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Leather soles

Pandaros

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I know, I know, another thread about leather soles - but, trust me, this one is a little different. I read the forum excessively more than I post, and I've learnt a lot but I haven't seen this raised.

I'm looking for black Oxfords and found a pair I like at my price point. They've got leather soles and I'm very keen to try a pair with these soles (I've only got rubber ones). But my concern isn't with the usual things, but aesthetics. The leather soles look really good when they're new, but I've seen people walking around in them and after use the sole becomes worn and just doesn't look great. Granted, people don't see your soles often, but when they do...

Is this irrational? Can leather soles continue to look classy and nice? Does it even matter?
 

Leiker

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I know, I know, another thread about leather soles - but, trust me, this one is a little different. I read the forum excessively more than I post, and I've learnt a lot but I haven't seen this raised.

I'm looking for black Oxfords and found a pair I like at my price point. They've got leather soles and I'm very keen to try a pair with these soles (I've only got rubber ones). But my concern isn't with the usual things, but aesthetics. The leather soles look really good when they're new, but I've seen people walking around in them and after use the sole becomes worn and just doesn't look great. Granted, people don't see your soles often, but when they do...

Is this irrational? Can leather soles continue to look classy and nice? Does it even matter?
I would say it depends greatly on use. Will you be walking on city streets/sidewalks? They'll get much dirtier than if you're mainly using in indoor spaces. You could add Topy sole protectors or something similar.

I have a couple of pairs of shoes that I wear only for special occasions, resulting in much less wear on the soles or overall for that matter.
 

reidrothchild

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Are you talking about the bottom of the soles? Yes, those don't look great after some wear, but no one sees those unless you prop your feet up and show the world the bottoms of your shoes. If you're talking about the sides/edges, you can use edge dressing to touch those up every once in a while. If it really bothers you, just get a pair with a partial leather/partial rubber sole.
 

Pandaros

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I have the intention of only wearing them indoors at work, but we all know there's going to be impromptu trips to the pub. So I'm already acknowledging that staying indoors is a lost cause.

It's just that they look so damned nice when they're new that it's a real shame to spoil them! I've seen the sole protectors, but I don't really see the point. Might as well just get a rubber pair and save the cost of going to the cobbler.
 

twodice1

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Cobbler can apply a thin rubber layer to the soles to solve this.
 

mhip

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I have the intention of only wearing them indoors at work, but we all know there's going to be impromptu trips to the pub. So I'm already acknowledging that staying indoors is a lost cause.

It's just that they look so damned nice when they're new that it's a real shame to spoil them! I've seen the sole protectors, but I don't really see the point. Might as well just get a rubber pair and save the cost of going to the cobbler.
You could always go the rubber-overshoe route, and then toss them in the briefcase when you get to the pub.
As a vain, pretentious person myself, I feel your pain...
 

dieworkwear

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I think you should just embrace the wear and tear. Shoes look better with natural and honest wear. Assuming you're just getting into high-end shoes, it's natural to be obsessed with keeping the shoes looking in near-pristine condition as possible, as you may not have owned something like this before. But over time, I think most people come to appreciate the real reason why it's worth spending money on resolable shoes made from higher-end full-grain leathers. Well-made shoes develop a nice patina over time, which is why people want to resole them (even if it's often more economical to just buy a new pair of cheaper shoes).

No one sees your soles, and even when they do, a pair of well-worn shoes look better than those that are pristine and new. Personally, I don't like the look of rubber Topys on leather soles and I'm not sure they're even economical when compared to resoling. But to each their own.

Have been to trunk shows where the best-looking shoes are the oldest and hardest worn.
 
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Phileas Fogg

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Is this irrational? Can leather soles continue to look classy and nice? Does it even matter?
It’s not just irrational, it’s bloody nuts!

just kidding. Don’t worry yourself about it. They’re shoes. They’re meant to be worn and that’s what leather soled shoes do.

a couple of things though:
1) don’t abuse them (rain, salt, etc)
2) you can use sole conditioner to keep them from cracking
 

Pandaros

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Assuming you're just getting into high-end shoes, it's natural to be obsessed with keeping the shoes looking as in near-pristine condition as possible, as you may not have owned something like this before.
I think you've probably hit the (hob)nail on the head here. I have four pairs of shoes and boots that would fit in with most people's wardrobes here - I joined the forum soon after buying my first pair.

But, yes, each purchase is a big thing for me, because it's a sizeable cut from my disposable income so I become a bit precious about them. I mean, the shoes/boots I bought still look pristine I've taken such care of them. So that's why I'm looking at the shoes and thinking 'Hmmm, can I keep these nice or should I put my money elsewhere, because I'm not going to enjoy seeing them look worse.'

But you're right, let nature take it's course so I can enjoy wearing them
 

Leiker

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I think you should just embrace the wear and tear. Shoes look better with natural and honest wear. Assuming you're just getting into high-end shoes, it's natural to be obsessed with keeping the shoes looking in near-pristine condition as possible, as you may not have owned something like this before. But over time, I think most people come to appreciate the real reason why it's worth spending money on resolable shoes made from higher-end full-grain leathers. Well-made shoes develop a nice patina over time, which is why people want to resole them (even if it's often more economical to just buy a new pair of cheaper shoes).

No one sees your soles, and even when they do, a pair of well-worn shoes look better than those that are pristine and new. Personally, I don't like the look of rubber Topys on leather soles and I'm not sure they're even economical when compared to resoling. But to each their own.

Have been to trunk shows where the best-looking shoes are the oldest and hardest worn.
This is the way
 
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Pandaros

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It’s not just irrational, it’s bloody nuts!

just kidding. Don’t worry yourself about it. They’re shoes. They’re meant to be worn and that’s what leather soled shoes do.

a couple of things though:
1) don’t abuse them (rain, salt, etc)
2) you can use sole conditioner to keep them from cracking
Thanks, you've convinced me.
 

apd90700

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Is this irrational? Does it even matter?
Not irrational; you're spending a lot on nice shoes, you want them to hold up and look impressive. If it matters to you, then it matters.

I personally find the rubber soled shoes hold up well to many wears, and no need to add a rubber toppy. If you want to give leather soles a try, why not? If you later need a resole, there are plenty of cobblers to choose from that could apply a rubber sole replacement.
 

stuffedsuperdud

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Is this irrational?
To refuse to accept certain laws of physics and materials science? Yes kind of. They're also going to get scuffed up anyway from indoor use so there's that. Like, you'll have to go to the coffeemaker or bathroom (in that order) eventually, and I'd imagine the floors in there are not carpeted. They're also quite slippery when new and only stabilize after some scuffing, so there's a practical benefit. Card-carrying idiot, unfunny "comedian," worst Ms. Universe host ever and generally asinine old man Mr. Steve Harvey actually hacks at them for a bit with a knife before wearing them for the first time for this reason. Don't do that though; be better than Steve Harvey.

Can leather soles continue to look classy and nice?
I would actually argue that they look kind of tacky when brand new. Like, "oh look, new shoes." In fact, our patron saint of male vanity, the late great, broke-ass-mofo Beau Brummell used to pay a lackey to wear his new stuff for a bit to burn it in as he considered overly new stuff "vulgar," though that might be a bit of an unreasonable stance.

I'd say things look classy when they look like they've been used well as a part of an exciting life. From the shoe's perspective, no shoe wants to be a closet queen. It's purpose in life is to see you safely through the world's physical obstacles and it would be unfair to it to treat it like a baby. Let your shoes be shoes!

Every see the bottoms of a pair of Loubies? Now those are closet queens not really meant to be worn. The wearers are 99% women too, and every time they sit down and cross their legs, you're subject to a bright red surface around the arch of hte shoe but a scuffed up gnarly brown and gray mess where it touches the ground. That's not a good look, but that's also not a problem for men's shoes which again are meant to get better with use.


Personally, I don't like the look of rubber Topys on leather soles and I'm not sure they're even economical when compared to resoling. But to each their own.
I started adding Topys once I found out how stressful resoling can be for the shoe unless the cobbler is very careful to keep the welt for as many resoles as possible and to chain-stitch the new sole to the welt using the original holes. A Topy though you can just peel off when it wears out and slap a new one on, without touching the welt, gemming, and uppers.

Economically it costs about $50 to put Topys on vs maybe $100 to resole (my cobbler's prices), so there's maybe some small savings there. A Topy is really thin so I don't know how long it lasts compared to leather. As long as it lasts at least half as long, I'm getting my money's worth I figure. In wet conditions I'd wager that a topy might very well last longer than even a double leather sole so that definitely pays off for me, as I travel frequently to the PNW for work.

Aesthetically my cobbler has access to the entire range of Topy colors, not just black, so with a matching shade it's quite discreet. I agree the default black Topy is kind of ugly, certainly uglier than OP's initial concern of scuffs.
 

dieworkwear

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I started adding Topys once I found out how stressful resoling can be for the shoe unless the cobbler is very careful to keep the welt for as many resoles as possible and to chain-stitch the new sole to the welt using the original holes.
Aren't you paying a premium for a stitched-on sole though?
 
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