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Help me with my shoe strategy!

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    Help me with my shoe strategy!

    I've read a few threads here with interest (in particular this guy, lately) on moving on of just having a couple of pairs of shoes and having more of a robust library of shoes, if you will. So: what are the classics, the essentials?

    Here's where I'm at now.

    My work environment is casual, but I'm shooting for somewhere between casual and biz casual - well-fitting jeans, cords or chinos, buttondowns with patterns, OCBD, good shoes. Black shoes are not in my regular rotation, nor do I want them to be. I live in an area of the US with an actual winter.

    Currently I have:

    * Clarks Desert Boots in tan suede: Easy go-to shoe. Crepe soles of course, so tough to bring in during the winter.
    * LEC Oakwood Boots in dark brown: The only boot I have with an actual, winter-ready sole, other than my "F U winter" boots for the REAL snow.
    * AE Delray in chili: Love these. Almost too formal, almost, but given the lack of other options....
    * Chuck Taylors in white: Summer only.
    * Merona cap toes in black: When I'm wearing a black suit only, which is not very often.

    In reality I have a few more pairs of shoes, but they don't fit well and are going away. One of them is a wingtip.

    I'm definitely interested in replacing the Oakwoods, and that AE Yuma is very tempting at its current clearance price ($117 on AE's site), but I also recognize that it's not as versatile as a wingtip or a knock-around oxford. Historically I went for cheap shoes in part due to budget, but would rather buy something like a Yuma or a Big Sur (maybe) than the Stafford wingtip even though I really do need a wingtip or something similar. The balancing act is the fact that I just don't have many shoes right now and as winter fades, I will have fewer boots to lean on.

    A $100 price range (or less) is great, $200 makes me nervous, higher is out of the question.

    So, the query I have is: what do I need to hit up next, balancing a good quality shoe that won't crap out in a year or two, with my small collection?

    #2
    I recently got the AE Cascades during their sale for around $200 to use in rainy, slushy, light snow type weather. They look much better in person and might be my most comfortable pair of shoes yet. I'd suggest taking a look at tem.

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      #3
      What will you usually wear the wingtip with?

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        #4
        It'd be with jeans about 80% of the time, and navy or olive chinos the rest.

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          #5
          Since you'll mainly be wearing them casually, something like the Sebago Brattle might work well. Reviewed here.

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            #6
            That's a beautiful shoe. I dig it.

            Originally posted by bjmcgeever View Post
            Since you'll mainly be wearing them casually, something like the Sebago Brattle might work well. Reviewed here.

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              #7
              Agreed.

              Just FYI, I have another one of their shoes in dark brown and it's really dark and has a reddish hue to it. Not sure if the Brattle's the same.

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                #8
                Boots, boots, and more boots. It's hard to go wrong with boots (except maybe in high summer, but even then...)

                Don't dismiss black. If you have more than 4 pairs of shoes, at least one should be black. It gets a lot of shit in menswear for being boring, but there's nothing wrong with it.

                Aside from black, don't fall into the "new to menswear" trap of thinking that all of your shoes should be dark brown. Embrace burgundy, grey, and tan. If you like suede, try navy or white.

                You're better off with 4 pairs of great shoes than 10 pairs of mediocre ones. Your feet will thank you for it.

                For year-round versatility, I suggest considering chukkas and chelsea boots in particular.

                A few things to consider:

                http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline...40000000001_-1 (not for winter, of course)

                http://www.zappos.com/camper-pau-36610-black

                http://www.zappos.com/florsheim-vanc...e-type-leather

                One of my favorite pairs of shoes is a pair of leather chukkas that I bought from RL several years ago. I wear them once or twice a week, year round.

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                  #9
                  Awesome advice, all.

                  As an update: I have a pair of the Sebago Brattles on their way to me from Amazon.

                  kbrown, once you posted those links something clicked in my head. I had been at jcp a week or two ago and thought I was holding a boot that looked just like the Vance. Went back yesterday and saw that it was the Vance - in dark brown, on clearance for a measly $54. However, I was tempted by and ultimately got a dark brown Stafford cap toe for just $36. I'm under no pretense that this boot will last forever, but I suspect I'll get a lot out of it.

                  The Vance was awfully close in color to my existing desert boot, but I'm considering heading back and getting it.

                  Thanks for the tips.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by alittlestyle View Post
                    As an update: I have a pair of the Sebago Brattles on their way to me from Amazon.
                    Sweet. Which color did you go with?

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by bjmcgeever View Post
                      Sweet. Which color did you go with?
                      Dark brown.

                      But, I must admit I'm totally unsure of both the Brattle and the Stafford Cutter boot.

                      On the boot: the back rear of the boot didn't play well with my ankle yesterday, so the comfort level wasn't as good after a day as it was after a trial walk or two. 99% sure this'll go back. It's too bad, because I think it looks great.

                      On the Brattle: I think my expectations were too high, maybe. After seeing the photos and the review here I was super excited. When I unboxed them I was a little underwhelmed. They look a little cheap. Not "shiny crappy corrected grain leather" cheap, thankfully, but... cheap. I think it's the overall matte look on my pair that is bugging me. So, I'm on the fence!

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by alittlestyle View Post
                        On the Brattle: I think my expectations were too high, maybe. After seeing the photos and the review here I was super excited. When I unboxed them I was a little underwhelmed. They look a little cheap. Not "shiny crappy corrected grain leather" cheap, thankfully, but... cheap. I think it's the overall matte look on my pair that is bugging me. So, I'm on the fence!
                        Yeah I think that's what Sebago was going for with those shoes. They're not meant to be dress shoes, but I see what you're saying.

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                          #13
                          It's cool, though. I gave them a day and ended up really, really liking the look. The comfort is great too. I like them, so they're staying - hooray!

                          Originally posted by bjmcgeever View Post
                          Yeah I think that's what Sebago was going for with those shoes. They're not meant to be dress shoes, but I see what you're saying.

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