A few days ago I wrote about what makes a good dress shoe so expensive, and it’s generally hard to find a quality pair at an “entry-level” price in comparison to lots of other lower-quality shoes out there.
Finding a dress shoe that’s under $200, Goodyear welted and that looks just really sharp seems almost white whale territory. And then there’s these Florsheim Veblens, which got a lot of people excited and some rave reviews from those who have had hands on with them.
And you know what? I get the hype. I want a pair — in “wine” if that matters — after seeing my roommate’s longwings.
We’re not the same size foot, so you’ll have to take his word for the comfort level, which he describes as “very” good. And yet these things are beasts! The heel and thick double oak sole give the shoe enough heft and weight to be used as a club to beat back rabid dogs and home invaders.
And they look really nice, too. The leather is soft and comes with a great shine to it. The brogue detailing is simple but still has a bit of ornateness to it. I’m not an expert on shoe stitching, but they didn’t strike me as more or less better constructed than the few pairs of Allen Edmonds I own (if someone knows how to compare this and needs specific photographic details to do so, then let me know and I’ll try to snap a few pictures).
So, I really like these. I’m highly considering getting one as I could use a pair of burgundy longwings. I don’t consider myself a shoe expert by any means, but from my limited knowledge of seeing other Florsheim products, this seems a heckuva lot nicer and better.
When you consider you could get your basic black and brown brogue dress shoes bought for the same price as getting one pair of Allen Edmonds, then this seems like a good deal.
My roommate’s happy with them. I’m impressed with them. It certainly could be up your alley, too.
If you’re thinking about getting a pair, then now might be a good time to spring for them. Florsheim is offering 15% off if you use coupon code VER1015 and free shipping on orders over $100. This knocks the price down to $136 a pair, which is ridiculously reasonable.
You should also be aware that Florsheim will be adding a navy/cream spectator colorway this fall. You can see photos of that shoe and other shoes in the Florsheim Limited line at Alexander Grant’s blog.
As for the rest of the Florsheim Limited line, I’m not sure that all the shoes are Goodyear welted, at least based on their copywriting. Certainly, the Veblen has the higher pricepoint, which may very well be because of the Goodyear welt. If anyone else has details on the particulars of this line as a whole, please let me know.
While it seems to me that if you put in the time, know your measurements quite well and utilize thrifting/vintage stores and eBay, you can put together a decently “affordable” wardrobe and will probably dump the majority of money into tailoring and alterations on clothing.
The hardest place to find a compromise between low cost and good quality seems to be footwear, especially bought new. While you can sometimes snag some Allen Edmonds on the sale rack or online on discount, it’s rare and rarely falls below the $200 price point. Understandably, that’s expensive for some people for a pair of shoes.
Bidding on eBay is rather risky, because often you won’t be able to return them. Plus, there’s something to be said for breaking in your own pair of shoes so they fit you perfectly.
So, what’s some “entry level” choices?
For wingtips, it’s been recommended by You Have Broken the Internet and Put This On: Florsheim Limited Veblen. Looks nice, $160 and while not made in America, it’s got some nicer features that are found on better-made shoes. Plus, you have four colors to choose from.
For boots, StyleForum and Put This On have favorable things to say about L.L. Bean’s Katahdin Iron Works Engineer Boot. At $160, you really can’t complain for a boot that’s made in America, uses a Goodyear welt, and a Vibram sole that can be resoled once it wears down. Just be sure to note that it will take a while to break the boot in.
So, there you have it. Spend $320, get two staple pieces of footwear for the retail price of a pair of Allen Edmonds.