Originally Posted by Jumbie
I was born in Vancouver, moved away while I was a baby and then returned for undergrad and remained there for 6 years. It rained for 6 years.
Okay, obviously an exaggeration but my point is that IMO you're going to need some kind of shoe cover or commuting shoes to protect your nicer shoes (especially with the leather soles).
Quit complaining about the rain!
I too was born in Vancouver and have spent most of my life here. I can remember summers (maybe this will be one too) when we had no rain
for two months! That's a fact, but I know your pain; I hate the rain too!
Now to the business at hand. Contaygious, why don't you cast a wider net? DocHolliday is right, I think, about the Pradas. They look as if some kind of tracked vehicle ran over the vamp. Consider some monk shoes as well as lace-ups. They strike a nice balance, in my opinion, between dress and casual. A lace-up blucher (like the Zegna derby) would be fine, but I think you can do better than that shoe. I guess I know why you are considering the shoes you are--A-E, Prada, Zegna, Ferragamo--you've seen them all in Vancouver stores, but for the most part they aren't your best choice. And as far as getting good advice at Harry Rosen, just forget it. The typical sales guy at Harry Rosen, Holt Renfrew, etc., doesn't know his ass from page 4 when it comes to shoes (actually most things). If you're planning to drop $500 or $600, consider Crockett & Jones from PLal, an online seller. With some advice and care, you can very likely order the right size, and if they don't fit, you can return them.
Here's the link:http://www.plal.com/crockett.htm
For about $472 Cdn. delivered to your door (and very likely low, or no, duties/taxes), you could buy a pair of the C&J Handgrade shoes. These are very fine shoes--far superior to the Zegna and Ferragamo models you have indicated, and light years better than the A-Es. But about the same price, or considerably less, that you would pay for these other brands. Of the Handgrades on PLal's site, my choice for your situation might be the Savile, a monk shoe. The Aintree--if you could get it in brown--would be nice too. The Weymouth is just a great shoe, but might be a touch too dressy for your needs.
For around $400 Cdn., you could get a pair of the Regular line C&Js. Here, the Highbury, Dartmouth, Malvern, and Chalfont would be, I think, good choices. The Onslow is a very nice shoe and could be had with Dainite sole (a very fine rubber sole that does not make the shoe look clunky) for about $435, or in shell cordovan leather for about $565 (all prices delivered to your door). The latter is a really spectacular shoe (I bought a pair from PLal), with a double leather sole. Shell cordovan is considered by most forumers as really really nice and provides a unique look. With that, you'd go for the burgundy color.
If you know your correct A-E size, converting to the right C&J size is not too difficult. If you have a medium-width foot, you should be fine. The C&Js will only be available in the UK E-fitting, which corresponds to the North American D width. Thus, if a pair of A-Es in 10D fits well, for example, a pair of C&Js in 9E UK would fit about the same. If you wanted to go the C&J route, you could get good advice re fit on this forum (or PM me) and particularly from Shyam Doshi at PLal.