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Dress Shoe Shopping Dilemma - Please Help!

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    Dress Shoe Shopping Dilemma - Please Help!

    Dappered Friends:

    I'm looking for good online or brick and mortar shoe stores.

    I have had a bit of a problem with dress shoes and was hoping for some suggestions. I have had major problems finding comfortable, stylish dress shoes at major retailers in the past, as a couple pairs I shelled out for at DSW have either fallen apart after a few months of daily wear or hurt like hell after a few days. A few years ago, after days and days of trying to find a suitable pair, I ended up with a nice pair of the brown oxfords from J. Crew on discount. These lasted me for years with some repairs and regular shining, and I bought a replacement pair a year and a half ago also on major discount. Well, two weeks ago, some sort of staple from the sole is poking up from the bottom - this is not repairable, as far as I know.

    J. Crew discontinued that shoe, and the comparable one is a never-discounted collaboration with an outside designer. They have other dress shoes from around $300-500, but the J. Crew folks offered me only 25% off when I explained what happened.

    I then went to Allen Edmonds, which was frequently recommended on Dappered. I ordered one pair on clearance, but the width was too narrow. Apparently, their site defaults at an A width and I guess normal size is a D. Who even knows their width apart from those with unusual sizing needs? After a week waitnig for it to come, I was disappointed (and still wearing shoes with a staple poking into my foot).

    So I ordered another pair from Allen Edmonds on clearance in a different style. Now this one was the proper size, but there is a defect it seems in the left shoe where there's a huge bump - the pair is totally unwearable. Allen Edmonds does not offer exchanges or refunds online and will only allow me to return the shoe in person or by mail.

    This is become a huge problem, and I'm tired of walking around on shoes that hurt all day in some form or another. I'm not going to try a third pair of AEs because their customer service is poor and their shoes apparently are also poor. I suppose at this point I'd rather get a brick and mortar store so I can try things on properly, but recognize that the discounts won't be that good.

    Any suggestions are welcome.

    Here is the style I ordered from AE, so you can get an idea - I'm not looking at crazy or outlandish styles.


    Originally posted by Innuendo81 View Post
    Dappered Friends:
    Who even knows their width apart from those with unusual sizing needs?
    Everyone should, especially when shopping online for shoes Depending on the Allen Edmonds last you may need to try an E-width if the D was too narrow. I don't know about their clearance models, but the shoebank models are seconds and may have various defects that sound like what you're describing.

    If you know your AE size you can correlate that to other brands. I'd look at Carlos Santos ( if you're willing to gamble sizing online again. Where are you located?


      Buying shoes online is just too much of a pain in the butt when you dont know your size in that brand. Unfortauntely there are very few brick and mortar stores with quality shoes. The smaller quality companies you are looking for just cant afford show rooms / retail partners.

      What city do you live in / near or travel for work to?


        WOE IS ME! KNOWING MY OWN SHOE SIZE is so hard!

        WOE IS ME putting shoes in a mailbox is SO MUCH WORK.

        this is a "you need to learn to buy shoes" problem a lot more than it's an "ask everyone on shoe question problem". why are you posting about this? what do you want us to tell you?
        Last edited by evanparker; February 8, 2019, 08:35 AM.


          Take your J Crew shoes to a cobbler.


            Somebody is confused. Me or you. Or maybe both. You wore the J Crew shoes for a 1.5 years and they offered you 25% off new shoes because of a wear problem? That sounds fair to me. Because it sounds like you like them, why not take them to a cobbler to see if they can be repaired?

            As far as width, JCrew only offers a medium width as far as I can tell. That's generally considered a D width. So, if JCrew is working for you in terms of width, go with a D on other shoes.

            This is confusing:

            Allen Edmonds does not offer exchanges or refunds online and will only allow me to return the shoe in person or by mail.
            My experience and the experience of everyone I know who has purchased AE shoes is contrary to this. And if that is the case, what did you do with the first AE shoes you ordered? That is, the A width shoes.

            Also, my experience is that on the AE website, they always ask for the purchaser to specify the width. So, again, I'm confused. Maybe that was the only width available in clearance?

            But, bottom line, if seems like you want a decent pair of fairly conservative shoes in the $200-$300 price range, and you don't want a lot of hassles or problems with returns, right?

            I suggest Jack Erwin, for example, these:


            I love my Jack Erwin Chelsea boots. Decent quality, no-nonsense pricing, and quick shipping. They have a reputation for easy returns, but I have not needed to return anything. They also have a good reputation online.

            If you don't mind a more complex process or you are willing to spend more money, you can consider Meermin, one of the many brands carried by Herring Shoes (but watch out for the cheaper brands), Cobbler Union, or JFitzpatrick.

            These are places from which I've purchased shoes or know real life people who have, and all good.


              Thank you, thank you all who gave constructive feedback! This is very helpful. Sorry if my issue wasn't explained clearly.

              I lived overseas for a long time, so online shopping isn't my forte, especially for shoes.