13 Ideas to Get Deal on Mens Shoes from Jim Edwards – Master Shoe Fitter

Two things that most often make men uncomfortable are: tight shoes and . . . . tight underwear!!

Often males show me completely worn-out shoes that are only 6-9 months old! Truth is, very few men are trained to recognize the value of good shoes, so most base their purchase decision on one or more of the following:

a) price             b) style             c) advertising                d) name of brand          e) shine

Below are thoughts to be considered when searching for comfortable, affordable and great-looking men’s shoes. It’ll help you get the most for your money. (I’ve found shoes with a “list” price currently – 2012 – below $110 require very close scrutiny for quality.)

  1. Have both feet measured on a Brannock Device while standing. This really is the first step to finding a comfortable shoe. This won’t exactly determine your size, but it will allow you to get close.  (Athletic shoes usually require 1/2 to 1 full-size larger than dress shoes.)
  2. Forget Price and Buy for ComfortIf shoes don’t feel good when you first put them on (right out of the box), don’t purchase them. (Later, if your feet are in pain, you won’t be at your best – on a date or in a key meeting. So,  you’ll pay more for your decision then.) Shoes requiring a “break-in” period (time for the shoe to adapt to your foot), means your feet will suffer until the shoes are “broken in.” Why torture yourself with long-term bunions, corns and calluses?
  3. Purchase Full-Grain Leather Uppers – They’re more durable, comfortable, supple, and will continue to look better longer than vinyl. Some manufacturers split the leather hide attaching vinyl to it or even filling it with a fabric. Shoes like these have a shorter wear life and develop permanent wrinkles on the vamp (front flat surface above the toe box.) I own a belt that has “genuine leather” printed on the inside of it. I was very angry when I found it was the only part of the belt that was leather. The rest was pleather (vinyl) and cloth! I once forgot to pack my dress shoes for a convention and needed an emergency pair. I bought a “cheap” pair from a discount store and had my wife “overnight” my good pair. As I awaited the arrival of my shoes, that day turned into the longest of  my life, as the vinyl shoes “killed” my legs, feet and back. I’ll NEVER make that mistake again!
  4. Get Leather Linings if you can afford them – Feet sweat ½ pint of liquid a day with temperatures reaching 110 degrees inside the shoe. (That’s like a Central American Jungle.) Leather linings last longer and allow the moisture to “wick” up the sides of the shoe! Cloth insoles allow the moisture to “pool up” in the shoe serving as an incubator for all kinds of bacteria & fungus that cause embarrassingly unpleasant odor, which can be resolved by fungal oil,.
  5. Alternate between at least 2 pair of great fitting shoes. Your shoes need time to recover, including allowing the above-mentioned moisture to evaporate.
  6. Anti-bacterial footbeds keep shoes smelling fresher longer. Some chiropractors call feet the “3rd kidney,” because they have thousands of sweat glands. The anti-bacterial treatment limits the growth of bacteria and associated smell. For more on keeping your shoes smelling fresh, see my article http://everydaychristianfamily.com/foot-odor-remedies-no-more-stinky-feet/ If you wear orthodic inserts, check to see if the insole can be removed to make room for your orthodontics. Otherwise you may have to purchase a larger shoe to accommodate them.
  7. Select Fully Dyed – Nicks and scuffs will be less noticeable if the leather is dyed —throughout. Sadly, some manufacturers just “paint” on the color instead of dying it. Shoes will become scratched and unsightly.
  8. Buy Shoes Made by Actual Shoe Manufacturers – They have a reputation to uphold and employees with years of experience with comfort. Youths often choose shoes from heavily advertised offerings of “trendy” shirts, slacks, logos, etc. Very often these are overpriced and not of particularly good quality. These companies don’t manufacture anything, but seek a number of unnamed foreign manufacturers to produce a good-looking product at the lowest possible price. Excellent foot comfort is not their goal! Forward thinking consumers instead search for quality products from quality manufacturers.
  9. Be Wary of a Hard Shine. While looking great in the showroom, often unsightly breaks (creasing) develop, ruining the looks of the vamp permanently! A safer choice is a shoe with just a little less shine. It indicates softer leather that is less susceptible to develop the unsightly breaks.
  10. Leather Shoes are best when Vegetable Tanned – This is not one of those “green-energy” considerations, but important to your foot health. Manufacture tanning can be done with natural products (vegetable) or harsh chemicals that irritate your feet. I choose vegetable tanned.
  11. Buy Shoes with Stitched or Bonded Soles. These will give you good service. Glued soles often come apart ruining the shoe and embarrassing you at precisely the wrong time.
  12. Make certain the “Counter” is strong. The part of the shoe that surrounds your heel is called a counter. Soft counters or those with cardboard inside them break down when you put your foot inside the shoe without a shoehorn. (Once again, your shoe will appear unsightly!) To check it, press on it firmly to make certain it is solid.
  13. Leather Soles** or Other? Generally, leather soles are thinner, the edges can be dyed and will  look “dressier.” On the other hand they usually wear out faster. (* To extend the life of these, see note below.) WARNING: Less expensive shoes may have hollow heels made of plastic or wood then covered. These shoes may last only a matter of days or weeks. Most shoes today have soles made of some type of rubberized plastic which is thick enough can provide great comfort. I prefer polyurethane as it is very durable and can provide excellent cushioning. A drawback is they can get stained from salt and other chemicals, so can look unsightly. Key: Make certain to check the thickness of the sole. Some soles are thin and pliable causing discomfort when stepping on rocks and pebbles.

Advertised brands, price and style won’t guarantee a comfortable shoe or a best deal on mens shoes.

Purchase the wrong shoe and you could regret wasting your money and sacrificing the condition, health and comfort of your feet, back and legs. Once you have selected appropriate brand-named shoes that meet the above criteria, select a style that you like. It may not be the “trendiest” but you’ll be able to concentrate on what’s most important in your life.

** Increasing sole life of  leather shoes

What causes leather soles to wear out too quickly? It’s wearing the shoes while the soles are still damp from absorbed water. When the shoe is worn on concrete, the leather sole is stripped away bit by bit.

To extend the life of leather soles, keep the water from sinking in with Neatsfoot Oil available from good shoe repair stores. Here’s a procedure that can be repeated several times a year, to extend the life of your leather soles:

  1. Wash the soles with Saddle Soap or Ivory Soap to remove, dirt, dust and debris.
  2. After thoroughly dry, apply “Neatsfoot Oil” and let it absorb for several hours.
  3. If or when shoes become wet, put absorbent paper inside the shoe to dry it, never put it over a heater, but allow to dry naturally.

Like Advice to Buying Men’s Shoes?  click here

Like Remedies to Foot Odor (Stinky Feet)?  click here

Like a Shoe Size Guide for European Sizes?   click here

Responsible for Buying Kids Shoes?   click here

Interested in Buying Comfortable Men’s Shoes?  click here

Photo by petercooperuk