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Buying new dress shoes

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    Buying new dress shoes


    I'm a college student interested in getting a nice pair of dress shoes to last me for a bit, at least until the end of college (3 years). I've done a little bit of reading and it seems that Allen Edmonds shoes are the best, but pretty damn expensive. I've already read Joe's articles on top dress shoes for under $200 and I'm still unsure of which shoe to buy. Some brands I've been looking at: Hugo Boss and Mercanti Fiorentini (from DSW).

    I prefer a black wing tip with minimal perforations, but a cap toe would do fine too. Budget is $200, not willing to stretch it out. I'm mainly looking for any tips, like which brands are good, where to go, whether or not I should wait for a sale (for Allen Edmonds). I got plenty of time before formals start happening so I could wait for a deal to pop out.



    Hi! Welcome to the forums. AE makes great shoes for a price that's quite fair compared to some of the higher end brands and are probably the best shoes that many of us on this board will ever care to own. That being said, they're expensive outside of sales. But AE does run sales (including a 2 for $200 on factory seconds (read: minor imperfections that are often imperceptible) this Spring that probably won't happen again for a year) each season.

    Keep an eye on Neiman Marcus Last Call ( - they regularly run 40% off sales where you can get a great pair of dress shoes for sub-$200. Also go to a Nordstrom Rack if you have one nearby, people have found great deals on AE and similar quality shoes there.

    As for style I'd say a black wing tip is not the place to start, a cap-toe would be better. It looks like you're going to MIT (btw I had a bunch of friends who went to WCHS back when I was in HS!) so by formals you mean frat events? If you want to look put together without standing out in a bad way, I'd go for a sleek dark brown instead of black if you are only buying one pair of shoes. People (women!) will notice, trust me. It'll go with the charcoal suit you want (a lot of your peers will be wearing black, not a good look), and almost any shade of dress pants imaginable. I'd say get a cap-toe because it's the most versatile but a wing-tip could work, while being a bit less formal.

    If I were in your place I'd get something like the AE Fifth Avenue or...

    or or something similar

    Just be patient. The worst thing you can do is rush yourself. If you want a black cap toe and have a somewhat odd shoe size, check Ebay for the AE Park Avenues, you can snag them for cheap if you look long enough.



      If you want something that is going to last, I would keep checking for Allen Edmonds shoes on eBay or even the buying and selling thread on StyleForum. Just do some research on the style before pulling the trigger since AE uses several different types of lasts. You could also check for shoes on since they offer free shipping and free returns.



        I agree with the advice posted above by @LosRockets. I also really like those Magnanni shoes that he posted from Neiman Marcus. They currently cost $210 with the 30% off but should be $180 during their next 40% off sale, which seems to happen frequently.

        Another quality shoe that people seem to like in the forums is Meermin. They come in at about $200 shipped. Here are two nice options from them:

        Meermin buyers guide:



          Hey guys,

          Thanks for the responses. The reason why I wanted a black dress shoe is because I thought there's no way I can go wrong with that color. I own two suits: a black suit and and a navy pinstripe suit, and I'm not looking to buy another suit. I'm not exactly sure if brown would go well with those colors, but if they do, I'd definitely look into buying one (do I have to match my belt with the same color of my shoes?)



            @Brian - In my opinion, brown shoes look much better with a navy suit than black shoes. I think the only color suit that brown shoes don't match well with is a black suit. However, I also think that black suits are better left to funeral directors and the MIB movie stars. :-) Yes, you should match your belt and shoe color.

            Read these articles for more info:






              Brian, one of the early things I learned when starting to learn about clothes, and I am sure you will too, is how UN-versatile black actually ends up being. Before reading up, I too thought black was the ultimate go-with-everything color, for shoes, socks, etc. Black definitely has a place in a wardrobe, but Brown, particularly dark brown, goes with EVERYTHING except for black trousers.



                I like to buy Allen Edmonds shoes on eBay for $30 plus shipping. Highly recommended. I have a closet full for what one pair costs new.



                  Nicholas, I watch ebay constantly. Rarely see what I want, and when I do, they go for 150 - at that point, I would rather buy new.

                  What pairs do you have?



                    Thanks guys,

                    Probably the most help I've ever gotten in a forum in such a short amount of time. The dappered community here is really good.

                    Again, thanks!



                      Two more things.

                      I'm probably going to be buying these online so I probably won't be able to try them on.

                      My shoe size is a 9.5. I wear 9's for atheltic shoes though to give me a tight fit. Is there a general sizing tip for dress shoes, like size up/size down? I'd probably go for a 10 if there isn't half sizes.

                      Also, what do you guys think about the AE shoes that are under $200? Just browsing around their site and here's one of them:


                      EDIT: sorry for the double post, didn't see the edit button at first...



                        @Margotron Same here, most shoes go for $100-150. I don't know how he does it.

                        @Brian : Weird, I usually have to size up for athletic shoes.



                          @Jessy Lol maybe I am just a little unsure of what my shoe size is then. 9.5 for me is a general comfortable, somewhat loose fit.



                            @Brian I'm a 10 in dress shoes and 10.5 in athletic shoes. If you're the other way around I'd definitely try to get to a store to try on these shoes (and talk to a knowledgable sales rep) so you can get your size down. As for the shoes, honestly I don't like the look of them. You want a black plain cap-toe!

                            @NC: Never seen nice shoes in my size go for less than $100-150 either. Props to you for being such a good Ebayer, that's really impressive!



                              @Brian - Those shoes are lesser quality than regular AE. ie. glued rubber sole versus welted leather sole. So, they are cheaper for a reason. I think you can do much better with your $200. If you are set on AE, you may want to call one of the AE outlets to see if they have a sale on 2nds for labor day weekend. Edward at the Freeport Outlet is a great resource: ALLEN EDMONDS OUTLET, FREEPORT - 207-865-6222.