looking for nice shoes to go with casual wear
November 20, 2009 7:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for recommendations on a pair of shoes that are "classy", but that look good with casual clothes (jeans and t-shirt, for example). The reason is that in Europe, many places seem to frown upon sneakers, even if they don't care about the rest of your clothing.

I'd prefer something that's easily available in Western Europe, and in the £150-or-under range if possible. And even better if they're comfortable!

Someone recommended Campers, but I think that they are too similar to sneakers to really be what I'm looking for. Although I know almost nothing about about fashion, so any general advice on this problem is appreciated as well.
posted by * to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Not to sound like a broken record, but it would be really helpful if you would specify your gender when asking questions about clothes.
posted by craichead at 7:52 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have a pair of black leather slip on shoes that look very professional and European. I tihnk they were about $60 at Steve Madden or something like that. They're very comfortable and I wear them often with nicer jeans and a solid color t-shirt.

If you're looking for even more casual, I'd try a pair of brown shoes that look something like these.
posted by scrutiny at 7:52 AM on November 20, 2009

My experience in Europe is that they DO care about the rest of your clothing as well.

In any event, we'd definitely need to know your gender.
posted by dfriedman at 7:53 AM on November 20, 2009

ha, I just assumed you were a guy. If you need advice on women's shoes then I'd suggest getting some flats for comfort, but I don't know much about the fashion.
posted by scrutiny at 7:54 AM on November 20, 2009

Oops, just to clarify, I'm a guy. I'll update my profile now...
posted by * at 7:55 AM on November 20, 2009

Men's black leather dress shoes.

One thing you ought to consider is how much walking you'd be doing. If you are planning to do a lot of walking you won't want dress shoes.
posted by dfriedman at 7:58 AM on November 20, 2009

I am going to assume that you are a guy.

This is, in general, the style of loafer my male spouse wears: Steve Madden Memfis. It's a loafer but it's not super-classy.

In Europe, the equivalent seems to be Clarks. This shoe, for example, has a sturdy rubber sole but looks much nicer than sneakers.

Depending on the wash of your jeans, I'd go with black over brown.
posted by muddgirl at 7:59 AM on November 20, 2009

You might be able to find something from Allen Edmonds that's priced under 150 pounds. I have two pair of AEs, and they're the best shoes I've ever owned. (It's a little out of your price range, but the AE Thayer is really versatile, as far as outfits go.)
posted by Prospero at 7:59 AM on November 20, 2009

Maybe short boots with a slight heel, like these?
posted by transporter accident amy at 8:01 AM on November 20, 2009

Merrell have a good range of men's shoes that are comfortable like trainers but look more smart casual.

One example

Most of their "casual" range should be fine as well as the "multi-sport" or "winter" stuff. Or any other brands that make shoes looking like that.

I guess as a guideline, if there's no white or silver visible on the shoe, it's less likely to set off people's "trainer" alarm bells.
posted by emilyw at 8:02 AM on November 20, 2009

Camper shoes are perfectly fine. They do not actually look like sneakers. Fly London is also a nice brand. The two styles that are most common now are the nice shoes that look slightly but not much like sneakers (like the Campers you are worried about) and slip on shoes like scrutiny mentions. My impression is that laces are in fashion now, but either would be fine.
posted by jeather at 8:02 AM on November 20, 2009

(I'm just going to assume that you're a man of my gender since this will allow me to give you advice. Oh, on preview, never mind.)

Moo Shoes has some good dress shoes that are on the more casual side of dressy. You might want to focus on slip-ons (example) rather than laced shoes, since the latter tend to look more flashy/dressy. They're all within your price range.

Also seconding Steve Madden (even though I prefer Moo Shoes because of the leather thing). I got a pair of brown Steve Madden slip-ons for $80 (which, of course, is way below 150 pounds). They've drawn lots of compliments -- perfectly on the borderline between dressy and casual.

I'd assume that these companies can ship to Europe. You can call up Moo Shoes' brick-and-mortar store in NYC to place an order, or order online.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:05 AM on November 20, 2009

Why not plain Doc Martens? Smooth black leather, so a casual glance will not pause on them as too informal, but they are very comfortable once broken in -- and they'll last for years.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:06 AM on November 20, 2009

Seconding muddgirl's suggestions.

I never wear sneakers. I sometimes wear jeans and would pair them with something like the Clarks linked above. Many of these Ecco casual shoes would fit the bill too.

These are not dress shoes. These are shoes that look good and you could also spend all day walking around in.
posted by vacapinta at 8:06 AM on November 20, 2009

I bought a pair of these Ecco shoes, and they look good with casual clothes and are very comfortable.
posted by lsemel at 8:08 AM on November 20, 2009

Slip on suede loafers in beige/brown are very smart but also look natural with jeans, casual trousers and even smart shorts. You can't go wrong with something like this, if you need a more modern/youthful look then this or this.
posted by fire&wings at 8:09 AM on November 20, 2009

I'd stick to brown loafers/slip-ons (with a brown belt of course). Brown generally pairs better than black with jeans.
posted by chalbe at 8:19 AM on November 20, 2009

I'm a big fan of the Clarks' desert boot.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:34 AM on November 20, 2009

dfriedman's link seems the best to me. But whatever you do, avoid these.
posted by Lleyam at 8:41 AM on November 20, 2009

I wear driving shoes with jeans. Tod's and Ferragamo.

You can get a pair of Geox or Cole-Haans for about what you want to spend.
posted by Zambrano at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2009

These Eccos (in black) go well with jeans.
posted by pete_22 at 10:05 AM on November 20, 2009

Since we're talking Europe here, you'll probably have to walk in them. I walk around 4-5 miles a day and have knees and feet that don't really like that fact, so I'm always looking for stuff to control my pronation-prone ankles and flat arches.

Check out the Birkenstock Wexford. I absolutely, completely, 100% love mine. Much more comfortable than the Allen Edmonds that I wear at work on dressier days and way better looking than the Finn Comforts (which also have a Birkenstock-made footbed) that used to be my everyday shoes. It's the only shoe that comes close to a pair of Birkenstock sandals for comfort on my foot, yet looks nowhere near as ugly as anything else they make.
posted by paanta at 10:46 AM on November 20, 2009

Seconding Lleyam. Those tassels! *shudder*
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:30 AM on November 20, 2009

I have a pair of Eccos that work as you desire and recently got a pair of Umberto Raffini shoes that are both business casual and comfortable enough to walk around in all day.
posted by TedW at 11:48 AM on November 20, 2009

Both have been mentioned above, but this niche in my wardrobe is pretty well filled by a pair of Doc Martins (black) and a pair of Clarks (brown). Geox is another brand to look for, they have a ventilation system that is great for the summer.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:52 PM on November 20, 2009

One warning about Clarks -- like any other shoe, Clarks don't last forever. But unlike many manufacturers, Clarks seems to enjoy trashing its old designs for no good reason. My favorite Clarks boots are no longer being made, so I'm going to probably spend the amount of money I'd otherwise spend on a brand new pair getting my old worn out pair repaired.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:59 AM on November 22, 2009

Thanks everyone. These are all great suggestions and exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.
posted by * at 10:40 AM on November 24, 2009

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