• We would like to welcome Arterton as an official Affiliate Vendor. Arterton, based in the UK, specializes in fine accessories such as garment bags, umbrellas, and shoe care, as well as fine shoes and boots from Yearn Footwear Please visit their thread and give them a warm welcome.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

What were your most significant footwear purchases, in retrospect?

A Harris

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
4,599
Reaction score
76
I was reminiscing today about my longtime obsession with quality footwear, and the milestone purchases that started and perpetuated the interest for me. Listing those below. Curious to hear your own significant purchases, and any stories behind them!

- Eastland chukka boots, 1994. They were a 5-eye pair, in dark brown oiled leather with a low profile sole. Made in Maine. Paid a whopping $25 for them. Absolutely loved these boots and wore them my entire junior year of high school. I didn't own a pair of sneakers for years after that.

- Ferragamo Tramezza cap toes, 1999. These were oxfords in a lovely dark tan calf. Paid $90 for them at a Nordstrom Rack in LA. I had no idea that they were handmade at the time, just that they looked WAY nicer than everything else there. They were always a bit snug so I ended up selling them within a year or two. But they were my first pair of high-end dress shoes and there was no going back to Allen Edmonds or cheaper Italian makes after that.

- Edward Green Gladstone for RLPL, 2001. A gorgeous pair of black calf cap toes, brand new with lasted trees. Snagged on eBay for $120!! This pair leveled up my interest in shoes to an obsession. I wanted to know who made them and started researching English makes in depth. There was a lovely 6 month or so period after that, where I was seemingly the only guy who had figured out the RLPL dress shoes were Edward Green and was buying up every cheap pair that made it on eBay. They are still very wearable, I gifted them to my brother a few years back.

- Vass black shell cordovan combat boots, 2003. These were on the P2 last, with ***ser stitching and a Vibram commando sole. I ordered them as samples, and Louis Boston ended up carrying them. This pair rekindled my interest in boots, which eventually became the primary focus. Sadly I sold this pair in 2009 or 2010 - never should have done that!

- Santoni FAM Bentivegna wholecut, 2008. This pair was significant to me because of how long I searched for them. Saw them for sale at the San Francisco Nordstrom in 2001 and was in love. I searched eBay for seven years before finding a brand new pair in my size. Still have them today!

- Rancourt for Eastland "Kennebunk" boots, 2015. 5-eye handsewns in a dark red Horween pull up leather, with Vibram commando soles. Purchased online from Nordstrom for $225. This pair touched off my obsession with Maine handsewn boots in particular, which I now wear almost exclusively.
 

comrade

Distinguished Member
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
7,790
Reaction score
1,326
In the past 15-20 years, Ludwig Reiter three eylet derbies
in suede and buffalo(?) in the now discontinued Amerikaner
last. The successor model does not fit me.
1803 Campo Chukkas in suede and smooth leather. Not sure
what type. Unlike the Reiters, these are not fine high end shoes.
They fit, however. Hint: I wear 4E running shoes. Not all 4Es fit.
 

FlyingMonkey

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2011
Messages
6,442
Reaction score
9,377
To be honest, I remember my running shoes more than I remember my conventional shoes because they make more of a difference. I mean, I like my shoes well enough, but I really don't get excited enough about any of them to think of them as a 'milestone.'
 

Keith Taylor

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
354
Reaction score
733
I like my quality footwear, but I get most of my enjoyment from them by looking at them on the shelves of my closet. The most significant decision I ever made with regards to my feet was buying my first pair of Clarks desert boots about 13 years ago. I was about to leave on a long overland trip across Europe and Asia, and I needed a single pair of shoes that could be worn at 45C in the middle of a searing desert but also sub zero 15,000 feet up a mountain (driving, not climbing). I wanted shoes that looked good, but they couldn't be too expensive as I'd be putting them through the wringer every day.

Clarks desert boots were the obvious and correct choice. I still have three pairs, and I'll be wearing one of them today at an icy -25C (Bushacres, because the crepe soles of the desert boots proper don't respond well to these inhuman temperatures).
 

St1X

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
125
Reaction score
148
My first pair of quality dress shoes - Loake Aldwych in oak color with rubber sole.
I was in a conventional shoe store full of low quality crap shoes when I saw these from a far. You could spot quality from a few meters away. I didn't wear dress shoes before I bought these. Few years later and I own 35-40 pairs 😆
 

emptym

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
9,373
Reaction score
6,255
Great thread idea, AH. At first I could only think of one pair, but then writing about that one led me to others:

- Florsheim black plain captoes: I probably had some dress shoes before these, but when I was in sixth or seventh grade (so either the spring of 86 or 87), my dad took me to the mall to get some shoes for an award ceremony. He suggested Florsheims since he and both of my grandfathers wore them. I don't remember him ever suggesting or being loyal to any other clothing brand (edit: other than LL Bean). And I don't remember if I got a larger pair in high school, but black Florsheim captoes were my only dress shoes from then till my senior year in college, when I got a pair of chukkas and a pair of bluchers for an internship on the Hill.

- LL Bean camp mocs: My dad gave me these for eighth grade graduation. He was from Maine and got them on a trip back there. I wore them probably 4-5 days a week in college, with shorts, jeans, chinos, navy blazer. I would rub them occasionally with mink oil but never brushed them (didn't know you needed to) so the uppers developed tears where they had creased. And the soles started to get super thin. So around 2010 I put them away. Then I spent 2017-18 on the East Coast again and wore them a lot that year. The soles have split, so I've been looking for a good replacement. Of course, LL Bean's quality isn't what it was. And many other makers of camp mocs either have strange lace placement or that horizontal line of stitching across the heel, which I dislike.

- Blue Vans authentics: My grade school uniform required either navy boat shoes or blue canvas sneakers. Vans or Sperry were common brands, but my parents got generic ones for me and my brothers from stores like K-Mart or Pick 'n Save. I remember getting what I think were my first pair of real Vans in high school. They'd only last a year or two, but I had a pair for many years. When attending college on the East Coast, almost no one had Vans, so they identified you as someone from the West. One of my best friends from then (and still) and I first bonded over our shared love of Vans.

- HS Trask black bison split toe bluchers with lugged soles and Gore-Tex liner: I got these either my senior year of college or the year after from Ross or TJ Max for like $30. I used and abused them when spending a year in the Philippines, a year in Germany, several years in Boston and DC, and traveling all over. They were tanks. When I moved back west 13 yrs ago, I gave them to my brother in NY. He had them resoled and still uses them on days with bad weather.

- Gucci loafers: In 97, when I was in the Philippines, the Asian financial crisis hit. Suddenly, the dollar doubled in value, and during a sale I bought a pair of Gucci loafers for about 1/4 their usual cost. At 23/24 yrs old, they made me feel like I'd arrived. I got a lot of good use out of them. Maybe 10 yrs ago, I cut down their extra-wide, 90s welts and gave them to another brother who uses them on the rare occasion he needs to dress up.

- Rider Boot #6 shell chukkas: When I got my first real job out of grad school in 08, I celebrated by driving down with a friend to Franco's in Richmond to see Ron @RIDER. I've worn them so much -- with coat and tie for work or doing renovation (mainly demolition) work on our house. The shell uppers, blake-rapid construction, and Sestrie soles make them virtually indestructible. I just wore them today for a rainy bicycle commute, work, and holiday party.

- George boots by @DWFII in black shell and brown buffalo: These are the only bespoke shoes I've ever had and may ever have. I got to meet DW for both pairs. The fit models amazed me. I remember jogging with them unlaced -- that's how well they fit my foot. The boots themselves are works of art. But they're also durable enough for regular motorcycle commuting. If our house was on fire, they'd be near the top of the list of things I'd want to save.

- Alden for Brooks Brothers unlined shell loafers: As a kid/teen in the 80s, punk and preppy seemed the two most influential subcultures, at least the two most opposed subcultures. But I liked both. Penny loafers were the dividing line for me. I thought they were too preppy, and I disliked them for decades. But around 2010, I started to appreciate them, particularly Alden's LHS. So I got a used pair on eBay and then a few more. Their rounded lines and unstructured construction make them super comfortable and, at least in my mind, they seem to give off soft, gentle vibes -- which I like. They're also the most versatile shoe I own or can imagine, appropriate with anything from shorts to a suit. These and george boots are all I need.
 

JFWR

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
3,349
Reaction score
5,444
Weirdly enough, I can really only think of two shoes that are milestones for me.

When I was 13, I decided I just simply didn't want to wear sneakers anymore. I was wearing a pair of boat shoes as my go-to-shoes at the time--I have no idea what brand, probably Sperry--and I thought they were comfortable and nice enough that I had no reason to ever go back to sneakers. I would actually go to gym class in my socks or bare feet going forward, as I despised the idea of wearing sneakers, thinking they were too childish--a viewpoint I still maintain to this day, much to the chagrin of some people here. The only way you can get me into sneakers now is if I am participating in some form of sports, and given I don't actively play sports, I don't wear sneakers. I would, of course, buy a pair if I started playing baseball or basketball again.

The second pair would be a pair of Allen Edmonds Jefferson 2.0s in merlot. They're still one of my favourite pair of shoes--insanely comfortable and very stylish--but the reason I consider them a milestone is that they made a monumental difference to my life in regards to comfort. I've always dealt with really, really bad foot pain from walking since I was a boy. Finding these shoes, I discovered that cork and leather make a giant difference in my comfort level. Though I had some comfortable-ish shoes (a pair of Rockport chukka boots came to mind as a pair of shoes that was more comfortable than most), leather insoles on cork just somehow works so much better for me than all the cushiony synthetic stuff there is. For instance, I use a pair of JR soled shell cordovan Allen Edmond Bradleys as walking shoes because I can walk 4 or 5 miles in them and have virtually no pain aside from the normal tiredness my feet will feel from walking--something which in my life was more or less unheard of prior to this. I could maybe walk a mile before facing serious, agonizing foot pain in other shoes. It's quite frankly liberating, and is the chief reason why I buy quality dress shoes and boots now. I can look good and I can feel good and that is great for me.
 

driving glove

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
275
Reaction score
250
My first quality footwear was a pair of Paris and Sons work boots in oxblood leather with a vibram sole bought by my parents when I was sixteen. They were unwisely bought with a steel toe and were extremely heavy and took a long time to break in but they stood up to multiple summers spent surveying through forests, swamps, across creeks and rivers, and in a tunnel. I wore down the heels and threw them out when I stopped working in the woods, not realizing I could have had them resoled. Wish I had kept them.
Over forty years ago, freshly-graduated from school, with one of my first pay checks, I bought a pair of walnut-coloured Barker brogues (from a department store that no longer exists).
I have had them resoled and relined and still wear them on sunny fall days with tweed jacket and flannel pants. They were the very first pair of good shoes I could afford, and I thought they looked great with bell bottom pants!
On my honeymoon four years ago, my wife bought me a pair of hand-welted hatchgrain oxfords from Stefano Bemer in Florence, which I wear with casual suits and always think about that special time.
Although I now have more shoes and boots than I need, these are the ones that marked the important milestones in my life.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2021
Messages
7
Reaction score
5
I bought a pair of no name black chelsea boots from a thriftstore to wear to a convention in MD and got caught in a downpour for a good 10 minutes as I walked to a drugstore and back to my hotel. Not a drop of water through them and my socks and feet where the only dry parts of me. Since that day I've always had a pair, and every one has kept me dry and looking nice.
 

American_Psycho11

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
156
Reaction score
73
For me it was definitely the Allen Edmond Fifth Avenues I bought for my wedding. They were my first Goodyear welted shoes, first "expensive" shoe purchase and what made me realize how much different and better quality shoes are. Since then I've gotten shoes more AEs, shoes from Alden, Carmina, Whites, Meermin, Cheaney, Red Wing and more. But it's all been worth it
 

nsgmd

Active Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
44
Reaction score
16
A couple classics: Black Gucci Horsebit loafers and Alden Cordovan Color 8 tassel loafers
 

Attachments

denverbizman42

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
87
Reaction score
64
My first pair of quality dress shoes - Loake Aldwych in oak color with rubber sole.
I was in a conventional shoe store full of low quality crap shoes when I saw these from a far. You could spot quality from a few meters away. I didn't wear dress shoes before I bought these. Few years later and I own 35-40 pairs 😆
35-40 pairs? That’s awesome. Once you get started it really takes off? After I bought my first pair of quality shoes, it just took off for me where I wanted more. I’m not up to 35-40 but you’ve inspired me to keep growing my collection. How many pair do most guys on here have??
 

FlyingHorker

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2014
Messages
3,747
Reaction score
3,842
Red Wing Beckmans work boot
Chocolate suede chelsea boot
GATs from J C Penney

I realized the above 3 covers 100% of all situations I find myself in.

The GAT ones I particularly like because my dad picked them up for dirt cheap, not knowing I was even looking for a pair. J C Penney even nailed all the right details and they're really comfortable.

Still wear them today, and they look better the more they get beat up, despite being faux leather and suede.
 

Keith Taylor

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
354
Reaction score
733
How many pair do most guys on here have??
Around 20 for me, so I'm at risk but not fully afflicted. Honestly, though, it would be difficult to argue that anyone needs or even benefits from more than, say, ten pairs of shoes. I only regularly wear three or four pairs of mine. Unless you have an absurdly eclectic wardrobe, at some point you're just hoarding.

And hoarding loafers, which is somehow worse.
 

denverbizman42

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
87
Reaction score
64
Around 20 for me, so I'm at risk but not fully afflicted. Honestly, though, it would be difficult to argue that anyone needs or even benefits from more than, say, ten pairs of shoes. I only regularly wear three or four pairs of mine. Unless you have an absurdly eclectic wardrobe, at some point you're just hoarding.

And hoarding loafers, which is somehow worse.
Agreed… Hoarding loafers would be much worse. Not a fan of loafers. Not good with suits.

Before I bought my first quality of shoes, I never would have thought of even having 10 pairs. Definitely don’t NEED more than 10 but I like how it just finishes the look and can make a great suit truly great. Nothing better than that?
 

Featured Sponsor

Pocket square on a coat: yes or no?

  • Yes

    Votes: 9 15.0%
  • No

    Votes: 38 63.3%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 13 21.7%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
469,844
Messages
10,055,936
Members
211,906
Latest member
abheeshtagroup5
Top