Section: Men's Footwear - Blog
Are you a savvy shoe buyer, familiar with the quality nuances of specific shoes? Can you tell the difference between shoes from a mass market retailer or those from a high-end fashion house? If you want to learn more about shoe quality, here's what you need to know.
A man's fashion sense is judged based on the appearance of his suits and the quality of his shoes. If he spends a lot of time and money on his outfits but neglects his footwear, his efforts are for naught.
Quality shoes usually start at around $300 or more. However, they are worth the investment as they are incredibly comfortable, and if properly cared for, can last for upwards of 20 years or more.
Unlike men's suits and ties, a man's shoes seldom cause him to appear overdressed. Because of this, today's men can add a touch of class to their weekend attire without enduring snide comments from their friends and family.
Dress shoes purchased from department stores may cost you a third of the price i.e. $100. However, they may consist of cheap leather glued to rubber soles and might only last a few short years.
As time passes, the leather will show notable signs of wear and tear or the soles may crack or wear thin. Since the cost of repair is more or less the same as purchasing a new pair of men's footwear, you could find yourself making regular trips to the store to purchase these types of shoes.
On the other hand, quality shoes are made of good leather stitched to leather soles. With proper care, these shoes last for decades. While they may need resoling every few years depending on wear, resoling is relatively inexpensive and might cost about $60.
Quality shoe leather improves with age and develops a deep, rich shine from years of polish. Given this, quality shoes are an investment that continues paying dividends long after their cost has been forgotten.
The best quality men's shoes are made by companies whose primary business is manufacturing men's shoes. Their money is spent on quality materials and skilled craftsmen, rather than on expensive advertising campaigns. They don't need to run extensive media campaigns as their shoes sell themselves.
Conversely, shoes sold by high-end fashion labels are often made by third-party manufactures that use cheap materials and shoddy construction. While their quality may be slightly better than the department store shoes, they can never compare with the products of companies for whom shoemaking is a primary business.
When you buy quality men's footwear, also buy a pair of cedar shoe trees. These spring-loaded accessories fit into the shoes when you take them off and help to return the shoes to their original shape and absorb excess moisture and odour.
Typically, you need to leave your shoe trees inside the shoes for at least 24 hours between wears. Ideally, you are rotating two pairs of shoes.
However, if you can only afford one pair initially, leave the shoe trees in the shoes overnight, which helps them to withstand the constant wear and tear. Also, consider using shoe horns when putting your shoes on to prevent creases in the leather around the heel.
Lastly, good shoes need constant polishing. Unpolished leather looks sloppy and immature and has the tendency to crack and fray. Therefore, after every six wearings, polish your shoes. Also consider brushing the dirt out of the cracks of the shoes – along with running a rag across the top of the shoe – on a daily basis.
Polish them with the trees in, after cleaning them with a suitable leather cleaner. The cleaner serves to prevent layers of polish from accumulating into gunk and helps preserve the leather.
Work the polish into the leather with the rag, let it set for five minutes, and then wipe off the excess residue with the same rag. Thereafter, buff them with a clean rag, ensuring that the left and right sides of the shoe exhibit the same degree of lustre.
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