Fluevog Alternatives?
February 22, 2013 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I used to have a pair of John Fluevog Gibson Swirls in black, and I loved them. I rode 'em into the ground. I'm once again in the market for a kinda-funky, kinda-dressy men's shoe, and I would just grab another pair of Fluevogs... only recent customer reviews call out a sharp decline in their quality.

Does anyone A.) Have experience to the contrary, having recently bought and been totally happy with Fluevogs, or B.) Have suggestions for an alternative to my beloved Gibson Swirls?
For what it's worth, comfort is just as important to me as solid construction and the little-bit-o'-funk. (And preempting one likely suggestion, I had a pair of Doc Martens a while back and found them uncomfortable.)
posted by D.Billy to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
This is so true about the decline in quality. Avoid, avoid, avoid Fluevogs. I'm never buying another pair again.

As an alternative, given your style preferences, check out Allen Edmonds' casual style shoes, including their Neumok, Banchory, and Pierpont.
posted by deanc at 12:31 PM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't own that pair, but the Fluevogs I have bought in the last ten years are equal to the quality of the Fluevogs I bought in the 90's. No splitting in the seams, no breakage or splitting in the heels or heel caps, no cracking in the leather, anywhere. The only pair of Fluevogs I own with a crack in the leather is a 25 year old pair bought second hand (Vog upper with Doc soles), although I did lose the heel cap on a pair of Fluevog Fellowship boots. Picked up a new cap for free at the store and the shoe repair place put it on for free.

Mr. Onastick does own that pair (in red, bought about three years ago) and they seem fine, although they were not comfortable straight out of the box like all of mine have been.

Kenneth Cole and Cydwoq make some nice looking oxfords for men, but I've never seen that swirl stitching outside of Fluevog.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:39 PM on February 22, 2013

If you want a "little bit of funk" on a dressy men's shoe, buy a pair of not-too-sleek Allen Edmonds and take them to your cobbler. Have him or her remove the heel piece and add a chunky vibram (or similar) sole on top of the existing leather sole - you'll get a chunky "flatform" effect not totally dissimilar from the recent dress shoes only not quite as flamboyant or tall. I have a pair of chukkas, a pair of loafers and a pair of dress boots that I did this to, and they get a ton of compliments - everyone wants to know where I got them.
posted by Frowner at 12:39 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I know you said no Docs, but I've been waiting for the Solovair Monkey Boot to come back into stock in the US for a few months now. Just got an email today that they're waiting in customs, and should be available for purchase soon.
posted by carsonb at 12:47 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

What size are you? I think I have those exact shoes from maybe 5 years ago that I wore only half a dozen times. They're either Men's 9 or 10.
posted by ODiV at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks, y'all. Keep 'em coming!
ODIV - Sent you a MeMail.
posted by D.Billy at 1:32 PM on February 22, 2013

I'd go in and try some on. The boots I bought there a couple of years ago are wearing fine, as are my boyfriend's shoes bought a year before. I went in recently and tried on most of the women's shoes in the store - and some seemed really cheap, while others were still obviously higher quality leather and really solid.
posted by ldthomps at 1:36 PM on February 22, 2013

Fluevog continues to keep our household handsomely and comfortably shod. Our strategy is to purchase Fluevogs made in Peru, Poland, etc., but not in China. Although this rule began as an ethical guideline, we've found violating it disappoints (not only our better angels but) our inner Quality Control Inspectors.
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:58 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding Cydwoqs.

I have some Fluevog boots that are doing wonderfully, but they're only a year old.
posted by Specklet at 2:39 PM on February 22, 2013

I have bought (way too many) Fluevogs over the years (am wearing a pair right now) and haven't noticed any decline in quality. I don't know if any of that is a difference between men's and women's shoes. I think a lot of the ones I buy are made in Portugal.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:59 PM on February 22, 2013

I'm a Fluevog addict, and I don't see any decline in quality...except for one pair of sandals that were made in China. (Aha! May have to start paying attention to that.) I have noticed the sizing is all over the place. I can wear anything from a 9 to 11 in their shoes, so it helps if you can try them on.

They also do repairs (for a fee) if you still have the old ones.
posted by JoanArkham at 3:20 PM on February 22, 2013

You can find vintage Fluevogs on Ebay, but don't think you will get them cheap. Not as expensive as new but still pricey. Some are still like new, some not so much. I've tried having them refinished at local cobblers but they have not done a great job, perhaps a better cobbler could do better. 90% of my shoes are Fluevogs, about half of which are five years or older. I have noticed a decline in the newer shoes, which is a crying shame.
posted by waving at 4:43 PM on February 22, 2013

Nthing that country of origin seems to be key with Fluevogs. And by that I am euphemistically saying "avoid China."
posted by desuetude at 10:29 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I really love the Cole Haan wingtips with colored soles. The LunarGrand suede ones are my favorite, but suede needs some extra care. They also do a number of saddle shoes with similar soles, but I prefer wingtip styling.
posted by quince at 10:38 AM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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