They’re not all the same: Picking the RIGHT pair of brown dress shoes

January 19, 2012 · 53 comments

in Color, How To, Quick Tip, Shoes

Hey gents,

I talk a lot about brown dress shoes… a lot. I’m a big fan of them over your typical black pair (because black is mostly uninteresting, unless you find the right pair).

On top of that, guys default to black dress shoes. Guys need to stop settling for “default” choices and saying to themselves, “Meh, good enough.” It’s important to be a little daring, step out of your comfort zone, and do things the rest of your peers are not doing.

So brown leather dress shoes are a step in the right direction.

But, to those still stepping up their game, what constitutes a GOOD pair of brown leather dress shoes? Can you just pick any pair that looks brown, and looks leathery? What qualifies as the RIGHT pair of brown shoes?

Well, what better way to explain than with pictures, am I right?

The WRONG pair of brown “dress shoes”

Here’s what you’re looking for… so you can avoid them. I say “dress shoes” because these aren’t really what I had in mind when I told you to go out and get a great pair of shoes.

I only pointed out a few things here, but you get the general idea. If you see any of these elements on a pair of shoes you’re considering, it’s best to back away slowly, turn around, and run.

The RIGHT pair of brown leather dress shoes

And here’s a good example of the kind of brown leather dress shoes you should look for when purchasing your first (or second, or third) pair.

These are the Fifth Avenue model by Allen Edmonds via Zappos. The characteristics I pointed out above are what you want to look for the next time you’re on the hunt.

Things like a narrow, sexy silhouette, leather upper and outsole, classic stitching, broguing (if you like it, i certainly do), the right heel height, and a Goodyear welt (the top-notch hand sewn construction, attaching the sole to the upper part of the shoe).

This particular model (and shoe brand) is expensive, sure. Not everyone can afford $325 shoes. But if you were going to own one pair for years and years, Allen Edmonds is one of the brands you want to explore.

Not only are they of extreme quality, they look damn sexy, they’re made in the US, and they even offer a recrafting service for all their shoes. For a fraction of the cost of a new pair, you can send your AEs in and have them resoled and cleaned up. After a few weeks, you’ll get your shoes back, looking better than ever.

Why not just buy a new pair? Because things look better with age, if they’re built to age well. Most cheap shoes aren’t meant to be worn years and years. Shoes like Allen Edmonds are (that’s why they offer a recrafting service in the first place… I’ve seen pairs that are 20+ years old looking as good as ever).

Plus, here at EG, we’re all about identifying and shopping for quality items, things that last, and using them for years. Why buy a $50 pair of “dress shoes” that last one year before the sole comes unglued and the “leather” starts to flake, rendering them completely unwearable?

This applies to dress shoes at any price point

But hey, I still hear ya. Even I can’t plop down four bills every time I want a nice pair of shoes. If this sounds like you, trust me, this isn’t about always spending top dollar.

The important takeaway from this is to look for these specific characteristics when you’re out buying shoes. Stay away from the WRONG pairs, and find shoes that resemble the RIGHT pair.

Boom! That’s it.


Unsure about certain parts of the right pair, or why a certain wrong pair are wrong? Let’s hear it in the comments below.


ps — crazy, EG is almost at 1000 likes on Facebook! When did that happen? If you want to help us reach 1000 (not that numbers matter, but it’s just kinda cool to see), like us on Facebook here.

The benefit to you is that when we have a bigger community on FB, we can get into more detailed discussions about things and field opinions and thoughts from everyone else in the community. Plus, the conversation is better on there (and it’s easy to reach me). So like EG!



photos via zappos


Barron is the founder and editor of Effortless Gent, a site dedicated to helping guys figure out what looks best on them. He's based in San Francisco. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Previous post:

Next post: