Regardless of the job, event or holiday, everyone needs to wear dress shoes at some point. It can be fairly difficult to figure out which shoes are going to provide the support and quality you’re looking for. Durable dress shoes are sure to give you a sophisticated look that compliments your personal style!
Unlike athletic shoes- which are often made for a specific sport or activity- men’s dress shoes are pretty straightforward. It’s easy to spot if they’re well-made right away. Both materials and manufacturing are important factors.
Real leather is superior
Even though faux leather looks like real leather, it doesn’t have the benefits and durability; here are all the reasons why it might be worth it to spend more:
- They can be waterproofed
- They are much more flexible
- Great for all seasons- they’re porous and breathable
- Absorbs odor
- Easy to clean
- Depending on if you store and care for them properly and the overall quality, they can last several years!
The soles are stitched, not glued
Check this by looking for stitches on the welt, which is a strip of leather or another material that goes around the perimeter of the shoe. Neat and even stitching means that the manufacturers took more time to make shoes that would last longer. Glue in shoes is cheaper and faster to make, but once the outsole and upper begin to separate, there’s no way to repair it.
The sole is thick
Don’t just look at the heel, but look at the entire outsole thickness. If the heel part is too thick while the rest of the sole is much thinner, it can cause some instability in the shoe. If the entire outsole looks and feels sturdy, you can rest assured that you’ll get some proper shock absorption and longevity out of your shoes.
They fit perfectly
If you find yourself wearing shoes that don’t fit, you’ll wear down the material much faster. Durable dress shoes made of leather shouldn’t wrinkle, but they will if the vamp (the part of your shoe that covers the top of your foot) is not snug against you. As far as the length goes, there should be a ½ inch to a one-inch amount of space for the tips of your toes.
They have a supportive liner or footbed
Just like athletic shoes, many men’s dress shoes have a removable liner. Remove the liner and check it out. Is it thin or flimsy? Does it have any arch, cushion or enough stability? Some dress shoes aim to add support with the removable liner. Otherwise, you can put an Orange Full in its place. Is the shoe a bit tight-fitting? Try an Orange Light. No liner at all? Try an Orange ¾.
Women have a lot more variety when it comes to dress shoes, but there’s no need to fuss over the complexities of each kind of shoe and material. Just keep in mind these signs that shoes are high-quality:
The vamp is high enough
If the shoes are high heels, the vamp should at least cover your toes. Many high heels have straps at the ankle, so they should be snug enough so that your foot doesn’t slide forward and damage the material over time. So, choose a vamp that is high enough and consider getting a pair with lower strap/s for even more durable dress shoes.
The counter is snug
The part of the shoe that covers and supports the heel is called the counter. With lower-quality shoes, the counter may just give you blisters around your ankle. On the other hand, if it’s too loose, your foot can pop out with every step. Choose shoes with counters that are snug but won’t rub and irritate.
The stitching is neat
Since women’s shoes tend to be more intricate, there are often more seams involved. If any stitching appears messy or inconsistent, it may mean that the shoe won’t hold up for as long as you’d like it to.
The liner seems sturdy and is comfortable
The liner should protect all the internal seams and be soft and comfortable. In high heels that don’t require that you wear socks, the liner should be the fabric for odor control. If your heels don’t have this, you can always get a pair of Orange Lights for both reducing odor and all-day comfort.
The heel cap has some traction
The heel cap, also called the top piece, is a small piece of plastic at the tip of a high heel’s point. Since it hits the ground so often, it needs to provide some traction so you can balance yourself. You wouldn’t want this piece to pop off while you’re walking.
Finding durable dress shoes may require some extra searching and may just be a bit pricier, but it’ll be worth it to find that look you absolutely love!