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Best outsole for city walking

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Coldfire3k3, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Coldfire3k3

    Coldfire3k3 Active Member

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    I'm trying to select the best outsole for a MTO pair of St. Crispin's boots (mod 591 also known as the PC boot).

    I'm less concerned about aesthetics. I primarily want something comfortable for city (pavement) walking that can also handle exposure to wet weather once in a while (so it should have decent grip).

    I have the following options:

    - Leather sole (thin, medium or double)
    - Leather sole with vibram topy
    - Dainite sole
    - Commando sole
    - Ridgeway sole
    - Crepe sole

    What would you recommend? Is there any sole in particular that is generally considered better for long term foot health (especially if you are planning on walking around in them a lot)?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018

  2. Patek14

    Patek14 Senior Member

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    ***Just get a damn Dainite. It is the best sole for not looking like a clunky piece of crap and wears really nicely. just not meant for snow...
     

  3. Coldfire3k3

    Coldfire3k3 Active Member

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    Thanks Patek14!

    My research indicates the following:

    Cushioning and shock absorption (generally seems to be stated by podiatrists as very important):
    Crepe > Ridgeway > Commando / Dainite / leather (though I've read that leather soles soften over time and molds to the shape of your foot, in this state how good is the cushioning and shock absorption of leather?)

    Breathability:
    Leather > rubber

    Water resistance:
    Rubber > leather

    Grip:
    Commando > Ridgeway > Dainite / Crepe / Leather (though I read that scuffing leather soles can make the grip better but how does this compare to the grip provided by rubber?)

    Does anyone disagree with the above assessment?
     

  4. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi

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    I find crepe to be generally the most comfortable, but there are so many factors that go into the comfort of a shoe, particularly if you're doing a lot of walking. I don't know if you've owned StCs before, but they're not the best for really long walks -- the waist is a bit stiff and uppers cut very close to the foot. I love mine, but they're not something I'd pick up if I was planning to do a ton of walking that day.

    My most comfortable shoes for walking are Eastland Monhegan chukkas, which are made from a thick pull-up leather. Uppers are softer; midsole very flexible; and crepe provides a bit of cushioning. Walkability is more about the overall build than just the sole material.

    But they're way too causal to wear with tailored clothing. If I had to do a lot of walking in suit appropriate shoes, I'd either wear a pair of bespoke shoes or Alden.

    Whether you choose crepe seems more like a stylistic issue. The situations where you can wear crepe soles are narrower than leather soles. But if you're choosing that casual of a shoe, it's worth thinking about other types for walking purposes. A pair of crepe soled StCs is still going to be less comfortable than some better built for walking.
     

  5. Coldfire3k3

    Coldfire3k3 Active Member

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    Thanks dieworkwear. Do you have any experience with Ridgway or Dainite soles? I'll likely choose between one of these.
     

  6. Oshare

    Oshare Senior Member

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    My vote is for Dianite or the similar style by Vibram.

    From the side their profile is similar to leather soles, but they are more adverse weather tolerant. They also have a decent “feel”while walking, and are quite durable.

    To me, Ridgeway soles are a bit too much like hiking or construction boots.
     

  7. Coldfire3k3

    Coldfire3k3 Active Member

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    Has anyone tried St. Crispin's Yoyo sole?

    How does this compare with thin Vibram topy on leather (in terms of grip and cushioning)?
     

  8. SortofFitz

    SortofFitz Well-Known Member

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    If your main criteria are cushioning and grip, I wouldn't rule out commando. I suspect that much of the aversion to this option on dressier footwear stems from the aesthetics and a perception that lug soles are stiff. But, as Nick V. notes here (while commending Dainite), this is really a category of soles encompassing different products. Some can be quite comfortable on city sidewalks, and a well-chosen commando sole may really shine in messy weather if you're willing to accept the profile.

    In my experience with Vibram commandos, there was a short break-in period. During the first few wears, the soles wore down quickly in places and the boots revealed their overall flexibility. Since then, good comfort and acceptable durability on a range of urban terrains. Your mileage may vary.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018

  9. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi

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    I have shoes in both and don't notice any difference in comfort between those.
     

  10. Blake Stitched Blues

    Blake Stitched Blues Senior Member

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    I'd rather wear Eccos than shoes on Dainite. I hate them with a passion - stiff, hard, jarring, inflexible soles that are slippery on wet surfaces and feel like they're made from the melted down rubber of a policeman's cosh. You can't avoid the damn things with the English shoemakers nowadays and I've come to really resent the stranglehold they have on the rubber sole market.

    I like Vibram or crepe soles for casual shoes and single leather for dress shoes. There are also tons of well designed, slim rubber soles out there from EGs R1, RM Williams Longhorn, Carmina's Tomir, Loake's Lightwelt, St. Crispin's Yoyo and Bonafe's Millerghe (sp?). Dainite was used for a long time because it was the slimmest out of a handful of rubber sole options and there was little else available. There are vastly better options available now if you just look around.

    Just my opinion of course.

    /rant
     

  11. DXBMark

    DXBMark Senior Member

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    Dainite=Evil as previous poster notes they are hard, jarring and brutal on your feel, and they never break in. IMHO they are for folks who don’t walk more than a few blocks from the subway to the office. The few pairs I’ve acquired with dainite have gone straight to the conbler for replacement with leather or leather commando.
    Nothing compares to leather soles (except crepe but there’s an aesthetic issue there)- the leather forms to your foot, breathes and provides a perfect balance of support and flexibility. It is also fine in wet weather and grips perfectly well (once broken in-leather soles will hold onto little bits of grit and sand etc making them quite adequate in the traction department.) I would recommend 7mm thickness for walking comfort (4/5mm of anything just isn’t going to suffice) and that’s still thin enough for a sleek profile. If you don’t mind going to a 1cm thickness commando soles are an option as are topy soles - but you loose breathability and I find that in wet conditions an external dainite/topy/commando sole actually keeps water in and causes more problems with swelling of the midsole. Stick with well made leather soles, treat them with product on occasion and your feet will thank you /rant
     

  12. wurger

    wurger Distinguished Member

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    I have had no trouble with single dainite soles, double leather or dainite soles are stiff and hard to break in.

    The Dainite soles are definitely not slippery in wet weather, they are my go to shoes as I check the weather before I leave home every morning.
     

  13. MrBorland

    MrBorland Member

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    Agreed. I have a single pair of dainites, and they'll be my last. They're on a pair of Crockett & Jones oxfords - nice shoes, and the soles ought to make for the perfect all-around city shoe. Instead, the dainite is hard and jarring, and make the shoes quite heavy. I wear them to the office and/or nice social occasions, then take them off when I get home.

    I'm a fan of good leather soles, but admit they wouldn't be my choice for dedicated city walking and/or wet conditions. In this case, then, my vote would be the commando or the Ridgeway.
     

  14. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    I concur about Dainite being hard and not terribly comfortable for long-distance city walking. For my money, the best shoe for extended city walking is the Alden All-weather Walker. It has a crepe sole that provides cushioning and grip in the wet. The shoe itself is not the most elegant and for that reason I seldom wear mind at home anymore. But last week in London I wore my pair 4 out of 5 days.
     

  15. mirinjobra

    mirinjobra Well-Known Member

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    I had commando for a while but eventually the heel kind of rubbed off. Had to get it replaced.

    I have C&J Chelsea V which comes with double soled dainite - although for a decent time period they are VERY uncomfortable, once they break in they are extremely comfortable and durable. I'd go with double soled dainite for bad weather and bad ground (I work at a place which has rocks for the parking lot, and these hold up well). For city use I would recommend single soled dainite.
     

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