A Guide to Shoes and Boots: Part 2

Part 2 of my Guide to Shoes and Boots, covering dress boots, and casual dress boots.

Dress Boots

By their very nature, boots are more casual than regular shoes, so while some dress boots can be worn with suits, none of them are suitable for truly formal events; for work however, a good pair of dress boots are a perfectly acceptable. However, boots are best left to the colder, wetter months, where they provide more warmth and protection than regular shoes.

Oxford Boot

Oxford Boot

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The most formal dress boot, this is basically the boot version of the Oxford shoe. Better left for colder weather, the Oxford Boots are still acceptable for everyday business wear, including with business suits; they are, however, still a bit too formal for casual wear.

Like the regular Oxford Shoe, the boot comes with a cap toe, closed lacing,  and with varying degrees of broguing.

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allenedmonds_shoes_fifth-Street_black_l

allenedmonds_shoes_mcadam_black-calf_l

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Derby Boot

Loake-Loake Burford-Black Calf-3417-1150-1

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Slightly less formal than the regular Derby Shoe, the Derby Boot is best worn with business casual attire. At its most formal (Black, Cap Toe, no broguing), the boot is good enough to be worn with a business suit, and at its most casual (light tan, wing tip) it can be worn with jeans.

Alfred Sargent-Alfred Sargent Howard-Acorn Calf-6912-3669-1

Herring-Herring Stratford-Chestnut Calf-2867-1522-1

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Casual Dress Boots

The next few boots straddle the line between casual and dressy, depending mostly on the material of the shoe, and the style in general. Leather is more formal than suede, and laces are more formal than elastic or straps.

Chukka Boot

Cheaney-Cheaney Boughton-Dark Leaf-6925-3681-1

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The Chukka Boot is typically distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • they only have two or three lacing eyelets
  • they are traditionally made from suede
  • they have a rounded toe box, and open lacing
  • they have a leather sole

A casual dress boot, they are best worn with jeans or chinos. Although it is traditionally made from suede, they can be found in plain leather as well; if you are planning on wearing them with a suit, these are the ones to chose. The Chukka Boot is somewhat synonymous with the Desert Boot, which is technically the more casual version; typically made from suede with a rubber sole. The two names are often used interchangeably, but the Desert Boot is best worn with more casual attire, like jeans.

Church-Church Ryder Crepe-Brown Suede-1084-625-1 (1) Church-Church Sahara Crepe III-Sand suede-3277-1516-1

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Chelsea Boot

Herring-Herring Wilson-Black Calf-2731-1464-1

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The Chelsea Boot is an ankle-high boot that is easily distinguished by its elastic side opening and rounded toe box. The Chelsea boot is incredibly versatile, and can be worn with a variety of outfits. In a high quality polished leather, the Chelsea boot can be worn with a suit (but again, not for formal occasions), or with more casual outfits when made from suede, or with broguing. The Chelsea Boot is a wardrobe staple.

Herring-Herring Dundee-Cognac-6509-3391-1 Herring-Herring Wilson-Dark Leaf Calf-2732-1465-1

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Jodhpur boot

Herring-Herring George-Black Calf-3774-2078-1

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The Jodhpur boot is an ankle length boot that, like the Monk Strap, is designed to be fastened with a buckle, instead of laces or elastic. A casual boot whose origins lay in horseback riding, the Jodhpur is a stylish alternative to the Chelsea boot, and can be worn in the much same way; that is, with jeans, chinos, or a casual suit. The boot can be found with a relatively short strap, like the one pictured above, or with longer straps the wrap around the boot multiple times, like the one pictured below.

Double-Strap-Jodhpur-boot-by-Zonkey-Boots-600x400 Herring-Herring George-Brown Waxy-7482-4018-1 (1)

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Recommended Reading

Because boots are such a fascinating topic, and because it is sometimes difficult to find a good deal of information on them, I have included some articles for you to peruse.

The Chukka Boot by Gentleman’s Gazette

The Chelsea Boot by Gentleman’s Gazette

The Jodhpur Boot by Gentleman’s Gazette

Coming Soon

The next article in the series will be on casual shoes and boots, and the one after that will be on work/exercise shoes and boots.

A Guide to Shoes and Boots: Part 1

Part 1 of my guide to Shoes and Boots, covering dress shoes.

Parts of a Shoe

Parts

The Heel: Technically the part at the bottom of the shoe, in general, and for our purposes, the heel refers to the entire back-end of the shoe.

The Toe Box: The front part of the shoe that covers the toes.

The Vamp: The part of the shoe between the Toe Box and the Tongue area.

The Quarter: The side/back part of the shoe between the Heel and the Vamp

The Tongue: The strip of leather running under the laces.

The Upper: The top of the shoe; comprised of the above parts, not including the base of the heel.

The Sole: The base of the shoe; the part that touches the ground.

This is a generalised list, and certainly not every part of the shoe; for the purposes of this article, the definitions given will suffice.

Court Shoe

139H_BLACK

Court Shoe

The traditional option for Black Tie events, the Court Shoe dates back to the 19th century, and has remained virtually unchanged since. Also known as Opera Pumps, the shoes are typically found in patent leather, but calf skin has become more accepted since the 1950’s (so long as it is highly polished. Rarely seen on men outside of formal events, the shoes should always be highly polished, and are rare; especially in comparison to the rarity of formal events.

Wholecut

Herring-Herring Chaucer II-Black Calf-5196-2712-1

Black Wholecut

With a Wholecut shoe, the entire upper is made from a single piece of leather. This gives the shoe a streamlined appearance, with minimal stitching. In a plain black, these shoes are perfect alternatives to the Court Shoe for formal events; in a brown, or with a medallion (the perforated pattern on the front end) for more casual attire. For formal events, the leather should either be highly polished calf skin, or patent leather. As the upper is made from a single piece of leather, the shoes are typically more expensive than other shoes; a single large piece of useable leather costs more than piecing together smaller pieces.

Brown Wholecut with Medallion

Brown Wholecut with Medallion

Oxford

Herring-Herring Charles II-Black Calf-7064-3741-1

Black Oxford Cap-Toe

Perhaps the most common dress shoe, the Oxford is the perfect shoe for almost every occasion. In a highly polished black calf leather or patent leather, the Oxford is perfectly acceptable for Black Tie events, and in regular polished calf leather it is perfect for everyday business. In a brown or burgundy, the shoe is also perfect more casual events. The most formal Oxford is one with a cap toe (like the one pictured above), but it can also be found with varying degrees of broguing (pictured below).  The Oxford can be distinguished from the Derby by the closed lacing, as opposed to the open lacing on the Derby.

Herring-Herring Chamberlain-Mahogany Calf-4596-2452-1

Oxford Quarter-Brogue

Herring-Herring Lambeth (Rubber)-Conker Calf-4018-2167-1

Oxford Semi-Brogue

Oxford Full-Brogue/Wingtip

Oxford Full-Brogue/Wingtip

Derby

Cheaney-Cheaney Holcot-Black Calf-6685-3506-1

Cap-Toe Derby

Not to be worn to formal events, the Derby is less formal than the Oxford, but can still be worn to work; especially with more casual suits and business casual attire. It is distinguished from the Oxford by its open lacing, which is more noticeable, and therefore less formal, than the closed lacing of the Oxford. Like many other types of shoes, the Derby can be found with varying degrees of broguing.

Wingtip Derby

Wingtip Derby

Monk Strap

Herring-Herring Attlee-Black Calf-5354-2828-1

Two Buckle Cap-Toe Monk Strap

Underrated and underused, the Monk Strap uses a buckle instead of laces. It can be found with up to three buckles, with one buckle being the most formal. In a plain or cap toe, the single buckle Monk Strap can be worn (highly polished) to Black Tie events. More casual varieties are perfect for everyday business and casual events. Try and match the colour of the buckle with the colour of any other jewellery that you are wearing (watch, cufflinks, etc.).

Cheaney-Cheaney Humphrey-Black Calf-6675-3496-1

Single Buckle Wingtip Monk Strap

Herring-Herring Hilton-Mahogany Calf-7475-4011-1

Single Buckle Monk Strap with Medallion

Loafer

Church-Church Darwin-Black Calf-23-34-1

Penny Loafer

The Loafer is a broad category that covers the formal Court Shoe, the Monk Strap, and any slip-on shoe. Ironically, the typical Loafer is the most casual dress shoe, and is only appropriate for Business Casual attire and other less formal attire; it not to be worn with a business suit; it can, however, be worn with a more casual linen or cotton Summer suit. Loafers come in many designs, such as the Penny Loafer, pictured above, or the Tassel Loafer, pictured below.

Church-Church Keats-Walnut Calf-7443-3989-1

Tassel Loafer

Herring-Herring Matisse-Black Calf-3563-1932-1

Tassel Loafer

Keywords

Cap Toe: Referring to the cap covering the Toe Box of the shoe.

Cap Toe

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Broguing: The decorative perforations in the leather.

Quarter-Brogue: Broguing along the lines of the seams on the shoe.

Quarter-Brogue

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Semi-Brogue: Semi-Brogue with an additional decorative pattern on the Toe Box.

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Full-Brogue or Wingtip: Referring to the distinctive shape of the broguing covering the shoe, resembling the spread wings and beak of a bird in flight.

Wingtip

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Medallion: The broguing limited to the toe of the shoe.

Medallion

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Open Lacing: The Leather pieces holding the laces is stitched on top of the vamp, and remains able to move open.

Open Lacing

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Closed Lacing: The leather piece holding the laces is stitched directly underneath the vamp, creating a more streamlined but rigid appearance.

Closed Lacing

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Coming soon to a web browser near you: Part 2 – Dress Boots

*Images of shoes are provided by Herring Shoes, and are for educational purposes only*

Saphir Medaille d’Or Renovateur

When you are spending $200+ on a pair of shoes, you want them to last as long as possible. Assuming you have read my shoe care guide ( find it here if you haven’t), you will know that the first steps in looking after your shoes are cleaning and conditioning them. Saphir Medaille d’Or Renovateur does both these things, and the Saphir range is generally regarded as one of the best line of shoe care products in the world.

The Product

Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovateur

Saphir Medaille d’Or Renovateur is marketed as a two in one leather cleaner and conditioner for smooth leather. It is Mink Oil based (which has a bit of a bad reputation), so just remember that a little goes a long way. It contains no pigment, so it won’t stain, and it works on any leather goods. At ~$20 per 75ml bottle though, I don’t recommend using it on your leather couch.

The Price

From A Fine Pair of Shoes (who I use for all my shoe care needs), the Renovateur cost £9 ($15), and another £8 ($13) for postage.

Total: $28

You may be able to find it cheaper, depending on where you live. Postage in the UK from A Fine Pair of Shoes is much cheaper than it is to Australia.

The Review

Short: I like it, and will definitely buy more when I run out.

Long:  I’ve read a lot of good things about Saphir Renovateur, so while I wanted to withhold judgement until after I had tried it, I was expecting good things. I can happily say that if not exceeding those expectations, it at least met them. As far as cleaners go, it is rather mild. I tried it out first on my new brown oxfords (article here), and it worked well to clean them and remove the old polish. The last time I striped the shoes it took a while to remove the old polish, so it definitely helps, but will not completely remove the old polish.

As far as conditioning goes, the shoes are still new so the effects are not incredible obvious, but they do appear to be somewhat smoother and softer. Not much, but enough that I noticed a difference.

I also applied the Renovateur to the sole of my shoes, and now they look like new again.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Saphir Renovateur, and most of the products in the Saphir range.

How to use

Brush the dust and dirt off of your shoes. Once they are free from visible dirt, use a rag to apply a smallish amount of Renovateur to your shoes (use your best judgement). Apply it in small circles like you would the polish. Let the shoes dry for a while, and buff off the excess with your horsehair brush. Polish the shoes as you normally would.

Shoe Review – Brown Oxfords from Charles Tyrwhitt

I don’t get down to Brisbane as much as I would like, so I can’t say much for the stores down there. but if you only experience with shoe stores was on the Sunshine Coast, you would think that the only colour of leather made is black. On the incredibly rare chance that you find a brown shoe (or burgundy, for that matter), then the poor quality alone is enough to turn you away (at least, it should be).

So, after my good experience with the last pair of shoes I bought from Charles Tyrwhitt (see the article here), I decided that the next pair of shoes I bought would be from them. Last week I had some extra cash, so I decided ‘what the heck?’, and bought myself a pair of brown oxfords.

The Shoes

Brown Oxfords from Charles Tyrwhitt

shoes

Image via Charles Tyrwhitt

The Details

  • 100% luxury calf leather upper
  • Goodyear welted providing unrivalled strength, durability and ventilation
  • Traditional leather sole with durable shock absorbing rubber heel
  • Improved insock with extra padding for comfort and added arch support
  • Breathable leather lining
  • Classic essential shoes for everyday work wear

The Price

The price is $199, but with my discount code (~$30 off), and the express shipping ($25 because I am impatient), they cost me $195.

The Material

The upper is 100% calf leather, which is softer and more flexible than the leather in the semi-brogues I bought last, which was very stiff and a little plasticky. The sole is leather, with a rubber heel. The softer leather is nice, and overall I am quite happy with the material and build quality.

The Fit

I take a wide shoe, which is another reason I don’t like shopping in stores around me; they don’t typically stock  shoes in my size. I was very happy with the last shoes I bought from Tyrwhitt, size wise, and these, while the same size on the label, are definitely a slimmer fit. They fit very firmly, and while not uncomfortable, if I could do it over, I would probably buy a half-size larger. They are not so bad that it would be worth it for me to exchange them.

Overall

I paid for express delivery, so the postage time was excellent, and I am very happy with the price, especially since it is always likely that I will have a discount code; I can definitely recommend these shoes, just keep in mind that they are pretty slim.

The Pictures

Shoe Box 2

Shoe Box 1

Shoes Front 2 Shoe Back 1

Shoes Side 2 Shoes Side 1

Shoe Care

In honor of Shoe Shine Sunday, I have decided to redo my post on shining your shoes. This article will hopefully be a bit more detailed, and not as rushed as I think the last one was; so, here it is.

Shoes make the man. It is physically impossible to look good in a pair of cheap, dull, and scuffed shoes; and if you’ve spent more than $300 on a pair of shoes, why would you want to try. A good pair of shoes, properly cared for, can last decades, so a good shoe care routine is a must for someone who understands the value of things, and doesn’t just buy a new pair of shoes every time their current ones start to look old. With that in mind, take a look at this video; ignoring the horrible background music, it provides a great basic overview of the process.

Basic Shoe Care

As important as shining your shoes is, there are other thing that are vital to extending their life. First, use shoe trees.

Shoe Trees

Image courtesy of A Fine Pair of Shoes

There is often some debate as to the necessity of shoe trees, but I find them invaluable, and really, if you are going be spending $200+ on a pair of shoes, you are going to do everything you can to make them last. Take a look at this article over on The Shoe Snob for some more information on shoe trees. To use them, take your shoes off, and put the trees in. It’s as simple as that. Leave the trees in until the shoes are completely dry, usually a day or so. If you have a pair of trees for each pair of shoes, then you can leave them in as long as you like, but once the shoes are dry, they really don’t do much; if you only have one pair of shoe trees, leave them in until your shoes dry, usually about a day or so, and rotate them into the next pair. This leads into the next tip, never wear the same pair of shoes on consecutive days.

Your shoes will last much longer if you don’t wear the same pair every day (that’s just simple maths, if you wear the shoes half as much, they will last twice as long). This gives you shoes time to rest and dry between wearings. Next, always use a shoehorn when putting on your shoe.

SAPHIR ZEBU SHOEHORN

Saphir Zebu Shoehorn

Your shoehorn doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and in a pinch, you can use the end of your belt; just make sure you use one, otherwise you will damage the heel of your shoe. Stick your toes into the shoe, and put the shoehorn into the shoe behind your heel. This will guide your foot into the shoe, and stop you from damaging the back of the shoe. Next, make sure you brush the shoe when you put it on, to remove any dust that may have built up, and give it a quick buff. Do the same when you take the shoes off and put them away. Store the shoes in cloth bags to keep away any dust.  If you do these things, you have automatically greatly increased the lifespan of your shoes, before you even polish them.

Shining Your Shoes

Step 1: Gather your materials

You will need:

Shoes

This one is pretty obvious

Conditioner

Leather is a skin, and like your skin, it needs a good conditioner. Do a bit of research and find one you like. I have heard a lot of good things about Saphir Renovateur; it is rather expensive, but a little goes a long way, and it is apparently quite good.

Polish

The polish you use is mostly matter of personal preference. Kiwi is a decent brand, and probably one of the most common, and the one I currently use, but I am awaiting a shipment of Saphir Medaille D’Or, which I am quite looking forward to using, having heard nothing but good things about it. Take a look around, and find one that suits your needs best. Try to match the colour of the polish to your shoes as closely as you can, or use a neutral polish, otherwise you will end up changing the colour of the shoe. If you are polishing black shoes however, you can give them a coat of dark blue polish towards the end, for the same reason that midnight blue is an acceptable alternative to a black dinner suit; under most lighting, dark blue can look blacker than black. This will take the shine on your black shoes to another level.

Brush

A decent horsehair buffing brush is essential. Ideally, you will have one for each colour of polish you use, so there is no cross contamination of colours. You will also need brushes for applying the polish.

Cloth

You will need cloths for applying polish, and for buffing the shoe. An old t-shirt is perfect for cutting up into polish rags.

Water

Water is used to bring out a mirror finish in the shine

Edge dressing

Optional, but highly recommended. Use the dressing on the shoe edge to maintain and repair the leather.

Step 2: Clean your shoes

Use you cleaning brush to remove any dust and dirt from the shoe. It’s also a good idea to remove the old layers of polish. I recommend something like Saphir Renovateur, which is a cleaner and conditioner.

DSCF2851

After cleaning, before polish.

Step 3: Condition the shoes

Leather is skin, and like your skin, it needs a good conditioner. Use something like a saddle soap, Mink Oil Renovator by The Shoe Snob, or Saphir Renovateur. Rub the conditioner into the leather, and let it dry for 10-20 minutes.

Step 4: First Coat

Using your applicator brush, liberally apply a coat of polish to the entire shoe. If you have it, I recommend a cream polish for this first coat, and a wax polish for the rest. Cream nourishes the leather better than wax, white wax provides a much greater shine.

layer 1

Let this coat dry for 10-15 minutes, then brush off the excess with you horsehair brush.

Step 5: More Polish

Wrap you polish cloth around your first two fingers, and apply a small amount of polish to the shoe, using small circles. Focus on the areas of the shoe that don’t bend i.e. the heel and toe. Polish on areas that bend will dry and crack easily. Repeat this with a drop of water, and continue until a shine develops. Repeat this step until you are satisfied with the shine. I like to put a movie on in the background while I work, sometimes two, depending on the shine I am trying to build.

 Video by The Shoe Snob

DSCF2871

This took about 30-40 minutes for the one shoe. It looks better in person, but a bad camera and poor lighting reduce the quality.

Step 6: Clean

Take a cloth (nylon hosiery works very well), and rub the shoe to remove any dust and excess polish that may otherwise end up on your trousers. Heat and moisture help bring out the shine best, so I like to breathe hot air onto the shoe as I do this.

Video by Mr Porter

Most of the links in this article take you to Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project, a company that I wholeheartedly support. They are a bit on the pricy side, but from what I have heard they are excellent quality. I haven’t had a chance to buy anything from them yet, but all the products look fantastic, and I definitely agree with what they are doing. I also link to A Fine Pair of Shoes, who I am awaiting an order from (should be here in the next couple of days). I don’t have much to say about them yet, but they do have a good range of reasonably priced shoe care items, and their shipping to Australia is relatively cheap.

New Shoes – Charles Tyrwhitt Semi-Brogues

Its always nice to wake up and find a package waiting at the front door, and in this case its the new shoes I’ve been patiently waiting on for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Black semi-brogues from Charles Tyrwhitt. I have a difficult foot to fit, so instead of spending the money on a trip into Brisbane, I decided to take a chance and by a pair online; 13 business days later, here they are.

I wasn’t expecting a great deal from the shoes, Charles Tyrwhitt isn’t exactly known for their quality (although I still like them), and they aren’t a shoe store. I had done a bit of research however, and decided that they were the best option (they have a 6 month returns policy, so even if I didn’t like the shoes I could just return them), and I had a discount voucher anyway. The size was a bit difficult, I usually wear a 10.5AU, which were 1.5″ too long but just wide enough and after a bit of research I settled on a 9.5G UK fit, confident that I could swap them if I needed to. If I have nothing else positive to say about the shoes, I will say this: They fit perfectly.

 
As I said above, I have done some research, and opinions seem to be divided, but in general they are described as something you should buy if you can get them cheap, but definitely not full price. So far, I’m happy with the $197 I spent on them (with postage and my $20 discount), considering my last shoes were $130 from Myer, and are already falling apart. 
 
The shoes themselves are leather uppers (of course), with leather soles and a rubber heel. The leather upper is very stiff, and I imaging will take quite a bit to wear in, and they come well polished (which I will of course go over again) and feel, if I’m completely honest, a little plasticky. I can’t say for sure if that’s a bad thing, but I imagine they will soften some as I wear them.
 
 
Charles Tyrwhitt don’t make their own shoes, and general belief is that they are just rebranded Loake shoes, which I don’t think is a bad thing, and if true means that they are made in England, which I like. They are also Goodyear Welted, which is something I can’t say about my other shoes.
 
 
 
 
 
I’m not an expert on shoes, I certainly know enough that I feel comfortable buying my own, and offering advice to others, but I can honestly say that I think these are the best pair of shoes I have ever owned. Definitely not the best pair I will ever own, but for what I spent on them, I’m very happy, and will most likely be getting a pair in brown sometime soon. They are also far better than a majority of shoes I have seen for sale in QLD stores. As usual, all comments and questions are welcome.