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best sub $150 everyday business casual shoes

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    #16
    [MENTION=14378]Gabe[/MENTION] for some reason I can't stand the look of loafers. I don't judge anyone else for wearing them, but I (unfairly) associate the look with "old man" in my mind. Again, not trying to criticize anyone for wearing them, but loafers are just not for me.

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      #17
      Thanks for the suggestion! I actually have a down jacket (from Land's End). It's more casual than the quilted ones you were talking about, but I still think it's wool outerwear that I most need. I have a grey topcoat from BR and it's pretty nice, but the problem is that BR only sells its outerwear in S/M/L. I'm right in between M and L, so I had to decide whether to size down or up. So that I could wear it with a suit jacket underneath, I sized up. It's great when worn with a suit or sports coat but could be trimmer when I wear it without a jacket underneath. So, I'm hoping to pick up a J. Crew ludlow topcoat, as they do 40R/40L etc. I also really like the softness of the fabric. I don't own either a peacoat or a trench coat, and I'm thinking about picking up one of them as well, although I don't think either is an absolute necessity. I have in mind the LL Bean peacoat or the J. Crew dock peacoat, and the BR trench (although I don't like midnight blue, I love the navy trench they're selling). I also have a black Timberland topcoat but the lining got all ripped up inside, and it's not worth repairing, so I'm retiring it.

      Seems like you should pick up a pair or two of shoes before betting more chukkas. Hope you find something you're happy with.

      Originally posted by Danny View Post
      [MENTION=13548]srlclark[/MENTION] I would maybe try a pair of AE seconds as long as I can return them to the store. Might be worth considering (but still at the top of my budget).

      You should check out my thread about quilted jackets if you're about to look into outerwear.

      I'll browse around sierra trading post, but I like the idea of picking up shoes that someone here has experience with, so I can know that they will hold up to daily use.

      I only have one pair of clarks. They're the bushacre II desert boots in Beeswax leather (not suede, which would die quickly in the Seattle rain). I like them. Might have to buy a new pair at some point (these ones are getting worn down after 2.5 years of almost daily use). I also have a pair of timberland earthkeepers, but those are decidedly informal and look bad unless paired with jeans. In fact, wearing them with chinos today is what sparked this fierce desire for a better/more appropriate pair of shoes.

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        #18
        Originally posted by Danny View Post
        [MENTION=13548]srlclark[/MENTION] I would maybe try a pair of AE seconds as long as I can return them to the store. Might be worth considering (but still at the top of my budget).
        You can return them to the store. You still pay the restocking fee unless you return them to a factory store.

        Simply return unwanted, unworn Factory-Second shoes to us by contacting the store for a prepaid return label and we will refund the purchase price, less $10 restocking fee per pair of Factory-Seconds returned or exchanged. You may also return your Factory-Seconds at any Allen Edmonds store. Returns to the Factory Outlet stores are free, but the $10 restocking fee will apply to each pair of Factory-Seconds returned to our Retail stores.
        For the record, I've ordered two pairs of seconds (Daltons) from AE. Both were in great shape. One pair I never could see what made them seconds. The other had a small discoloration on the tongue where you couldn't see it when laced. They both went back for fit issues. I still don't know exactly what size I need (assuming 9.5E at this point), but I got sick of paying the return fee.
        Last edited by dpark; March 11, 2016, 08:12 AM.

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          #19
          The next time the Gunners are in the $50-60 range, pull the trigger. Brown, cheap, soft leather, durable and stylish. They check every box. They are also immediately comfortable.
          I put brown cream polish on mine to try to add some depth to the color (it's a little too orange for me out of the box), and I've been pleased with the results.

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            #20
            [MENTION=14386]Danny[/MENTION]: have you thought about going with a pair of chelsea boots? Still a "timeless" style, but very different to Clarks you're wearing now.

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              #21
              Originally posted by Danny View Post
              I love the look of the AE fifth avenues. (AE's are not in the running due to price point)
              I've long considered picking up a pair of Stafford Gunners (in cognac)
              I tried on BR's Jeremy oxfords today (Joe described the leather as "terrific" on the main site).

              Thoughts on the three shoes that I've mentioned?
              Suggestions for shoes I haven't considered?
              The 5th Ave is a cap-toe Balmoral. Way too formal for your work dress and would incredibly out of place.
              I know the Gunners get a ton of love on here, but they are really a throw away shoe. Definitely not a step up or an investment in quality footwear.
              I'm simply not a fan of plain toe oxfords. I think they look boring and the epitome of unsexy. I cannot think of a single style scenario where a different shoe would not look better.

              My recommendations would be for double monk, a chukka, or a chelsea (in that order). Preferably in suede.

              The BR Wyatt gets a lot of love on here, but it's not suede and maybe to much brogueing for you. The BR James (leather) and Ryan (suede) seem to be discontinued, but can be found on eBay if you know your BR size.
              The AE Gobi is $117 on Shoebank if they have your size. Fairly similar style to your Clarks so I ranked them second on the list, but a sleeker profile in suede might make enough of a change up.
              I don't have any recommendations for a ~$100 chelsea, but if you can find one, I think they would fit what you're looking for.

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                #22
                I don't know what size you are but AE has the Kenilworth in bourbon for $127 right now.http://www.shoebank.com/FactorySecon...DIM=D&SIZE=090

                Also, what about some suede bucks? Plain toe and several brands would have them for less than $100.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by dpark View Post
                  You can return them to the store. You still pay the restocking fee unless you return them to a factory store.
                  Maybe it's different store to store, but I have returned plenty of Shoebank shoes to the local AE store and never paid a restocking fee.

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                    #24
                    Are you willing to buy used, or only new? I assume new only due to apprehension towards AE seconds, but want to make sure.

                    The AE Dundee seems to be the perfect fit for your requirements, except for price. You'll be very hard pressed to find a new pair for under $150, but they're a much higher quality boot than the JM, BR, and Stafford options previously listed.

                    The AE Fifth Avenue you mentioned is far too dressy for your daily wardrobe.

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by connersw View Post
                      Maybe it's different store to store, but I have returned plenty of Shoebank shoes to the local AE store and never paid a restocking fee.
                      Interesting. I was quoting the shoe bank site. Maybe some stores don't enforce the restocking fee, though. Definitely nicer if you don't have to pay that.

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                        #26
                        Some stores don't. I returned shoebank shoes to the downtown Philly store last summer and they didn't charge me.

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                          #27
                          Originally posted by Danny View Post
                          In regard to AE seconds -- I'm open to the idea, but I'd rather find a solid mid-range shoe than go the "seconds" route (unless the majority of people here push me to the seconds option). On that note, can you return seconds to AE stores? There's one literally right across the street from where I work.
                          Yep, I've done it several times. Saves you the $10 restocking fee too!

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                            #28
                            [MENTION=14386]Danny[/MENTION] - Congrats to you for being disciplined and carefully adding pieces to your wardrobe. If everyone did this, I think we would see more higher quality goods being sold, since everyone would stop getting suckered into buying overpriced and/or poor quality goods.

                            I used to feel the same way you do about wingtips. I prefer a more understated style. I have slowly changed my mind though. A dark brown wingtip shoe is not as flashy as you might think it is. As you may have figured out, the quality level of a $150 shoe is not much more than the best $50 shoe. You have to cross over to the goodyear welted price level before you can get more bang for your buck.

                            I say buy the gunner boots for now until you feel more comfortable spending more for shoes. I own a pair and wear them often. I wear them with jeans, even though some people here will tell you to never do that. It is a boot, it has some brogueing, it is a blucher, it is brown, the soles are black rubber, and the leather has a much more matte appearance than my brown AE fifth avenue shoes. So, it is not anything like wearing AE fifth avenue with jeans.

                            Good luck with your decision.

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                              #29
                              Originally posted by dpark View Post
                              Interesting. I was quoting the shoe bank site. Maybe some stores don't enforce the restocking fee, though. Definitely nicer if you don't have to pay that.
                              I've returned to the store without paying the restocking fee, also. (In my case, it was one of the DC stores).

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                                #30
                                Agree with you about the 5th Ave. If [MENTION=14386]Danny[/MENTION] can find a pair of Kenilworths that fit, they'd be way better. So would the Lexington - although I think the cap-toe doesn't work so well on bluchers as on balmorals, and so would advocate the Kenilworth over the Lexington. Both are roughly in his price range.

                                I don't understand why so many posters are recommending chukkas. He already owns a chukka. I know it's not so high quality a chukka, but I don't believe he plans on throwing it out. If he's going to have three pairs of footwear, and two are chukkas and one another type of boot, that seems unbalanced to me. Surely it's better to get a brown blucher of some sort than yet another boot.

                                My view is that one's first three pairs of high-quality shoes should normally be something like this (it's not the path I followed; note, I'm assuming that until you have at least three nice pairs, you don't throw out your old, less high quality shoes but keep using them):

                                1. A brown plain-toe blucher. [Should be either medium brown or dark brown].
                                2. A black cap-toe balmoral.
                                {N.B. no reason why it shouldn't be a brown cap-toe blucher and a black plain-toe balmoral, I suppose}.
                                3. A brown brogue. [Don't think it matters whether the brogue is a balmoral or a blucher, whether it's a half-brogue, a full brogue, a long wing, a short wing, or anything else. I do think it'd be a shame if both the brown shoes were the same shade of brown, so if the first was a dark brown, I'd get this in medium or light brown/tan, and if the first was medium brown, I'd get this in dark brown or perhaps light brown/tan - but might put that off a bit longer].

                                Originally posted by connersw View Post
                                The 5th Ave is a cap-toe Balmoral. Way too formal for your work dress and would incredibly out of place.
                                I know the Gunners get a ton of love on here, but they are really a throw away shoe. Definitely not a step up or an investment in quality footwear.
                                I'm simply not a fan of plain toe oxfords. I think they look boring and the epitome of unsexy. I cannot think of a single style scenario where a different shoe would not look better.

                                My recommendations would be for double monk, a chukka, or a chelsea (in that order). Preferably in suede.

                                The BR Wyatt gets a lot of love on here, but it's not suede and maybe to much brogueing for you. The BR James (leather) and Ryan (suede) seem to be discontinued, but can be found on eBay if you know your BR size.
                                The AE Gobi is $117 on Shoebank if they have your size. Fairly similar style to your Clarks so I ranked them second on the list, but a sleeker profile in suede might make enough of a change up.
                                I don't have any recommendations for a ~$100 chelsea, but if you can find one, I think they would fit what you're looking for.

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