What are the most hardwearing womens' brogues for sale in the UK?
August 9, 2016 4:48 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy the best-quality, most stylish and most hardwearing brogues for women anywhere in the UK?

I am looking for shoes that I can commute in that are smart enough to wear for meetings as well. After several working years quietly resenting the few minutes I spend changing from trainers to work shoes at the start and end of each working day, I bought some flats from Dune. However mere months later they have started to fall apart. My commute is ten minutes walking, a public transport bit, and a walk-or-public-transport bit. When I walk the latter it takes thirty minutes and I do not typically both ways even once every day - maybe a few times per week.

I do not have to dress super-smart - think a few levels down from a suit? I love tailoring but a suit is overdressing for where I work so I usually mix it up a bit. I do not mind polishing or caring for the shoes. I just would prefer that I can commute in them, wear them in the office, and that they do not fall apart for at least a year or two.

I like brogues. However, I welcome suggestions of other commutable styles as well. If they can be a little feminine and/or somehow subtly quirky, so much the better.

Imagine that money is no object, and that cheaper options are also fine. Mail order in the UK is okay but I prefer not to ship things internationally if I can avoid it.
posted by Erinaceus europaeus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
These Dr. Martens will take a few wears to break in, but they are *the perfect* quirky brogues! If you look closely, they have a skull on them (but most people won't notice). I haven't owned mine for that long but based on other pairs I've owned, they will last. That's the US link, but I know they are sold in the UK as well.
posted by beyond_pink at 5:18 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also wanted to say Dr Martens, can vouch that the vegan lace up shoes lasted 3 years of almost daily wear.
posted by veids at 5:36 AM on August 9, 2016

Best answer: If money is truly no object, check out Church's brogues.
posted by stinker at 5:46 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If money really is no object, may I recommend Crockett Jones? They are one of the UK's top makers, even considering the various other Northampton ones. I have a pair of CJs that I got used some years ago and they are really nice shoes. Like all benchmade shoes, they are resolable and fairly repairable generally. You have the advantage of being in the UK, so you can actually send them back to the maker for relasting, as far as I know.

Loake has some women's brogues, although they're much more tramping-in-the-country.

I have heard lots of recommendations for what seems to formerly have been Duo but have not handled their shoes.

If you are willing to deal with mail order, Camper is very reliable and, for shoes at that price point with glued construction, very well made. I used to wear Campers before I switched to men's shoes and they never let me down - the soles wore out from walking eventually, but that was because I was walking about 4.5 miles a day every day year round.

Have you tried looking at Yoox? This is the Yoox UK site and they have Momas. I have a couple of men's Momas and they're really quite nice. It looks as though the women's are constructed much the same.

Me? If money truly weren't an issue, I'd get a pair of CJs and maybe backup pair of Campers. (Well, honestly, if money weren't an issue I'd have a whole suite of CJs in every style....)
posted by Frowner at 5:53 AM on August 9, 2016

(Also, when I order from Yoox in the US, things are shipped domestically, not internationally - I don't know if this is true for the UK what with being close to Italy, but I've always found them extremely reliable in any case.)
posted by Frowner at 5:56 AM on August 9, 2016

Just a point that it's not going to be Clarks or Born shoes. Both make very comfortable midpoint shoes that are decent, but not worth repairing. I can get maybe 8-9months of hard wear out of a pair, not years. I can vouch for Frye oxfords outlasting either of them so far, but they are not brouges (with the perforations and wingtips).

You can get longer wear out of either the Clarke or Born Shoes I noted by alternating pairs every day; but I still only got 1 year out of 2 pairs of Born shoes doing that.
posted by larthegreat at 5:58 AM on August 9, 2016

Best answer: I have Grenson's brogues. Regularly costing about £200 - £300.

Grensons' last for several years of daily wear. IF you keep them moisturized, AND resole them when they get worn. Mine lasted 1.5 years before they needed to be resoled. It's the 4th year since I bought them and they're still fine (although slightly scuffed) even in this wet London climate.

Sometimes they do sample sales in London, where you can get the brogues at an amazing price of £30.
posted by moiraine at 6:18 AM on August 9, 2016

My pair of Bed Stu Litas are still going strong four years of intermittent wear later. They're built from the thickest leather I've ever worn in a woman's shoe, and super comfy on my feet. I get a lot of complements for them. I did have them resoled to give me more traction on slippery sidewalks (the original soles are leather except for a 1" grippy rubber bit on the heel), but that's my only complaint.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:18 AM on August 9, 2016

Grensons' last for several years of daily wear.

Grensons sometimes turn up on Yoox, too - IME they run pretty true to UK sizing*, as do CJs, making them pretty easy to mail-order.
posted by Frowner at 6:29 AM on August 9, 2016

Further information about ordering:

Yoox is an Italian business. It sells mostly but not exclusively end-of-season shoes made in Italy. It has branches in many countries. I was worried, when first ordering, that they would ship from Italy. I am uncertain if, in the UK, they ship domestically or if they ship directly from Italy.

Camper ships internationally, meaning from Portugal or Italy.

If Grensons turn up at a discount on Yoox, this may or may not be because they were constructed in Italy or elsewhere - most Grensons are not made in the UK now. They're often at a very good discount on Yoox, but it seemed to me that they might not ship from the UK since they're rarely made in the UK and are being sold by an Italian discounter.

Not all UK-made shoes run true to UK sizes, in my experience - Edward Greens, for instance, run narrow, as do Loakes, and Churches are sourced so oddly now that they are all over the map.

I know I'm an American, but I do have a really ridiculous number of pairs of shoes made in the UK and have handled and tried on others. UK lasts usually fit me far better than American.
posted by Frowner at 6:44 AM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If Grensons turn up at a discount on Yoox, this may or may not be because they were constructed in Italy or elsewhere - most Grensons are not made in the UK now. They're often at a very good discount on Yoox, but it seemed to me that they might not ship from the UK since they're rarely made in the UK and are being sold by an Italian discounter.

This page specifically states that the upper-end Grensons are made in the UK, while the cheaper range is made in India (though designed in the UK). They have physical stores in London.

I personally bought three of my Grenson pairs in a sample sale in Shoreditch, London for just £30 each.
posted by moiraine at 7:00 AM on August 9, 2016

You probably want a pair of Tricker's - They're probably a bit higher-quality (and more subtle, in most makeups) than Grenson. They're available at a lot of different stores, though it might take a bit more looking to find women's sizes. You can also do a custom order in whatever makeup you want. Retrickers is their factory outlet-type store, and I've never heard of anyone getting anything more damaged than, say, a rip in the inner lining or a dent in the leather.
posted by sagc at 7:42 AM on August 9, 2016

As a counterpoint, I've never had any Camper shoes last me more than six months tops.
posted by kariebookish at 8:25 AM on August 9, 2016

I alternate them with other shoes, so they don't get worn daily, but I've had two pairs of Clarke's brogues last three years now, with similar amount of walking commute.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:01 AM on August 9, 2016

I have several pairs from Clarks that I live in during spring/autumn/non snowy winter days. Alternating shoes makes a huge difference. Also, the inside and upper outside of my Clarks holds up better than the soles so I have had them resolved and reheeled. That gives me another year so I think it was worth the cost. Your preferences may be different.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:43 PM on August 9, 2016

Response by poster: Wow. Thank you, everyone.
posted by Erinaceus europaeus at 11:43 PM on August 9, 2016

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