The Shoe Snob Blog

July 28, 2010

Written by , Posted in News

Why Are A Pair Of Nice Shoes So Important?

Look, I know that not everyone is rich or may not care about fashion nor dressing up etc. but having a nice pair of shoes is a must in being a respectable man in this world. Luckily for most, times have changed because many years ago, you were nothing if you did not dress up properly and look and act like a well spoken, clean and respectable individual. These days you have people wearing tennis shoes with their suits, flip flops with their jeans and shoes that were once white and clean, now brown and having holes in them. What have we come to? Do we no longer care? Is everybody trying to make their own statement: I am free to be who I want to be, do what I want to do? Great!! So am I, but at least I can clean up, maintain my property and look like I have some decency to care about my appearance, not in an egotistical way but in a manner that exudes respect to others.
Top Shoes: Gaziano & Girling
Left Shoe: Stefano Bemer
Right Shoe: a.Testoni
Unfortunately we live in a judgmental world where every second of everyday people are judging others by their appearances before they are even able to meet them. I cant lie, I also do it and I am sure that you do too!! They say that an interview is greatly affected within the first ten seconds of you entering the room. That means that your outfit has a huge part of that decision as I am sure your smile, handshake and greeting do too. The appearance of who you are is decided in how you look. And I can guarantee that a crappy pair of shoes will be noticed instantly, which in turn will speak wonders about you!! This kid did not wear nice shoes to the interview, must not care much about the job nor be very responsible. I would be willing to bet an infinite amount of money that this statement has crossed the mind of many interviewers. Yet why do so many people choose to buy terrible shoes? Are you cheap? Do you not care? What is it? Maybe you just have not been educated? Well then welcome to the classroom!!
Left Shoes: Unknown (I think Kenneth Cole Reaction)
Right Shoes: Edward Green
It is easy to tell the difference between what is nice and what is not! I understand that many people in society are lacking in common sense but come on, you can easily understand the difference in what has quality and is elegant versus what is crap as well as plain ugly by looking at the two shoes above. If you cant then you need help. Lets put it this way, the majority of people know and respect Italians for their excellent abilities to look like a million bucks even when they are going to the grocery store and I can tell you from experience that not one Italian in all of Italy would ever even think about wearing that sad thing posing as a shoe on the left. While I can go on and on with the bashing, let me get back to the educating. We need a nice pair of shoes just like we need to all own a suit, because it serves!!! There are many brands that offer very decent shoes in the $300 range. But that is just the bottom of the barrel. If you are spending anything less on your dress shoes, you are cheating yourself. Cheap shoes dont look good nor do they last long. You end up spending more in the long run and looking like a bum in the meantime. If you truly cant afford to spend that much then learn about good brands and go scour Nordstrom Rack or wait until shoes go down to 50% off during the half-yearly sale at Nordstrom.

Left Shoes: George Cleverley
Right Shoes: Foster & Son
Shoes command the most respect in an outfit, they are the easiest thing to spot if the quality is low. Take it from me; I get compliments all the time on my cheap ass, low quality H&M suits. Nobody ever believes me when they ask where I got my suit from and I tell them H&M. I fool them all!!! But in a shoe, you can tell right away between some piece of crap shoe with shitty ass leather versus something that is well made with high quality leather. It is so evident. So just realize that when you are buying that crappy pair of shoes because it is cheaper, you are fooling yourself because everybody and their momma can see that if you are not poor, then you must be cheap, have no style or are just plain uneducated. Do yourself a favor and next time you go to get new shoes, make it a nice pair. Trust me, when you get more compliments, you will feel better about your decision!!

  • What’s brogued on those sublime G&G’s? Is it an “H”? I think I spot a ribbon!

  • I honestly can’t say what is on the left shoe, looking at the picture, I think that it is an ‘A’ but it is definitely an ‘H’ on the right one.

  • I love your blog, Justin, and have learned a lot from it – no more corrected grain leather and/or cemented soles for me. But anything less than $300 for dress shoes is “bottom of the barrel”? What about Loake 1880, Alfred Sargent, Tricker’s, etc…? Just curious.

  • Stryker2 – First off, thank you for you compliment, I am truly happy that you enjoy my blog. What you may not be aware of is that most companies have several lines within their brand. For example, Alfred Sargent has four lines: Handgrade, Exclusive, Premier and Town & Country. The difference between their handgrade and premier are substantial in price and quality. Keep in mind, that i said anything less is crap and $300 is the worst of the best. Their are some exceptions though, like Allen Edmonds who retail around $325 and they make some of the best RTW shoes for anything under $600, quality wise. I am sure that trickers is similar. I don’t know if you live in the states but all of these lines retail above $300, loake being the closest to that number. If you live in England, you might be thinking in pounds and forgetting that there are also import costs. For example Allen Edmonds retail in Italy for 500 euros because they pay import taxes. When I was in England, I don’t remember being that impressed with the quality of the leather on Loake shoes, but then again I could have just being seeing their lower-end line. Trickers and Alfred Sargent are great but they retail closer to $400-$500 for their lower end lines and Alfred Sargent’s higher end line is in the $1000 range. Hope this clarifies things for you. But just so that you know, it is not cost effective to make good shoes (welted construction and high grade leather) and then retail them lower than $300, you wouldn’t be making any profit.

  • the crap statements wrong, i bought the loake green brogues for 59 pounds, they feel great and really comfortable so where does the crap come in

  • Superchick – That was not their full retail price. In fact, at that price, you were getting them below factory cost so you should feel lucky to have found them at that price. But I still think that Loake uses awful leather. Comfort is subjective nonetheless so that really doesn’t mean anything but the fact that you were blessed enough to find a pair of goodyear welted shoes that were incredibly inexpensive and are comfortable for you. Obviously, there are always deals. Some people can find John Lobbs for $200-$300, if they look hard enough. Cheap shoes (quality and construction-wise) are still crap and I stand by that. And remember, I said under $300, not pounds….there is a big difference.

    -Justin

  • Alex B

    You can pick up a perfectly serviceable pair of Loake’s for about 100 full price, including VAT, if you’re not a “shoe snob” and don’t mind their being Indian-made. Sure, I don’t buy them, but I have Loake’s shoes that are old enough to have cost under 100 and have been made in England!

    I think the point here about interviews is right, but the conclusion that $300 is the bottom rung, is wrong. Sure, that $300 shoe should be better made, nicer leather, maybe a nicer last (although some of these cheaper Indian-made options are made on the same lasts and more expensive ones). But the important thing, I believe is to stick to three important criteria:

    1. Classic design. That square toe was the peak of fashion once. It isn’t now, it’s a f***ing horror. Stick to an elegant, classic oxford, or derby if you can’t get a decent fit otherwise. Black. Boring maybe, but never, ever, wrong.

    2. Proper construction. Goodyear welted, whether it’s English, Indian, Spanish, Portuguese or whatever. Even if the finish isn’t as fine on a cheaper shoe, it will still be fundamentally solid and serve you well.

    3. And at the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, polish them. A lovingly-shined bargain basement foreign-made sale item, looks a lot better than a pair of Edward Green wonders with scuffed toes, dirty laces and a bit of dry dog shit in the welt.

    As you said, Justin, it’s about the first impression. A simple, classic, properly-made shoe that’s clean and shiny, will pass that test well whether it cost 50 or 500.

    P.S. $300 is about 200. You can get a shoe from Cheaney for about that, or one of Barker’s better models. Both a long way from “the bottom of the barrel” in quality – and worth every penny.

  • Alex B – These days, yes, you are able to find good shoes in countries were labor costs are low for less than $300. When writing this post, it was more in my mind the shoes at retail cost in America, where in reality, you can’t get anything that great for less than $300….unless at a discount store or something….

    But I still stand by it all….and just because a shoe is goodyear welted does not make it good…..last shapes, pattern proportion, fitting etc are all taken into account here and many lower end shoes shirk on all these things to keep costs low…..there is a big different between the shoes that are less than $300 and those above it…

    -Justin

  • Alex B

    I think you’re probably right. I’m tempted to try some non-English contenders, like Meermin, who look good value. But even their higher range is about $300 – just adding some extra details rather like Septieme Largeur, in the same price range.

    But when it comes to English, that threshold seems to be about the same as you said. Cheaney (very impresed with their quality for the money), Barker’s, Loake 1880, all fall somewhere around that mark – perhaps Cheaney and Barker’s Handcrafted just above. And there’s a clear distinction from cheaper Loake offerings in both style and substance.

    So yes, perhaps that figure rings true – you can get something presentable for under $300 and pass the interview. But should get something over $300 to help your promotion!

  • Alex B – did you receive my email? Could use a prompt response if you can manage…

    -Justin

  • Another fantastic post, definitely spamming my less sartorially inclined friends with this one.

  • Simon – glad to hear that you enjoyed it!! thanks for sharing!

    -Justin

  • Anonymous

    I love your posts. But I am not sure if I can agree with you here.
    First of all, I agree with you.
    Subjectively, I dislike people with bad shoes and think, my god, there is a solution to that problem if you really want to. Buy second hand shoes for example. There are many ways to get an nice pair of shoes. But, if you really think of our divers societies, you cannot expect everyone to wear nice shoes. .In your Blog, you tried to make this simple, but from my point of you it is not.
    First of all, there are poor people. You mention that in the beginning, and than forget it. Man, I know poor people! They live their life, even very intelligent and writing articles, but they cannot afford to buy any kind of shoes, and if one day they have some very small money, they buy a pair of shoes for 40 Pounds. These I would not include in my dislike.
    Of course, there are those, that could buy a better pair and they simply find it cool and stylish to buy such a damn pair of the kind on the left. Here in Germany many now have these shoes with a fissure parallel some centimetres above the sole very ugly. These persons I do not understand!
    I agree with your anger and your statement as far as I think, you should wear good shoes if you can afford it. I would also not generalise to the absolute. Only, if much, much more man would wear better shoes, I could stand it better, that some dont. That is why I agree with you, when you say, it is important for you that men wear better shoes. There are simply too many without any culture of shoes and beauty, here I agree.
    And last, a good shoe is, as far as I see it, not cheaper than a bad one. A good shoe nowadays costs so much money for the repairs, new soles means redouble the goodyear welting, and all other things you need for shore care, they are so expensive. My answer, since I found this out by counting the money I pay constantly, is: it is WORTH it. Yes, I want to spend money on shoes, as long as I can afford it. And I expect others to think and do so too!!!!
    Giorgio

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