Mens Dress Shoes That Don't Suck Please
December 27, 2007 4:55 AM   Subscribe

ISO men's dress shoes that are appropriate with the most conservative business attire but that will stand up to New England winters and walking-intensive public transportation commutes without wrecking my feet. Bonus if there's a retailer out there that has juicy post-Xmas discounts.
posted by Saucy Intruder to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'd say check out Ecco shoes - they come in a variety of styles, including business-appropriate. They can be a bit pricey, but as someone who commutes via the T, I think they're worth it.

That being said, you'll have to really take good care of them if you're walking around in the crap that's on the ground now in New England. Better to get some boots for that!
posted by canine epigram at 5:31 AM on December 27, 2007

Do they still make "rubbers" or overshoes that you could wear while you're commuting, then remove when you're in the office?
posted by pax digita at 5:34 AM on December 27, 2007

I stand and walk all day and I swear by my Footprints shoes. They're German made and owned or licensed by Birkenstock. They have the same cork footbed. Pricey and tough to find in the US, but not impossible.
posted by GPF at 5:36 AM on December 27, 2007

I like my Ecco dress shoes, but I don't wear them in the snow - I take the bus to work, and standing around waiting for a bus in -40 with uninsulated footwear doesn't appeal.

2nding getting a nice pair of insulated hiking boots and changing when you get to work.
posted by Nodecam at 5:43 AM on December 27, 2007

Bally and they have pretty good discounts after Xmas.
posted by Ferrari328 at 6:06 AM on December 27, 2007

Two words: rubber overshoes
posted by briank at 6:08 AM on December 27, 2007

You can get overshoes at shoe repair places....I found out the hard way that shoe stores will have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by brujita at 6:22 AM on December 27, 2007

I LOVED my "rubbers", but everyone made fun of me, saying that only old men wear them!
They had a great grip and were so inexpensive. You can get them at any Wal-Mart, Zellers, Target, K-mart, etc.

That being said, they were useless when I wanted to wear my pointy shoes, and obviously did nothing to keep the snow and slush out when I accidentally would stomp into a puddle higher than half-way up my shoe - that being said you could get huge rubber overshoes that look like boots.

This year, I got Rockports. Their Torsion line claims that they are comfortable to walk in. So far so good for me. Not cheap though.

I also hear good things about Ecco, but maybe it is just the Marketing.
posted by bitteroldman at 6:45 AM on December 27, 2007

Something else you can do to keep from "wrecking your feet" is to get a pair of Superfeet insoles for whatever shoes you get. I know I sound like a broken record in these threads, but superfeet transformed a pair of steel-toes that formerly had made my feet scream into my favorite shoes.
posted by notsnot at 6:54 AM on December 27, 2007

I've had a pair of Rockports for about 3 years now. Great for walking, hell, I think I'd be comfortable running in them. They are a very conservative style but look good with a suit or some jeans.
posted by ericales at 7:09 AM on December 27, 2007

I think you hit a wall with the more expensive shoes like Eccos or Mephistos (which I really recommend because after my husband walked in them, there was no way he was buying Eccos) in the bad weather. I'd actually recommend a less expensive, less comfortable shoe like a Rockport or Dexter for to stand up to the weather as well. Or change into boots or overshoes.
posted by wildeepdotorg at 8:05 AM on December 27, 2007

I have put my Johnston & Murphy's through hundreds of miles of walking, years of bad weather, and plenty of suit-wearing, and they have held up admirably. The Ecco's also get glowing reviews at a similar price. Both would look great and perform well in varying weather conditions, I think.

Overshoes might be worth considering. I recall seeing some older lawyers wearing them to save their shoes from nasty Vermont winter sidewalks. If you are under 60 and not in a quaint Vermont town, you may get some funny looks, though.

Be wary of buying men's dress shoes of lesser quality. A great looking shoe that lasts well is a far better investment than a shabby looking shoe that falls apart and leaves your feet swimming in ice water from a puddle (having been there myself several times, a frustrating situation).
posted by bepe at 8:08 AM on December 27, 2007

Allen Edmonds are fantastic (get overshoes).
posted by arimathea at 8:38 AM on December 27, 2007

I <3 Aldens. They're the best shoes I've ever owned, even if you are going to spend a LOT of money on them. On the plus side, they're located in Boston, so they should be pretty easy to find.
posted by kdar at 10:21 AM on December 27, 2007

Wow, surprised to see so many Ecco likers. I, too, am a fan. My Ecco City shoes are phenomenal and have held up in snowy Boston weather.
posted by scottso17 at 10:42 AM on December 27, 2007

Eccos, with rubber soles, are attractive enough, but are the button-down-collar shirts of the shoe world. Nice enough for biz casual and a matching LL Bean monogrammed cloth attache bag, but not "appropriate with the most conservative business attire" IMO.

If you are in a situation where "the most conservative business attire" is expected or required, someone will notice you are not wearing leather-soled captoes, wingtips, or the like. If you don't want to pay retail for Johnson & Murphy or Aldens already mentioned (they make the kind of shoes I am describing), try Sierra Trading Post.

Until earlier this year, I used to wear a suit to work, and in bad weather (or just when it rained), I wore rubber oversoles to save the leather soles. They also make overshoes with studs (google result), for added traction in snow and ice.

In deep snow, I'd just wear boots (and gaiters) with my suit and change into my dress shoes (and take the gaiters off my suitpants) when I got to my office.
posted by hhc5 at 11:34 AM on December 27, 2007

I'll third the Rockports. At least some of their styles are waterproof, they're extremely comfortable for walking, and if you're looking for a deal, there's probably an outlet store near you in MA.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:53 AM on December 27, 2007

Slightly less conservative, but I got a pair of classic black Dr. Martens that I love (I'd link, but their website is just a flash bonanza with no way to link to a particular model). They're rugged as hell, ridiculously comfortable and stable, and they have a great no-slip sole, which you'd be surprised how well it keeps you from slipping on ice. And they don't look weird at all with a suit (at least during a New England winter).
posted by General Malaise at 12:22 PM on December 27, 2007

I saw some Cole Haan's that had bottoms co-designed with Nike or something.

Looked stylish, and completely like dress shoes, and the bottom looked like something that wouldn't hurt your feet.
posted by gomess at 9:51 PM on December 27, 2007

It's not the same as overshoes, but remember that you can always get a cobbler to apply a layer of rubber on the bottom of your leather-soled dress shoes to prevent excessive wear in wet weather. It certainly wouldn't have been enough in Toronto, but it is in Vancouver.
posted by maledictory at 7:23 PM on December 28, 2007

seconding doc martens. so comfortable. so durable, and classic. works with just about anything you wear.
posted by kneelconqueso at 8:18 AM on January 11, 2008

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