Improvements at John Doe

John Doe recently loaned me a pair of their latest oxfords so I could check out the improvements they made since my last review. The shoes arrived last month, and they’re indeed much better. The new leathers are sourced from a different tannery, and feel much more supple and natural than their previous materials. The linings are also better attached, so there’s no more bubbling from an uneven application of glue. Additionally, the stitching is straighter, and without the punched brogue decorations, there are fewer places for something to go wrong. All in all, it seems they’ve upgraded their materials, tightened up their quality control, and are better at working with their factories.

I think readers will find there’s still a significant jump in quality as you go from these to brands such as Allen EdmondsLoake, and Meermin, but those will range anywhere from $200 to $350 at full retail. There are, of course, things such as Allen Edmonds’ factory seconds and the companies that Loake privately produces for (such as Charles Tyrwhitt), and those will sometimes go on sale, but none will match the very competitive price of John Doe at ~$150. For people with a hard budget of ~$150 or less, there are really only a few options.

The first, of course, is to go second hand, which you can get through thrift stores (using Jesse’s very useful thrifting guide) or our eBay roundups. I really like Ralph Lauren and Jesse likes Florsheim, but Allen Edmonds, Loake, and Brooks Brothers are also good names to search for. Just be discerning, as not all shoes from these companies are worth buying.

If you’re not comfortable with buying used shoes, then there’s suede, where you can “by-pass” the manufacturer’s need to cut back on quality materials. In comparison to “regular” leathers, the difference between low- and high-quality suede will be much smaller. Whereas corrected grain leathers can develop unsightly “cracks” over time, low-quality suede can stay pretty consistent if you know how to take care of it.

Outside of that, there are a number of shoe companies who sell products very similar to John Doe. The difference? John Doe uses a Goodyear welting method to attach their soles, instead of gluing them on like other manufacturers. This allows you to more easily resole your shoes over and over again, which can extend the life of your shoes considerably (assuming you take care of the uppers). That translates to better value for your money and less junk in landfills. I think everyone can applaud that.

Time to Reconsider Black Shoes
Black shoes have been tagged for years with the stigma of the duckbilled, corrected grain kicks that crawled out of the menswear dark ages of the 1990s and dominated business wear in the early 2000s. Ditching anatomically confusing and unappealingly dull shoes for the universe of brown or burgundy choices made on more traditional, rounder lasts has become a rite of passage for guys who decide to put a little thought into what they wear. But in shunning black shoes (except for formal and business formal wear), we’re missing out on one of modernity’s favorite colors.
Wearing black shoes in a nonstandard texture—scotch grain or even suede—makes sure they won’t be confused for interview shoes. The Tricker’s pictured are in black alpine grain (another word for scotch grain or pebble grain) and sit on a Dainite rubber sole. Although there’s some DNA shared with the classic American business wingtip, these are more closely related to English country shoes. The market for those old American wingtips, like vintage Florsheim Imperials, has gotten more competitive, so they’re not the value they used to be, but still a strong option. Finding a shoe with a natural midsole can ease you into blackshoes if you don’t want to go full murdered out.  On the other end of the spectrum would be something like a snaffle bit loafer, an undeservedly stigmatized shape. George Hamilton embraces their loucheness; I’d wear them with washed jeans and a small cuff.
While gray wool fabrics are maybe the most natural complement for black shoes (see Thom Browne), navy is another easy match for more formal dress, and tans, olives, and blue denim work for no-jacket-required wear, provided the cut is right (bigger shoes? bigger pant hem, generally). To state the obvious, black also goes with black (some designers and writers have made entire careers out of it), but different black tones can have varying undertones of green or red, and can in fact clash.
-Pete

Time to Reconsider Black Shoes

Black shoes have been tagged for years with the stigma of the duckbilled, corrected grain kicks that crawled out of the menswear dark ages of the 1990s and dominated business wear in the early 2000s. Ditching anatomically confusing and unappealingly dull shoes for the universe of brown or burgundy choices made on more traditional, rounder lasts has become a rite of passage for guys who decide to put a little thought into what they wear. But in shunning black shoes (except for formal and business formal wear), we’re missing out on one of modernity’s favorite colors.

Wearing black shoes in a nonstandard texturescotch grain or even suedemakes sure they won’t be confused for interview shoes. The Tricker’s pictured are in black alpine grain (another word for scotch grain or pebble grain) and sit on a Dainite rubber sole. Although there’s some DNA shared with the classic American business wingtip, these are more closely related to English country shoes. The market for those old American wingtips, like vintage Florsheim Imperials, has gotten more competitive, so they’re not the value they used to be, but still a strong option. Finding a shoe with a natural midsole can ease you into blackshoes if you don’t want to go full murdered out.  On the other end of the spectrum would be something like a snaffle bit loafer, an undeservedly stigmatized shape. George Hamilton embraces their loucheness; I’d wear them with washed jeans and a small cuff.

While gray wool fabrics are maybe the most natural complement for black shoes (see Thom Browne), navy is another easy match for more formal dress, and tans, olives, and blue denim work for no-jacket-required wear, provided the cut is right (bigger shoes? bigger pant hem, generally). To state the obvious, black also goes with black (some designers and writers have made entire careers out of it), but different black tones can have varying undertones of green or red, and can in fact clash.

-Pete

It’s On Sale: Florsheim Longwings
It’s rare that I can recommend a brand new dress shoe for under $100, but the Florsheim “Veblen” longwing is currently on sale at MyHabit for $89.
Jesse wrote in the past about the original Florsheim longwings and how they’re worth seeking out on eBay or vintage stores, but you can’t really say the same thing about most modern Florsheim shoes. However, there are a few exceptions and the “Veblen” model is a good budget shoe. 
They typical sell for around $200, which is rare to find for a Goodyear-welted shoe and is why I think they’re a good deal if you’re on a tight budget. I wrote about them after my roommate picked up a pair and was impressed. I recommended them to another friend and he’s enjoyed wearing them as well. 
MyHabit still has a full range of sizes available and their sale ends on Sunday. Worth a look and if you need an invite you can use our referral link. 
-Kiyoshi

It’s On Sale: Florsheim Longwings

It’s rare that I can recommend a brand new dress shoe for under $100, but the Florsheim “Veblen” longwing is currently on sale at MyHabit for $89.

Jesse wrote in the past about the original Florsheim longwings and how they’re worth seeking out on eBay or vintage stores, but you can’t really say the same thing about most modern Florsheim shoes. However, there are a few exceptions and the “Veblen” model is a good budget shoe. 

They typical sell for around $200, which is rare to find for a Goodyear-welted shoe and is why I think they’re a good deal if you’re on a tight budget. I wrote about them after my roommate picked up a pair and was impressed. I recommended them to another friend and he’s enjoyed wearing them as well. 

MyHabit still has a full range of sizes available and their sale ends on Sunday. Worth a look and if you need an invite you can use our referral link

-Kiyoshi

How About Some Vintage Florsheims?
Florsheim may still be the most famous men’s dress shoe brand in the United States. For decades, “The Florsheim Shoe” was the standard for the American business man. My grandfather wore Florsheims to his job at Fox Theaters, and your grandfather may well have worn them to his job, too.
Somewhere along the line, though, Florsheim shipped production overseas and started using low-quality leather. Head into a Florsheim shop today and for the most part, you’ll find corrected grain shoes, made in India or other points abroad. They’ve made a few moves towards restoring quality, with the Goodyear-welted Veblen model and a designer collaboration with crazy-color-enthusiasts Duckie Brown, but they still don’t make great shoes.
But as a reader named David reminded me when Derek posted his affordable shoes roundup, the vintage models are still a great value. These are genuinely classic shoes - unchanged in design for sixty or seventy years. Often they were made in shell cordovan - like my pair, pictured above - and with heavy double soles, they last forever.
Enthusiasts look for the v-cleat, a small metal piece in the heel which protects it from wear. Be warned, though, that while it does indeed protect your heel from wear, it doesn’t protect you from falling on your rear when walking on a hard, smooth surface like marble, and it certainly won’t protect your wood floors from getting beat up by metal.
Vintage Florsheim Imperials and Royal Imperials are rife on eBay and in thrift and vintage shops. They were popular and essentially never changed in their design, so they can be found pretty readily. Watch out for damage around the eyelets, where the leather can stretch and sometimes tear, and try to look for barely-worn or unworn pairs. Prices generally range from $50 or so for pebble-grain calf to a hundred or two for shell cordovan in great condition. Buy a pair, and wear it for the next fifty years.

How About Some Vintage Florsheims?

Florsheim may still be the most famous men’s dress shoe brand in the United States. For decades, “The Florsheim Shoe” was the standard for the American business man. My grandfather wore Florsheims to his job at Fox Theaters, and your grandfather may well have worn them to his job, too.

Somewhere along the line, though, Florsheim shipped production overseas and started using low-quality leather. Head into a Florsheim shop today and for the most part, you’ll find corrected grain shoes, made in India or other points abroad. They’ve made a few moves towards restoring quality, with the Goodyear-welted Veblen model and a designer collaboration with crazy-color-enthusiasts Duckie Brown, but they still don’t make great shoes.

But as a reader named David reminded me when Derek posted his affordable shoes roundup, the vintage models are still a great value. These are genuinely classic shoes - unchanged in design for sixty or seventy years. Often they were made in shell cordovan - like my pair, pictured above - and with heavy double soles, they last forever.

Enthusiasts look for the v-cleat, a small metal piece in the heel which protects it from wear. Be warned, though, that while it does indeed protect your heel from wear, it doesn’t protect you from falling on your rear when walking on a hard, smooth surface like marble, and it certainly won’t protect your wood floors from getting beat up by metal.

Vintage Florsheim Imperials and Royal Imperials are rife on eBay and in thrift and vintage shops. They were popular and essentially never changed in their design, so they can be found pretty readily. Watch out for damage around the eyelets, where the leather can stretch and sometimes tear, and try to look for barely-worn or unworn pairs. Prices generally range from $50 or so for pebble-grain calf to a hundred or two for shell cordovan in great condition. Buy a pair, and wear it for the next fifty years.

Put This On Season 2 Episode 2 Clothing Credits

Introduction & Thrifting with Street Etiquette

Suit - High Society Tailors (fabric by Molloy & Sons)

Scarf - Vintage Brooks Brothers

Shirt - Thin Red Line

Tie - Drake’s of London

Square - Put This On Gentlemen’s Association

Shoes - Vintage Florsheim

How It’s Made: Leonard Logsdail

Coat - Vintage Kiton

Shirt - CEGO Custom Shirtmakers

Tie - Lands’ End

Square - Put This On Gentlemen’s Association

Trousers - Pro Tailor

Shoes - Vintage Alden

Shoe Project: Florsheim Imperial Longwings
When I travel, I prefer to take only one pair of dress shoes - it leaves me room for a pair of sneakers for casual wear and long walks and once in a while a pair of crepe-soled chukka boots. For the past few years, my travel shoe of choice has been a pair of vintage Florsheims. The shell cordovan leather is tough to beat in all kinds of weather, the double soles are indestructible, and they’re aesthetically at home with a suit, a sportcoat or even jeans.
The pair I wore was a little dried-out when I got them (at a thrift store some years ago), and has started to crack at the stress points. It’s a problem endemic to old shell cordovan - if it wasn’t cared for, it gets dry, and when it gets dry, it cracks. Cordovan is in many ways dramatically more durable than calf, but this is the one exception. If you buy old cordovan, condition before you wear, and watch out for crazing along the flex points.
There’s not really a way to repair cracking, so I’d had a saved eBay search for a pair in my (narrow) size. A couple of weeks ago, a pair of 12Bs showed up, and I pounced, scoring them for about $75.
You can see them above, after some Venetian Shoe Cream (the best conditioner for cordovan) and a spot of Saphir polish, plus a pair of vintage rayon shoelaces and a couple of Florsheim trees I found at an estate sale. Ready for action!

Shoe Project: Florsheim Imperial Longwings

When I travel, I prefer to take only one pair of dress shoes - it leaves me room for a pair of sneakers for casual wear and long walks and once in a while a pair of crepe-soled chukka boots. For the past few years, my travel shoe of choice has been a pair of vintage Florsheims. The shell cordovan leather is tough to beat in all kinds of weather, the double soles are indestructible, and they’re aesthetically at home with a suit, a sportcoat or even jeans.

The pair I wore was a little dried-out when I got them (at a thrift store some years ago), and has started to crack at the stress points. It’s a problem endemic to old shell cordovan - if it wasn’t cared for, it gets dry, and when it gets dry, it cracks. Cordovan is in many ways dramatically more durable than calf, but this is the one exception. If you buy old cordovan, condition before you wear, and watch out for crazing along the flex points.

There’s not really a way to repair cracking, so I’d had a saved eBay search for a pair in my (narrow) size. A couple of weeks ago, a pair of 12Bs showed up, and I pounced, scoring them for about $75.

You can see them above, after some Venetian Shoe Cream (the best conditioner for cordovan) and a spot of Saphir polish, plus a pair of vintage rayon shoelaces and a couple of Florsheim trees I found at an estate sale. Ready for action!

Brown Suede Shoes for Autumn
While I think brown suede shoes are great for every season (perhaps except winter), they’re particularly fitting for autumn. The soft, warm looking texture fits in well with the season’s mood and looks great against the brown corduroys, gray flannel trousers, and olive moleskins that should be in your standard Fall rotation. 
If you don’t already have a pair, consider getting something nice for this Fall. If you can afford to splurge, I recommend Crockett & Jones’ Belgrave in polo brown calf suede. It’s a pretty expensive shoe, but I think one of the most handsome ones you can buy. For something more affordable,  check out this Charles Tyrwhitt suede chukka (which is on sale right now), Loake’s suede Eton loafer, and Rancourt’s suede camp mocs. For something a bit cheaper than those, there’s Florsheim’s Haviland longwing. I’m not that crazy about Florsheim, but they’re one of the cheapest Goodyear welted shoes on the market. Use the code NewFW11 at checkout and you’ll get 10% off as well as free shipping (thanks to The Silentist for the tip). 
Lastly, it’s not released yet, but the guys at Run of the Mill are coming out with a suede double monkstrap on a Danite sole. The price will be around $450 and it should be released in a month or so. 
(photo credit: NOBD from StyleForum)

Brown Suede Shoes for Autumn

While I think brown suede shoes are great for every season (perhaps except winter), they’re particularly fitting for autumn. The soft, warm looking texture fits in well with the season’s mood and looks great against the brown corduroys, gray flannel trousers, and olive moleskins that should be in your standard Fall rotation. 

If you don’t already have a pair, consider getting something nice for this Fall. If you can afford to splurge, I recommend Crockett & Jones’ Belgrave in polo brown calf suede. It’s a pretty expensive shoe, but I think one of the most handsome ones you can buy. For something more affordable,  check out this Charles Tyrwhitt suede chukka (which is on sale right now), Loake’s suede Eton loafer, and Rancourt’s suede camp mocs. For something a bit cheaper than those, there’s Florsheim’s Haviland longwing. I’m not that crazy about Florsheim, but they’re one of the cheapest Goodyear welted shoes on the market. Use the code NewFW11 at checkout and you’ll get 10% off as well as free shipping (thanks to The Silentist for the tip). 

Lastly, it’s not released yet, but the guys at Run of the Mill are coming out with a suede double monkstrap on a Danite sole. The price will be around $450 and it should be released in a month or so. 

(photo credit: NOBD from StyleForum)

Put This On Episode 6: Clothing Credits

Intro:

Blazer - Brooks Brothers (Vintage)

Pants - Ralph Lauren Purple Label (Vintage)

Shirt - Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Tie - Saks Fifth Avenue

Vest - Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Shoes - Florsheim (Vintage)

At CEGO

Shirt One - Lands’ End

Shirt Two - CEGO Custom Shirtmakers

Pants - Woolrich Woolen Mills

Tie - Vintage (Unlabeled)

Belt - Narragansett Leathers

At Alan Flusser Custom

Suit - Brooks Brothers

Shirt - Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Tie - Carrol & Co. (Vintage)

Sweater - Shetland Hand Knits

At Pro Tailor

Blazer - Kiton (Vintage)

Pants - Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Shirt - Corneliani

Tie - Luciano Barbera (Vintage)

Shoes - Brooks Brothers (Vintage)

Q and Answer: What Color Shoes Should I Wear With a Navy Suit?
Peter writes: I was recently given a fantastic vintage navy blue suit from the ’70s by my father. The  only thing stopping me from wearing it every opportunity I have is the  fact that I do not know what shoes to wear with it. I have seen images  of men wearing brown and black oxfords and derbys and I really have no  idea what is correct. Also, how does the choice of shoe alter which sock  is appropriate?
What color shoes to wear with a navy suit is a matter of perpetual debate. The general answer is that it depends on the circumstances and personal preference. The specific answer? Well, let’s run it down.
Brown: Once, wearing brown shoes with navy was heresy unless you were a Boston Brahmin or a particularly wild Italian. However, brown is the default choice for daytime wear today. The color makes a comfortable partner for navy blue, particularly in darker hues like chocolate. Whether brown shoes are appropriate in the workplace is up to you; there are traditional gentlemen in London who still think brown shoes are inappropriate at a business no matter what color your suit is.
Black: This is the traditional choice, particularly in the English tradition. Black shoes are more suitable for business and the evening, and while I don’t go to a lot of suit-wearing business meetings, when I wear a navy suit at night, I reach for the sharper, more formal black footwear. 
Burgundy: Burgundy or cordovan shoes are the wild card here. (Note that “cordovan” is a color, “shell cordovan” a material.) They pair well with navy and are suitable for day or night wear. They’re certainly a somewhat bolder choice than chocolate brown or black, but I think they acquit themselves well. When I wear a navy suit during the day, I find myself pulling out my burgundy shell cordovan Florsheim longwings.
As far as socks are concerned, your default should be to match your trousers - that means navy socks. This applies no matter what color shoes you’re wearing. In fact, you can pretty much wear navy socks with anything other than shorts. If you don’t choose navy, you’ll want something with some contrast, and that contrast should compliment the rest of your outfit. It can pull a color from your accessories, for example. It can also be a wildcard - once in a while, with a white square, blue shirt, blue tie and blue suit, I’ll wear red socks.
(By the way: while this guy looks good, I don’t recommended fitting a suit like this.)

Q and Answer: What Color Shoes Should I Wear With a Navy Suit?

Peter writes: I was recently given a fantastic vintage navy blue suit from the ’70s by my father. The only thing stopping me from wearing it every opportunity I have is the fact that I do not know what shoes to wear with it. I have seen images of men wearing brown and black oxfords and derbys and I really have no idea what is correct. Also, how does the choice of shoe alter which sock is appropriate?

What color shoes to wear with a navy suit is a matter of perpetual debate. The general answer is that it depends on the circumstances and personal preference. The specific answer? Well, let’s run it down.

  • Brown: Once, wearing brown shoes with navy was heresy unless you were a Boston Brahmin or a particularly wild Italian. However, brown is the default choice for daytime wear today. The color makes a comfortable partner for navy blue, particularly in darker hues like chocolate. Whether brown shoes are appropriate in the workplace is up to you; there are traditional gentlemen in London who still think brown shoes are inappropriate at a business no matter what color your suit is.
  • Black: This is the traditional choice, particularly in the English tradition. Black shoes are more suitable for business and the evening, and while I don’t go to a lot of suit-wearing business meetings, when I wear a navy suit at night, I reach for the sharper, more formal black footwear. 
  • Burgundy: Burgundy or cordovan shoes are the wild card here. (Note that “cordovan” is a color, “shell cordovan” a material.) They pair well with navy and are suitable for day or night wear. They’re certainly a somewhat bolder choice than chocolate brown or black, but I think they acquit themselves well. When I wear a navy suit during the day, I find myself pulling out my burgundy shell cordovan Florsheim longwings.

As far as socks are concerned, your default should be to match your trousers - that means navy socks. This applies no matter what color shoes you’re wearing. In fact, you can pretty much wear navy socks with anything other than shorts. If you don’t choose navy, you’ll want something with some contrast, and that contrast should compliment the rest of your outfit. It can pull a color from your accessories, for example. It can also be a wildcard - once in a while, with a white square, blue shirt, blue tie and blue suit, I’ll wear red socks.

(By the way: while this guy looks good, I don’t recommended fitting a suit like this.)

Put This On Episode 5: Clothing Credits

Intro:
Tie: Pierrepont Hicks
Shirt: Lands’ End
Sweater: Vintage Scottish Cashmere
Jeans: Levis LVC 1947
Shoes: Grenson
Vest: Lands’ End

At J. Press:
Shirt: CEGO Custom Shirtmaker
Jacket: Polo Ralph Lauren
Sweater: Vintage Scottish Cashmere
Tie: Vintage Unlabeled
Pocket Square: Luciano Barbera
Pants: Incotex

At Thom Browne:
Shirt: Brooks Brothers Black Fleece
Tie: Santoni
Pocket Square: Vintage
Pants: Vintage Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Shoes: Vintage Florsheim
Socks: Robert Talbott