I’m in the market for some new dress shoes. I don’t mind spending more for them knowing that I will wear them 5 days a week or so. Can you point me to a brand for a well-made shoe that’s going to be able to be worn with all dress attire and look pretty stylish?
– John | Baltimore, MD
John – First of all, purchasing shoes is essential to building a wardrobe; unfortunately, it’ll also be one of your biggest expenses. If done right, you’ll be making a purchase that could easily last you 10 to 15 years, so you want to make sure you do some research. Whether you’ll be doing a lot of walking to and from work, sitting at a desk all day, or a little of both will determine what kind of shoe you’ll want to purchase.
As far as brands that I prefer and believe in go, Alden is one of my favorite makers. The company has been in business since 1884 outside of Boston and is still making its shoes the exact same way. I own several pairs in various styles from a Plain Toe to a Wingtip. Allen-Edmonds is another popular American-made shoe offering quality products with some more modern styles. Both companies have an amazing restoration process for an old pair of its shoes where the leather is restored and the old soles are replaced with new. Also, our man Jon Gaffney recently reviewed a pair from Lodger Shoes and he was obviously impressed.
I don’t recommend that you wear the same shoe all 5 days of the week because you will burn through shoes too quickly. If you must (and believe me, I know things are tight these days) then I would choose wisely. Buying a shoe that gives you versatility to wear with all of your suits is one key. The other key is buying one that is well made enough to put up with the wear and tear of everyday. Here are some general guidelines to use while shopping:
* Always try on a shoe first! If purchasing from internet, make sure you’ve tried that particular model on beforehand.
* Wear a sock like the one you will wear with your suits.
* Look for things like the stitching and if the shoe has a shank or not and what kind.
* If possible, it’s better to try on a shoe at the beginning of the day because our feet swell as the day progresses.
Buying a shoe is not rocket science and definitely shouldn’t be something we fret about. On the other hand, if you’re dropping over $300 for a pair, you want to make sure you’re doing homework.
Got a question for GP’s Style Correspondent, Torrey McMurray? E-mail him at email@example.com. Your question might be included in our (somewhat) weekly Wednesday Q&A series. Advance yourself.