How to know a quality dress shoe when you see one

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Walk into a men's shoe store, or the men's section at any establishment and you might be overwhelmed with the selection of shoes. How do you know which ones have a better quality, or will last longer? You certainly can't go off the price alone to make that determination. Here are just a few tips on finding that perfect and proper dress shoe.

  1. First when looking for a quality dress shoe, ensure it is leather. Remember like meat, leather has grades and most of us have been tricked into thinking if we see 'Genuine Leather' we are not getting fake leather, and that's the end of it.  Au contraire mon frere, true, genuine leather is real hide, but there are four categories of leather grading. Full Grain Leather being the best money can buy, followed by Top Grain Leather, THEN Genuine Leather, and lastly crap ass, Bonded Leather.  Now with all that said, there is nothing wrong with Genuine Leather, but we couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't educate y'all in the process.  So why leather anyways? Well, for starters leather breaths, specifically important in the soles, where rubber soles and synthetics leathers do not. Ensure the construction of the shoe has a leather upper and lining. 
  2. The leather sole should be stitched, or welted, to the upper. Allowing for easy replacement once it has worn out, thus extending the life of the shoe past your prime.  Allowing them to become family heirlooms. We kid, but seriously this will allow the core of the shoe to last much longer. 
  3. When a shoe is new and pristine, it can be difficult to judge the quality and durability of a shoe. There are two things you can fall back on, the price and make. The reality is, for a high-quality, welted calfskin shoe, you can expect to pay at least $300 bucks. But remember this shoe can last you a life time. If that is a bit to much to swallow, wait for a sale, or find them at an outlet. Even better find them second hand, nothing wrong with that. To get y'all started here is a good starting point, and a few trusted and reliable makers of quality, long-lasting dress shoes. Alden, Allen-Edmonds, John Lobb, and Crockett & Jones.
  4. The best time of day to shop for dress shoes is later in the day. As your feet have had a chance to naturally swell, also wear dress socks and be sure to try both shoes on each foot. Remember if a shoe is not comfortable in the store, chances are, it is unlikely to break-in regardless of what the sales person tells you.

Do you agree with our list? Did we leave something out? Do you have another tip? Let us know in the comment section below. 


Source: The Forgetful Gentleman: Thirty Ways to Turn Good Intensions into Actions

1 comment

  • Posted on by Elise Auxier

    A quick spelling note. In section 1. it should read “leather breathes” not “leather breaths”
    I enjoyed the tutorial. What do you think of Cole Haan?

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