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A good shoe foundation?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 



I'm building up my classical wardrobe and have a few questions on shoes and quality.


At the moment I own three pairs:


Black toe cap oxfords (full rubber sole)

Brown semi brogues (leather sole)

Snuff suede tassel loafers (leather sole)


1. I'm thinking the next pair to be either a brown double monk or a derby that I can pair with any casual look, the problem is I can only find these models on leather soles, and I want to be able to wear them in the autumn/early winter without worrying about rain and weather every day. Should I keep looking for rubber alternatives or should I carry with me a pair of swims?


2. When speaking of bad weather, is leather or suede preferable on the upper shoe? Where I live they tend to use a lot of salt on the pavements in winter times.


3. What shoes look good in black apart from oxfords?


4. The shoes I currently own are from Meermin (I've heard they are great budget alternative), what would I gain from buying a much more expensive shoe, say Crockett & Jones? What justifies the 6-700 $ extra cost apart from more hand crafted details? Do they last longer?


5. How many wears can I expect out of a leather sole before it needs to be replaced, and how much does it cost (roughly) to replace one?


That's it for now :)


KInd regards


post #2 of 10
  1. I would definitely go for rubber soles if I lived in Sweden. I know, there are lots of Loake shops in Sweden - have a look there. You can also order online from
  2. Rain, snow, mud and dirt is like torture for suede - go for leather shoes. And don't forget to wash the salt off as soon as you get home.
  3. I really like black derby brogues. They look great with navy jeans and darker grey chinos or wool trousers during colder season.
  4. Can't answer that as all of my shoes (except one pair from Loake 1880 line) are somewhere at Meermin level or lower.
  5. Depends on a lot of things. How often you wear them, in what weather, on what surface, for how long. I'd say 0,5-2 years.I know Loake charges somewhere around EUR 100 for a full factory repair and refurbishment.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input AlgisLT. I'll see if I can find some decent Loake shoes. Black derby brogue you say? Yeah that might work :)

Hmm, 100€ sounds a bit expensive, almost the price for the whole shoe :) perhaps a cobbler could put on a "no name" leather sole, would that be cheaper?

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm still contemplating on what to go for. I've decided to go for a longwing derby but can't decide between black or dark Brown calf. Also what are your thoughts on grained leather, more casual?

I also want a double monk calf, preferably in the color I forego in the derby.

1. Black longwing derby and Brown double monks


2. Brown longwing derby and black double monks

What is most versatile?

Input appreciated smile.gif
post #5 of 10

2. Definitely. Black blucher is neither fish nor fowl. But black double monks can work with a suit or the often used navy blazer, gray pants combination.

post #6 of 10

5. I always go to the cobbler and apply a vibram pad over the leather sole. Scratched up leather is not a good look.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm considering this Brown grain calf, seems like a versatile choice right?

Or should I stick to plain calf like this one

If I go for a black double monk calf, would it pair well with dark blue jeans or Grey chinos (or is it reserved for suits and wool trousers? Or should I forget about black and just go with Brown monks and derbys?

So hard to decide smile.gif
post #8 of 10

I say you forget black. If you already have one black shoes and you are shopping for versatility and ease of wear, get both brown. I like scotch grain/pebble grain a lot. It also holds up well over time.

post #9 of 10

Hi there, here are some suggestions I have: 


1) I think monks are generally a good idea. Otherwise if you are specifically looking for something to pair with a casual outfit, I think you can also consider a pair of brown wingtips (rather than longwings), which may have some utility even in a slightly more formal setting. 

Your friendly Swedish retailer @Skoaktiebolaget carries Carlos Santos which would probably fit your budget. You can check out this pair:

That would make a pretty good choice I think. It also has rubber soles that would be good for the wetter / colder months. 

Alternatively, you can also consider this:

It's casual yes, but a pair of full brogue oxfords is pretty versatile and something you can consider since you don't have one yet. 

Generally, rubber soles are preferable if there is a concern of wet weather. Leather soles, once they have become soaked and waterlogged, may tend to give rise to mould growth even after they are dry, and especially if your environment is humid.


2) A lot of the suedes out there on RTW shoes are actually split suedes. In a sense, these are leftovers from hides after the best part of the leather (with the grain) has been split away. Thus, split suede is usually thinner. Most folks use a nano protector spray prior to first wear, and once every few wears, which may confer a degree of water resistance to it.

Generally I prefer calf for wet weather shoes. If torrential rain or very wet conditions are a concern, SkoaB also sells Burgol Piz that you can use on your shoes. This is really helpful.

Scotch grain, while giving a unique, country, rugged appearance to your shoes, are generally not much more water resistant than regular calf. The grain pattern is embossed. 


3) Probably a very dressy black derby with 2 or maximum 3 eyelets in a formal looking, sleek last. Black chelsea boots are also a classic, "can't go wrong" pair.


4) This is a question with numerous aspects to be addressed. I'll only give a very short version of what's MY opinion, and many others might not agree with me. What I feel is that price and quality have almost nothing to do with each other. Just because a shoe is thrice as costly, doesn't mean it's thrice as good. 

IMO, the most significant (but not the only) difference that I would look for, would be a handwelted shoe. Construction method might not be the only indicator of shoe quality, but to me, it's the most important. A handwelted pair of shoes is unequivocally better constructed than a GYW pair. If put to the test, yes, they would be more durable. Quality of materials would also be important to me. A shoe maker who cuts his uppers using only the best part and thus getting maybe 1 or 2 pairs at most per hide would be better than a maker who utilises the whole hide and cuts for economy. Full leather, veg tanned insoles and outsoles are also something I look for. 

The discussions on this topic are endless, but you need to know exactly goes into your pair of shoes, know the construction methods, before you can really appreciate the differences. 


5) This really depends, on the quality of the outsoles, how often you wear them, the terrain you bring it through, your gait..... etc.

By and large, the toe area tends to wear down quicker than the rest of the outsole, and once it starts to wear so thin that the welt area is nearly compromised, you'll need a resole. 

Also, I find that rubber soles last significantly longer than leather. 

Edited by ThunderMarch - 8/1/16 at 8:35pm
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your comments ThunderMarch and Claghorn.

Since I don't wear suits that often (I dress more towards smart/business casual) I think I'll go with the more casual options (dark brown grained calf fullwing derby & dark brown double monk calf) with full rubber soles or york soles.

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