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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, and My Reviews . . .

    Since October 2017, I've been on a shoe buying spree, especially dress shoes, which I wear almost every day, including weekends as often as I can. So, after spending some time on this website and many others, I've learned quite a bit about shoes, and decided to branch out and try different types of shoes instead of just getting whatever I could find at the mall.

    So, I've sampled quite a few shoes. I thought I'd share some reviews, photos, and experiences here.

    Over the last several months I've gained a new appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into making a good pair of shoes, the attention that some shoemakers give to selecting leather and quality control (especially Justin at jfitzpatick). I've always liked shoes, and had some unusual ones in the past, but I didn't know the difference between Goodyear welts, Blake stitching, and glued or cemented shoes. I knew that I preferred leather uppers, but I didn't know the difference between full grain, Cordovan, corrected leather, and so forth.

    I'm still no expert, but I've learned to appreciate how shoes are unlike most other clothing items in that they can last so much longer, and that there are so many dedicated artisans who love shoes and are dedicated to bringing fine shoes to the world. I have to say that when I'm wearing a good pair of shoes, shined up properly, and I look at my feet, it gives me a little lift and makes me feel happy. This is unlike other clothing, because I usually need to take a look in the mirror to appreciate the rest whatever I am wearing.

    Also, several of you have been exceptionally helpful in helping me discover new brands, especially whoever it was that suggested the reviews here:

    https://parisiangentleman.co.uk/2015...-2016-part-12/

    First, I'm just going to summarize the various shoes I've purchased in this post with the intent of making individual posts in this thread for each pair of shoes that I want to discuss. There have been a few pairs I've purchased that I'm leaving out because they are slippers, cheap, or were for costume purchases.

    Also, all my purchases have been under $400, so there are no super premium shoes here--not even any Alden shoes. But some shoes that retail for higher than $400, but that I got on sale. The most expensive were Allen Edmond Park Avenues in black that I purchased for full price ($395) because I was in a pinch for a new pair of black shoes for work.

    A quick note about sizes: My best fit is usually a 12.5 US. But not all shoes come in 12.5, so sometimes I need to size up or down, as noted below.

    This is more or less in the order that I would rank them, from worst to best.

    Not ranked: Cobbler Union, Jean Pierre, black and burgundy oxford, size UK 11.5: These are beautiful and I got them marked down from about $400 to $149--I just received them two days ago (July 27, 2018) and have not worn them yet, other than to try them on. They fit well. I am going to wear them with maybe a blue suit tomorrow (Monday)--or maybe charcoal--I need to think about it.

    Wolf & Sheppard, oxford black wingtips, size 12.5: I mostly hate these shoes. I fell for the hype and a 25% discount on black Friday in 2017. They are supremely comfortable from the first try on. But the leather has developed so many little creases, the detailing/craftsmanship is far below most other shoes I've purchased, and they are so hard to put a good shine on compared to most other dress shoes, that they are hard to like for the $270 I paid for these. Construction method unknown, but I think unique.

    Donald Piner, blue suede oxford, size 12, Zindel2 model: I'm enjoying these for a more casual weekend look and casual Friday at the office on occasion, and they were on sale from Nordstrom Rack for only $120. They are comfortable for a 12, but when I walked about 1.5 miles in them one day, they did give me a new blister on the top of my right foot near where the big toe connects to the foot. They appear to be Blake stitched. I'm surprised at how much I like them for the price. I have another Donald Piner pair (bit loafers) I purchased quite some time back, and these are much nicer.

    Clarks boots, in a discontinued style similar to the Desert Mali, size 13: I quite like these. I purchased them when on a trip to New England in fall 2017, when we found ourselves doing lots of walking in Boston and Salem--up to seven miles a day. I wanted something more stylish than athletic shoes, but comfortable enough to handle all that walking--these have proven to work well for those purposes. Besides New England, we also did a lot of urban hiking in Portland last early spring, and it rained every day, so these were perfect. I sized them up to 13 and that gives me plenty of room for thick socks when it's cold. The lacing lets me tie them really tight if I don't want thick socks.

    Allen Edmonds Park Avenue, oxford, black, size 13: What can you say about these shoes? They are classic and anyone who needs dress shoes should have a pair of black oxfords. These were replacements for a Johnston Murphy black oxford I had for 18 years and wore at least once a week. They were the start of my AE kick. These shine up so nice. When I purchased them, they were probably my favorite shoes ever, but, read on . . .

    Allen Edmonds Stuttgart, derby wingtip, walnut, size 12: I picked these up on sale from Nordstrom Rack for only $173 (I've seen them as low as $140) and they seem every bit as good as the mainline AE shoes to me. Because they are size 12, they are a bit tight, even after some stretching, but I like them, and they are feeling better as I break them in. These have proved versatile, and I wear them with everything from jeans, to chinos, to dress trousers, and even break the rule and wear them with a suit.

    Allen Edmonds Macallister, full brogue oxford wingtip, bourbon, size 12.5: For many years, I only wore black shoes with my suits to work. It made getting dressed so much easier, in that every shoe I had went with all my dress black dress socks and all my suits in whatever shade of gray, black, or blue suit I had. I don't like most brown shoes with most of these other colors, but I do like this bourbon color quite a bit. They are very comfortable. The only problem is that the color starts to come off if you try to shine them too much. I wish I had known this before I worked on them so hard. It's well documented on the internet. AE bourbon shoe cream helps restore some of the color, but not as much as I'd like.

    Allen Edmonds McNeil, full brogue derby long wingtips, oxblood, size 12.5: My first burgundy shoes in many years. I had a pair of burgundy tassel loafers for years that I wore out. My wife gave me these for Xmas 2017 after she saw how much I loved the AE Park Avenues. These are one of my favorite all time shoes. I love how the color goes with almost everything. They are very comfortable as well. The soles are a little clunky/thick to wear with suits in my opinion, but I still do on occasion. They are great with anything less formal than a suit. Similar to the the bourbon color AE shoes, too much polishing seems to wear off some of the color, but not as much. However, using burgundy shoe cream does the trick to bring the color back.

    Herring Premier Philip II, single monk strap, full brogue wingtip, chestnut calf (light tan) UK size 11F: My first pair of monk strap shoes ever and first from a UK shoemaker. Although these are supposedly equivalent to a USA size 12, they are really closer to a 12.5 the way they fit. My opinion is that the quality is a step above AE. The leather is softer and the detailing is nicer. The color is even lighter than AE's chestnut color. They look surprisingly good with navy and gray suits, especially if you want your shoes to pop and draw some attention. The only drawback is that because the color is so light, they do show whatever dirt, grime, and scuffs you pick up with each wearying. I just shine them more often. I picked these up during a sale from the Herring website for about $330.

    JFitzpatrick, Issaquah, tassel loafer, burgundy calf, UK size 11: My wife gifted these to me for my birthday in 2018 when they went on sale for, I think 20% off, so they were less than $400 US. Right now these are my all time favorites. They are a very sleek update on the traditional tassel loafers, in a great color that looks good with almost anything--plus I love Justin Fitzpatrick's story of how he started this company on basically nothing but his love of shoes. These shoes draw compliments, so if you don't want to get noticed, don't get them. The leather is really soft and beautiful, which helps, because the fit is just a little snug across the widest part of my foot. I liked the leather so much that I splurged and purchased a matching belt (I've never paid more than $50 on a belt before this one, but I am very happy with the belt as well). This is another pair of shoes that has a tendency to lose its color if you polish them too much. Using burgundy shoe cream works well to restore the color. Note that the tassels on these are actually tied and have a tendency to come loose. I need to re-tie mine a few times a day, but I don't mind.
    Last edited by mebejoseph; July 30th, 2018 at 12:12 PM.

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    Looking forward to the rest of the reviews! Just hoping you include some pictures next time

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tailoredbydang View Post
    Looking forward to the rest of the reviews! Just hoping you include some pictures next time
    Photos are coming soon.

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Okay, lets go with the Wolf & Shepard shoes first. I purchased a pair of the of the Senna wingtips in black, tempted by the 25% off Black Friday sale in 2017 and the advertising hype. Full price was $365. Size 12.5. These are, I think, what would be consider quarter brogue.

    I hate them. I hate them. I hate them.

    It's the worse $275 I've spent since that time in Tijuana, when I . . . never mind.

    Why, you might wonder? Read on.

    First, the good: They are very comfortable right from the box; way more comfortable than any dress shoe I've ever worn. Their customer service is excellent. They come with shoe bags and a nice box. That's about it.

    The bad: Most of my complaints have to do with the appearance of these shoes. The leather, while soft, had little wrinkles or creases right from the get-go. These have gotten worse. See photos below. You all take a look and tell me if a shoe should look like that after about only 20 wearings to the office? No long walks at all. Maybe once I walked a mile in them--possibly--I'm not sure, but typically I walk less than 1/2 mile a day in my dress shoes at work. And I've never worn these outside of work.

    Also, I have a hard time getting them to shine up well. Once when I was shining them, they developed a strange blemish. See the photo below. But even now, I can't get them to shine correctly. One of them shines up better than the other right now.

    In regard to the blemish, I couldn't get it buffed out, or even scrapped off with a screwdriver blade. I contacted W&S customer service and they paid for a return and fixed them. But I'm not sure how they did it. The customer service rep said they had a high powered buffer--but that doesn't make sense. I couldn't get that off even by scrapping it with a screwdriver blade.

    So, I have drawn my own conclusion based on speculation: The shoes are made with "corrected" or "polished" leather; that is, leather that has been finished or painted to conceal blemishes on low quality leather. My vigorous polishing attempts rubbed off the finish. I am guessing that when I returned them, W&S reapplied the finish.

    At any rate, I think they look like crap after less than two dozen wearings and I can't get them to look good. On the other hand, oddly, despite my dislike of these shoes, I do get a compliment on them from time to time.

    In sum, I think these shoes might be good for former frat boys who resent having to give up sneakers for dress shoes now that they have real jobs, or because their wives make them wear them to go out, but they don't ever try to shine them and don't care how the hell they look. There are so many other far superior shoes at this price point, and even lower when you catch Allen Edmonds with a good sale.


    Creases/wrinkles near the laces:



    Creases/wrinkles on the vamp above the wing:



    Blemishes:

    Last edited by mebejoseph; July 31st, 2018 at 01:40 PM.

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    Loving the shoe reviews. Thanks @mebejoseph

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocDave View Post
    Loving the shoe reviews. Thanks @mebejoseph
    @DocDave -- Thanks. I have a question I am going to send via you via PM regarding this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mebejoseph View Post
    Since October 2017, I've been on a shoe buying spree, especially dress shoes, which I wear almost every day, including weekends as often as I can. So, after spending some time on this website and many others, I've learned quite a bit about shoes, and decided to branch out and try different types of shoes instead of just getting whatever I could find at the mall.

    So, I've sampled quite a few shoes. I thought I'd share some reviews, photos, and experiences here.

    Over the last several months I've gained a new appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into making a good pair of shoes, the attention that some shoemakers give to selecting leather and quality control (especially Justin at jfitzpatick). I've always liked shoes, and had some unusual ones in the past, but I didn't know the difference between Goodyear welts, Blake stitching, and glued or cemented shoes. I knew that I preferred leather uppers, but I didn't know the difference between full grain, Cordovan, corrected leather, and so forth.

    I'm still no expert, but I've learned to appreciate how shoes are unlike most other clothing items in that they can last so much longer, and that there are so many dedicated artisans who love shoes and are dedicated to bringing fine shoes to the world. I have to say that when I'm wearing a good pair of shoes, shined up properly, and I look at my feet, it gives me a little lift and makes me feel happy. This is unlike other clothing, because I usually need to take a look in the mirror to appreciate the rest whatever I am wearing.

    Also, several of you have been exceptionally helpful in helping me discover new brands, especially whoever it was that suggested the reviews here:

    https://parisiangentleman.co.uk/2015...-2016-part-12/

    First, I'm just going to summarize the various shoes I've purchased in this post with the intent of making individual posts in this thread for each pair of shoes that I want to discuss. There have been a few pairs I've purchased that I'm leaving out because they are slippers, cheap, or were for costume purchases.

    Also, all my purchases have been under $400, so there are no super premium shoes here--not even any Alden shoes. But some shoes that retail for higher than $400, but that I got on sale. The most expensive were Allen Edmond Park Avenues in black that I purchased for full price ($395) because I was in a pinch for a new pair of black shoes for work.

    A quick note about sizes: My best fit is usually a 12.5 US. But not all shoes come in 12.5, so sometimes I need to size up or down, as noted below.

    This is more or less in the order that I would rank them, from worst to best.

    Not ranked: Cobbler Union, Jean Pierre, black and burgundy oxford, size UK 11.5: These are beautiful and I got them marked down from about $400 to $149--I just received them two days ago (July 27, 2018) and have not worn them yet, other than to try them on. They fit well. I am going to wear them with maybe a blue suit tomorrow (Monday)--or maybe charcoal--I need to think about it.

    Wolf & Sheppard, oxford black wingtips, size 12.5: I mostly hate these shoes. I fell for the hype and a 25% discount on black Friday in 2017. They are supremely comfortable from the first try on. But the leather has developed so many little creases, the detailing/craftsmanship is far below most other shoes I've purchased, and they are so hard to put a good shine on compared to most other dress shoes, that they are hard to like for the $270 I paid for these. Construction method unknown, but I think unique.

    Donald Piner, blue suede oxford, size 12, Zindel2 model: I'm enjoying these for a more casual weekend look and casual Friday at the office on occasion, and they were on sale from Nordstrom Rack for only $120. They are comfortable for a 12, but when I walked about 1.5 miles in them one day, they did give me a new blister on the top of my right foot near where the big toe connects to the foot. They appear to be Blake stitched. I'm surprised at how much I like them for the price. I have another Donald Piner pair (bit loafers) I purchased quite some time back, and these are much nicer.

    Clarks boots, in a discontinued style similar to the Desert Mali, size 13: I quite like these. I purchased them when on a trip to New England in fall 2017, when we found ourselves doing lots of walking in Boston and Salem--up to seven miles a day. I wanted something more stylish than athletic shoes, but comfortable enough to handle all that walking--these have proven to work well for those purposes. Besides New England, we also did a lot of urban hiking in Portland last early spring, and it rained every day, so these were perfect. I sized them up to 13 and that gives me plenty of room for thick socks when it's cold. The lacing lets me tie them really tight if I don't want thick socks.

    Allen Edmonds Park Avenue, oxford, black, size 13: What can you say about these shoes? They are classic and anyone who needs dress shoes should have a pair of black oxfords. These were replacements for a Johnston Murphy black oxford I had for 18 years and wore at least once a week. They were the start of my AE kick. These shine up so nice. When I purchased them, they were probably my favorite shoes ever, but, read on . . .

    Allen Edmonds Stuttgart, derby wingtip, walnut, size 12: I picked these up on sale from Nordstrom Rack for only $173 (I've seen them as low as $140) and they seem every bit as good as the mainline AE shoes to me. Because they are size 12, they are a bit tight, even after some stretching, but I like them, and they are feeling better as I break them in. These have proved versatile, and I wear them with everything from jeans, to chinos, to dress trousers, and even break the rule and wear them with a suit.

    Allen Edmonds Macallister, full brogue oxford wingtip, bourbon, size 12.5: For many years, I only wore black shoes with my suits to work. It made getting dressed so much easier, in that every shoe I had went with all my dress black dress socks and all my suits in whatever shade of gray, black, or blue suit I had. I don't like most brown shoes with most of these other colors, but I do like this bourbon color quite a bit. They are very comfortable. The only problem is that the color starts to come off if you try to shine them too much. I wish I had known this before I worked on them so hard. It's well documented on the internet. AE bourbon shoe cream helps restore some of the color, but not as much as I'd like.

    Allen Edmonds McNeil, full brogue derby long wingtips, oxblood, size 12.5: My first burgundy shoes in many years. I had a pair of burgundy tassel loafers for years that I wore out. My wife gave me these for Xmas 2017 after she saw how much I loved the AE Park Avenues. These are one of my favorite all time shoes. I love how the color goes with almost everything. They are very comfortable as well. The soles are a little clunky/thick to wear with suits in my opinion, but I still do on occasion. They are great with anything less formal than a suit. Similar to the the bourbon color AE shoes, too much polishing seems to wear off some of the color, but not as much. However, using burgundy shoe cream does the trick to bring the color back.

    Herring Premier Philip II, single monk strap, full brogue wingtip, chestnut calf (light tan) UK size 11F: My first pair of monk strap shoes ever and first from a UK shoemaker. Although these are supposedly equivalent to a USA size 12, they are really closer to a 12.5 the way they fit. My opinion is that the quality is a step above AE. The leather is softer and the detailing is nicer. The color is even lighter than AE's chestnut color. They look surprisingly good with navy and gray suits, especially if you want your shoes to pop and draw some attention. The only drawback is that because the color is so light, they do show whatever dirt, grime, and scuffs you pick up with each wearying. I just shine them more often. I picked these up during a sale from the Herring website for about $330.

    JFitzpatrick, Issaquah, tassel loafer, burgundy calf, UK size 11: My wife gifted these to me for my birthday in 2018 when they went on sale for, I think 20% off, so they were less than $400 US. Right now these are my all time favorites. They are a very sleek update on the traditional tassel loafers, in a great color that looks good with almost anything--plus I love Justin Fitzpatrick's story of how he started this company on basically nothing but his love of shoes. These shoes draw compliments, so if you don't want to get noticed, don't get them. The leather is really soft and beautiful, which helps, because the fit is just a little snug across the widest part of my foot. I liked the leather so much that I splurged and purchased a matching belt (I've never paid more than $50 on a belt before this one, but I am very happy with the belt as well). This is another pair of shoes that has a tendency to lose its color if you polish them too much. Using burgundy shoe cream works well to restore the color. Note that the tassels on these are actually tied and have a tendency to come loose. I need to re-tie mine a few times a day, but I don't mind.
    JFitzpatrick, Issaquah, tassel loafer is a beautiful shoe. I have the navy color but I admit it the tassels has become a pain to wear and comes loose often. I think Justin need to change the material of the tassels.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by mebejoseph View Post

    JFitzpatrick, Issaquah, tassel loafer, burgundy calf, UK size 11: This is another pair of shoes that has a tendency to lose its color if you polish them too much. Using burgundy shoe cream works well to restore the color. Note that the tassels on these are actually tied and have a tendency to come loose. I need to re-tie mine a few times a day, but I don't mind.
    What is your polishing regimen like, or what conditioner are you using? I've noticed that with Saphir Renovateur if you rub too hard, some of the crust leather color will come off with the rag, but I wouldn't say the shoes lose color.

  9. #9
    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wayne View Post
    What is your polishing regimen like, or what conditioner are you using? I've noticed that with Saphir Renovateur if you rub too hard, some of the crust leather color will come off with the rag, but I wouldn't say the shoes lose color.
    On the shoes from JFitzpatrick, I used only neutral polishing cream and neutral high gloss polish/wax--both from Saphir--they did remove some of the color, no doubt. However, I worked on them again this weekend and using burgundy cream and wax seems to have restored most of the color.

    I'm happy with with the color now and love these beautiful shoes.

    And you are correct about the Renovateur--wait until you see my updates on stripping the factory finish off my Wolf & Shepard shoes AND my AE bourbon color shoes. The first on purpose and with some excellent results, the second by an unhappy accident, which has not yet been resolved.
    Last edited by mebejoseph; August 7th, 2018 at 10:33 AM.

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    @mebejoseph I'll watch for your updates

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