How many times have you bought a perfect pair of shoes, only for them to be completely destroyed in 6 months? Many men face this issue constantly. We’ve faced this issue numerous times, and have sought to determine ways that we can find the ideal pair of dress shoes.
Buying a quality pair of men’s shoes is important in a variety of ways. It’s crucial to find a shoe that is comfortable, long-lasting, and (equally importantly) stylish. To help you out, we've created a short guide for you below.
1. A more expensive pair does not mean that it’s a higher quality pair.
A higher price tag on a pair of dress shoes may make you think that it’s a higher quality pair. This may sometimes be true. However, be cautious and inspect other aspects of the shoe prior to purchasing.
If you’re paying less than $100 for men’s dress shoes, you’re likely buying a lower quality pair. A very high quality pair of dress shoes will cost at least $200 (but likely more than $300). However, this dress shoe will last many years.
2. Shoes made by a quality cobbler are likely to be of higher quality.
A skilled cobbler who has countless hours of experience crafting high quality pairs of dress shoes, will likely create a shoe that’s comfortable and durable. If possible, find out how the shoe that you’re considering, is made. Obviously, this type of shoe will demand a higher price point. However, this is one feature that may demonstrate that the dress shoe will last a long time, and that it’s worth the price tag.
3. Leather has different grades: look for full grain leather.
Not all leather is equal. Leather that is derived from the top of the hide is called full grain leather. This leather is not sanded, and appears more genuine than other types of leather. It typically feels more natural, and generally comes from a better part of the hide. Full grain leather is also the most durable part of the hide: it resists moisture very well, and will keep its look over time.
The next best grade of leather, is top grain. It’s a mid-tier leather that has been slightly sanded and buffed to remove any imperfections that may exist. It generally looks more uniform and does not last as long. Top grain leather is typically significantly less durable than full grain.
Genuine leather is the lowest quality, and is simply the leftover leather.
4. The sole of the shoe should be stitched (not glued).
This often unnoticed feature shows true craftsmanship in the shoe. Many dress shoes will have visible stitching on the underside, so take a look on the bottom of the dress shoe.
5. A leather sole will be more comfortable than a rubber sole.
Leather soles will become soft and flexible overtime, at least relative to rubber. It may take longer to break-in the shoe relative to a rubber sole, but leather will lead to much more comfort overtime. Just don’t forget to have proper arch support.
The more layers that your sole has, the longer it will last. A triple leather sole can last you years, and a double layer sole will also be very durable. One thing to watch out for is leather’s water absorbance: try not to constantly step in puddles. Otherwise, any leather-soled shoe will be ruined in months.
6. A quality men’s dress shoe will have incredibly neat stitching.
The body of the shoe should not have any loose or out-of-place threads. Barely noticeable threading normally means that the pair is of high quality. This is a sign of hand crafted shoes.
Here's a list to recap the 6 Signs of a Quality Men's Dress Shoe:
- A more expensive pair does not mean that it’s a higher quality pair.
- Shoes made by a quality cobbler are likely to be of higher quality.
- Leather has different grades: look for full grain leather.
- The sole of the shoe should be stitched (not glued).
- A leather sole will be more comfortable than a rubber sole.
- A quality men’s dress shoe will have incredibly neat stitching.
Want to see how to pair men’s brown dress shoes with socks? Click here!