So finding the right pair of shoes can be tasking to say the least (especially for the average man) but the fact of the matter is that the right pair of shoes are a necessary investment. Instead of spending money on cheap shoes that you’ll need to replace in a few weeks, invest in buying a pair that will stand the test of time, especially when it comes to what you wear to work. Here’s a set of shoe buying rules you must always follow:
1st – Wear the right shoe for the occasion – this is the most common mistake I see men make when it comes to footwear. Running shoes have a purpose; they protect your feet while running. Steel toe work boots have a purpose; they protect your feet while working. And wearing these shoes outside their prescribed function is fine as long as they are still appropriate; however, many of us take this to an extreme and have abandoned the middle ground between formal and ultra-casual.
2nd – Invest in quality – Not every man can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on his shoes; however, many of those who can instead choose to waste money elsewhere and buy new inferior shoes every few years. This is never a winning strategy, as low quality footwear is held together with glue and made with cheap raw materials such as cardboard and paper that does not age well. You can save money in the long term by buying more expensive shoes that last for decades.
I want to expand on this point just a bit more; to buy quality, many men will have to save and budget for the purchase. This isn’t a bad thing–in fact, it can instill a respect for the quality of the product and encourage you to take better care of them when purchased.
3rd – Never sacrifice proper fit and comfort – buy the right shoe size, even if this means paying a bit more and purchasing your shoes at a brick and mortar shop vs. going the tax free/lowest price online route. Actually, this isn’t a bad deal, especially if you support a local small business that can really give you solid guidance as to what styles are available and show you how to take care of your purchase.
Another fit issue is paying attention to shoe width. Men with extremely wide or narrow feet learn about this from an early age, but many men who would be better served by just a slightly wider or narrow shoe never discover their perfect size because the normal sizes do an OK job. I challenge you to take the time to find the right size…..you’d be surprised about what you’ve been missing, especially if you spend quite a bit of time on your feet. Look for variations in arch support and toe structure as well.
4th – Take care of your shoes – We’ve written about this extensively here at the Art of Manliness. Learn how to waterproof your shoes and then learn how to shine your shoes.
In addition, rotate through a few pairs to allow them to dry between wearing and ALWAYS use wood shoe trees that will quickly soak up perspiration. This is especially important for leather shoes, as the interior of a dress shoe has often not gone through the harsh chemical treatment of the upper and is more susceptible to rot.