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New shoes for everyday use

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
First I would like to say hello. I found this site about a week ago and I have learned a lot since. I found it while looking for information on new clothes. I want to buy higher quality clothing and this site has been very helpful. Thanks for your help so far. The next item on my list of things to buy is shoes. Currently I wear (don't laugh at me) a pair of two year old Doc Martins. They are pretty comfortable but the lining is starting to fall apart. So someone help me out here. I am looking for a pair of shoes that can be worn everyday. I do quite a bit of walking so comfort is very important. I also want them to last a long time so I am considering Cordovan leather instead of calf (is this a good idea?). I am searching for a casual looking shoe. The place I work is VERY casual (read: some people wear jeans and a T-shirt). I want something that will go with blue jeans and a button up shirt, but not looking for sneakers. I like the look of my Doc Martins but I want to upgrade to a shoe that I won't have to replace every year. Thanks for your time, Josh Gesler
post #2 of 21
welcome josh - i'd say keep the doc martens to wear on rainy days, etc. It's a classic shoe and looks great not only with jeans but also (especially) with chinos. You can get them repaired for cheaper than a new pair - also i think they can be resoled, if they need it. i recently saw a vibram resole job on some hiking boots at my local cobbler's; it looked pretty sharp. like a brand-new tire. for new shoes...maybe some monkstraps, or chukka boots, or even penny loafers. the cognac penny loafer with jeans is a great look in my opinion. stick some coins in there and you're ready to visit the soda fountain on the way to the sock-hop. another great shoe is the beige suede oxford with red rubber soles - i can't for the life of me remember what it's called. they're also traditionally made with a leather saddle. suede is a little finicky with inclement weather though. hopefully those much more knowledgable than i will add, correct, refute, etc. /andrew
post #3 of 21
First, you want at least TWO pairs of shoes. If you wear the same pair literally everyday, they will not last long. Leather shoes need at least 24 hours, preferably more, in between wearings. Shoe trees will also help preserve the shoes--I keep shoe trees in my "business casual" shoes just as I do with my $500 dress shoes. Second, if you want casual shoes, I don't necessarily think annual replacement is a big deal. Many if not all of my most comfortable shoes for walking are rubber soled, and there aren't a lot of rubber soled shoes that can be economically (or even practically) resoled when they wear down. If comfort is your top priority, there are plenty of shoes that work well for walking, yet present a more professional appearance than the classic Doc Martens. For a more casual, mid-priced shoe, many people like Ecco, I happen to dislike them because they give me inadequate arch support/stability for my flat feet. When I need to do a fair bit of walking and don't want to wear sneakers, I like Clarks, Mephisto, and even the Cole-Haan shoes with the Nike Air sole. I have a pair of the Cole-Haan Nike shoes that I wear to the office sometimes, and they are as comfortable as my Nike running shoes but look marginally businesslike (well, depending on your thoughts about the clear air pockets in the heel). None of these are going to last you forever, and even though they may be resoleable, it might not be worth it to do so. If you want a pair of shoes that are very durable and versatile, and you like cordovan leather, I think you might want to check out the Alden Fan line that they sell at Alden of Carmel. They have some more stylish (IMHO) shoes than the main Alden line, and you can get them in cordovan or calf, some with a rubber layer on the outsole for traction. It might help to know how much you want to spend.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
....another great shoe is the beige suede oxford with red rubber soles - i can't for the life of me remember what it's called. they're also traditionally made with a leather saddle. suede is a little finicky with inclement weather though. ....
'Buck Shoe', is what I think I was after. They also come in white, which may be a little over-the-top.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
What is the quality of cordovan compared to calf? It is way more expensive but is it worth the extra money? I don't mind spending $500 on a pair of shoes if they will last more than 5 times longer than a $100 pair.
post #6 of 21
I don't think cordovan is "better" than calfskin, it just has different qualities. Cordovan is very tough and rigid--if you like soft, supple footwear you don't want cordovan. It is also IMHO a bad choice for shoes that will see lots of rainy weather or wet conditions. But a good pair of well maintained cordovan shoes will develop a nice patina over time, and will form to your feet very nicely. Some people will tell you cordovan is prized just because it is a more expensive ("luxury class") product. I don't necessarily agree. I like the feel of the material and the way it looks--it has a kind of "smooth yet bumpy surface" and takes a nice shine. But I like the look of a good pair of antiqued tan calfskin shoes just as much, if not more. One of the problems in purchasing shell cordovan shoes is that there just isn't a lot of variety out there in terms of shoes. It's an expensive material, IIRC Horween is the only company in the US that tans cordovan leather, and they don't produce much of it. The commonly available cordovan shoes in the US are made by Alden and Allen Edmonds, and if you don't like either of their catalogs, you've got some hunting ahead of you. There are many people on this board who've bought the Ralph Lauren Polo "McCallum" chukka boots from Bluefly.com--these boots are made by Crockett & Jones, an English shoe company, from dark brown cordovan leather. Damn nice shoes--check out the thread from a few days ago for a link. Normally Crockett & Jones makes those shoes from calfskin, so getting a pair in cordovan is a nice thing. Long story short, cordovan is worth extra money if you want to buy something different, and like the look and feel. Otherwise you'd be better off buying two pairs (well, maybe 1.5 pairs) of nice calfskin shoes, especially if you're just starting to make the jump into building a new shoe lineup.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I really like the look of the Clarks from their website. What is the quality like on these? Do they have a leather lining? How does their quality compare with my Doc Martins? Thanks, Josh
post #8 of 21
Quote:
It is also IMHO a bad choice for shoes that will see lots of rainy weather or wet conditions
Actually, shell cordovan is a great choice to wear in poor weather conditions. That is it's #1 feature - and why it is very popular in Northern Europe, Asia, and urban areas where durability in wet weather is important. Shell cordovan is not a hide; it's is cut from the membrane below the hide from the hindquarters of a horse. As such, it is non-porous; therefore virtually waterproof. This is why the vast majority of patterns made with this also feature a 'storm' welt, or split-reverse welt. they were always marketed as bad weather shoes. In DC, we always sold many shell cordovan shoes in the Fall and Winter, rarely in the Spring or Summer. The major drawback is that they can be very hot, as they do not breath. It is neccessary to use a very good insole to help combat this. Shell cordovan will also develop a very nice feel through time, not stiff at all. If a shoe's components (lining, insole) are stiff, then that is a different story - but the leather itself is supple after a short time on the foot. Be careful, there is also 'cordovan' leather out there that is not 'shell cordovan'. It is from horse, but is the hide, usually shoulders. This is not the true shell cordovan, and offers little advantage over calfskin. BTW, the main reason for shell cordovans expense is that the 'shells' are difficult to work in the factory, and the defect rate is very high - this is what is built into the cost. IMO, shell cordovan is a beautiful leather, worthy of it's high cost and reputation.
post #9 of 21
Thanks for the education, Rider. I've been told about cordovan as a winter shoe before, but my personal experience with the one pair of cordovan shoes I wore extensively during the winter made me never want to do it again. I tend to be pretty religious about polishing my shoes with wax polish, but this one pair, which went from rainy NorCal to snowy/slushy Minneapolis, seemed to pick up permanent welting (never came back as smooth as it started) and never took as nice of a shine again. After that I figured I was better off using lower-priced shoes in the winter. Perhaps I was asking too much from the shoes? I've never had the same problems with calfskins under similar conditions, so I assumed it was the cordovan. IIRC this was a pair of Aldens via Brooks Brothers, so it was probably shell cordovan, no?
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
So how long will a pair of calfs last vs cordovan? I like some of the styles of cordovan but it is true that they are few.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
So how long will a pair of calfs last vs cordovan?   I like some of the styles of cordovan but it is true that they are few.
Hello. I believe the life of shoes does not depend on the price if they are not too cheap shoes and if they are welted shoes. It depends on your care/handling. If you do not wear shoes everyday and if you polish them regularly, your shoes will have a long life, whether they are calf or shell cordovan. As an exception; Corrected grain leather does not last long. Compared with full grain leather and shell cordovan, corrected grain leather is easy to crack. $500 shoes are generally made of better leather and materials than $100 shoes. For example, $100 shoes may be made of a plastic shank, nylon thread, urethane filler and synthetic leather. On the other hand, traditional/expensive shoes are made of a wood/leather shank, shilk/cotton/hemp thread, cork/leather/felt filler and genuine leather. Moreover leather has a grade. They say that the strongest leather is kangaroo, but kangaroo leather is very shiny like patent leather. From my experience, suede never cracks like calf and shell cordovan and suede has good casual looking. So I'd like to recommend Church's shoes-Fairfield, Ryder. How do you feel? http://www.churchsshoes.com/TEMPLATE...nd/sitemap.cfm If you want to buy shell cordovan, I'd like to recommend Alden-#990, #975. http://www.aldenshop.com/DrawOneShoe.asp?CategoryID=47 http://www.aldenshop.com/DrawOneShoe.asp?CategoryID=46 Tricker's country shoes/boots are fine too. http://www.pediwear.co.uk/stock.php?range_ID=32 All shoes that I recommend have crepe rubber outsoles or double leather outsoles. These outsoles suit your request that you walk very much. The most important thing; Whether shoes are comfortable for you depends on a last. So you need to find out a comfortable last for you.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow, I like the Church's Fairfield and Cranfield and the Alden 990s really well. They are a little more dressy then what I would wear everyday, but I need dress shoes too and I think the Aldens will win. Can someone give my an idea of the quality of the Clarks? I really like the Norris and the Desert Trek. Thanks, Josh
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Wow, I like the Church's Fairfield and Cranfield and the Alden 990s really well.  They are a little more dressy then what I would wear everyday, but I need dress shoes too and I think the Aldens will win. Can someone give my an idea of the quality of the Clarks?  I really like the Norris and the Desert Trek. Thanks, Josh
I like Clarks and have 3 pairs of desert boots, but compared with welted shoes like Church's, Alden, Edward green etc., Clarks are less comfortable because they don't have proper arch support, cork filler, high quality leather insole, etc. Desert boots have insoles like cardboard and upper leather is not high grade. Clarks shoes are not welted shoes, so they are typical mass production.
post #14 of 21
how about Veldtschoen type shoes, i.e. these cheaneys? made for tromping across the bush, and they look pretty good too. never tried any though, so i don't know how comfortable they are. maybe others can comment.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
how about Veldtschoen type shoes, i.e. these cheaneys? made for tromping across the bush, and they look pretty good too.
FB: I am beginning to wonder, if under the tutelage of our esteemed quill you are making Freudian puns... "Cheney's for tromping across the Bush?" Should we believe that was not a political statement? JJF
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