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Opinions on John Varvatos or Marc Jacobs Dress Shoes?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was online looking over lace-up leather dress shoes, and liked at least one style from each of these. Have any of you owned these leather dress shoes from either Varvatos or Jacobs? What results did you have? I'm concerned with foot support, long-term walking comfort and quality of leather and construction. Thanks!
post #2 of 14
I've never owned them, but I have inspected them in stores. These are fashion dress shoes, not for week-in-week-out office wear. The styling is pretty different from the usual panoply of dress shoe styles offered by, say, Allen Edmonds, but if you like the look, they are decently made. Don't pay retail, and don't use them as your standard office-place shoe. For going out on weekends, they're cool though.

EDIT: I'm speaking only to JV here, dunno much about MJ.
post #3 of 14
^+1 to Phil and carry over everything he said about JV for MJ.

I have a few pairs of MJ and if you are looking for a long term or regular wear shoe, DEFINITELY look elsewhere. They are very fun shoes for going out or wearing occasionally, but they are not going to be good as a "workhorse" shoe. I wear my pair to dinners once every few months, and still they look like they've been worn a lot.

As with most designer shoes, a pair of $295 AE will be a $270 shoe with maybe $25 of branding. A $450 MJ shoe will probably be a $270 shoe with another $270 of branding. But, as far as designers go, sometimes he'll put out a good model. But, most of the pairs I have are all glued together without a visible real stitch or welt in sight.
post #4 of 14
I own a pair of JV sandals, and while they're beautiful, they began to fall apart after 6 months of wear.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, I appreciate your warnings. I guess I'd better continue "kicking tires!"

You may notice I have another thread here, basically complaining just how difficult it is to find a STYLISH dress shoe that is ALSO supportive for my flat feet and COMFORTABLE to wear for hours at a time standing on my feet, which my job requires. For many of my longest days on my feet, I'm presently wearing some
Clarks, which I got dirt cheap from a shoe store who recommended them for comfort. They ARE pretty soothing to my feet but stylish, they are NOT. Ugh! They look a lot like snow boots!

On the other hand, I recently succumbed to temptation and purchased a pair of close-out Sutor Mantellassi lace-up dress shoes, regularly $1,000 for $400. I figured I'd treat myself, because they're my first new pair of shoes in over ten years. I think they're both beautiful and beautifully built, but unfortunately, they give little indication yet of being comfortable- although I've only worn them three times thusfar.

But I reckon I'd better forget Varvatos and Jacobs. They'd cost me at least as much as the Sutor Mantellassi and from your experiences, be NEITHER well-built nor comfortable.

I'd really like a repairable shoe, and the Clarks, the Eccos and the SAS are not that way.

Some other repairable shoes that have somewhat of a reputation for long-term comfort or foot support include Minor, Mephisto and Taryn Rose. I've seen some Taryn Rose models online that LOOK attractive, but the "toe box" area looks rather cramped on many of her shoes. The Minor and Mephisto seem to have a generous foot area in front, but look clunky.

Among the British shoes, I've read on here some promising comments about Tricker's as a kind of "dark horse" but I don't know if they would be comfortable?
Also I have a size 12 medium to wide foot and I've heard that most of the British shoes are sized narrow...I could get a deal on some Tricker's through Sierra Trading Post.

Another problem for me is that I live in an area where I can't personally inspect the shoes I'm mentioning.

Online sources like and Zappo' are GREAT to look at (I found the Varvatos and Jacobs ideas at Zappo's) but in the end, I just CAN'T seem to find ONE shoe that is repairable, well-built, stylish and built for long-term standing! Am I asking for something that doesn't exist? I think some shoe manufacturer could really clean up if they could invent the "everything" shoe!

Thanks again,
post #6 of 14
i have a few pairs of JV dress shoes and they're fine, very fashionable yet conservative and well fitting for me

i'm going on 3 or 4 years i think now for the one pair and they're not showing any sign of falling apart or coming undone or anything like that and i likely wear the one pair once a week

i bought mine at nm at end of season so i got a good discount so even if they end up starting to come undone, i've paid so little that it doesn't matter
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hermes, thanks for adding to the discussion. It makes the matter more confusing, since your reaction differs markedly from the others. As you said, I think getting a good deal helps, and also I'm reminded of the fine print on ads for everything from mutual funds to automobiles: "your results may vary!"

post #8 of 14
I have several pairs of John Varvatos and have found them to be will, comfortable and durable. However, I would not expect them to have the durability of, say, Doc Martens.
post #9 of 14
If you want designer shoes, you can get better quality / value from Paul Smith and Ted Baker. I'm also one of the few folks around here who sometimes enjoys To Boot New York for going out shoes, since they have similar quality/style to JV and MJ for less $ and easier to find on discount.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies, Kitonbrioni and Chicago Ron. To Boot New York and Doc Martens. Two MORE brands I don't know anything about. Yikes! This is scary! A fellow could easily spend a million bucks and STILL not own all the dress shoe brands in the world.
post #11 of 14
Variety is the spice of life Jerry! Not to add to the confusion, but I do encourage you to check out some of the Paul Smith selections on Yoox and the Ted Baker stuff on Zappos (through the affiliate links, of course). Zappos will also have a good selection of TBNY to peruse.
post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post
I'm also one of the few folks around here who sometimes enjoys To Boot New York for going out shoes, since they have similar quality/style to JV and MJ for less $ and easier to find on discount.

+1, although I am never lucky enough to find them on too much of a discount since I can never wait for those Nordstrom half yearly sales!

I have 2 pair of JV shoes, and one pair needed repair after about 5 wearings (the seam around the top of the shoe where the heel goes into the shoe tore apart and needed to be resewn), but the repair itself was only $10 so I didn't cry. They are nice looking and relatively inexpensive, but I think TBNY is the better value.
post #13 of 14
They're not especially stylish, but Alden makes classic shoe styles and some of them are supposedly designed with orthopedic issues in mind (Trubalance last?). I have no experience with any Alden models other than the standard fare of the type other companies make, though. Perhaps someone else can chime in.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks to ChicagoRon, gnatty8 and thinman. It sounds like To Boot New York is getting some "votes" here so I'd better try to pay attention and find it online.

As to Alden, I grew up on them. They're certainly not bad-looking shoes, but probably not as "classic" as the English or "trend-setting" as the Italians. I've been a bit disappointed in my current Alden 757's (from ten or more years ago) in that they have such soft leather that they seem to have lost a bit of their shape on top, near the toe area. The leather is a bit softer and prone to "give" than on the ancient model they replaced.

Ron, Paul Smith??? Ted Baker??? "Variety is the spice of life!" Are you trying to drive me NUTS!!! LOL!

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