Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What to wear to work: A guide to men's shoes

Since Paul has scathingly warned you boys not to wear square toed shoes to work in his last post here, I thought I'd invite him back and share some tips on how to find a pair of men's shoes for work.


Just like picking out any piece of clothing, the cut or shape of the item is the key to making it look good.
Let's break it down for shoes.

1. Toe-tally important

The shape of the toe box, the tip of the shoe that houses your toes, generally determines how sleek the shoe is. The following pictures shows how the shape of the toe box, sleekest on the left to normal-est on the right.

Toe boxes don't have to be round. As much as I rant about the "square-toed" shoe, a "chisel-toe" (on the right) can be elegant as well giving the shoe a more European look.

2. Last, but not least

The last of the shoe is the general structural foundation the shoe is built on. Different companies usually offer different lasts for shoes since a last meant for a formal shoe doesn't necessarily work for a casual shoe or boots. Here's a table of lasts from Allen Edmonds just to get an idea of how comprehensive the shape of a shoe can get.

3. Width: Shoes get fat too

Finally, the width of the shoe can affect the shape of the shoe. The pictures below shows the same model of a shoe with different widths. The right is more narrow ("B" sizing "and a little more sleek looking, at the left is "D" average sizing). Most companies tend not to offer width sizing on shoes opting for the usual "D" fit: for example, a size "10" usually means size "10D".  

Sizes usually are portrayed as number and then a letter after it - i.e. "10D" the most common size, shows the length of the foot with the "10" and the width of the foot with the "D"

Some companies like Allen Edmonds specialise in offering different widths as well. It's worth it to go to your local cobbler or foot shop to get your foot re-sized to capture the length and width as it really is more comfortable and better for your feet in the long run.

Building your collection 
If you're just starting out, the classic captoe is the shoe for you. Captoes are just that line you see separating the laces from the toe box. This is your go-to dress shoe for interviews and dates alike. 

In terms of shape, Paul Evans absolutely nails it: the cap-toe placement is perfect and has a sleek, spear-like last. 

Here are my recommendations:


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  2. I bought two pairs of shoes from them and two belts. Unfortunately, their products, especially the shoes are of "subpar quality" and after only using Saphir Renovateur "the finish" started to strip and the color of my shoes weren't the original color anymore. (great shoeshine care guide on hangerproject.com) The original non-dyed nude color began to show underneath the black finish. (email me if you want pictures. I even have the rude emails I received from the co-founder, Ben Earley. Ben and Evan need to hire professionals to handle their email communication as Ben's correspondence with me has shown a lack of professionalism.) These guys are sourcing direct from Naples and clearly getting fleeced on quality. Unfortunately, they are too blind to consider it a possibility. I suggested for them to check their "quality control" on the dyeing process but their co-founder, Ben (replies in emails with his Wall street Dbag attitude) would not consider that as being possible and explained that to me through a pleasant email.
    This is a direct quote from co-founder Ben in our email communication and he says (verbatim), "There's no reason to be using product this early in their life. This is absolutely not a problem with our shoes. That looks like Saphir Renovateur. Why are you using that at all at this point? The calf that provided the leather was literally recently killed and the shoes were produced just this year. These are as fresh and brand new, top notch, handcrafted Italian shoes as you'll find. There's no reason to over product them with some french cream crap for a long time. I reject the notion that because you're using "the best" polish or wax that the problems are ours. Ben"
    Apparently, the fine leather shoes from paulevansny cannot be polished and any issues with the leather must not have to do with the crap quality of product they are selling. Instead of taking some accountability or even researching the matter, one of the co-founders got defensive and blamed this "french cream crap" that is higher in quality that a $8 shoeshine you would receive at a place that shines shoes. I mean, Saphir has only been produced since 1925 so for them to be in business for around 90 years it would strike me as odd if that were what was stripping your cheap shoes of their finish. That's the kind of "customer service" you can expect for an inferior product from a sham company such as paulevansny

  3. Directly from dieworkwear at styleforum: "I've been advised by both Saint Crispin's and A Shine Co. to not use Saphir Renovateur. They told me it's too harsh and can easily strip off finishes."

    And then from patliean1: "Why the heck are people so quick to use Saphir on their newly purchased shoes though and how hard are you rubbing? Unless you're wearing the same pair of shoes daily (which is never recommended) through miles of urban jungle you should be fine for a few months before initially needing Saphir."

    We were sorry to hear Oliver hurt his shoes. Fortunately, the damage was minimal and easily fixed by taking his shoes to a professional. We also gave him a $75 store credit because we felt bad. Unfortunately, he was only interested in a free replacement, which we are not in a financial position to do.

    Sorry Oliver =(

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