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Is it really worth it to buy expensive shoes?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Jared Delaney, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Jared Delaney

    Jared Delaney Member

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    Hello community! This is my first time here. I work a corporate job for a big retailer and have recently got more interested in shoes. In particular, I have been reading about the difference between regularly constructed shoes and Goodyear Welts. For the record, I am not a VP or anything like that, if that even factors in. I do well though.

    I am frugal by nature, which puts me in the category of Johnston & Murphy and Cole Haan for my work shoes, which can also double as going out shoes if need be. I use shoe trees, polish, and conditioner. The J&M shoes feel awesome on my feet and I can usually score them for about $100 on sale and have got some J&M Tyndall's for stupid cheap in the past.

    My loaded question is this, do you feel it is really warranted to step up to Allen Edmonds level of shoe? If I had about 5-7 pairs of my "frugal" shoes then I wouldn't be wearing them out that fast and I give them time to dry/rest.

    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Also, what others shoe makers am I not thinking of that are good quality? Keep in mind I am frugal. but could go up if warranted. Finally, do you have any go-to sources for good deals on shoes? Black Friday? Nordstrom Rack? What about AE seconds? Are those any good?
     


  2. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    Allen Edmonds isn't a step up from anything much other than sneakers, in my opinion. And they're not expensive. But, to answer your question: yes, it really is worth it.

    Once you start to gain some appreciation for how better-constructed shoes, made on better lasts, with better leather actually feel compared to the clogs you've been used to, you find that you'll climb the ladder of shoe makers and eventually wind up at Edward Green, Saint Crispin's, and one or two others. From there, the only place to go is bespoke.
     


  3. Jared Delaney

    Jared Delaney Member

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    I suppose expensive is relative. To me, paying $400 seems expensive whereas it might not to you. That is because I never grew up with money, until now, and have always had a frugal mindset. That being said, I can easily get AE shoes for $250 or so which is certainly not bad at all. In no way would I ever pay $1,500 for shoes as my budget does not allow that. My stocks and Roth IRA are a true investment, which is what I put my money toward. Hey, I'd love to have those shoes though haha. Good feedback.
     


  4. CloudLi

    CloudLi Senior Member

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    No, it does not worth it. Unless you like beautiful shoes, and willing to pay the beauty itself, otherwise it does not worth it. AE's sole won't last longer than JM and leather soles certainly wont last longer than rubber soles. Resoling is well above $100 so why not just buy a new pair J&M? Buy cheap shoes on deep discount replace them when needed is the best way for the people who do not appreciate beautiful shoes.
    PS: I still do not think J&M for $80 is a good deal, buy Meermin for $70, idea is to buy okay shoes cheap and never resole, only buying new
     


  5. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    Yes, you're absolutely right, whether something is expensive or not is entirely subjective.

    I think as far as shoes are concerned, however, there is a fairly clear correlation between cost and quality (make, materials, fit) and you'll find that progression elsewhere on this site. The best advice is always to buy the best you can afford.

    Once upon a time I firmly believed that paying $1500 for a pair of shoes was insanity. And I certainly could not have afforded to do so. But now, I'm a little reticent to reveal how many pairs of Edward Greens I own. Good luck on your journey of discovery and welcome to the forum.
     


  6. suited

    suited Distinguished Member

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    The vast majority of people would consider $400 shoes to be expensive. I'd agree that on SF, Allen Edmonds is not considered expensive, but the existence of a $2M car doesn't mean that a $175K car isn't expensive. Having said that, Allen Edmonds leaves a lot to be desired in terms of little details and styling, but they're just as comfortable as the $800 shoes I've owned, and for what you get they're a decent value - especially on sale. As I get older, and ironically as I'm able to afford nicer dress shoes, I'm less concerned with wearing more expensive shoes and more concerned with wearing truly comfortable shoes more often, but YMMV. I'd wear my 1907 mocs or sneakers everyday if I could. I still enjoy nice dress shoes, but wearing them daily isn't how I'd prefer to enjoy them.

    To the OP, if you like nice shoes, invest in them. If you're expecting to get a big jump in comfort simply by spending $1,200 instead of $400, you're going to be disappointed, unless you're going bespoke because your foot requires it. Allen Edmonds has sales all the time. I'd wait for a sale if frugality is your concern.
     


  7. CloudLi

    CloudLi Senior Member

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    Fit and comfort have nothing to do with quality. No last fit me better than the garbage shoes from Saks house brand
     


  8. Jared Delaney

    Jared Delaney Member

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    Yeah, so my J&Ms feel awesome on my feet. They fit like a glove, and the price is right.
     


  9. aj805

    aj805 Senior Member

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    It's hard to say anything is worth buying unless you can clearly see the value in it. If you are happy with the shoes you've been wearing, what would compel you to consider more expensive shoes?

    The points people can make about the benefits of more expensive shoes may not apply to your life, and then there's the fact that just because a shoe is more expensive that doesn't mean it'll actually provide the benefits we can generally say of more expensive shoes. I'm pretty sure I've seen department store "fashion" brand models that were much more expensive than my Carlos Santos, but were complete junk in comparison.

    I personally spend more for CS and Meermin, et al. because they look nicer to my eye than the Cole Haans, and are generally better constructed so they'll last longer and break in rather than just falling apart.

    Shoes more at EG levels are undoubtedly superior in style and quality, but it is beyond me to be able to appreciate the cost and level of refinement they bring above what my own shoes provide in order to make them worth the cost. I can "afford" them, but I really don't care that much, and personally find it a bit obscene. It's not inevitable that if we care about our dress we must all be on a path towards the highest possible quality (and price) we can afford. We can make judgments as to what fits our values and style and move on happily with life.
     


  10. Vinsep

    Vinsep Well-Known Member

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    I was going to say that some SFer would tell you AE is for peasants haha.

    Personally I think questions like this has very litter value. One person may list hundreds of benefits of one thing yet they maybe nothing to you. Shoes are consumable consumer goods. Once you go beyond the level of functionality, the value is whatever one deems to be. If you are happy with what you get and what you have, and do not consider some tangible or intangible “features” valuable, so be it. Just be happy about it.

    I guess my main point is, you as an individual really have to think this through for yourself. And there is no point accepting other people’s viewpoint blindly or push yours onto others.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017


  11. Nick V.

    Nick V. Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    If you plan to maintain them properly on a regular basis then, it's worth it.

    You may not think so but a high quality shoe IS an investment. No, not like a Roth -or- IRA but in terms of getting your moneys worth (value). If maintained properly an expensive pair of shoes will out last the cheap-o brands that you have mentioned sometimes 5X over. So, in a given period of time what did it cost you to keep replacing the cheap shoes vs 1 pair of high-grades. Not only are you getting a better product but, the value is greater.
     


  12. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Distinguished Member

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    Buying nice shoes is often the gateway to buying nice clothes. Turn away while you can!
     


  13. Vinsep

    Vinsep Well-Known Member

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    With respect Nick, I think an investment is something that will appreciate in value. So unless you bought something you would like to resell, and happen to be able to sell it at a higher price, shoes are not an investment(My coworker bought a pair of sneaker for $300 and the market price is $2000 now. However according to him, it’s normally not the case).

    That said, I don’t disagree that higher priced shoes normally tend to offer more value. Yet, once you have used it, it tend to depreciate in value whether it’s the aesthetic(creases, rolls), structure integrity(sole, upper stitching), or other.

    Furthermore, caring high quality shoes cost money too. Renovateur costs $23, Sapir creams are $19. These things do add up. And finally, at some point you have to resole. That costs a fortune too. By and large, thoughout the life time of more expensive shoes, I wonder how much savings are there.

    I appreciate the confort of a well worn shoe, and get emotionally attached to stuff I use. Those are something I cherish, but it’s not an economical argument if longevity is the only consideration.

    BTW, could you answer two questions I have?

    1. How do you re-craft shoes without the original lasts?

    2. Can one only replace sole guard(Topy) instead of resoling?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017


  14. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    The reverse is also true. Buying nice clothes is a gateway to buying nice shoes.
     


  15. purpleporing

    purpleporing Well-Known Member

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    I think you have to define for yourself what an "investment" means. To me, an investment can either be something that appreciates in value, or something that saves you money in the long run. So higher quality shoes and clothes etc. can certainly be an investment if it saves you from having to replace a bunch of cheaper shoes/clothes that add up in cost.

    That being said, I don't know if it's really worth stepping up the brand if J&M shoes are fitting you like a glove. Comfort and fit are generally more important than anything else, and that's true with suits and stuff too. Better to buy $100 J&Ms that fit and feel awesome over $250 AEs that don't.
     


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