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How does one determine the quality of dress shoes?

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    How does one determine the quality of dress shoes?

    I recently purchased a pair of AE that I found at Nordstrom Rack for $175. Here's the link to what I bought.

    It is the first nice pair of dress shoes I have ever owned and I love the quality of them.

    Looking at the Last Call sale, I was considering a few pairs. The problem is that I still have little to no knowledge of how to determine the quality of shoes (especially when purchasing online).

    I am looking for a pair of chocolate/dark brown shoes was considering the following.

    Bruno Magli, Ryback cmCat=search&searchType=GUIDED&parentId=cat000000& icid=home2a+His+3_28_12+copy+40offcoupon&rte=%252F store%252Fcatalog%252Ftemplates%252FP4E.jhtml%253F parentId%253Dcat000000%2526itemId%253Dcat000002%25 26Ns%253DSELLABLE_DATE%25257c1%2526N%253D429496714 1%252B4294967145%2526icid%253Dhome2a%252BHis%252B3 _28_12%252Bcopy%252B40offcoupon%2526pageSize%253D1 20

    Bruno Magli, Pastula cmCat=search&searchType=GUIDED&parentId=cat000000& icid=home2a+His+3_28_12+copy+40offcoupon&rte=%252F store%252Fcatalog%252Ftemplates%252FP4E.jhtml%253F parentId%253Dcat000000%2526itemId%253Dcat000002%25 26Ns%253DSELLABLE_DATE%25257c1%2526N%253D429496714 1%252B4294967145%252B73700006%252B73700007%252B737 00008%2526pageSize%253D120%2526icid%253Dhome2a%252 BHis%252B3_28_12%252Bcopy%252B40offcoupon

    How do I determine if they are of same quality as AE?


    At a high level, some names are better than others. Bruno Magli is a good one.

    At a more basic level, the construction and quality of materials come into play. Leather soles are a good sign of overall quality even though technically rubber can last longer. The quality of the leather is usually obvious with a bit of practice in knowing what to look for. And its not always easy to know what stitching method was used on the sole, but I think its usually pretty obvious if it was just glued on (which is a bad thing).



      This doesn't answer your question directly, but here's just a bit of advice. You like AEs. You know they're quality shoes. Why not save up or wait 'til a sale, and buy some AEs? Based on those Last Call prices, they're not going to be jaw-droppingly more expensive.



        Bruno Magli makes good shoes. You can search for comments about the particular shoe you're looking at... look for Styleforum or Ask Andy threads.



          I think it is also very important to note that a good shoe may not be the right shoe for you. Allen Edmonds and Bruno Magli shoes are both quality shoes that should suit you well for many years, if taken care of correctly. That said, they are very different in how they are constructed (blake stitched vs Goodyear welted), how they fit (Allen Edmonds has a wide variety of fits, or lasts, that vary significantly from each other...all of which are quite different from BM), and the feel of the leather (Maglis have that Italian slipper feel....very comfortable; but, not as hardy as AE). Before you put money down on investment shoes, I really suggest you go to a good retailer like Nordstrom and test out the shoes.

          The highest quality shoe on earth is useless to you if the fit and function of the shoe are inappropriate to your feet.



            Main important thing:

            Fullgrain leather. STAY AWAY from corrected grain leather.



              From the last call sale, Magnnani makes great quality shoes. I like AE but I also like the sleeker lines of the European brands. I was thinking of ordering these but they sold out in my size:




                @Acoustic : Any tips about detecting if they are full grain or not ? Most of the time they just write "Leather upper" or something similar.



                  corrected grain(if memory serves me well) is hide that didnt make the cut so it went through a stretching buffing and pressing method that gives it this plastic like look and feel to them...full grain on the other hand has a more natural leather look.

                  "The key to Success is the Quality of Execution"



                    They sand away the top layer and replace it with a pressed plastic surface, sometimes with a leather texture applied.

                    If it feels plastic-y don't buy it.




                      If they don't list it as full grain leather chances are it's corrected grain. In general, corrected grain leather is plastic feeling and is also difficult to polish since the artificial layer on top makes it hard for the polish to stay on. The plastic surface also cracks much faster.



                        @acoustic -- Are all Allen Edmonds corrected grain then? They don't mention grain anything...



                          @hornsup: Sorry about my statement. AE's are full grain leather. Due to its price point and reputation it wouldn't make sense for AE to advertise they are full grain leather because of the crowd they are attracting. My statement is more for brands in the mid-tier price markets.



                            When in doubt, just send them to me. If they're good, I'll let you know how I'm enjoying them or how much I got for them. If they're bad, I'll do you the favor of tossing them out.



                              Alan, this confirms my opinion of you as a true gentleman.