There are some items of clothing that can be of lower quality, still look good whilst lasting a long time, however dress shoes are definitely not one of them.
Of all the clothing items a man can own, investing in high quality shoes should be a top priority. Now this doesn't mean that you need to find the most expensive, branded pair of shoes because this does not always mean quality.
Buying quality shoes may seem like an expensive upfront cost, however you'll actually be saving more money in the long run.
Every gentleman should ideally own at least two pairs of high quality dress shoes that can be interchanged to allow the other to rest and breathe.
So let's begin learning about how to avoid low quality, poorly made shoes and how to spot high quality shoes.
1. Check the Leather
The first sign of whether a shoe is of high quality or not is to look at the material it's made from.
Synthetic materials are the first sign that a shoe is of low quality.
High quality shoes will be made from leather, including the sole. There are different types of leather available but the best leather you want for your dress shoes should be full grain leather.
The second part to look out for is whether the shoes have been machine or hand cut.
The quality of leather hides can vary by section to section so leather hides that are machine cut can often overlook this important detail and include a piece of the hide that may be too thick, too thin or contain undesirable blemishes whereas hand cut leather takes time and patience to find only the best parts of the hide - an art form that leather artisans take great pride and care in.
Every shoe that you'll find on 3DM Lifestyle uses only full grain leather and patterns have been hand cut.
2. Stitched or Glued Soles?
The soles of a well made shoe should obviously be stitched as this is the most important area of a shoe and you do not want the sole to be falling apart from the shoe after several weeks or months of wear.
An easy way to tell is to turn the shoe over and see if there's any stitching.
Pictured below: Venetian Loafer - Black
3. Sole Thickness
The sole of a high quality made dress shoe should be relatively thick. A dress shoe with a thin sole is a clear sign of cheap and low quality shoes that will quickly wear out in a few months.
Picture below: Wingtip Chelsea Brogue Boot - Tan
Now price doesn't always equate to quality, however you can use price as a guideline to help determine the quality of shoes.
A dress shoe that costs under $100 will not be of high quality and is most likely mass produced using cheap quality materials and processes. These shoes generally won't last longer than 12 months with typical wear and tear.
Expect to spend at least $100+ for a pair of high quality shoes in order to account for quality materials and craftsmanship in delivering a quality product. These shoes should typically last anywhere from two up to ten years if quality care has been taken.
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