We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'm talking about good casual leather shoes and boots, and dress/dress work shoes. "Casual," of course, is relative.
Well-made examples of these should last a lifetime, and often would except that our feet increase in size somewhat with age (due to gravity).
If cheap shoes are disposable items, that's one thing, but $300-$500+ men's shoes deserve some attention and the custom-built deserve the most, for sure (for example, John Lobb's custom leather shoes cost as much as a lady's fancy handbag).
Guys with fancy jobs wear $1000+ shoes, but I would die first. Lady footwear is beyond my ken, but I overhear things about it from my daughters and it sounds insane to me. With the cost of appropriate womens' shoes you need to be a Saudi to afford your harem. (We had a fun time last year waiting in the Milan airport while Mrs. BD identified the multi-thousand dollar shoes under the black burkhas.)
Hard-work shoes, hunting boots (if resole-able) and athletic shoes (which you throw out when worn out) are different topics.
- Everybody knows that you should never wear the same pair of nice shoes two days in a row. They do not get time to dry out from your foot sweat. I often ignore that rule out of laziness.
- New shoes, I am told, should be polished and maybe waterproofed before wearing.
- Waterproofing is not a bad idea, does not damage or discolor leather (but mink oil does).
- If your feet expand a bit and you want to keep the good old shoes with the patina of age, shoe stretchers do work.
- Rule of thumb (for men's and women's footwear) generally speaking, I think, good shoes are not noticeable except to women and to gay guys but bad or ugly shoes are, and make a bad impression. You have to be either very rich or very powerful to get away with wearing bad or inappropriate clothing.
- Cleaning and shining are not just for appearance. They are for endurance. Pros do a better job (your local shoe man, or those guys in Grand Central Terminal if you ever pass through there and have a spare 20 minutes). It can be a good exercise to do it yourself: The Perfect Shoe Shine
- Good source for shoe care stuff: Shoe Care Supplies.com . Paste stuff is better than the hard waxes, it seems to me. It doesn't take much. The challenge is matching the colors.
Pic is Brooks Brothers' cordovan tassel loafers - for some people they are casual weekend shoes, and for some - like me - they are more like dress shoes but my life does not require dressy tie shoes altho I have one or two.That applies up here in Yankeeland and the Northeast US, anyway, where lizardskin boots would be an affectation and Ralph Lauren things are for wannabes. Choice of dress in general, besides appropriateness and just plain "what you are comfortable with", is part of tribal identification and signaling, like Indian headdresses.
More random shoe topics -
Most comfortable shoes for men and women? Definitely Mephisto. They might not be proper for high-level white collar work, but they are, by far, the best for comfort.
Thanks for this post. At Shoe Care Supplies I found an item, actually bought 3, that I have been searching for, the wool polishing brush. They make buffing an ease.
Also, to me, there's nothing like an Allen Edmunds shoe. I have several pair for over 20-years and they still look almost like new, have stayed comfortable, and remain stylish.
Keene's have a great reputation here in the Northwest; they're made in Portland (I think). I have a pair of Kenne's sandals and like them very much. As BD says, you can't wear them more than a day at a time, though.
Peet Shoe Dryers do an excellent job drying sweat. I've worn Whites's Boots, often costing more than $500 a pair for many years in extreme weather and unless you can wring water out of the uppers, Peets will dry those heavy boots overnight. One of my dryers is close to 40 years old and has a pair of Whites drying on it at this moment.