The Shoe Snob Blog

April 15, 2014

Written by , Posted in News

What Are People Thinking??

Pointed Shoes as Score

I sit on the tube day after day staring either at my phone (doing emails of course!) or looking at people’s feet. Most of the time, I am praying that I see a pair of shoes that blows me away, but after having taken about 7000 tube journeys (and yet to see one), I think that I might have to give up on that one! What I mainly see is probably a mixture of the most horrible shoes on the planet, on a constant basis. Every now and then, I see a smart gent wearing a pair of Crockett’s, Church’s, Cheaney’s or good Loakes but more often than not, I see all these guys wearing less than £100 plastic looking, turned-up-nose pinkle wickers that make me want to vomit. And these are guys from The City earning at least £50K a year, quite possibly a lot more.

Now I don't like the Loake below, but it is at least 10 million times better than the above. I would rather go barefoot than wear the black shoes above. Yet I bet you that this is the most common shoe in London.

Now I don’t like the Loake below, but it is at least 10 million times better than the above. I would rather go barefoot than wear the black shoes above. Yet I bet you that this is the most common shoe in London…..as sad as that is….

loake

Now in reality I don’t really care about what people wear. Certain things do make me cringe but that is natural. Sure I want to see men wearing better shoes, but only those that actually care about it and are interested in being smart (genuinely). Now I don’t claim to be the most stylish man in the world, but I do feel that at least I have more days than not that I look smart (some days it was like I was dressing drunk or something – blame that on the pressure of life!). But what really kills me and inspired me to write this are the guys out there that think that they are the most stylish thing since John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever but are wearing these shoes that make them look like they just came out of Office (equivalent of Payless Shoe Source) and went for the two for one special on plastic dress shoe rubbish.  They always have turned up elves toes, points that could put out an eye and leather that was really made from recycled Coke bottles and styrofoam. And what they don’t realize is that these shoes make them look anything but stylish…

Really?? I don't know how the makers of these shoes can be proud of this rubbish....

Really?? I don’t know how the makers of these shoes can be proud of this rubbish….

What I probably spend too much time thinking is ‘why don’t these guys just spend double,’ from £100 to £200, to least get a pair of shoes that has proper shape and made from real leather?? WHY??? Why is it that so little importance is put on the shoe when it is in fact the most important part of your outfit. This will always boggle me until society has changed, which sadly enough might not be until the end of time. What’s even worse, is that I ask myself, is this simply not common sense? But I guess that it is not really. Even when I see celebrities that are styled up by so-called fashion stylists, they too are wearing that horrible designer, turned up nose rubbish made from shiny bookbinder leather. It’s crazy. And I guess that most these guys see this and think it’s cool. Therefore actually being stylish must be un-cool? Either way, this needed to get off the chest. If you have a friend that fits the description in my second paragraph, please pass this on.

By the way, for those of you that missed yesterday’s post, please give it a look as I am giving away a few things in a contest, one of which is a pair of shoes!

Note: Everything stated in this post is an opinion and not fact.

Sincerely,

Justin, “The Shoe Snob”

  • Tim Walker

    It’s a fact as far as I’m concerned and it’s a very worthy rant Justin. You do see a few decent pairs at the shoe-shine in Leadenhall Market though. Always say that if you want to know what a man wants you to think of him, look at his tie. However, if you want to know what a man thinks of himself, look at his shoes

    • Adam Du-Lieu

      Tim, I would say that his tie shows what thinks he is worth, and his shoes paint the real picture – (do not mean by price). It is easy to pick up a semi-decent pair of oxfords on ebay.

  • Brian

    Agreed 100%. I do the exact same thing on my commutes to work . It’s hard to understand why someone will wear a pair of these horrible cheap black glued turned up eyesores when a pair of Meermin , Duggers, Septieme Largeur or Carmina will not break a mans wallet. I put it down to lack of knowledge and laziness.

  • StephenC

    Agree 100%. I invest in one or two new pairs of (what I believe) are great pairs of shoes every 2/3 months. They will last a hell of a lot longer than your £100 Office monstrosities and look 100x better to boot (no pun intended!). I agree with Brian, its laziness and lack of a basic sartorial understanding in my opinion. What would you say were the best brands to look at in the 200-400 price bracket? Personally I have bought Grenson, Church’s and a pair of double monk strap Kurt Gieger’s in real leather so far this year.

  • Feryll

    I know the answer. Most of these men have no fashion sense, they know nothing about the basics not to mention fine details. They wear these suits and shoes because they have to and they feel relieved when they get home and have the chance to change their clothes to something more comfortable.
    People who love classic menswear wear them because they feel comfortable wearing these garments. I would never wear a track suit at home just because people don’t see me. For an outsider it might be crazy to wear perfectly ironed dress shirts at home but I hate sloppines, maybe I am obsessed.

  • ccc

    Even though I agree with this, I think it is the same as photographers seeing people taking bad pictures with an iPhone or a 3 Michelin star chef looking at people eating at McDs. We are passionate about the things we love, while others don’t give it a second thought. I could not understand why some would spend over 10k on audio equipment, the same way they would probably rant about me listening to music on my PC speakers or cheap headphones.

  • PaulvdHart

    In one way I fully and wholeheartedly agree with you, Justin.

    But on the other hand: these guys, however misguidedly, have at least taken the trouble to aim for something resembling a shoe. Have you seen the plastic trash that goes for footwear with some people? Trainers, rubber comfort shoes… it’s atrocious.

    A few examples of my daily dose of misery as I encounter it during my commutes.

  • NCJack

    Figure that every so often a “new, daring, forward” style is foist on the unsuspecting public, various “BroDudes” are talked into it by their women, and they infest the street. “The Guys” wear a shoe (without polish or care) until it wears out, so you’re tortured with them for two or three years. In a couple of years, all these monstrosities will be gone….but don’t worry, something equally heinous will appear in their place.

  • Nesta

    I couldn’t agree more with this piece/rant.

    It’s up to each individual to choose what they wear and in some respects, we all need people to wear the dreadful, pointy poop flickers so those in the know continue to enjoy being part of a group that truly understands.

    I too don’t really care what everybody else wears, it’s up to them but, and this is the big but, it’s those that think they’re all that who, by and large get the outfit/accessories/hair cut right except for the single most important item – the shoes. It does make me want to pull these offenders aside and put them straight. But then I guess they still wouldn’t get it, would they?

    Also, hands up who gets an increase in blood pressure upon sight of the leather-look plastic soles that adorn these horrendous items? The instantly recognisable black patch on the forefoot of the sole where the tan sole paint has worn straight off…

  • LT

    Hahaha l’m loving this thread. – I too have been checking out men’s shoes for so many years now. I think it really comes down to the following – “you either get it or you don’t”. Either way, as Justin suggested, I too really could not care less as a book should not be judged by its cover. It does however leave me rather perplexed at times ! Canada (where I am from) also hosts a GREAT number of plastic point shoes ! haha – I’m still cracking up.
    Italy, perhaps more than any other country, hosts the highest number of men/capita dressed with “proper and tasteful” shoes, aside for their sometimes bizarre choice of casual shoes (i.e. can you say Geox trainer – simply awful). In any case, as with anything else, interest or passion is what keeps us all very curious !

  • Juan Manuel

    Sadly, the answer to your question is the answer to a lot of inexplicable silly behaviours nowadays. Fashion (the need for being IN the stream) has been causing a lot of damage. Plus some lack of common sense, lack of information, some misunderstandings.. and there we are.

    I suppose this is a matter of dose. And today the dose is really huge.

    But there’s still hope, and this blog is a neat example!

    All the best,

    Juan Manuel

  • Cordovan Lover

    Justin,
    This post is a bit of a deja vu for me. I am in NYC and everyday I search for someone wearing a decent pair of shoes on the subways but alas I am confronted with hordes of the grotesque variety already shown in your post today. Unfortunately the ratio of good to bad is obesely weighted towards the bad. One more thing to consider (at least in NYC) is that not as many of the upwardly mobile take the subways in NYC and therefore the quality shoe ‘gene pool’ on the subway may be diluted as those with deeper pockets (but not always better taste) may not be on the trains. At least I am hoping that is the case : )

  • Meloni

    Me i like winkle pickers, even if they’re less than 100 £, but I like also Alfred Sargent, Crockett, Alden, Lotusse, Meermin, Loake, Edward Green, Ludwig Reiter, Septième Largeur etc. The problem is not the shoe, the problem is rather the wearer. In the past only particular people (Teddy Boys, Rockers, Mods, Hipsters?) weared shoes like those, today everybody wears everything and thinks to be cool, it’s a pity. But i think it’s better to do in the London Underground like in the good old days before the Smartphones: Every passenger stares at his own shoes and his own toe-caps for avoiding to look another person or another person’s shoes…

  • Anon

    You just described the exact same thought that goes through my head every day! I work in the city and the number of people wearing £1-3K suits with £100 shoes is frightening! For most it would be so simple as well, buy two black oxfords (if you really don’t care and you’re boring) and wear them on alternating days. Hopefully you will be on the same tube as me one day and get a nice surprise when you look down, or at least I hope so.

  • Jazzmenco

    If you want to see some really hideous shoes you should see what Romanian men wear (and this the home of Saint Crispin!) I live in the US, I work in a 10 story building. I observe the shoes being worn in the lobby & elevator, horrible, once in a great while I see a decent pair worn by an attorney on the 10th floor. Other than that nothing but scuffed worn out flat toe garbage. Then when I wear something nice to work I get stupid comments from my co-workers, usually from the ones with the ugliest shoes. Most men just don’t get it.

  • Deny Machado

    PEOPLE BUY WHAT STORES HAS TO OFFER. I live in Atlanta USA and any mall that I go to I cant find a leather men shoes not even at Macys, the only ones would be those that my grandpa used: big, fat and round lasts. We’ve seen so much of those ugly, bad quality shoes for 2 reasons:

    1) 99% Don`t understand about shoes, like I once didn’t

    2) 99% of the “regular” stores only sell ugly, bad quality shoes.

    Maybe YOU JUSTIN should come with you brand here. With all the respect that I have for you I never understood why you trying to compete with the 100 year old brands in Europe you could change the market in the USA.

    • Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke

      Allen Edmonds in Wisconsin then!!! Beautiful, tasteful men’s leather dress shoes with top notch customer support and service. Well worth the money.

    • TheShoeSnob

      US is actually my biggest market and I am trying to get over there, but it takes time. I have to build my brand in Europe first (which gives me credibility to the American shops) to then be able to approach the big boys in the States…in due time my friend

  • Semi-snob

    True that Justin. Also, most men don’t seem to take care of their shoes at all. Yesterday I had a business meeting and the person shows up in a Nice suit but with really crappy, plastic shoes that were almost gray. Those shoes had never been near any shoe cream. Imagine treating your clothes like that: wearing the same clothes every day (these guys don’t alter their shoes), never cleaning them/wear them dirty. But with shoes that is normal… The funny thing is that often get asked if i have new shoes (the last time it was a pair of Loake 1880 that i bought three years ago). That’s the upside of caring for your shoes 🙂

  • Frank

    Your shoes are absolutely beautiful. Your comments about the shoes you see most men wearing are so true. They wear a decent suit and tie and spoil the whole look by wearing shabby cheap shoes. Plus they are usually scuffed and in dire need of a good polishing. I will be saving to buy some of your fantastic original style shoes in the future. Being a disabled veteran stops me buying them right away.

  • Anand

    I think some of the snobbishness is unwarranted, firstly, most men have more important things on their mind which are higher on their priority list than sartorial matters. secondly, most men in London have little disposable income with stagnant wages .. rising living costs, critically housing costs which are incredibly high (vs. income). Therefore a couple earning £70-80k a year can only probably afford to cover basic costs for a humble lifestyle in a small home in some run down part of the City. Do you all actually think they care what their shoes look like? The majority of men, the masses, are going to buy the most affordable shoes available, which are these sub 100 quid rubber soled shoes. Bear in mind they are probably looking at you guys and rather than thinking you are stylish & refined as you’d like to think probably assume you are a pretentious, shallow & bourgeoisie.
    Anand

    • giorgio

      I do not agree with you, Anand. It was just sheer enjoyment for me to reed this thread from Justin. I had similar concerns in a thread form Justin another time, but not this time: Justin points out clearly that he is talking about people who could afford better shoes. And, seeing this every day here in Berlin, it is sooo sad! It is just about beauty and care for others and yourself, and if people are ignoring this in such a harsh way (expensive suit, cheep shoes is such an example) it just hurts, and so it helps me to overcome by reading Justin´s Blog.

      And, I´d like to throw in: What is about the responsibility you have for our world? To wear plastic shoes is very irresponsible, since we know now very well what it means to the global oceans. And I would also bring in: Good shoes are not really cheaper than bad shoes, but they are also not very much more expensive!!! You wear them so long. Many small and new brands like the one form Justin sell Shoes for such a good price, that financially it will almost come out even if you compare it to a bad shoe.

    • TheShoeSnob

      i am not sure you really read word for word what I wrote as I was not referring to people who don’t care about clothes or simply can’t afford them due to more important expense, but rather those who think it’s stylish to wear these cheap, horrible, plastic like shoes. And I was not saying that one should be buying John Lobb either, but rather buy something that is at least more respectable looking. I would rather a £100 Loake with a classic shape than a £100 winklepicker and anyone should know that the classic shape is more acceptable with a suit, whether you like shoes or not

  • morkstar

    I couldn’t agree more Justin. I have always thought that a man’s style (or lack thereof) is confirmed by his choice of footwear. And it is absolutely a choice. I don’t earn a fortune but have managed to collect a great range of Church, Cheaney and Loakes (and a pair or Bexleys – are they OK? I really like them…). I loathe the nasty pixie shoes I see on almost every man I work with. A decent shoe is a rare spot and I work in a “posh” office. I’ve picked up some great shoes on Ebay from £45 to £150. My wife thinks I have a fetish but I like to think that wheover dies with the most (and best) shoes wins.

    • TheShoeSnob

      love that, whoever dies with the most shoes wins…great stuff…thanks for sharing and as per Bexley, to be honest, don’t like what i see online (quality wise)….

  • John Billings

    Excellent thoughts here. I was in the Loop (aka downtown Chicago) this week and saw more than a few guys in decent suits with garbage shoes. Bad style, and terribly maintained. I don’t make a king’s ransom, but a few years ago, I consciously decided to elevate my shoe game and knowledge. I save to buy brands of a higher quality, that will endure. I also invest in good care products and use them frequently.

  • alwinvrm

    Thank you for the nice read.

    I was spoilt with good English shoes since my late teens. I currently live in Holland where I do get my daily diet of indigestible sensible comfort shoes, ugly leather, shapeless, and about as wide as they are long, and the shiny black plastic/leather ‘office’ shoes with details and decoration stemming from a sick brain.

    I would say that a general feeling of style, beauty and proportion would automatically lead to matching shoes. But, as the shoesnob pointed out, this is not the case, … as if their feet are a blind spot. Do these people slip in other fields as well? Maybe their watches, ties? I will pay close attention in the subway; what are the characteristics of the well dressed but shoe-blind?

    Being at a station in life where a suit is not a daily obligation but a nice change, it is funny to notice that good shoes became even more important.

    I became more ‘laid back’, wearing jeans and chino’s, but I would never leave the house without good shoes. I would rather go barefoot.

  • Sactogeoff

    And at the other end of is battle, I have colleagues give me a hard time for being so particular about my shoes. This topic is a big part of why. Too many really bad mens shoes out there. But I will stay in the fight!