5 AFFORDABLE (AND GREAT LOOKING) DRESS SHOES
Shoes, as their dressier selves, are everything when suiting up. They are the first thing people notice upon entering a room and can make or break a dapper suit or sharp blazer combo, in one foul swoop. But looking great doesn’t have to be difficult, or extortionate.
Taking the ‘hard’ out of your next dress shoe splurge, here are five of the best designed and (better yet) priced luxury dress shoes on the market in 2015. From the classic loafer, to leather Oxford to versatile Derby brogue – these affordable British or Italian-crafted shoes mean you can absolutely make room in your wardrobe for one, two… no wait, all five of these leather wonders, this season.
#1 ‘Dylan’ by Grenson
You’re probably already familiar with Grenson. Renowned for its shoppable collection of staple dress shoes, Grenson is a British shoemaker established in 1866 by William Green in Northamptonshire, England. A specialist of high-quality men’s shoes, Green was the first shoemen in the world to use the Goodyear welting construction method, which is now found in most luxury shoes today. Carrying on the traditional of pioneered craftsmanship and style, Grenson’s Dylan brogue is superior luxury at just the right price.
This grainy wingtip shoe boasts the characteristic holes that perforate the leather upper (typical to brogues), originally intended to allow the shoe to dry out when wet. In light tan, it’s fine office attire with a wool-suit or chinos and blazer. Keep the garment tones neutral to let the tan of the shoe and its brogue design speak the loudest. [£162BUY]
#2 ‘Clive’ By Barker
In an ode to British shoemaking, Barker is an affordable heritage shoe brand that you cannot overlook. The atelier has been making shoes in the Northamptonshire village of Earls Barton since 1880, using only the most carefully selected leathers. Each shoe upper is shaped by hand on the on the ‘last’ (the 360° mould that a shoe is constructed on; affecting the overall fit, heel width, instep height, forefoot width, and toe box depth). And traditional manufacturing methods are still employed; from slow natural drying to polishing.
Not so traditional, however, is the Clive brogue model. Laceless and with a slight elevation, the smart casual loafer comes with a full leather lining, Goodyear welted leather sole and rubber heel, with a nice little tassel to crown the top. But it’s the colour that adds the distinguishing touch. In burgundy, this classic weekend shoe goes from ‘good’ to ‘great’ with the flick of a wine-dipped brush. [£190 BUY]
#3 ‘Hull’ by Herring
An Oxford style shoe, this classic black number by Herring is formed on a 3625 ‘last’. Herring, an English family business opening in 1966 by Richard Herring, the firm today employs local shoemaker Loakes to overseas production in its Northampton plant.
Herring offers its best-selling Hull edition in full leather lining, insole and a polished leather upper. The shoe has a full leather welted sole too, for security in form and is super formalwear-friendly. Wearing a tux to luxe things up? Now you know how to do it well, at a fraction of the cost. [£95 BUY]
#4 ‘Punch Detail Derby’ by House of Hounds
From suede lace-ups of opulence to slick and slithered leather loafers, House Of Hounds is a UK producer of high-street priced dress shoes; classic yet updated for the younger, and stylishly-young, gent. Taking inspiration from Fifties rockabilly and Sixties punk, the Punch Detail Derby by HoH comes with the usual trims: lace-up fastening and subtle round toe, made from 100% leather, of course.
It’s a stunning shoe for its patent leather sheen and all-over hole pattern. And the contrast heel, in a grainy wood and red, adds a natural spice to any outfit: worn sockless with trousers for the weekend or with socks as an edgier footwear option for a suit at work. [£79 BUY]
#5 ‘Double Monk’ By Rolando Sturlini
The sole Italian manufacturer to make our featured affordable five, shoemaker Rolando Sturlini started making his wares in his local Tuscan studio in 1967. Today with wife Anna, who oversees the stitching side of things, and son Alessio as the firm’s head, Sturlini’s leather-made dress shoes have poured themselves into the contemporary men’s wear market – from London, Paris to New York.
Specialising in moccasins, we can’t help but dote on the Double Monk, instead. In high-shine, patent leather and point shaped toe, the real leather lining and sole is characterised but a classic monk front and double buckle detail with subtle gold clips. Italian craftsmanship unattainable at a good price? Proven wrong. [£155 BUY]