Nordstrom in downtown SF (SF Center) has a good selection and a terrific return policy. They mostly have Aldens, AE and Ferragamos though; maybe a few Santonis. Neiman Marcus has some Lobbs and the usual Italian designer shoes (Gucci, Prada, Testoni, Tod's etc). Saks has Heschung, Testoni, Zegna, and the usual Italians. Malouf's in Burlingame has a selection of Ed Greens.
I am thinking of buying my first pair of "good" shoes, so I am no expert. I am not looking for very high-end, bespoke, etc. Something in the US$250-350 range (I don't mean I have to spend that much: if you know of good deals I may be interested) for dress shoes (oxford or the like). Mathieu
check out franco's too... www.francos.com. excellent service. just picked up a pair of marteganis (was debating alden vs. martegani, decided to go with the marteganis), the service is exemplary and the guy who runs the place is a member of the forum I believe. he's sending me some shoes to try, then having a pair custom made, it is in the price range you mentioned. very affordable, and the service itself is worth every penny.
If you think you'd like Allen-Edmonds, you'd be well advised to drive out to their outlet store in Cabazon if you have the time and a rental car. It's about an hour and a half's drive from Los Angeles. Always lots of good bargains there (usuallly some good buys in closeouts from $129 to $167) and many other outlet stores that may have items of interest to you.
There are, I think, well over a hundred outlet stores at Cabazon--most of the usual suspects: Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Ferragamo, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Burberry's, Coach, Lucky Jeans, Timberland and many, many more. Among the cheaper shoes, they have outlets for Cole-Haan, Johnston & Murphy, Clark's, Bass and Rockport and maybe others.
I'll be there on a business trip and the bureaucracy in my company is well... bureaucratic: they told me to take the bus instead of cabs to cut costs, a very useful advice indeed in LA. So the question is: would I save enough there to cover the cost of a rented car (I won't have a car unless I get one to go to Cabazon, remember: most of the time I'll be taking the bus)? Otherwise the trip is not really worth it. Mathieu
I was kidding when I talked about taking the bus. It's just that when I talked about getting reimbursed for transportation they told me to take the bus. The accounting people had obviously no clue that LA is different from Singapore (there is an extensive public transportation system in Sg). BTW: are all these stores open on Sundays?