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Thread: I need shoes. I need your help.

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    XJBaylor's Avatar
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    Default I need shoes. I need your help.

    While in college getting my BBA about 10 years ago I picked up two pairs of AE shoes to last me forever. I then outgrew said AE shoes. Since then I have replaced those shoes every few years with cheaper alternatives fearing that as soon as I invested in good shoes styles would change, I would mysteriously change shoe sizes again, etc. Now that I have pushed those fears aside, and decided that some styles really are classics, and not just fads, I am ready to invest again.

    Over the course of the next year or so I plan to buy roughly four pairs of good shoes/boots, with hopes that they will cover 95% of my non-athletic footwear needs for the next decade and then some. I am looking to spend roughly $1k for all four. My style is pretty traditional..I confess that I was buying pleated pants a few years ago, and I am only 31 now. I no longer wear suits to work, and can get away with just about anything, jeans and a polo shirt is perfectly acceptable per office policy. I would like my four pairs of shoes to cover suit wear as well. I have black, navy, brown and charcoal suits.

    So help me out. If you could only have four pairs of shoes/boots to fit most occasions what would you get? Specific shoes are great, but even styles will help.

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    christian's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    For suits, I'd go with the AE Park Avenue in black calfskin. It's a balmoral (closed-lacing) plain cap toe and appropriate with any suit.

    Next step down in formality would be a punched cap - I like the AE Strand in Walnut - goes great with navy suits, some light gray suits, and any and all brown and tan odd pants, whether wool or cotton.

    After that, you have some flexibility - I'd consider a loafer, either a penny in brown or a tassel loafer in #8 and a pair of longwings - because I think they're an American classic. Aldens will be out of your price range but calfskin AE MacNeills will do the job. I would get these in #8 or brown.

    I'd also spend $70 on a pair of sand suede Clarks desert boots. They're about as far from dress shoes as you can get, but everyone should own a pair.

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    cody.wms's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    This is a decent place to start.

    Where do you live? Cause beyond anything, getting a good fit is paramount. The Allen Edmonds outlets are a great place to find deals. Can always call or visit the Shoebank if you're in the greater Milwaulkee area.

    Ok, four pairs. I'm in the same spot, don't wear suit too often. But, I think if you wear a suit more than ten times a year, you should get a pair of AE Park Avenues in black. Those of the version they make for Brooks Brothers that the shoebank was blowing out for $140 or so last week. But, I find a plain captoe very restrictive, and think it looks bad when worn casually. I got my Park Avenues for $15, so it doesn't really matter that I only wear them one a month or less. Without the captoe, I'd go this:


    Black longwing. Shown is a pair of vinatage Florsheims. you can get these on eBay all day for nothing. I have seven or eight pairs of these stupid things now cause I can't not buy them at thrift stores. If you wear a 10.5, I can send you a couple of pairs.

    Florsheim-Imperial-longwing-gunboats-11D-main.jpg

    For a more casual version, check out the scotchgrain Alden for Unionmade or Tricker's for Leather Soul.

    A more casual brown shoe. These AE Ridgeway's willwork, though I might try to find a variant with open lacing.

    allenedmonds_shoes_ridgeway-colors_brown_l.jpg

    Boots: White's Semi-Dress. Alden Indy's are also a possibility, but both mine and Christian's have fallen apart.



    For the fourth, I'd do something like the AE Patriot in Burgundy.

    allenedmonds_shoes_patriot_burgundy_l.jpg

    But it really depends on where you dress within the acceptable range for your job. But these four cover quite a bit of ground, even though I would only wear the longwings or the Patriots with a suit.

    Also, if he hasn't already posted it while I was typing this, Christian will highly recommend something in #8. He's right, though I don't really wear any #8 myself.


    Quote Originally Posted by XJBaylor View Post
    While in college getting my BBA about 10 years ago I picked up two pairs of AE shoes to last me forever. I then outgrew said AE shoes. Since then I have replaced those shoes every few years with cheaper alternatives fearing that as soon as I invested in good shoes styles would change, I would mysteriously change shoe sizes again, etc. Now that I have pushed those fears aside, and decided that some styles really are classics, and not just fads, I am ready to invest again.

    Over the course of the next year or so I plan to buy roughly four pairs of good shoes/boots, with hopes that they will cover 95% of my non-athletic footwear needs for the next decade and then some. I am looking to spend roughly $1k for all four. My style is pretty traditional..I confess that I was buying pleated pants a few years ago, and I am only 31 now. I no longer wear suits to work, and can get away with just about anything, jeans and a polo shirt is perfectly acceptable per office policy. I would like my four pairs of shoes to cover suit wear as well. I have black, navy, brown and charcoal suits.

    So help me out. If you could only have four pairs of shoes/boots to fit most occasions what would you get? Specific shoes are great, but even styles will help.

  4. #4
    christian's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Hey, Cody, that's just creepy, man! :)

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    As I thought, Christian has some good options while I was typing. I think the two big questions are really 1. How much do you like brown shoes with suits? And 2. How often are you wearing odd jackets and trousers as opposed to jeans? I'm personally wearing mostly jeans these days, and don't care much for brown shoes with charcoal and navy suits at the moment. That means I'm not wearing my brown McAllisters much these days (not very formal, but closed lacing) and shifts most of my shoes from the formality of the Park Avenues to very informal. This is probably my order of worn the most often (remember, don't wear the same shoes two days in a row)"

    1. Black longwings as pictured above.

    2. These Tricker's
    trisad1.jpg

    3. Dirty bucks (either some old Walk Over's or desert boots)

    4. These AE rough collection monk straps



    When I had my Alden Indy's they were #1. I'll get a pair of White's eventually, and they'll end up #1 most likely.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    I'm three suits per week and two days of odd jackets and trousers.

    I'd say my frequency goes:
    1. Black cordovan Alden longwings (Grant last for BBBF)
    2. Black pebble-finish Alden longwings (Grant last for BBBF)
    3. Walnut AE Strands
    4. #8 Alden tassel loafers
    5. #8 Alden chukka boots
    6. Brown Ron Rider cordovan shell penny loafers
    7. Black AE Park Aves

    But the Park Aves always come out for the most critical and senior meetings.

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    XJBaylor's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Thanks for the quick replies! I started to write that the AE Park Ave. (or similar black cap-toe) was on my list, but wanted to go into this completely open. The Fifth Ave. was actually one of the pairs I outgrew. I love most of the AE rough collection, but I am not sure if they are versatile enough given my goal of a limited number of shoes going so far. I'd love to buy shoes for everything, but I am trying to keep my life more simple than that. I just commissioned a jack-of-all-trades bike because I am tired of buying a new _______ because the old _______ wasn't quite good enough.

    The White semi-dress is high on my list if I decided to splurge anywhere, which might "conflict" too much with something from the rough collection.

    Please keep the ideas rolling in, it is giving me a lot to think about, and confirming some of the thoughts I already had, but have been to chicken to act on.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by cody.wms View Post

    Where do you live?
    I live in Dallas, TX, so I should have access to just about everything that might be mentioned here.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by XJBaylor View Post
    I love most of the AE rough collection, but I am not sure if they are versatile enough given my goal of a limited number of shoes going so far. I'd love to buy shoes for everything, but I am trying to keep my life more simple than that.
    They aren't very versatile, for sure. But for me, since I wear jeans 10x to a suit, they are oddly more versatile than a pair of Park Aves or Strands, which don't work with jeans IMO. I think the most versatile shoe you can buy is a longwing. AE makes the MacNeil in a ton of variations, including Cordovan. Personally, I don't care for the shape of the MacNeil too much. I like the Alden and many vintage variations more, since they are more rounded. The MacNeil is comparatively sleek.

    What you should do is go to one of the AE stores in Dallas and have them measure you and try on a couple of shoes. Make sure to try different lasts and such. Some, such as the Amoks are very narrow. I was all jazzed to get a pair of Amoks this summer, but there was no way they'd ever be comfortable for me. Some of the narrower AE lasts just don't work for me at all. This is good, cause it eliminates a bunch of potential buys' right? Once you know your size and what lasts agree with you, some of the guesswork is taken out of it. I wouldn't buy anything yet, but call the shoebank (262-235-6300, I think that's the number) and they can tell you what they have in stock as 2nds, and what they have one sale. They were blowing out the Brooks Brothers versions of shoes recently (some cosmetic changes, they won't recraft the BB branded shoes...), but I've had great luck with them. My McAlisters were ~$200 I believe, and my roughs were ~$140 I think. Both seconds.

    I think about shoes too much.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    This old thread might be helpful: The Seven Shoe Wardrobe

    If I lived in Dallas and wore a suit sparingly, my choices would be:
    1) Black AE Park Avenues for when you need to be formal
    2) Red Wing 9011 or White's Semi-Dress boots
    3) Burgundy loafers like the AE Patriots (above)
    4) A brown shoe with some texture/styling/stitching.

    The "Things I Want" thread has lots of good footwear ideas, too.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    BTW, just sayin', but if I lived in Dallas, I'd add a pair of chestnut-colored, horse-hide Dan Post boots to my rotation. My ex-gf put my Dan Posts on the curb some dozen years ago. Still sad about that.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    I think you've gotten some very good advice here, and you can safely just go along with Christian's list, but just to mix it up a bit. All of what I recommend can be done for less that MSRP, or by looking for similar styles from less costly makers.

    1. My go to shoe is also a longwing, I love this shoe for most looks short of formal. I have Alden in calf and shell cordovan, and a shell cordovan Florsheim (Ducky Brown), and a Ralph Lauren in brown suede, I like all of these lasts more than the AE, which I think is too narrow for this sort of "gunboat" shoe. These work very well in brown.

    2. I like the AE Park Ave., but for my dressy cap toe I'd go with a less traditional double monk like the Crockett & Jones Lowndes, I love the buckle:

    Lowndes - Dark Brown Burnished Calf

    Here is a good article on various double monks.

    http://dieworkwear.com/post/40251223...id-level-monks

    and here is the Lowdes:



    3. I'd tend away from the workwear boots (though I love Alden Indys and Redwing Gentleman Travelers) and look for a good chukka or a RM Williams style slip on boot.

    Chukka



    RM Williams Craftsman



    4. Finally, I'd look for a traditional lace up wing tip or cap toe in brown suede. If you are going to have 4 pairs of shoes, they may as well look very different from one another. Suede is more durable than you may think, especially if treated.

    I like these Church's Graftins, but again, there is lots out there for less $, I think AE has both wingtips and cap toes in dark brown suede.


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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by christian View Post
    BTW, just sayin', but if I lived in Dallas, I'd add a pair of chestnut-colored, horse-hide Dan Post boots to my rotation. My ex-gf put my Dan Posts on the curb some dozen years ago. Still sad about that.
    They aren't fancy, but I have had Red Wings "cowboy" boots for years.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Dallas is trad and conservative, so I'd stay away from pointy toes and monk straps.

    Rather than spending $1k on 4 pairs of shoes up front, I'd vote that you buy a pair of Alden Leisure Handsewn in cordovan shell #8, plus cordovan belt, and a nice Alden or AE captoe in black calfskin. (Brooks Bros. sells an unlined Alden LHS in shell that is good for hot Texas summers.) That will cover 99% of your needs for a grand, from jeans to sport coats to suits. Plus you will wear them for ten years. Pick up wingtips later. I don't think they carry Alden anymore, but Culwell and Son in HP used to be my go-to shop for business wear.

    PS, never give up your Red Wing ropers.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    If you're looking for longevity, stay away from monks. Double monks were out. Then they were in. They looked like they were on the way out, but stayed in. They'll be out again.

    Oxfords and cap-toes in both black and brown. Maybe a chunkier sole on the brown oxfords.
    Got some cash
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Listen to chasea. He knows how to properly spend your sartorial budget

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Thanks again for all of the recommendations, you confirmed a lot of my thoughts and gave me a few new ideas. My initial plan for the four pairs was something like:

    1. Park Ave in black (maybe the Clifton if I can find a nice used pair. Not quite as dressy, but I like the fit)
    2. Some brown wingtip or captoe that could work with dress pants and jeans (still undecided)
    3. Oak Street Beefroll loafer (I've never seen a loafer I like this much)
    4. Some sort of boot, probably a cheaper suede unlined chukka

    If I get in under budget a boot similar to the White Semi-Dress is now on the list...

    Thanks again.

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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by XJBaylor View Post
    Thanks again for all of the recommendations, you confirmed a lot of my thoughts and gave me a few new ideas. My initial plan for the four pairs was something like:

    1. Park Ave in black (maybe the Clifton if I can find a nice used pair. Not quite as dressy, but I like the fit)
    2. Some brown wingtip or captoe that could work with dress pants and jeans (still undecided)
    3. Oak Street Beefroll loafer (I've never seen a loafer I like this much)
    4. Some sort of boot, probably a cheaper suede unlined chukka

    If I get in under budget a boot similar to the White Semi-Dress is now on the list...

    Thanks again.
    Oak Street makes really phenomenal footwear. I too am drawn to their loafer.

    As an alternative to the White's SemiDress, you may want to look at Oak Street's new Trench Boot. They look really fantastic, and all the early reports on their quality and construction details have been very very positive.

    I've got a pair coming, will report back.

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    432-r is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    i second RM Williams craftsmen with the chisel toe. I have 3 pairs (but i am australian).

    Black ones you can wear with a suit to work or to weddings or with jeans or whatever.

    Chestnuts on weekends (above) with jeans/slacks. Plus you can choose the sole type.

    My dad still rolls his first pair of craftsmans. immaculate. He bought them in 1975.

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    Mabouya is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: I need shoes. I need your help.

    Bumping this with a semi-random comment/question:

    About 15 yrs ago my workplace went from dress shirts & pants + ties to casual (jeans, Dockers, polo shirts in summer, etc.) so now I can wear shoes that are way more casual. I've gravitated to stuff like Sebago Docksiders (with dark sole, not the white).

    Here's the issue: I've also found that for me shoes with somewhat squishy soles and heels are way, way more comfortable for walking than the old dress-shoe plain leather soles, or the harder rubber casuals. Unfortunately, I've been having a hard time finding a brand / model that is consistently available. When I visit my sister in Maine we often swing by LL Bean and I can sometimes find something good there, but when they wear out I check the web site to get another pair and that particular model is gone.

    So, what's your go-to comfy Topsider/Docksider?

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