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Shoes - if you could only have 3-4 pairs, what would they be?

zerostyle

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Let me start by saying: I -hate- shopping for shoes.

Why? It's very hard for me to get a good fit, they are expensive, and I'm never completely sure what style I should be going for.

As a minimalist, I'd like to come up with around 3-4 pairs of shoes to cover the following situations:

1) Work / business casual - brown shoe - to be worn with a button-down and slacks / no tie
2) Work / business casual - black shoe - to be worn with a button-down and slacks / no tie
3) Formal wear with suit ( may overlap with #1 and #2 )
4) Non-sneaker option for wear with dark jeans. Should be appropriate with a blazer. (May overlap with #1)

RULES:
- Shoes should sell for < $300 MSRP. (Should be able to find on sale in the $200 range)
- Shoes should be relatively easy to buy online or in person
- Bonus points if you don't mention Allen Edmonds because I can't fit in any of their lasts

I realize this is a pretty generic question, but I thought it would be great if people could help me come up with the LEAST number of shoes that are the most versatile. I am also ok with just mentioning the style of shoe.

For example, a good reply could be:

1. Plain toe blucher, dark brown, rough price, preferred brand, ( embed an image of an example )
2. Cap toe, black, rough price ( embed an image of an example )
3/4 ...

I've searched around a bit, but haven't found too many threads that try to cover the minimalist aspect of buying shoes.
 

patrickBOOTH

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Originally Posted by zerostyle
Let me start by saying: I -hate- shopping for shoes.

Why? It's very hard for me to get a good fit, they are expensive, and I'm never completely sure what style I should be going for.

As a minimalist, I'd like to come up with around 3-4 pairs of shoes to cover the following situations:

1) Work / business casual - brown shoe - to be worn with a button-down and slacks / no tie
2) Work / business casual - black shoe - to be worn with a button-down and slacks / no tie
3) Formal wear with suit ( may overlap with #1 and #2 )
4) Non-sneaker option for wear with dark jeans. Should be appropriate with a blazer. (May overlap with #1)

RULES:
- Shoes should sell for < $300 MSRP. (Should be able to find on sale in the $200 range)
- Shoes should be relatively easy to buy online or in person
- Bonus points if you don't mention Allen Edmonds because I can't fit in any of their lasts

I realize this is a pretty generic question, but I thought it would be great if people could help me come up with the LEAST number of shoes that are the most versatile. I am also ok with just mentioning the style of shoe.

For example, a good reply could be:

1. Plain toe blucher, dark brown, rough price, preferred brand, ( embed an image of an example )
2. Cap toe, black, rough price ( embed an image of an example )
3/4 ...

I've searched around a bit, but haven't found too many threads that try to cover the minimalist aspect of buying shoes.




You realize you have made this impossible with your rules? If you are going minimalist, why do you have to also go cheap? That doesn't make much sense.

Haven't you heard of the OneShoe?
 

alliswell

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I would Ask Andy About Clothes (and shoes).
 

Trompe le Monde

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zerobudget,

if i had to reduce my shoes to 3-4 pairs, i would combine features:

-brown suede double monkstraps on dainite for versatility
-tan apron split toes (e.g. dover) for casual (suede also serves this purpose)
-oxblood/burgundy/antigued adelaides for super nice and dressy
-black captoe on rounded square last for being low key

 

EBugatti

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Zero,

You realize your question is like asking a forum of exotic car afficionados what sort of econobox/commuter car they would want to drive.
 

patrickBOOTH

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I think this is just an elaborate way of one of those people who ask for the best possible shoe but don't want to spend any money and are aggravated that they don't like any of the styles presented to them.
 

ktrp

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TBH, I find this almost too flexible. You need to make more decisions that we can't make for you.

You need a black closed toe shoe. We established that much.

You need three other pairs of shoes. You'd like at least one to be brown. You'd like one to be a little more casual.

Things to think about:
- do you want any of them to be a lace up boot, chukkah boot, or chelsea boot?
- do you like brogues?
- do you like suede?
- not included in your requirements - ability to handle bad weather.

Biggest problem area:
- fit. You say 'no AE last fits'. I find that hard to believe, unless you are really a fussy primadonna in which case you need to quintuple your budget and go bespoke. If you don't like AEs and don't live in the U.K., you're looking at doing transatlantic ordering. If not a single AE fits you, good luck on buying shoes online that fit. Unless you can figure this out, this whole thing is doomed.

Assuming you can figure out how to order shoes that fit online, brands I'd be looking at that I actually own:
Herring, Barker, Loake (non corrected leather from all 3)
Brands I'm considering in this range:
AS on sale, Loding (france).

Most of these makers use corrected leather on some models, and you need to figure out how they describe it in order to avoid it. Barker calls it 'Hi-Shine'. Loake calls it 'polished leather'.

I'm trying to build a basic shoe rotation in that price range myself. _Personally_ I like a little but not too much decoration on my own shoes - I don't like wingtips/full brogues that much, but prefer a little detailing. I have a pair of punch cap AEs oxford's in black, black chelsea boots (Blundstones), Tan pebble grain lace up boots w/ dainite soles (Loake for Charles Tyrwhitt) and just added two pairs of Herrings: a tan 1/4+ brogue and a black monkstrap with medallion. I have a few other pairs of crap shoes (Blundstones being on the border of this category). I'd like to add another brown shoe, though I'm unsure of style (perhaps double monk, unfortunately I'm not sure I like the ones I can afford too much).

I use the two rubber soled boots as snow/wet weather wear.

$300 is enough to get calf leather shoes from the low end of the U.K. makers. Its also enough for AEs, obviously. Loding I've heard are decent value (stiff leather, okay construction for the price, but where else am I going to kop retail whole cuts at that price?).
 

Leaves

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Originally Posted by zerostyle
Let me start by saying: I -hate- shopping for shoes.

Why? It's very hard for me to get a good fit, they are expensive, and I'm never completely sure what style I should be going for.


Give the money to your girlfriend instead; she'll make better use of it. "A happy woman in a pair of high heels is better than a grumpy bloke in ugly oxfords!" That's what my dad always told me!
 

zerostyle

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Thanks everyone for the replies so far. I expected to get some nasty replies, so let me try to elaborate a bit to help narrow my decisions: First, I see no reason why a $300 MSRP limit is unreasonable. I've seen plenty of good brands (AE, Alden, Loake, Alfred Sargent) land right in this price range. Things I like / don't like: Detail To KTRP: I very much agree with your sense of style. I like shoes with just a little hint of detail. I generally have not been a fan of wingtips or excessive broguing. Color For brown shoes, I'm a fan of rich dark colors. I agree that corrected grain leather generally looks plastic-y and cheap to me. With black, it doesn't seem to matter much, though. Shoe type In general, I prefer lace-ups. Not a fan of loafers at all. Plain toe shoes - I like the simplicity, but they always seem kind of boring to me Cap toes - I like them for work environments, but not ever in a casual setting Split toes - Mixed feelings on these. I feel like they are more casual/dressy Moc toes - I feel these are kind of hit-or-miss for me. These seem like a good option that could be worn either at work or casually Typical wear Unfortunately, my shoes will get a LOT of wear. I typically walk around 2.5 miles per day in all kinds of conditions ( including snow ). A few last comments/questions - I don't know much about boots. How appropriate are they for work wear? Maybe pick up a pair of chukka boots just for casual wear? - Sadly, as much as you may not believe this, I can not find an AE that fits me. I spent well over 2 hours in an AE shop trying on various shoes and they all either pinched me terribly in the toe box or were too loose if I went with a bigger size or width.
 

M.D.

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-Black punched captoe: eg. AS Greenwich
-Dark Brown Wingtip: eg. C&J Finsbury
-Bordeaux Pennyloafer eg. Bass Weejun
-Sand Suede chukka eg. Clarks Desert Boot
Some are over 300 USD, others under but they should balance each other out...
 

mkarim

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Originally Posted by zerostyle
Let me start by saying: I -hate- shopping for shoes.

You will learn...
 

tim_horton

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First two are for suits:

1. Black cap toe oxford
2. Dark brown half brogue oxford

Next two are for everything else:

3. Dark brown wingtip blucher
4. Brown or snuff suede shoe - oxford/blucher/chukka/wingtip
 

Sanguis Mortuum

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Originally Posted by Leaves
Give the money to your girlfriend instead; she'll make better use of it. "A happy woman in a pair of high heels is better than a grumpy bloke in ugly oxfords!" That's what my dad always told me!


How strange, that's the exact opposite of the StyleForum motto.
 

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