Shoe suggestions. Miles of walking in North Africa and Europe. 8 months.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Rob4, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Rob4

    Rob4 Member

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    I've enjoyed looking through the threads on this site, and finally decided to create an account once I reached an impasse.

    Background
    I just received a very prestigious fellowship for dissertation work in North Africa and Europe. Ill be over for 8-9 months and I'll spend my time nearly completely in urban areas. In these places, its easy to find yourself walking 2-5 miles in these areas. I tend to pack somewhat light. So far, I've been a big fan of the unstructured cord blazer, dark jeans, trousers. I've since found that the signature stretch polo (no logo) from express fits without looking like a circus tent. It fits my arms and chest, which can be an issue.

    I wasn't aware that bodytype was so important in the selection of shoes before reading the many posts here. So, for full disclosure, I am 5 foot 9, have a 44 inch chest, 33 inch waist, and 17.5 inch arms. I'm kind of stocky, and its a problem to shop around sometimes. I've read on this site that large feet (mine are 11EE) can benefit from a cap to visually cut the length while shorter guys can benefit from rounded toe shoes.


    My go to black shoes for a long, long time have been two pairs of Dr Martens oxford square toes. They look exactly like these solovairs. I've really liked the ample room for my toes. However, it has come to my attention from reading this forum that the round toe can make you look taller. Regardless, I've been very happy with these DM's for my black shoes. The shoes do well in a variety of weather conditions, can handle miles upon miles effortlessly, and I can shine them to bring their luster back. This helps keep a neat look that is sometimes not possible with shoes you do not shine.

    At the risk of committing an apostasy, my brown shoes have been similar to these Rockports, though the model they sell now is decidedly more plain. Rockports have been a reliable shoe, though they are no where as durable as my Dr Martens. The soles are thick on both types, and my feet appreciate them much more than thinner-soled rubber-soled leather shoes.


    Problem
    I will be walking many, many miles over a long stretch of time, shoes that I plan to bring need to be well-suited for a variety of weather conditions, and move within a few formality settings -- generally casual to academic semi-formal. I have to pack light, so I'm uncertain if any formal wear is coming with me. I have been considering the same shoes again, I suspect largely from the Mere-exposure effect. To attempt to break myself from the grip of this psychological phenomenon, I have decided to come here for other opinions. I've read threads on here suggestng these cole haans, among other shoes. I've had experience with the slightly comically high heel from Whites, and my feet love it. Love it. These have caught my eye, though I am uncertain about going with a boot. I'm less interested in the redwings considering similar price points, though i will look at them as I do have a redwings store in town.

    What am I missing?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012


  2. Rob4

    Rob4 Member

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    Bump. Post was buried by the process of verification required of first posters.
     


  3. meister

    meister Senior member

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    Not trying to be funny buy if you do a lot of sand walking probably top quality desert boots that you can access quickly to remove sand and are lightweight. You might also consider using a cotton canvas elasticised gaiter type covering over the lacing like tradesmen wear to prevent soil and sand entering the shoe.

    As for more formal shoes you will need a good pair of captoes black shoes and maybe some form of tan brogued shoe for less formal occasions with a blazer or to wear with jeans. Some good quality light weight chinos should be in the kit.

    As the desert turns quite cold at night and along the Med you would need some form of modern cold weather blouson jacket for that situation or a jacket.

    A good pair of flip flops/havaianas/thongs for walking around indoors as a well and around pool areas for safety.

    Maybe a pair of high quality Sperry boat shoes could double as well for informal times parties etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012


  4. mr monty

    mr monty Senior member

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    You are missing some desert boots
     


  5. Rob4

    Rob4 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I will not be in the desert. I will be in an urban environment hardly different in climate from southern Italy. I just nailed down some lightweight chinos, and I'm working on the blazer - as soon as I talk with the tailor. I'm not sure if I'm bringing my captoe black shoes. I'm on the fence.
     


  6. Longmorn

    Longmorn Senior member

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    Congrats on the fellowship - no small achievement. If you're willing/able to share, would be interested to hear more about the topic and research.

    Given the amount of walking you're going to be doing, you'll likely want a shoe that looks relatively formal/understated while delivering a higher level of performance and support than a typical (or even high end) dress shoe. I'd look for something with a vibram sole, and maybe even buy it in slightly too large a size so that you can use a padded in-sole, which you can change as they wear out.

    Depending on your budget and the aesthetics you're after, you might want to look at Wolverine or Ron Rider, particularly the cordovan models.
     


  7. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    1. Clark's Original Desert Boots, in suede. Cheap at $100ish, disposable after wear. Easy to fit. Best option IMO.

    2. Alden Indy Boots, but rather expensive as a beater.

    Stay away from Cordovan; wears hot with little give. Some might fit fine out of the box but kill your feet after 2 miles.
     


  8. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Bring your black captoe just in case for formal events.
     


  9. Rob4

    Rob4 Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions, Longmom and chogall. Before this thread, I was strongly considering both of these round toe Solovairs [1][2] along with what was mentioned above in my post. Now there are other options to consider.
     


  10. bellyhungry

    bellyhungry Senior member

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    Check out Clarks Original Desert Trek. Pretty comfortable and versatile.
     


  11. PipersSon

    PipersSon Senior member

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    I know you said you're not interested in Red Wing. However, since you are giving it a try I would suggest the moc toe Oxfords, although they are not dressy. Very tough leather, softer crepe soles, great to walk long distances (but you will need to break them in) . In the US you can get the models 8105, 8106 and 8109. I've recently bought all three and love them as part of my rotation.

    The Red wing stores I have visited tend not to carry the moc toe oxford, so you will need to try online retailers, ebay (plenty of people sell them on the bay). But remember these size around a full size to a size and a half larger. On other words, if you're a size 9 US, a size 8 or even 7.5 will work for you. I am an 8.5E (wide) US and the 7.5 D moc toe oxford is a hair large for me.

    A more formal version would be the Postman. I have not worn it, but believe that it could suit your needs for a formal/ walking shoe. As the name suggests it was deigned as a formal shoe for postmen.

    You can look 'em up all on this site: Rd wing oxfords.
     


  12. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    Just a helpful tip: "desert boots" are not just for the desert. In fact I doubt anyone here has ever actually worn their desert boots in a real desert. They are versatile, comfortable and cheap. Consider them.
     


  13. Longmorn

    Longmorn Senior member

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    ^Good call on the Red Wings.

    Mcbrown - Not sure about the OP, but I read the suggestions above as Altamas and like. I take it you meant Clarks and their ilk?
     


  14. Rob4

    Rob4 Member

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    These points are greatly appreciated. Some of these were really just off my radar. For example, I had dismissed the postman because of aesthetics on the sole. I will give this one and the others attention. I apologize, mcbrown. I have had explain to some very well-traveled and intelligent people, recently, on how I was not working near the Sahara. That was my mistake.
     


  15. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    No apologies necessary! I just wanted to make sure you didn't overlook a viable option on a misunderstanding. :)
     


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