What to look for when investing in shoes

We help you take a step in the right direction to finding some quality footwear

men wearing shoes
Photo by Tommy Ton

It’s often said that the shoes maketh the man, and this age-old expression certainly still rings true. A gentleman can strive to be impeccably stylish and only sport garments of the uttermost quality, but a bad pair of shoes can undo all of his efforts in an instant. The last thing you put on before you step out the front door, your footwear truly has the power to make or break an entire outfit. So, it’s key that you get it right, especially when it comes to choosing a ‘proper’ shoe.

The casual nature of sneakers and boots means they’re isolated to weekend wear, whilst formal shoes must carry you through the working week as the anchor to all your office outfits. Even if sporting dress shoes isn’t necessary for your professional environment, you’ll need a pair close to hand for when a smart occasion calls. So, we’ve given you a guide on how to secure a pair of formal shoes that offer the required durability, versatility and reliability. Let’s step to it…

What to look for when investing in shoes

1. Seek the advice of experts

It’s surprising how many men fall prey to cluelessly browsing department stores or online to find footwear. So before you start looking, why not approach an established shoemakers; they’ll have a team of experts on deck who are informed about everything from welting to wingtips, helping you to ultimately make a perfect purchase.

2. Quality of material

The fabrication of your shoes is as important as their overall appearance, so make sure to take note of what material you’re investing into. This should go without saying, but it’s worth saying again: avoid any imitation leathers, as these will show wear and tear so much more easily, and stay clear of anything that feels plasticky to the touch.

3. How comfortable they are

Any shoe, particularly those crafted from high-quality leather, have a brief breaking-in period where they soften and adapt to the natural shape of your feet. So don’t be mislead into buying footwear that’s too big, on the premise of immediate comfort, or too small, assuming that they’ll somehow eventually fit. Not only will you be mis-spending your money, but your feet will not be given the correct support.

4. They have the right silhouette

More than any other factor, a shoe’s silhouette is what can distinguish a footwear aficionado from an amateur. Any style with an overly pointy or square toe is simply unsightly, as is anything too chunky. So whether you’re buying the classically smart Oxford, the slightly quirky monk strap or the understated Derby, just ensure that your shoes boast a shape that are as streamlined as the rest of your attire.

5. They’re timeless in design

Unless you’re a fully-fledged footwear acquirer with a sizeable, varied collection already at your disposal, when buying formal shoes it’s best to initially stick to the basics. Evade bold colours, studs or pattern detailing- these design features may currently be en vogue, but whose to say they’ll stand the test of time amongst other fashion trends? Opt for classic black or deep shades of brown, whilst they’re not the most exciting hues, they’re so versatile they’ll be able to match with anything in your wardrobe.

Further Reading