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Suggestions for my first decent pair of shoes

Cayne-Abel

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This is mainly for a law-office / courtroom environment, although I'd like to get something that will also look good on a night out. Price ceiling: $200. My size: 9. Looking for black shoes, as I think it'd be most versatile.

The only pair of shoes I have that aren't falling apart are square-toed black Italian-made Kenneth Coles, with a buckle. I've had them for about 4-5 years and they are still in good shape...but I'm told that the square-toed look is out of style, especially in business dress.

So I'm looking for suggestions. Pics / links would be doubly-appreciated.

General guidelines would also be helpful. For example, are there any looks or features that I should be staying away from, such as buckles? What level of quality can I get for $200?

EDIT: In case the info is needed for a shoe recommendation, my three suits are 1) Navy, 2) Charcoal with chalk-stripes, and 3) charcoal with thin, light stripes
 

madcurry

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A lot of the regulars will suggest you do a search, but there is a good sale right now that you should take advantage of. I would suggest that you liberate an additional $29 from your budget and pick up a pair of Allen Edmunds Fifth Avenues before the sale ends on Oct 12th. These are classic design that will never go out of style. They are goodyear welted and can be recrafted, so they will last longer than glued rubber sole shoes. Even at full Price AE are some of the best value in business shoes. http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline...ategory=120552 I would also suggest you invest in a pair of cedar shoe trees to improve the longevity of the shoes, and start saving for a second pair in brown. It is best to alternate your shoes to give them a chance to recover from use. Brown will look very nice with your suits as well.
 

madcurry

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I am bored at work so I will give a few guidelines in case you want to shop elsewhere. • Balmoral (closed) lacing is appropriate for wearing with suits. Take a look at the AE sale page: http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline...ew=image&sort= The Fifth Avenue, Van Ness and Cambridge would be good choices with a suit and all feature closed lacing. For an example of Blucher (open) lacing, look at the Powell and Sagamore. These would be more appropriate with dress trousers and a sport jacket, or even with Chinos (khakis) and jeans. • Simple is best when you only have one pair of dress shoes. The Van Ness style would be a good alternative, But the Cambridge might be overkill for some situations (interviews). The AE Park Avenue is considdered the standard for interviews, but is not as close to your target budget: http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline...ategory=120552 During this sale, the Fifth Avenue is the most versatile shoe for the money. • You probably don't want Monk Straps (Shoes with buckles) or loafers as your only dress shoes for similar reasons (not good for job interviews). • AE are probably the lowest priced shoes I would recommend. If you shop elsewhere, try to find shoes that look similar to the ones I have suggested and you will be fine.
 

Cayne-Abel

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The 5th Avenue, Van Ness, and Cambridge all look really nice. I'm tempted to go for the Cambridge, but I've already been pushing the envelope of flashiness with some of my recent business wardrobe additions (a chalk-stripe Versace suit and a nearly-hot-pink custom shirt). The Van Ness looks like a nice compromise between the Fifth Avenue and the Cambridge. But the Van Ness has a rubber sole. Does that make it an inferior shoe?

Side note: Doesn't the perfing on a shoe make polishing more difficult? I'd think it would present problems, such as "caking" of the polish within the holes over time.

Another side note: what did you mean by "AE are probably the lowest priced shoes I would recommend." Is that a pleasant way of saying that my budget is limiting me to dogshit shoes? Or are AEs actually of respectable quality?

Oh and thanks for the info, madcurry.
 

HPress

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There's a *huge* jump in quality between 99.9% of sub-$200 shoes and Allen Edmonds. You'll have a great deal of trouble finding long-wearing shoes with real leather for less than $200, while Allen Edmonds are of excellent quality.

My recommendation: spend the extra $29. You won't regret it. I promise.
 

madcurry

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Originally Posted by Cayne-Abel
The 5th Avenue, Van Ness, and Cambridge all look really nice. I'm tempted to go for the Cambridge, but I've already been pushing the envelope of flashiness with some of my recent business wardrobe additions (a chalk-stripe Versace suit and a nearly-hot-pink custom shirt). The Van Ness looks like a nice compromise between the Fifth Avenue and the Cambridge. But the Van Ness has a rubber sole. Does that make it an inferior shoe? Side note: Doesn't the perfing on a shoe make polishing more difficult? I'd think it would present problems, such as "caking" of the polish within the holes over time. Another side note: what did you mean by "AE are probably the lowest priced shoes I would recommend." Is that a pleasant way of saying that my budget is limiting me to dogshit shoes? Or are AEs actually of respectable quality? Oh and thanks for the info, madcurry.
I am glad to help! No slight was meant to your budget, 90% of my wardrobe is purchased on sale or consignment. I have found that with most products there is always a price cut off point where you start to get real construction and quality design. With casual Shoes, you can get away with paying $100 for a pair of desert boots that will last for a while and look pretty good. But when you get to dress shoes, most things below approx. $300 (retail list price) are suspect in style, construction, or both. Allen Edmunds sits, rather strategically, at this point and that is why I recommend them. That doesn't mean you should pay $300, it just means you need to wait for a sale (like this one) to get something that will last, and not look stupid in six months. While there are better shoes than AE, I don't think anyone here would argue that they are not respectable, and a good value. The AE rubber soul shoes are still welted, which means they can be recrafted, so they are the same quality. Some people frown on Rubber souled shoes in business, but it is rare that someone would notice. However, I find that they are nice if you live in a rainy climate. I have a pair of shoes with the same style perf cap and have not had any trouble with polishing. Just use a horse hair brush and it will pick out the excess polish.
 

Saltricks

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I'm wearing some burgundy van ness right now. Aside from the irritating tightness in the toe box of my left shoe (remedied hopefully by switching for the right size), they are really good looking shoes. I was skeptical about the rubber sole, but after awhile i just said: "fuck it".
 

patrickBOOTH

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I will always disagree with AE suggestions. They are on the "line" as madcurry put of poor quality and good quality, but for a small amount more you can get a much better looking and better quality shoe from Alden. I think most people on the forum would agree with that statement. Look here for the sale where you can get a really good deal right now:

http://www.aldenshop.com/DrawSpecials.asp

With a lot of clothing purchases I always feel it is better to save and get what you really want, or something that is better rather than settling. Down the road you will always end up getting the real item you want, which means you are spending more money in the short run to get there.
 

madcurry

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Originally Posted by Saltricks
I'm wearing some burgundy van ness right now. Aside from the irritating tightness in the toe box of my left shoe (remedied hopefully by switching for the right size), they are really good looking shoes. I was skeptical about the rubber sole, but after awhile i just said: "fuck it".
I am having a hard time not buying a pair myself, I will have to decide on friday when I get my paycheck. Meanwhile it has been raining all week here!
 

madcurry

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Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
I will always disagree with AE suggestions. They are on the "line" as madcurry put of poor quality and good quality, but for a small amount more you can get a much better looking and better quality shoe from Alden. I think most people on the forum would agree with that statement. Look here for the sale where you can get a really good deal right now:

http://www.aldenshop.com/DrawSpecials.asp

With a lot of clothing purchases I always feel it is better to save and get what you really want, or something that is better rather than settling. Down the road you will always end up getting the real item you want, which means you are spending more money in the short run to get there.


I agree with what you are saying, but was trying to stick close to his budget. I am almost strictly an Alden wearer myself. But AE is a good entry level shoe. He should also be aware that Alden's can be addictive. I have developed a taste for custom boots and high end leather that could be the death of me. I hope I never try on a pair of Edward Greens.

Cayne-Abel, You might want to look at basic Alden dress shoes on the Hampton last. They sell for about $416 and provide excellent arch support. Same style suggestions apply. Sherman Bros. is my local dealer and they also sell online. http://www.shermanbrothers.com/brand...S&BrandCode=AL
 

madcurry

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Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
Look here for the sale where you can get a really good deal right now:

http://www.aldenshop.com/DrawSpecials.asp


patrickBOOTH, thanks for reminding me of these closeouts. some of the prices are quite good.

The only problem with buying from a closeout deal on discontinued models is finding your correct size. Getting the right size in dress shoes can be tricky even when you have access to the entire range of sizes. It is good to have the option to return for the next size/width if the shoe you order doesn't fit properly (always test this on carpet for a while before committing to a shoe). If you do order one these admittedly great deals, make sure they have a half size above and below the size you order. Don't compromise on fit just because you like the style, your feet will regret it. That being said, I have never had any problems with blisters with any of my Alden shoes.
 

patrickBOOTH

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I'm on the other side of the sprectrum. I wear some lasts that I shouldn't. I suffer for style to the max:

 

Newcomer

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I am just curious, and I do not mean to be rude by any means... But why are you willing to splurge on a Versace suit but are not amenable to spending money on a pair of nice shoes? $200 is barely anything when it comes to getting a nice pair of kicks.

But yeah, the other suggestions for Allen Edmonds are good. You could also go for some of the english brands on pediwear.co.uk. Alfred Sargent may be in your price range.

Regardless, stick around here for a little bit and you will learn quickly--also, check out the shoe porn thread to see the difference between inexpensive shoes and... 'quality' shoes.
 

madcurry

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Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH
I'm on the other side of the sprectrum. I wear some lasts that I shouldn't. I suffer for style to the max:

Ouch! I had a pair of shoes (not Alden) that did that. My shoe repair guy put in heel lifts that stopped the sliding.

I am glad that I purchased my first Plaza last Boots at the actual Leather Soul Store in Beverly Hills. Bryan helped me to fit in a last that could have caused trouble if I had just ordered my normal size. I have flat feet so it is a little tricky to fit thin shoes.
 

Cayne-Abel

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Originally Posted by Newcomer
I am just curious, and I do not mean to be rude by any means... But why are you willing to splurge on a Versace suit but are not amenable to spending money on a pair of nice shoes? $200 is barely anything when it comes to getting a nice pair of kicks.
Well the Versace wasn't a great deal of money - I got it for about $450. It's just that I've been spending quite a bit of money on business clothing lately. $550 on five custom shirts...then $450 on the Versace suit...and most recently, $700 (with alterations) on a navy Corneliani suit. I need to slow it down. Someone warned me that once I actually learned a few things about dressing well, it can become a very addictive and expensive habit. Apparently, he was right. Anyway, if Aldens truly are that far ahead of AE, I might consider waiting a bit longer (what are the odds of finding a pair in good shape for $200-240 online?). Or maybe I'll just get a pair of AE and realize that there will always be something superior "for just a few bucks more."
 

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