Sunday, September 16, 2018

Learnin' the Leather

I was chillin' with Mr. Sam down at Regions Plaza the other day when the storied Jackson shoe-shine man waxed about how men today know less about shoes than in years past.  The discussion provided an excuse for a JJ PSA.  Take a break from the crime stories, politics, the latest Ole Miss beatdown, and learn a few things about shoes.   This video contains a few nuggets of info about shoes that are pretty interesting.  Consider it to be Men's Shoes 101.

Quality is an afterthought til you have to replace a shoe only a few years after you bought it because you went cheap and got a shoe with a sole attached with glue, for example.  The Hunnish dandy in the video provides a pretty interesting cost/benefit analysis at 9:20. 


Anonymous said...

Mr. Sam is a scholar and a gentleman.

Louis LeFleur said...

Mr. Sam-u-el himself. One of many downtown faces I miss!

Anonymous said...

Not British. German or Austrian.

Anonymous said...

In your opinion KF, best place to buy men's shoes in the metro?

Anonymous said...

He's not British. He's originally from Germany and he has a ton of great menswear videos on YouTube, even though he tends to dress a little too 1920s for my taste. There's a difference between being well-dressed and looking like you're auditioning for a remake of Johnny Dangerously.

But the point about shoes is well taken. It's one of my pet peeves that men today dress like children. I was at a restaurant the other night and several grown men were there in sandals. Seriously. If you're taking your girl out and wearing cargo shorts and Tevas, you need to reconsider your attire.

Allen Edmonds makes a fine shoe that you can get regularly on sale for $250 and it will last years. Save the sandals for the reservoir or yard work. When you go in public, dress like a man should dress, not like your teenage son. You don't have to wear a suit and tie to eat Mexican, but for Pete's sake put on some big boy clothes.

Kingfish said...

You can actually drop off your shoes to get shined by Mr. Sam at Great Scott. He picks them up Tuesday through Thursday and gives them his magic touch. Great Scott has a nice selection of the better shoes and Wright Scott knows footwear pretty well.

I miss Footslagers (Sp?) in Maywood Mart. That was a pretty good place.

Soles & Heels in Brandon guy showed me a Cole Haan shoe he was working on this year. The shoe had a paper welt, no lie. J&M glues the soles instead of stitching them. Nothing like wearing a shoe a few short years and then whammo, the glue wears out and the sole separates. Then the cobbler says it can't be fixed so you have to fork out mo money.

Dillards has a limited selection of the better shoes although its hit or miss when it comes to getting a knowledgeable salesman.

Anonymous said...

Three things I learned about shoes some time ago:

1) Women notice your shoes - there's something about women and their shoes, and it extends to the way they see men. Women will notice if you are wearing shabby shoes. If you don't believe me, just ask a woman if she pays attention to what a man wears on his feet.

2) Quality shoes that fit are not uncomfortable - So many men think that dress shoes must be uncomfortable, but if you buy quality shoes that fit your foot, they can be as comfortable as anything for daily wear.

3) Don't limit yourself to one style of dress shoe - I used to think that there was one type of dress shoe - a leather lace-up. That's so wrong. There are Oxfords, Bluchers, Chukkas, Chelsea boots, Monkstraps, Loafers, Dress Boots (not Cowboy Boots), etc.

My outlook on footwear is remarkably different than it was 5 years ago, and I've had women make comments on my shoes more than once. I never got that when I was wearing Nike trainers everywhere.

Anonymous said...

best place to buy men's shoes in the metro?

Great Scott. Agree with KF on this. They have matched AE online sale prices for me before, and if you aren't certain about size, they'll measure you and let you try on samples to make sure it's a good fit. Wright knows his footwear as well as menswear in general.

Brooks Brothers in Renaissance has some decent shoes as well. Today I'm wearing a pair of cordovan BB shoes made by Allen Edmonds. I normally deal with Cristy, but Paul (store manager) is great and so is Karen.

The Rogue, Kinkade's, and Mozingo - three other quality menswear locations in the metro, but I don't know how they are with shoes.

If you know your size and want to get quality shoes online, try Meermin. Goodyear Welt, traditional styling, and sub $200. A quality shoe for the price.

Carlos Santos is a good shoe (a bit pointy-toed for my taste). Skoaktiebolaget sells them for around $300/pair.

Anonymous said...

Most shoes these days are thrown away with the original laces in them and it's difficult to find anyone who knows the difference between shit and shinolla. Like so many things these days shoes are cheap junk and the public doesn't recognize quality but wouldn't know how to take care of it if they accidentally acquired it.

"A poor man mounted rides his horse to death."

Anonymous said...

I was told long ago that a $90.00 shoe would last a year or two, A $180.00 shoe would last ten to fifteen years but a $360.00 shoe would last a lifetime . This assumes you rotate them, use wooden shoetrees and get them resoled …….. jeff

Anonymous said...

This story "Learnin' the Leather" and the comments is what makes Jackson Jambalaya great. Thanks Kingfish!

Anonymous said...

Mississippi Uniform: College football tee or Columbia PFG fishing shirt from Bass Pro, Wranglers or Wal-Mart shorts sitting below the gut (without a belt), running shoes or Birkenstock knockoffs, Raybans or Costa shades on top of the brim of a ball cap with an SEC team logo. The men of this state gave up on nice clothes and shoes a long time ago. And it's even worse in Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Rogue has a great selection at all price points.

Wiseowl said...

I used to buy excellent quality shoes at Progressive Shoe Store,
Ponatoc, Ms and suits at McAlpins. Still wearing some of both. Run down heels and scuffed toes, skimpy suits with too shorts coats are signs of a slob regardless of what GQ may say. Oh..hats and caps including cowboy and ball caps come off at the table always. Where have taste manners and decorum gone. Lastly, jeans with a sport coat is fashion stupid.

Anonymous said...

Just checked Allen Edmonds' site and their Fifth Avenue oxfords are on sale for $299 (normally $425). If this story has made you realize you need to up your shoe game, this is a fine shoe to start that process.

Kingfish said...

Used to be, you could get Aldens at 7 Circle but needless to say, the staff didn't really know much about them. Not to mention not that many people in this area can probably afford them. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Run down heels and scuffed toes, skimpy suits with too shorts coats are signs of a slob regardless of what GQ may say. Oh..hats and caps including cowboy and ball caps come off at the table always. Where have taste manners and decorum gone. Lastly, jeans with a sport coat is fashion stupid.

Amen to the first one. is a website that is geared toward younger men who are learning how to ditch the college bro look and start dressing nicely on a budget. At the top of the page is this quote: Fashion is temporary and expensive. Style is timeless and affordable. GQ can suck it when they push jackets that barely button and other fast fashion garbage.

Hats are to be worn at the ball park or when fishing to protect from the sun. No reason to wear one indoors, especially at the table, good heavens!

I have to disagree on the last one, though. A hopsack sport coat or a tweed blazer can look very nice with jeans, assuming those jeans aren't ratty old Goodwill rejects.

P.S. I'm glad to see men posting that actually care how they dress! Makes my Monday!

Reed said...

Alden and Allen Edmonds are still made in America. Alden makes a good shoe, but I don't think the quality is any better than Allen Edmonds at close to double the price.

If I'm going to spend $700 on a pair of shoes (which I probably never will) then I'd probably go with Crockett & Jones. I've never owned C&J, but I've heard so many good things about them that I'd have to try them over Alden.

Anonymous said...

In 1989, I was engaged to a sweet girl who happens to still be married to me. I paid a lot of money at the time for a pair of black AE wingtips to wear to the rehearsal dinner. She told me that I had paid too much, but nearly 30 years and three soles later, they still look and feel great.

PittPanther said...

I own at least one pair of Allen Edmonds, so yes I can afford them. However, this concept of keeping shoes for a lifetime:
- my feet aren't the same size now as they were 30 years ago
- although some shoes never go out of style, those tend to be the very conservative styles, the wing tip brogues, the oxfords, etc.
- sometimes I just get tired of looking at the same thing, and want something new. Same shoe for 40 years? How dull.

Fashion is a part of my wardrobe, not just the "50yo conservative banker" styles.

Anonymous said...

12:47 - Similar to you, My Dad bought me a suit and pair of cordovan and black oxford style shoes from the Rogue in 81' to get married in. I was 23 years old. I out grew the suit a long time ago and I cant tell you the brand of the shoes but 37 years and 4 soles later those shoes have seen the marriages of my children, funerals for mine and my wife's parents and grand parents and numerous other occasions. I still wear those shoes when the occasion calls for it.

Kingfish said...

Pitt: You are correct. I think you would agree though that there is a difference between buying shoes because you want to or need to due to physical changes and buying them because your previous ones failed because the quality sucked.

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on your age, but unless you've gained or lost a lot of weight, your shoe size should be pretty much set after age 25 or so. I can't speak to your specific situation, Pitt, but I believe most men have shoe sizes that are pretty consistent over the years.

Fashion footwear is a completely different thing. For example, Air Jordans come out with different styles each year. It's basically planned obsolescence. No one wants to wear last year's style when this year's model hits the stores.

But dress shoes are generally not fast fashion unless you start looking at trendy patinas and exotic styles. Oxfords, derbies, and monks that are well made will wear well and look good for years. No one is going to point to a pair of black AE oxfords from 2005 and say they're out of style. That really doesn't apply the way it does to fashion footwear.

Each has its place, but it seems so many men today have turned their backs on quality shoes and are opting for nothing but the Jordans and the Tevas and the Chuck Taylors. That's what I think Sam was bemoaning and he is 100% right. Nothing wrong with having a few pair of fashionable sneakers, but a grown man needs more than the same shoes the kids are wearing.

Shoes for life said...

I'd like the guy in the video to do his cost per wear analysis on a pair of $400 dress shoes that last 20 years versus a pair of $200 sneakers that last 3 years max. Think about that in terms of the affordability of a nice pair of dress shoes.

Think about this - say you buy a new pair of sneakers every other year for $200, or $2000 over 20 years. Compare that to a $400 pair of dress shoes that may need to be resoled twice at $100 each time. That's $2000 vs $600.


Anonymous said...

Progressive Shoe Store in Pontotoc has great mail order, open store and mostly carries high end shoes - I own AE only. I have resoled some of these shoes over 5 times. A long time salesman at McRaes Metrocenter taught me to only look to AE in 1982 and he didnt do me wrong. AE also has outlet stores where you can order online such as in Destin, FL.

Anonymous said...

Soles and Heels in Brandon does sell a limited collection of Allen Edmonds shoes. Also the owners are some of the most pleasant people I have ever dealt with in my life. They are a hidden gem in the metro area. They have fixed everything from sewing a boat hook to a strap to hemming Filson waxed canvas overalls and punching more holes in a shell belt and even resoled a few pairs of Lucchese boots.

Kingfish said...

Then there is It's AE's website for its seconds. Cann barely notice the flaws, if at all.

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