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First pair of "good" formal shoes - which one to buy?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by bingo, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. bingo

    bingo Member

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    First post here - go easy on me if I don't follow the etiquette... [​IMG]

    I'm considering to buy good pair of shoes that I can wear to office. We don't have a strict dress code, business casuals are perfectly accessible and I will be wearing those almost all the time. So I'm looking for shoes that aren't overly formal and not too casual. I never bought shoes that cost more than $100, so I'm completely clueless when it comes to what good shoes there are. Can you guys suggest me which brands and models I should try? My budget is around $400-500. If it matters, I live in very warm climate - Central-North Florida. Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  2. JLibourel

    JLibourel Well-Known Member

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    www.allenedmonds.com

    Allen-Edmonds is "The Great American Shoe Company." Many of us would argue that Allen-Edmonds represents the best cost-quality-value relation in men's shoes. There are many shoe styles that would fill the bill for your needs--loafers, chukka boots, lace-up bluchers, etc.

    If you have a budget of $500, be sure to get two pairs to start with and use shoe trees. Rotating your shoes and using trees will make them last much longer than otherwise.

    I should point out that in our world here at SF, "formal" shoes mean things like opera pumps, which is not what you are looking for at the moment.

    Best of luck with your venture into the world of good shoes.
     
  3. ahdaeeeee

    ahdaeeeee Well-Known Member

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    Jakarta, Indonesia
    I would base the shoes on your wardrobe, what color of trousers/suits do you have mostly?

    Black shoes goes with black.

    Brown shoes goes with navy and grey.

    So I would base your first few purchases on your wardrobe. Good luck with your shoes!
     
  4. cptjeff

    cptjeff Well-Known Member

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    Two pairs of Allen Edmonds is a good recommendation. One pair in black, one pair in a brown or burgundy. Make the black pair something conservative so you can pull 'em out with a suit for a really formal occasion from time to time- that funeral you need to get to in a hurry, an interview that comes up quickly. Park Avenue or 5th Avenue are good bets.

    Go with less formal styling on the brown pair. Delray, Strand, MacNeil, Kenilworth... Plenty of options there.

    Oh, and despite the groupthink on SF, black shoes always work with gray. Brown is good on occasion, but black should be your primary shoe there. Brown goes with navy, tan, olive, and yes, gray. Black goes with black, gray, and olive, navy for certain very formal looks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
  5. Beach Bum

    Beach Bum Well-Known Member

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    What size are you?
     
  6. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Well-Known Member

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    If you live in central Florida, visit the Mall at Millennia, there is a brick & mortar Allen Edmonds there. As well as a Brooks Brothers store. Should be a good place to start and actually begin to understand the importance of a good fit in person.
     
  7. fancazzista

    fancazzista New Member

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    As others have indicated, with that budget I would go for a couple pairs of Allen Edmonds shoes.

    I have a pair of Allen Edmonds wingtips (Jeffersons, but try the McAllister or Strand models if you don't want to go over your budget with one pair) and they work beautifully in 99% of situations I face professionally. I wouldn't wear them to a funeral or an interview, but they are perfect for pretty much any situation especially if your work environment is "business casual" (whatever that means).

    To be honest, I don't even own a pair of black shoes because I just can't stand how they look, I don't live in England, and never face situations where they are absolutely necessary where I do live (when I start going to more funerals I'll think about it). I think you would do fine to buy two pairs in some shade of brown, as long as one pair is cut in a fairly conservative style.
     
  8. bingo

    bingo Member

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    Thanks for the tip on "formal" shoes [​IMG]

    Can you suggest if there will be any deals on AE shoes? I have searched this thread and people seem to report different price at different times. My budget allows me to pay retail price, but hey, if I can get a discount, why pay the full price? I might save for another pair with the savings. [​IMG]
     
  9. bingo

    bingo Member

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    I usually wear black, grey and occasionally ivory(? - http://media.kohls.com.edgesuite.net/is/image/kohls/449347_Cloud?wid=1000&hei=1000&op_sharpen=1) pants. As everyone suggested, I will probably get both black and brown. Thanks!
     
  10. bingo

    bingo Member

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    I like the look of Park Avenue shoes.. I need to try them on to see my comfort level. Strand and MacNeil look too eye-catching for my workplace- I'm not sure why but I haven't seen anyone here wearing that kind of shoes. Will checkout Delray and Kenilworth - Thanks!
     
  11. bingo

    bingo Member

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    10.5W
     
  12. bingo

    bingo Member

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    Will check it out - thanks for the tip!
     
  13. bingo

    bingo Member

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    Will try Jeffersons also.. thanks!
     
  14. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    +1 on what others have said about Allen Edmonds and getting two pairs to start. Loafers and derbys are both fine in a business casual context; oxfords (shoes with closed stitching along the vamp such as the Park Avenue) would be too much for business casual. Thing is, you really should have a formal pair of shoes like AE Park Avenues in black for anytime you need to be in a suit or dressed solemnly, but there's no sense in buying these as one of your first two good pairs of shoes if you seldom have occasion to wear them. I would make a formal black stitch cap or punch cap balmoral (AE Park Avenue or Fifth Avenue) your third pair of good shoes.


    Black shoes go perfectly fine with navy and grey as well. Brown is a tiny bit less formal but much more attractive in most contexts.
     
  15. bingo

    bingo Member

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    Okay, I finally got around and bought AE Park Avenues as many users suggested here. I wore them for two 8 hr work days with 36 hr gap. I immediately started noticing huge wear out on outer sole - is that common for leather sole or was I sold a dummy?
    [​IMG]


    Another thing, is my right shoe started showing creases with in a couple of hrs of first time wearing. Left shoe also has a bit of crease but not as pronounced as the right one. What could be the reason for this? Am I walking differently with right foot and left foot or one foot is bigger than other etc?

    Right shoe..

    [​IMG]


    Left shoe..

    [​IMG]
     
  16. AmericanGent

    AmericanGent Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Florida, unfortunately
    Did you have those fitted at an AE store? They look like they may be too wide, based on the laces. It's impossible to tell from a picture, but it brings into question if you had them fit my a master fitter. If not, that could be the cause of your other concerns.

    In any case, shoes will crease. They must crease. If not you'd look like you were walking around in ski boots. Where they crease depends on your foot (length of toes, length of your arch, etc. AE uses many different "lasts" and some will not fit your foot as well as others.

    If nothing else, you can get a refund- AE has great service.
     
  17. michaelvl

    michaelvl Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Looks to me that the shoes are too large for you. Faint creasing is normal on well fitted quality shoes, deep creasing after only a few wears is a tell tale of ill fitting shoes. I have the same issue that one shoes creases more then the other. In my case this is because my left foot is a size UK6E and my right foot is a size UK6.5E and I was advised a UK7E by two sales reps that did not know what they where talking about. In men it is very common, the dominant foot is slightly larger then the other. My experience with sales associates of quality dress shoes is that most know nothing about correct shoe fitting. If they ask you what your size is and just bring you a pair in that size and ask you if it feels comfortable, then that is a serious red flag, do yourself a favor and just leave the shop and take your business elsewhere. A good fitter will measure both your feet, in length and in width, let you try on several pairs (so in my case UK6E, UK6.5E, UK6.5D, UK6F), feel how you feet fill the shoe and give you an advice based on all the said information. The wear on the sole looks normal, I cannot see the wear on the tip of the sole, it could be that this is wearing faster then the rest. This is also pretty common. The solution for that problem is to install metal toe tips, I prefer the sunken metal ones. for more info on that just do a search on the forum.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  18. michaelvl

    michaelvl Well-Known Member

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    One more thing did you buy shoe trees for the shoes? Using shoe trees correctly shall also reduce creasing allot by stretching them back to their original shape.
     
  19. bingo

    bingo Member

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    @AmericanGent...

    Thanks for the reply.. I bought them at Amazon, I usually go for 10.5E on other shoes, so that's what I bought in AE also. You're correct in saying that they are bit wider for my feet. Whenever I wear "D", my feet used to hurt, so I started wearing Es couple of years ago...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  20. bingo

    bingo Member

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    Thanks for the reply.. Looks like fitting is the issue on my right foot... So what do you do when buying shoes if your feet are different size from each other? Do you get them specially made for you?
     

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