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Advice, First pair high quality dress shoes

Bubbrubb

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After years of buying dress shoes for work by searching for the most affordable pair of passable dress shoes I could find on sale (about 30 to 50 bucks) I'm ready to take the dive into high end men's footwear. I hope they last longer that what I've bought in the past and of course, look better.
I work as a physician, about 60%of my time in a clinical setting. I find I wear my brown shoes more often than my black. Usual attire is dress shirt, neck tie (80% of the time), dress slacks /chinos/something in between, and of course a white coat. I often attend national meetings and wear suits (gray /blue). It would be nice to have something to pair with denim as well.
I'm hoping to find a site that can fit most of these situations.
I was thinking of going with a mid brown or burgundy semi brogue Oxford. I would really like to stay between 250 to 500 but even 500 seems like a lot to spend on shoes.
Anywho with that said this is what I've narrowed it down to
1. Charles Tyrwhytt brown Oxford brogue, $250
2. J Fitzpatrick Redmond lll - Copper Museum Calf, $316
3. Carmina semi brogue Inca bureaux $515

I like the medallion on the Carmina and CT, although J Fitzpatrick eliminated it on their new design. JF seems like the easiest to exchange if fit isn't correct.
Any other style considerations to take into account?
Any other shoe makers to consider?
I do plan to pick up the standard black cap toe Oxford but I don't see myself wearing it that often and will probably get something used off ebay
 

breakaway01

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I assume you're in the US? At least check out Allen Edmonds -- if nothing else determining your size in AE (a standard model like their Park Avenue) will help you figure out your size in models that are harder to try on and return.

Check out Skoaktiebolaget -- their Lof and Tung brand gets great reviews. Around the same price point I'd also look at Carlos Santos.

I wouldn't really recommend Charles Tyrwhitt -- you will be able to get a better made shoe for the price.

One more consideration -- I am also a clinician. Leather soles are porous and impossible to clean if there's any chance that you might get something undesirable on them.
 

Razing

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Location is going to make a difference here, going with domestic shoemakers means cheaper or free shipping and returns. It's also more likely you'll find an outlet to try them out in person before you buy.
 

Bubbrubb

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Yes I agree. I stopped by AE today. I do like the walnut strands. Although very traditional in appearance, the 15% discount for first time customers might make the difference.
I was leaning towards J Fitzpatrick, but his semi brogue is missing the medallion which may make wearing the shoes more too formal for some styles (ie denim)? Also the color of the JF is more of a mid brown rather than the more tan appearing walnut.
Another question that came to mind is shoe trees. Do makers sell trees to fit a specific last? Carmina sells a tree for the Inca last but for $75 seems a bit steep but may be worth it if it's works better than a one size fits all model. Is this correct?
 

madhat

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Yes I agree. I stopped by AE today. I do like the walnut strands. Although very traditional in appearance, the 15% discount for first time customers might make the difference.
I was leaning towards J Fitzpatrick, but his semi brogue is missing the medallion which may make wearing the shoes more too formal for some styles (ie denim)? Also the color of the JF is more of a mid brown rather than the more tan appearing walnut.
Another question that came to mind is shoe trees. Do makers sell trees to fit a specific last? Carmina sells a tree for the Inca last but for $75 seems a bit steep but may be worth it if it's works better than a one size fits all model. Is this correct?
Typically only very high end shoes offer lasted shoe trees. It's not necessary, honestly. Get some that reasonably well fill out the space; not too small but not so tight you need a hammer to insert. Manufacturers (like AE's Woodlore brand) offer sizing charts for their trees
 

breakaway01

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Walnut is a striking color but IMO not nearly as versatile as a dark brown or burgundy. Agree that you don’t need to spend extra for lasted trees at this price point.
 

Bubbrubb

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help me understand why a darker color is more versatile?
i really like the look of the carmina compared to the JF (they both look great in my opinion) although the carmina has a significantly lighter color. should they not darekn with time? i dont envision buying mutiple higher end shoes, so i'd like to really nail this choice if possible
 

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aj2603

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This is a mistake that i have mad and eventually learned from it.
Who u start out your shoe collection we always look towards something that catches out eye. Something different. Something unique. Who u buy this and u are happy, but soon realise that it is not as versatile as it seems.

There are a few points i would like to make here:

1. Dark colours are more versatile. Nothing beats a dark brown or black plain shoe. You can were it with 90% of you wardrobe. No matter what ur trouser colour is. All you major colour groups get covered.

2. They draw less attention. They been in more. Lets say for example, u buy a really good looking bright tan coloured shoe. It is gonna stand out. People will notice it. But if u start wearing it every day or every other day. people will notice it more that u don't have many shoes in ur wardrobe.

3. Loud shoes distract and take attention away from you outfit. If u r going for this then sure it can be a good thing. But then if u wear loud shoes with a superb suit, The suit may not get noticed enough.

4. Lighter shoes are harder to maintain.U have to be careful as they show stain easily and can change colour depending on ur polish.

That being said. I am not saying never buy bring shoes. U should have some in ur wardrobe. I personally have many.
But when u start off ur wardrobe. Its better to cover ur bases first and go for darker colours. Once u have the basics, then u can go for loud shoes.
 

Bubbrubb

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As an aside, I came across Vass semi brogue in an F last for under $500 shipped. Would this be a good deal? It's a dark cognac color that seems would work well with most outfits
 

breakaway01

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That is a good price for Vass and the shoes are quite versatile in color/style. You do want to be confident about your sizing and my caveat about leather soles in the clinic still holds.
 

Bubbrubb

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That is a good price for Vass and the shoes are quite versatile in color/style. You do want to be confident about your sizing and my caveat about leather soles in the clinic still holds.
Thanks for the feedback! I am an ear doc so I don't suspect there will be much bad stuff my shoes will come in contact with
 

Sfroide3

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For a 500usd budget it's better to buy two pairs at 250 usd than one at 500usd. Your shoes need to rest between wear especially if you are going to wear them for hours. The leather needs to dry - that is why we add shoe trees and let the shoes rest of at least a day between wears.

If it is your first quality shoes I would suggest you buy two pairs of Meermin instead of one Carmina or Vass. You will also be able to experiment two different styles. You can even do a pair of the Meermin maestro line with JR sole and a basic one. I think it would be a safer start for the life of your shoes.

Edit: for 600 usd you can also do two pairs of Carlos Santos if you want something made in Europe.

I would not recommend AE at full price even with a 15% off - styling is very old school and quality for the price is not fine.
 

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