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Looking for high quality dress shoes

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I work in DC, I do a lot of walking.  I'm a 34yo male.  What I"m pretty much looking for are shoe brands/names are the known for high durability quality while looking stylish.  I'm not looking for 200 pair of shoes etc.  I find that I can see 60 - 100 pairs of high end shoes on ebay.  What I've read is I should go for shoes that are mainly Goodyear Welted.  Almost all the shoe's I've ever purchases have split soles after a few years.  What specific brands are almost always Goodyear welted and/or known for being quality and stylish.

post #2 of 14
Go to the Allen Edmonds appreciation thread. You will learn a lot about those shoes. They are what you need.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by steppinthrax View Post
 

I work in DC, I do a lot of walking.  I'm a 34yo male.  What I"m pretty much looking for are shoe brands/names are the known for high durability quality while looking stylish.  I'm not looking for 200 pair of shoes etc.  I find that I can see 60 - 100 pairs of high end shoes on ebay.  What I've read is I should go for shoes that are mainly Goodyear Welted.  Almost all the shoe's I've ever purchases have split soles after a few years.  What specific brands are almost always Goodyear welted and/or known for being quality and stylish.


Just to confirm, by dress shoes you mean business wear rather than what to wear with formal dress (ie black tie, white tie etc)?

 

Goodyear welting is simply a construction method for attaching the sole to the upper, its key benefit is that the welt can be undone meaning a brand new complete sole can be attached -v- the basic method of gluing/cementing the sole which means the old one cannot be properly removed and any new sole is just glued on top. There are other forms of construction, eg blakes, that also facilitate this repair.

 

Technically, the welting method doesnt automatically mean a sole will last longer just that dealing with a worn out sole is easier however as the construction method is more complex and thus costly you generally wont find the cheapest materials using it and there is more of an arguement to use better upper materials as they can survive several sole replacements.

 

To save the sole of the shoe you are really looking as much at your routine as the product itself, ensuring the shoe has dried out fully between wears which at a minimum means never wearing them two days running and longer gaps if you've been out in the rain, always allow them to dry naturally and never by heating them, always use shoe trees to retain the shape etc

 

To recommend brands you really need to be stating a budget per pair but also need to be aware that most will recommend based on a combination of design, local availability and overall quality rather than explicitly on durability of the sole

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, this would be for business dress.  I read about Goodyear Welted and see the advantage is if the sole wears out, they can be rebuilt by a shoe cobbler, is this even worth it?

 

I'm starting to look at Allen Edmonds as the previous person suggested.  How about Florsheim? 

 

I primary wear dress pants, dress shirt and tie.

 

Thanks

post #5 of 14

Alden would be another great, US brand for you to check out as well.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by steppinthrax View Post
 

Thanks, this would be for business dress.  I read about Goodyear Welted and see the advantage is if the sole wears out, they can be rebuilt by a shoe cobbler, is this even worth it?

 

For UK makers at least they would generally recommend returning the shoes to them themselves to resole them and do any minor repairs at the same time whilst the shoe is deconstructed. The advantage is that they obviously have the identical wooden lasts (molds) that the shoes were originally formed on and you have an assurance on the quality of the materials used etc.

 

Again here most manufactures also have a small number of recommended "local" companies (normally local to their retailers rather than necessarily you) who can also do the repairs and tend to be a bit quicker but not necessarily cheaper. I've no idea the level of relationship between the two to know if they provide them with lasts or such.

 

Your average UK cobbler simply deals with gluing replacement soles on rather than fully deconstructing the welt and restitching a new sole on and so whilst they techanically can deal with a goodyear welted shoe what you get back is no longer goodyear welted but a cemented/glued shoe. If you go down this route the manufacturer generally will no longer offer repairs etc as they play a strong hand on maintaining the balance and shape of the shoe which gluing bits on can distort.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by steppinthrax View Post

Thanks, this would be for business dress.  I read about Goodyear Welted and see the advantage is if the sole wears out, they can be rebuilt by a shoe cobbler, is this even worth it?

I'm starting to look at Allen Edmonds as the previous person suggested.  How about Florsheim? 

I primary wear dress pants, dress shirt and tie.

Thanks

Allen Edmonds shoes are a higher quality than Florsheim
post #8 of 14
Go to the Alden shop in DC or go to Sky Valet. Both are good retailers of good shoes.
post #9 of 14

Allen Edmonds are fantastic. Plenty of good models to choose from and their stores are all over the place. Their recrafting service is fantastic. Your soles and heels will wear out from city walking. take them in and AE will replace leather sole, heel and totally re-dye and condition the leather uppers for just over $100. They will then ship repaired shoes to you for free. 

 

I wear Park Avenue, Strand and McAllister.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

What is you guys take on "used shoes" in good condition.

 

I see these for example on ebay.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALLEN-EDMONDS-Hillcrest-Black-Oxfords-Bicycle-Toe-Leather-Dress-Shoes-Sz-11-/182018924790?hash=item2a612c60f6:g:k50AAOSw3ydV44c~

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Allen-Edmonds-Delray-British-Tan-Split-Toe-Dress-Shoes-Leather-Oxfords-Size-12-E-/112040966791?hash=item1a16297a87:g:lKAAAOSwwo1Xcfxk

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALLEN-EDMONDS-Ashbury-Mens-Leather-Dress-Shoes-Size-US-12D-Burgundy-Made-in-USA-/371668788214?hash=item56892fa3f6:g:odMAAOSwzJ5XctfR

 

The uppers look good, all those that I posted seem to have the sole sewn to the upper (goodyear Welt).  I also se AE with rubber soles?

post #11 of 14

My advice would be to visit AE store and try on model you like to get exact size. You can then surf eBay and SF B&S for a new or slightly used pair. AE has rubber soles as an option on many of their shoes.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by smittycl View Post

My advice would be to visit AE store and try on model you like to get exact size. You can then surf eBay and SF B&S for a new or slightly used pair. AE has rubber soles as an option on many of their shoes.

I totally agree. Go try some AE shoes on at a store. Different styles have different lasts. Make sure that you decide on a style and proper size before buying on eBay.
post #13 of 14

I shop at the one at Connecticut and K Street in DC all the time. Good store and the salespeople seem to know their stuff.

post #14 of 14
Alden is wonderful. I've branched out to the Peal ones made for Brooks Brothers and the Crockett/Lauren shoes. I look on eBay and they are fantastic buys if you can find them. I usually get used which have not been very worn so that they are not so formed that they don't fit your feet.

AE are great quality but don't fit my feet very well.
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