work. If suit, black park avenue. If business casual...there are so many more options depending on the level of formality..

However, definitely don't stick with the J&Ms.

Also, don't be afraid to pay a little more for your first pair or two. Once you know your fit you can just order shoes online after. But buy your first few through AE either firsts or seconds.
post #5 of 16
no such thing as a "starter" pair... spend a few more and get aldens

post #6 of 16
SFs love for Park Avenues is beyond me, they do nothing for me.
I second acidboy's recommendation and besides Alden would advise you to have a look at the offerings of Loake, Crockett & Jones and Carmina.
post #7 of 16
Allen Edmonds is a great place to start. You can even check out their Shoe Bank or retail outlets for deals on factory seconds. They are well made and AE has pretty good customer service. Plus, you can always recraft your shoe with them if needed after you beat the hell out of your shoes for 20 years and make them like new again.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidboy View Post

no such thing as a "starter" pair... spend a few more and get aldens

A good alternative to the Alden plain-toe balmoral is the Kent Wang version, for about $100 less: http://www.kentwang.com/shoes/benchgrade-plaintoe-balmoral.html

The only problems are that you can't try them on in-person, and they are often out-of-stock.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis XIV View Post

SFs love for Park Avenues is beyond me, they do nothing for me.
I second acidboy's recommendation and besides Alden would advise you to have a look at the offerings of Loake, Crockett & Jones and Carmina.

going to have to respectfully disagree...assuming OP is in the USA i think this is pretty poor advice. I know C&J has a store in NY so they can be tried on but carmina?? how many stores carry them? one or two at most...

as for alden, i do not personally own a pair, so i cannot comment on the quality. it's a much loved debate here on SF, but for 450 for a pair of calfskin shoes that many argue is marginally better than AE, i don't think its worth it. again, i dont own a pair, but you can get 2 AEs for that price. we all know 2 shoes in rotation will greatly outlast one...
post #10 of 16

I don't understand why people say that AE is a great place to start. It is a regrettable place to start. Every time I see my two pairs of AE next to my Carminas and C&Js I only think that that $600 could have been much better spent.

post #11 of 16
I would get a pair of Peal & Co. shoes from Brooks Brothers on its day-after-Christmas sale. The shoes should be less expensive than Allen Edmonds and of better quality.
post #12 of 16
For all the Allen Edmonds haters, please don't confuse style with quality.

AE is nearly unbeatable from quality vs price ratio
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grenadier View Post

I would get a pair of Peal & Co. shoes from Brooks Brothers on its day-after-Christmas sale. The shoes should be less expensive than Allen Edmonds and of better quality.

This is the best advice I've seen on this thread so far, IMO. You can try the shoes on and can get a pair of C&Js or Sargents below AE retail prices.

Personally, I think my Timberland field boots are on a more elegant last than most AEs.
post #14 of 16
lol, i hate the park avenue cap toe, but the AE haters are absolutely hysterical. Not to mention hating on AE lasts and then recommending Alden.

there are tons of attractive AE shoes. Some people like them, others don't.
post #15 of 16
@ajmanouk, EMartNJ and lee_44106 put my comment well in place.

I have never doubt the quality of AE and it seems they are widely available in the US, still of what worth is an easy to purchase and quality shoe if it just does not look appealing to me and thus I would not want to wear it?
This is my personal taste, others might like them and I am fine with that, still it adds to the worth of this thread to stress the fact that there are other options out there.
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