This is my shoe question. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
September 20, 2012 9:10 PM   Subscribe

Comfortable, stylish, informal, professional, durable, RE-SOLABLE men's shoes recommendations needed!

My husband walks a lot, and he is murder on shoes. He's bumped up his "acceptable shoe cost" tier twice ($40 --> $100 --> $150) and still ends up wearing through shoe soles in a matter of months. He has decided that what he really needs is a pair of solid, well-made, resolable shoes; even his $150 Kenneth Cole shoes couldn't be resoled, and fell to bits within a year besides.

He is a professional who works in a decidedly business-casual environment, so he doesn't need formal shoes-like-you'd-wear-with-a-suit. But the only shoes he has that aren't coming apart right now are his hiking boots, his running shoes, and his cycling clip shoes, and none of those really represent the image he'd like to present at work.

I am gathering people's recommendations for solid, durable, kind-of-elegant-and-stylish-but-not-too-formal, RE-SOLABLE men's shoes. Shoes you could put four or five urban miles on in a day without nursing blisters at the end of it, but that don't look like they should be worn with white tube socks. If they're available on Zappo's, so much the better. Ideally I'd like to keep it under $300, but if you have a recommendation that is more than that and worth it, please let me know.
posted by KathrynT to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
why not ask a shoe repair shop for recommendations?
posted by blob at 9:20 PM on September 20, 2012

I used to have a pair of men's US navy shoes, which I believe can be resoled (I didn't keep them long enough for that to be an issue, but that's what my shoe repair guy said). They looked like this. My shoe repair guy put shoe guards on the soles to help keep down the wear.

Rockports often can be resoled. So can Red Wings, I believe, and some Merrells.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:24 PM on September 20, 2012

The difference in quality between a $120-150 pair of men's leather shoes and a $200-300 pair is worth the price. Then again, that price is pretty steep. Luckily, eBay. (This link is from, which has a bunch of other excellent links for shopping ebay for fine brands.) *grumble* giving all my secrets away...
posted by carsonb at 9:35 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have several pair of Allen Edmonds, and they can most definitely be resoled (well, most can; there are a few models that can't). Great shoes.
posted by primethyme at 9:37 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, in terms of resoling what you'll want to look for is basically any leather shoe that is built using a Goodyear Welt. Those kinds of soles can be replaced by any cobbler. Cheaper shoes with glued-on welts/soles usually cannot be resoled.

OK I think the link I posted above doesn't work. That was copied from Put This On, but this is the link from This Fits Me and it seems to work fine. You can narrow the search further using the sizing options on the left. Look for "NIB" for new shoes if you want, but the real deals are the gently used pairs. I hit this link about once a month (looking for another pair of my beautiful SF Melodys so I can wear them every day, heh).
posted by carsonb at 9:48 PM on September 20, 2012

Vibram soles can also be resoled.
posted by Madamina at 10:34 PM on September 20, 2012

Two words: Allen Edmonds.
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:35 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Full resoling isn't all that cheap. If he's otherwise satisfied with $40 shoes, it may be cheaper and easier to stick with those and simply throw them away when worn out. This is kind of where I'm at these days.

The nice thing about a Goodyear welt is not that the shoe can be resoled, but that it can be rebuilt. Theoretically, a good pair of shoes constructed this way can last decades, being rebuilt over and over. I've found that this isn't as important to me as I thought it would be, as I get tired of a pair of shoes after a few years, so construction method doesn't hold as much weight with me as it used to.

Also, on many shoes, it's entirely possible to extend the life of a sole without a complete resole. A cobbler will sort of rough up the existing sole and glue on new sole material. This sort of thing is done when the shoe is otherwise in good condition, and it seems to yield good results.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:05 PM on September 20, 2012

Red wings have lasted my husband through several resoleings.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:17 AM on September 21, 2012

Frye is best known for their boots, but their shoes are also sturdy, handsome, and resoleable. You can often find them cheaper on places like or at Nordstrom Rack, or used on eBay.
posted by dizziest at 5:53 AM on September 21, 2012

Near the top of your husband's budget, I've had some luck with Ecco, albeit workboots, not shoes.

Eccos can be "re-built" for under $100 (I got one pair done at This involved doing what 2N2222 described above, leveling the old sole & gluing a Vibram sole on top.

Looking at the wear on these and the wear on a pair of Merrell Moabs that also have Vibram soles, I'd say Vibram soles wear very well.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:32 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Allen Edmonds. If there's a Nordstrom Rack near you, they will usually have at least some shoes from A-E within your husband's price range.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:07 AM on September 21, 2012

Allen Edmonds, specifically the Black Hills model. I'm wearing a pair in Walnut as I type (it's casual day). Thinking about buying another pair in black.

Allen Edmonds offers several levels of "recrafting" on most of their shoes.

If you have a nearby AE outlet, you can save about $75 on these (MSRP is $275).
posted by probablysteve at 11:13 AM on September 21, 2012

Just had my husband's Florsheims resoled for $60.
posted by freshwater at 9:01 AM on September 22, 2012

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