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Most Important Shoe Qualities

cluelesstofashion

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As my name implies I am clueless to fashion and brand new to the site. That being said, I am here to learn. My first purchase is going to be new dress shoes. What I am wondering is what are the top qualities to look for in a dress shoe (assuming this will be my primary pair so they need to be versatile). I work in an office environment. So what should I be looking for in a quality ($200 and up) pair of shoes? Leather or rubber soles? What kind of leather? Stitching? Insole materials? I'm sure I am missing a bunch. What makes a dress shoe "good"?
 

NoNameNecessary

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Leather quality and construction quality. One usually comes with the other and you cannot tell the difference by looking without spending lots of time to learn. Just buy reputable brands (I am not saying Gucci or designer brands), you will get both.
 

S.R.M. 1977

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I recommend using part of your budget for shoe trees, as you will need them immediately.

Look for:
* leather lining
* full grain leather (top grain, suede, nubuck, are fine as well)
* goodyear welt or blake stitching

Rubber soles offer more traction and last longer. Leather soles usually look sleeker and are more comfortable.

Versatile shoes are best when just starting because you can get the most uses out of them. A dark colored derby can be used for the office, out on a date, and perhaps at a wedding if you keep everything else very conservative.
 

Oshare

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Welcome to Styleforum. It's a great place to learn about men's style and products.

Stick with shoe makers (like the ones often discussed on this forum) rather than fashion designer brands. What you'll usually get is a quality product that lasts years or decades, rather than paying a premium for the designer label and uncertain materials or construction.

A few things I'd say makes a dress shoe "good" is: fit and comfort, nice leather, timeless style, durability, buyer satisfaction, and value for money (over the life of the shoe).

If you stick with reputable shoe makers, I think you generally get what you pay for. As a first pair, you should be able to buy something decent for about $250 to $400. If you can afford $500 to $700, you should be able to get something very nice that should last you decades to a lifetime.
  • Leather quality -- real calf leather is a good all around shoe material. It will be durable, take a good shine, and look good over time. As you go up the price ladder, you are generally paying for higher quality leather and attention to finer construction details.
  • Rubber soles (like Vibram or Dianite) could be more versatile if you live in an area with a fair amount of rain throughout the year. Leather soles are nice, but there are just days when you probably shouldn't wear them.
  • Stitching -- Goodyear welt is often preferred because you can resole the shoe indefinitely. Blake stitched shoes are okay too, and often give a sleeker look, but generally cannot be resoled as many times. Avoid cemented shoes which are basically just disposable.
  • Insole material should generally be real leather for comfort, breathability, and durability.
All that said, my personal style recommendation for starter shoes to consider would be something like: dark brown, calf leather, plain toe or cap toe, conservative, oxford (derby's are okay but not quite as versatile IMO), with Vibram rubber soles.
 
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NoNameNecessary

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Welcome to Styleforum. It's a great place to learn about men's style and products.

Stick with shoe makers (like the ones often discussed on this forum) rather than fashion designer brands. What you'll usually get is a quality product that lasts years or decades, rather than paying a premium for the designer label and uncertain materials or construction.

A few things I'd say makes a dress shoe "good" is: fit and comfort, nice leather, timeless style, durability, buyer satisfaction, and value for money (over the life of the shoe).

If you stick with reputable shoe makers, I think you generally get what you pay for. As a first pair, you should be able to buy something decent for about $250 to $400. If you can afford $500 to $700, you should be able to get something very nice that should last you decades to a lifetime.
  • Leather quality -- real calf leather is a good all around shoe material. It will be durable, take a good shine, and look good over time. As you go up the price ladder, you are generally paying for higher quality leather and attention to finer construction details.
  • Rubber soles (like Vibram or Dianite) could be more versatile if you live in an area with a fair amount of rain throughout the year. Leather soles are nice, but there are just days when you probably shouldn't wear them.
  • Stitching -- Goodyear welt is often preferred because you can resole the shoe indefinitely. Blake and Blake Rapid are okay too, and often give a sleeker look, but generally cannot be resoled as many times. Avoid cemented shoes which are basically just disposable.
  • Insole material should generally be real leather for comfort, breathability, and durability.

All that said, my personal style recommendation for starter shoes to consider would be something like: dark brown, calf leather, plain toe or cap toe, conservative, oxford (derby's are okay but not quite as versatile IMO), with Vibram rubber soles.
Nah, Blake rapid stitched shoes can be resoled many times more than the best Goodyear welt shoes in the world.
 

Oshare

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Nah, Blake rapid stitched shoes can be resoled many times more than the best Goodyear welt shoes in the world.
Thanks. I think you may be right. I've edited my earlier post to remove "Blake Rapid".
 

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