What is the best shoe for me?

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am always asked “What is the best shoe to buy?” or “Where do I get shoes like yours?” so I wanted to dedicate a post discussing causal and dress shoes. We will focus on how to select the right shoe, places to shop and what kind of shoe to buy.

When selecting the best shoe for you take in account your height, body type (slim to heavy set), your feet (skinny to wide), the use of the shoe and BUDGET. All of these things determine what you should wear and buy.

First let’s start with your body type and your feet. This is one of the first things that need to be evaluated before you hit the stores and spend any money. Generally slimmer body types need to stay away from shoes with big chunky bottoms (this will make you look like Herman Monster) These shoes actually don’t flatter anyone at all. If you stand, walk a lot or have flat feet invest in some quality insoles. A thick sole does not always equal comfort. If you have wide feet buy wide shoes. They will wear out more evenly, allowing you to keep them longer. On the other hand slimmer body types should stay away from wide shoes or appear to look wide. The worst thing to do is have shoes flopping off your feet or tied so tight it deforms the structure of the shoe. Lastly, the best fitting shoe requires proper care of your feet. This would include regular nail trimmings, arch support insoles and addressing any other issues you have with your feet.

The next important element in selecting a shoe is budget. Everyone has a different budget that they can spend on shoes and this is perfectly fine. Don’t let your budget restrict your style! I will categorize the budget at three price points; less than $100, $200-$500, and $500+. For the less than $100 category I recommend Men’s Warehouse, Macy’s, and Aldo. These brands will offer excellent styles and good construction at a good price. These shoes generally require a good dusting off and polish from time to time after wearing. In the $200-$500 category Allen Edmonds, Johnston & Murphy and Cole Haan are great companies to purchase from. For my folks that desire to purchase alligator and crocodile shoes David Eden, Mezlan, and Belvedere will get you in the door. (Side note: lower quality “skins” are made from the undesired portions of the reptile like the belly or sides, the more desired parts of the reptile will then take you beyond $500). These shoes require regular cleaning with a quality horsehair bristle shoe brush and cedar wood trees to deodorize and draw out moisture. At the $500+ price point there are many great brands such Prada, Christian Louboutin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana, Gaziano & Girling, Bruno Magli and Gucci to name a few. Of course the same care should be done with these including adding toe and heal protection or “taps” to ensure your shoes wear evenly.

When selecting a shoe focus on a classic style, something that won’t take away from the rest of the attire. Every man should have a pair of wing-tip shoes. This shoe never goes out of style, PERIOD. A classic simple lace up or “Oxford” shoe should be another style to have in your collection. Monk Straps and Loafers are great staples but remember these are classically considered causal shoes and should not be substituted for the previous two styles when it comes to formal or business attire. Lastly a ¾ boot is always an excellent addition, especially in winter weather. The key is to make sure you have at least 2 black and 1 brown pair of shoes in these styles BEFORE investing in other colors and styles.

Hopefully this will be a helpful guide when purchasing the absolute perfect shoe to build on the perfect outfit!

Sir Byron Laurent