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

bingo

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


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!
 
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JLibourel

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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.
 

ahdaeeeee

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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!
 

cptjeff

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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.
 
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JubeiSpiegel

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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.
 

fancazzista

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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.
 

bingo

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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.
Thanks for the tip on "formal" shoes


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.
 

bingo

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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!
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!
 

bingo

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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.
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!
 

bingo

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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.
Will check it out - thanks for the tip!
 

bingo

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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.
Will try Jeffersons also.. thanks!
 

archibaldleach

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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.

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!

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.
 

bingo

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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?



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..




Left shoe..

 

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