secret sportster shoes?
December 7, 2005 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Do such shoes exist? I'm planning a new look, and I'd love any tips on where to find black mens shoes that, unlike running shoes or sneakers, look vaguely like (informal) dress shoes, but are in fact kickass running/climbing/jumping shoes in disguise.

Rubber or similar super-grippy soles (rather than sneaker-style plastic) would be good. Tight fitting would be good. The sole extending up the side of the foot (such as in climbing or fencing shoes) would be good (but I don't expect that).

The image I linked to is a child's shoe, but it's a good example of the kind of style I like (matte leather, seamless unadorned front, rounded rather than square toe, sole not inches thick, etc). Obviously the sport shoe I'm looking for doesn't have to match these things, but closer is better :-)

The planned "new look" is really just a continuation of the old, casual-leaning-towards-dressy style, but with the attire designed for athletic activity, while not looking as casual as sweat pants and sneakers. A discrete but large change in functionality.

I'm finding you can get mileage out of specialty attire - eg ballroom dance suppliers are a source of formalwear designed for athletic use, constructed to not restrict your movement. Equestrian or cycling suppliers sometimes have gloves that are functional in the ways I like. Is there some overlooked or esoteric source of shoes?

Budget: Cheaper is better. Under $50 is excellant, under $100 is hoped for, under $200 is definitely preferred! :)

Failing anything more exotic, are there any black sneakers you'd recommend? (I'm size mens 9 to 11, depending on country of manufacture and brand).
posted by -harlequin- to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rockport would probably make a shoe right up your alley...I had a pair of Rockport dress shoes that I played basketball and badminton in on a frequent basis. Nice grip and super light.
posted by johnsmith415 at 8:50 PM on December 7, 2005

Best answer: What about the Cole Haan Nike Air shoes?
posted by forallmankind at 8:53 PM on December 7, 2005

Try Palladium shoes. i look for similar things and never *quite* find it. some of the keen shoes oddly, despite their hippyness, have something like what you're looking for.
posted by yonation at 8:54 PM on December 7, 2005

Second the Cole Haan. I have a pair that serves well at the law firm where I work and keeps my feet comfy running around Barcelona or the mall or running to get to a bus stop.
posted by salsamander at 8:59 PM on December 7, 2005

I think the main problem you'd run into is avoiding a logo on the side.

I don't know of anything that matches all your criteria but there are lots of black runners/hikers made as well as dress shoes with non-dress shoe soles or toned down dressiness. I can't vouch for any of the linked shoes, however.

Though I don't run in them, my preferred brand of dress shoe is far more comfortable for walking/standing than my Nike or Asics (the most comfortable runners I've ever found). I only wear runners when I have to.

On preview, those Cole Haan's look great. I've never found the non-Nike brand of their shoe to be up to snuff, however. Different strokes...
posted by dobbs at 9:10 PM on December 7, 2005

Best answer: At some point in the past, I owned a pair of these Merrells.
posted by milkrate at 9:36 PM on December 7, 2005

John Fluevog.
posted by luriete at 9:54 PM on December 7, 2005

I have a pair of "Ecco" shoes which look nice-ish but are incredibly durable, comfortable, and the soles are made of the same high-bounce rubber you get in those vending-machine balls. They weren't cheap, around $190, but they have lasted almost without change for well over a year of snow, rain, and constant wear. Nordstrom carries them.
posted by Rubber Soul at 10:55 PM on December 7, 2005

Check out the ECCOs! I've worn mine every day for a year and they're still just as comfortable as the day I bought them.
posted by 4easypayments at 11:14 PM on December 7, 2005

I'll second Milkrate on the Merrells - I have the black slip-on kind. They're comfortable and look sleekly futuristic with no laces, but they're sporty enough that I fence in them.
posted by wanderingmind at 12:15 AM on December 8, 2005

Eccos. My husband is a teacher so he's on his feet all day, but he doesn't want to wear tennis shoes. They're pricey (esp. on a teacher's salary) but very durable and you can have them resoled. He gets his at Johnston & Murphy.
posted by SashaPT at 4:13 AM on December 8, 2005

Best answer: Another vote for Rockport. Any of their DMX shoes ought to do the trick -- dress shoe on top, athletic shoe underneath.
posted by jjg at 5:18 AM on December 8, 2005

Best answer: You might try Timberland. I have these and I've done everything from hiking to yard work in them, but wear them to the office everyday. For a quarter mile jog they are fine, I doubt my feet would be happy to really run in them for too long.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 5:21 AM on December 8, 2005

If I'm reading your post correctly, you could go with these or these. Steve Madden actually has a pretty good, reasonably affordable selection of shoes that are what you describe (I think). Is there a DSW (Discount Shoe Warehouse) by you? I find that they often have a really wide variety of selection and are really affordable, I would check one out.
posted by pazazygeek at 5:43 AM on December 8, 2005

Best answer: This previous AskMe question seems very similar to yours.
posted by box at 6:01 AM on December 8, 2005

I would run around in my ECCOs all the time, except I like to keep them looking extra super-spiffy without maintenance and that means not wearing them every day. If you want a dressy shoe that actually works well as a shoe, ECCO seems to have the best products on the market.
posted by majick at 7:15 AM on December 8, 2005

Tsubo has a couple of pairs of men's shoes that seem to fit your needs, specifically the Vega or the Cyma. I'm wearing the black Terra's as my new work shoes. I bought them in Toronto at a store near Queen and Spadina.
posted by KathyK at 9:00 AM on December 8, 2005

Sketchers makes dressy shoes that are also, you know, Sketchers. I prefer them to just about any other shoe I've tried (but I have weird feet, so your footage may vary). I think mine were $40.
posted by fidelity at 9:18 AM on December 8, 2005

I'd imagine that law enforcement officers would require comfortable, rugged, utiliful, yet semi-formal.

A couple of examples.

Any mefite law enforcement officers around?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:40 AM on December 8, 2005

Response by poster: Wow, pretty much all of these are great suggestions. Now I have a whole lot of options to look into. Thanks all!
posted by -harlequin- at 3:12 PM on December 10, 2005

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