• We would like to welcome Ratio Clothing as an official Affiliate Vendor. Ratio Clothing specializes in American-made custom shirts offered at a fair price with guaranteed perfect fit. Please visit their new 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!

Which is most important to consider when assessing the quality of a dress shoe?

benglayton

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
I have my eyes on several dress shoes, but since they are all in the $100 range none of them are perfect. Some have quality leather but use glue for construction while other are sewn but have poor leather quality. So which is most important to consider:
1. the quality of the upper leather
2. the stitching/construction
or
3. The material of the sole (rubber, synthetic, leather)
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
29,710
If you pay attention to aesthetics, many of the other things will take care of themselves. If you pay attention to the other things and don't prioritize aesthetics, however, you may wind up with an ugly shoe that can last forever but look terrible in outfits.

You may want to check out Meermin. They're about $175 and are reasonably well-made. There's also Lof & Tung and Grant Stone. Also Allen Edmonds factory seconds, although they have a lot of duds in terms of designs.
 

benglayton

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
If you pay attention to aesthetics, many of the other things will take care of themselves. If you pay attention to the other things and don't prioritize aesthetics, however, you may wind up with an ugly shoe that can last forever but look terrible in outfits.

You may want to check out Meermin. They're about $175 and are reasonably well-made. There's also Lof & Tung and Grant Stone. Also Allen Edmonds factory seconds, although they have a lot of duds in terms of designs.
I like the aesthetics of all the shoes I am currently looking at which I why i'm trying to decide based on quality but i don't know how to properly asses the quality is the type of leather the most important, the stitching, the sole, etc.?
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
29,710
I like the aesthetics of all the shoes I am currently looking at which I why i'm trying to decide based on quality but i don't know how to properly asses the quality is the type of leather the most important, the stitching, the sole, etc.?
I'd say the most important part of the shoe is the quality of the leather, but it's hard for a regular consumer to assess this without wearing the shoe for a long time. If it's a corrected grain leather (ie coated with some kind of finishing or completely grain-less) then that's somewhat easy. Avoid corrected grain shoes because they don't age very well.

But even on full-grain leathers, it can be difficult to judge this because, over time, a lower quality leather just won't age very well. But, at that point, you can't return the shoes.

I've seen a lot of companies make Goodyear welted shoes with low-quality leathers, at which point I'm not sure what's the point of being able to resole something that will look ugly over time. I've never seen anyone make a good shoe (at least one that's not a sneaker) and sell it for lower than $175. It's kind of a miracle that Meermin can even offer something like that. Their soles are a bit stiff at first, however, so you'll want to gently wear them for a while around the house or neighborhood.

Other than that, again, there's Lof & Tung, Grant Stone, and Allen Edmonds seconds at the $200-300 price point. At $100, I doubt you're getting a good shoe.
 

benglayton

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Thank you for the responses they're helpful. If you could answer one more question I would be very grateful. I'm currently considering this shoe https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/carlson-cap-toe/12176.html?dwvar_12176_color=Oak Italian Calfskin . It is not full grain leather but it is Italian calf skin. Would you say that that is a decent leather? or would dockers regular full grain leather be higher quality https://www.dockersshoes.com/products/dockers-hawley-dress-oxford?

Other than that I like the look of several of the florsheim shoes but even the expensive ones are made of simple genuine leather.
 

boot_owl

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2017
Messages
238
Reaction score
117
Thank you for the responses they're helpful. If you could answer one more question I would be very grateful. I'm currently considering this shoe https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/carlson-cap-toe/12176.html?dwvar_12176_color=Oak Italian Calfskin . It is not full grain leather but it is Italian calf skin. Would you say that that is a decent leather? or would dockers regular full grain leather be higher quality https://www.dockersshoes.com/products/dockers-hawley-dress-oxford?

Other than that I like the look of several of the florsheim shoes but even the expensive ones are made of simple genuine leather.
Don’t touch JM or Florsheim. Both were good in their heyday but that is long past. Contrary to popular opinion, ‘genuine leather’ is not a grade of leather and does not signify low quality. I would recommend sticking to dieworkwears brand recommendations to begin with, and learn to judge for yourself what makes a quality shoe.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
29,710
Thank you for the responses they're helpful. If you could answer one more question I would be very grateful. I'm currently considering this shoe https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/carlson-cap-toe/12176.html?dwvar_12176_color=Oak Italian Calfskin . It is not full grain leather but it is Italian calf skin. Would you say that that is a decent leather? or would dockers regular full grain leather be higher quality https://www.dockersshoes.com/products/dockers-hawley-dress-oxford?

Other than that I like the look of several of the florsheim shoes but even the expensive ones are made of simple genuine leather.
No, none of those companies make very good shoes, unfortunately. Simply put, they will only look worse with time. Whereas good shoes tend to look better with age.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
29,710
Here's a trick, if $100 or so is your hard budget:

Meermin is $175. They have a store in NYC, if you're in the area and can try things out. Otherwise, you will have to order online and be willing to return. Still, this is about the cheapest. A lot of Allen Edmonds' shoes are kind of ugly, but if you have a sharp eye, you can find a beautiful pair of AE Seconds for about the same price as Meermins (sometimes they hold factory seconds sales. Check www.shoebank.com).

But, if $175-250 is too expensive for you, you can try this:

1. Go to eBay and search for "Ralph Lauren England"

2. Click the box "Include Titles and Descriptions." This will allow you to search all auctions that contain the words Ralph, Lauren, and England

3. Filter for men's shoes (this is on the right hand side of the site if you're looking at this on a laptop browser)

4. This will allow you to pull up Ralph Lauren's shoes made in England. Most of the designs are reasonably classic, and they're made by one of the factories in Northampton. With rare exceptions, most shoes coming out of Northampton are reasonably well-made (there are some exceptions, so still look for corrected grain leathers).

Ralph Lauren is a ridiculously huge brand and they sell a ton of cheap, low-quality shoes. At the same time, there's so much info on the internet now, it's no longer enough to search for brands like Allen Edmonds. Too many people know about the basic markers of well-made shoes, so even things like Allen Edmonds can cost you more than $200 on eBay.

But since it's a slog to go through the RL chaffe on eBay, few people do. Which means, if you know how to search just in their "made-in-England" collection, you can get a pair of shoes for about $150. They may be gently used, but they'll be a better buy than new shoes from Johnston & Murphys or modern Florsheim.
 

benglayton

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
I cant afford expensive shoes as I am a college student my budget is $120 and below. Do you know if shoes I mention will last me at least 4 years before looking unwearable
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
29,710
I cant afford expensive shoes as I am a college student my budget is $120 and below. Do you know if shoes I mention will last me at least 4 years before looking unwearable
Whether something doesn't look good enough to wear is kind of a personal decision, and probably depends on how much you wear those shoes.

If you're a student and just want a pair of dress shoes for special occasions, such as graduation, I think the JMs are probably fine. But if you're looking for daily shoes and have a hard budget of $120, I would stick to sneakers.
 

benglayton

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Whether something doesn't look good enough to wear is kind of a personal decision, and probably depends on how much you wear those shoes.

If you're a student and just want a pair of dress shoes for special occasions, such as graduation, I think the JMs are probably fine. But if you're looking for daily shoes and have a hard budget of $120, I would stick to sneakers.
ok thanks I am looking for shoes to wear to internship/job interviews as well as the occasional wedding, not for a daily shoe. So you say the JMs would fit that purpose well? and you would recommend them over Florsheim, dockers, clarks?
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
13,226
Reaction score
29,710
ok thanks I am looking for shoes to wear to internship/job interviews as well as the occasional wedding, not for a daily shoe. So you say the JMs would fit that purpose well? and you would recommend them over Florsheim, dockers, clarks?
I don't know. The JMs sorta look a little better than the others. If you can, maybe get a pair in dark brown suede. Cheap suede will age better than cheap calfskin leather.
 

cliffordcaucus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
46
Reaction score
50
My advice would be similar to @dieworkwear in that eBay is a great place for shoe enthusiasts on a budget. Another place to check is the Buy & Sell tab here on style forum and the Buy, Sell, Trade postings from the reddit thread r/goodyearwelt. Though >$100 for a dress shoe is more likely on r/goodyearwelt or eBay. I'm also a college student. I started my shoe journey by sifting though thrift shops for $20 Red Wing/Wolverine boots, doing an okay cleaning job (I was a big novice then and I am still learning) on them, and reselling them. The money I made went to buying better pairs of shoes but my first pair of dress shoes were a $40 pair of Allen Edmond Carlyle(s) from r/goodyearwelt Buy, Sell, Trade. I still have them and a simple polishing makes them look a lot less cheap than they are. One college student to another, I would get a cheap pair of shoes on par with Allen Edmonds then learn how to keep them looking better through a good polishing. Shoegazing has a great polishing guide for beginners and up.

P.S - Starting with a cheap pair of shoes is a fine beginning to anyone's shoe journey. It's a path that allows you get to get a feel for what you enjoy and what you don't while also not breaking the bank before understanding what your money can buy (i.e $700 for Yeossal's private label versus $700 a poorly constructed shoe surviving on good marketing and cheap materials). Who knows, you may even go through an obsession or two *flashback to me worshiping shell cordovan* :cloud:
 

WNovizar

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
153
Reaction score
191
I forgot the name right now, but there is an official meermin factory second seller on eBay. All of them priced below 120 ish.
 

Featured Sponsor

What's your favorite type of loafer?

  • Tassel loafers

  • Penny loafers

  • Horsebit loafers

  • Kiltie loafers

  • I hate loafers


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
424,089
Messages
9,090,199
Members
191,218
Latest member
venturizhou

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top