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Joel Shapiro
01-17-2013, 05:33 PM
I'm looking to buy some nice shoes and deciding between leather and rubber soles. I don't work in an office and don't even own a suit. At some point, I will buy a suit again and a pair of leather sole shoes to go with it. However, for walking around on pavement, is rubber preferable to leather? In my case, I was going to pick up a pair of Alden leather-soled plain toe bluchers, but now I'm thinking I'll get some all-weather walkers with rubber soles. I mostly wear chinos and less often, jeans. Thank you for your advice.

cordwangler
01-17-2013, 05:42 PM
It depends on what you need and what you like.

I prefer leather soled boots and shoes all round. Because they mould to my feet better than rubber, they're more comfortable for me than rubber soles when walking. And leather soles (depending on construction) can generally be re-soled more easily, meaning that the shoes/boots last a whole lot longer than rubber.

I get an extra rubber sole fitted to my leather shoes/boots, so that they last longer and provide some grip, as leather soles can tend to slip and slide a bit on pavement.

Try to wear leather footwear in rotation (don't wear the same pair every day), as they'll fare better over time.

MrAcheson
01-17-2013, 06:38 PM
I prefer rubber soles. Leather is just too slippery on smooth wet office floors. But it's personal preference.

LoveMyHats2
01-17-2013, 08:56 PM
For the most part, a good leather sole normally imparts a higher level of quality (if added with the right craftsmanship and welt). However, for wearing a shoe that is more utility than dress, something rubber may be a good alternative. There are some shoes that have vibram added onto a good leather sole.

esteban68
01-18-2013, 12:01 AM
i have some Loakes bedale s they have leather soles with very good vibram soles on top of them IIRC ....beautiful and comfortable boots which I intend to get another pair of very soon!

Edward
01-18-2013, 01:00 AM
I swear by having a rubber half sole stuck over the top of a leather sole. Vibram soles are great for wet weather.

Methuselah
01-18-2013, 02:01 AM
I swear by having a rubber half sole stuck over the top of a leather sole.

I second this, I buy the ones that come with a tube of glue from Timpsons.

Edward
01-18-2013, 02:23 AM
I second this, I buy the ones that come with a tube of glue from Timpsons.

I usually wait until a pair of shoes needs its first reheel, then have oe fitted at that point. Normally Timpsons - every one of their branches I have ever used has done really great work, with superb customer service.

Nick D
01-18-2013, 02:28 AM
All my dress shoes are leather, but you need more than one pair. If you wear leather soles several days in a row and they're wet you'll punch a hole straight through them, so they need to have time to air and dry. I have overshoes which extend the life significantly (only wear them in the wet), and have a guy in town that does great work when I do need a resole. I wouldn't mind a pair of rubber sole shoes in brown and black, but haven't found a pair I really like yet.

Edward
01-18-2013, 02:53 AM
All my dress shoes are leather, but you need more than one pair. If you wear leather soles several days in a row and they're wet you'll punch a hole straight through them, so they need to have time to air and dry. I have overshoes which extend the life significantly (only wear them in the wet), and have a guy in town that does great work when I do need a resole. I wouldn't mind a pair of rubber sole shoes in brown and black, but haven't found a pair I really like yet.

Charles Tyrwhitt have some really nice ones in their current sale.

Don Tomaso
01-18-2013, 03:33 AM
I normally prefer Goodyear-welted shoes with rubber soles (not rubber souls ;-)) as they combine craftmanship and style with versatility. Leather soles are fine in the summer but not now. Just received these: http://www.langer-messmer.de/sonderangebote-2/langer-messmer/langer-messmer-modell-moers-farbe-braun-velours-4436.html. Langer&Messmer is a brand I would recommend, qualitywise on par, imho, with Loake 1880.

Joel Shapiro
01-18-2013, 04:20 AM
Thanks for your replies. Sounds like leather with a rubber oversole is the way to go for everyday walking around town. Would a pure rubber sole with a Goodyear welt (eg. Danite) not be as durable or desirable as a leather sole with a rubber oversole? I assume it's cheaper replacing a half-sole than a whole one.

Two Types
01-18-2013, 06:10 AM
Whenever I speak with people working in the footwear industry, they always say that you should never add a stick-on rubber sole to a leather soled shoe. Their reasons vary, but include: changing the balance of the shoe; being bad for the leather; and being unecessary due to the availability of goodyear-welted rubber soles.
In winter i chose to wear rubber soles rather than leather. Quite simply, it is safer on a wet or leaf-strewn pavement. Anyone who has ever ran for a train at a British railway station, on a wet day, will tell you that rubber soles are preferable.

RobStC
01-18-2013, 06:53 AM
The thing about altering the balance of the shoe seems to hold true, as far as I can see, only as long as the original heel is still intact. If you add a rubber half sole, then you should add a rubber heel layer and adjust the height of the leather heel to compensate for the change. And as for being bad for the leather, yes, it doesn't breathe as well with a rubber half sole on, but you shouldn't keep wearing the same pair of leather shoes for long hours day after day anyway! Giving the shoe a break for a day or two lets it sort out any moisture generated by being worn.

I have all my dress shoes with rubber half soles and heels, and some of them have been in service (with maintenance) for a decade or more, with no apparent ill effects. The only downside I can see is that you don't get to visit your local Accident and Emergency department at the hospital so frequently..... :D

For me it's a no-brainer to go with rubber (half) soles, rather than slip-slidey leather, especially in the damp.

Joel Shapiro
01-18-2013, 07:13 AM
If the shoe/boot originally came with a rubber half-sole and heel, should I also assume the balance will be off or do you just mean for after-market changes?

Two Types
01-18-2013, 07:23 AM
I was referring to the stick on variety altering the balance.

Edward
01-18-2013, 07:50 AM
Whenever I speak with people working in the footwear industry, they always say that you should never add a stick-on rubber sole to a leather soled shoe. Their reasons vary, but include: changing the balance of the shoe; being bad for the leather; and being unecessary due to the availability of goodyear-welted rubber soles.
In winter i chose to wear rubber soles rather than leather. Quite simply, it is safer on a wet or leaf-strewn pavement. Anyone who has ever ran for a train at a British railway station, on a wet day, will tell you that rubber soles are preferable.

I'm not following about the balance issue. What harm does it do the leather - is it a breathability thing? I've never had a problem with it before, but there's always a first time! For a long time I disliked rubber soles until I discovered good quality, Goodyear welted rubber soles. Slowly upping the number of those I own. Threw on a pair of Cat rubber-soled roughout boots this morning, anticipating the snow which I see is now lying, at least here in Mile End.... definitely makes a difference.

johnnycanuck
01-18-2013, 11:46 AM
Hello Joel
Looking at your original post, Alden Blucher seem to go for about $475 http://www.aldenshop.com/Store/DrawProducts.aspx?CategoryID=35&ParentID=3&PageID=&Action=
you can get a pair of Allen Edmond McAllister with a custom sole (add the rubber at the factory) for about $360
http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF6215_1_40000000001_-1
Being it’s from the factory it should be balanced.

I have never personally got rubber put on a pair of leather soled shoes. I have owned leather soled shoes, Boots and cowboy boots. With heavy use they will last about two years before they need to be re-soled. I have had bad experiences with small shoe shops that re-sole so I only buy from companies that re-soles their own shoes at the factory. Both Alden and Allen Edmonds offer this service. Good luck and I hope to see your new shoes posted when you get them.
Johnny

cordwangler
01-18-2013, 11:53 AM
Whenever I speak with people working in the footwear industry, they always say that you should never add a stick-on rubber sole to a leather soled shoe. Their reasons vary, but include: changing the balance of the shoe; being bad for the leather; and being unecessary due to the availability of goodyear-welted rubber soles.

In an ideal world, one where there was unlimited cash, I'd probably get several kinds of footwear for all eventualities.

But since I'm skint and find leather soles are more comfortable for me than rubber, I do what thousands of men like me have done since time immemorial - and that's have a rubber sole fitted to leather-soled footwear.

Even if no one had ever had a rubber sole fitted in the history of shoes, if people insisted on telling me 'never', I'd do it anyway (1) to find out for myself and (2) just to break their bloody silly rule!

;)

nihil
01-18-2013, 04:37 PM
The runner outer sole traps moisture and can make the leather sole very mouldy over time.

Two Types
01-19-2013, 04:02 AM
Even if no one had ever had a rubber sole fitted in the history of shoes, if people insisted on telling me 'never', I'd do it anyway (1) to find out for myself and (2) just to break their bloody silly rule!

;)

My comments are based solely upon the advice given me by people within the industry. It isn't a 'rule'. And it certainly isn't a style issue. It is simply the advice they give regarding stick on soles. A shoe is designed for a purpose: i.e. to walk in. It is designed with a certain thickness of sole to optimise the comfort and wearability. Adding a stick on sole alters the balance and may cause additional wear on other areas, such as the heel.
It doesn't matter to me whether you, like so many others, chose to go against their advice, I just think it best that people make the choice in full knowledge of the advice available.

Edward
01-19-2013, 07:12 AM
Interesting - and I don't by any means imply that I doubt it with this - that something so thin could have that effect. I'm not typically hard on shoes - I must have a look and compare the wear patterns on my heels across shoes that have them and those which don't.

cordwangler
01-19-2013, 11:15 AM
A shoe is designed for a purpose: i.e. to walk in.

Ha!

And yes, it's good to know all the options.

GoldenEraFan
01-19-2013, 12:00 PM
I tend to like the look and feel of leather soled shoes, but being a New Yorker I walk everywhere so I tend to save my leather soled shoes for either very nice days or formal occasions. Rubber soles also last longer which is good if you don't have the budget to take shoes to the cobbler. While leather soles are nicer to look at then rubber, I've come to realize that people don't see the soles that often when your out and about, and if the rest of the shoe looks like any classic dress shoe, that's good enough for me. I've been quite happy with the look and feel of the "Benton" cap toe from Allen Edmond.

http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF3408_1_40000000001_-1

wdw
01-19-2013, 12:25 PM
I now keep leather soles for dry days only. I got my first decent leather soled pair about 15 months ago, wore them for a week's solid walking in NYC (miles every day) including in rain, put them away for a month when I got back then found that one sole was completely split open.

I sent them back to the manufacturer thinking it was a fault, but they said that I must have used them extensively in wet conditions and not let them dry out properly, which was correct.

I've since bought rubber soled shoes and boots for wet conditions and another leather soled pair for alternating on dry days. Since my big mistake I've read a lot about how to treat quality footwear, most of which has been said here, with the best advice being never to wear good shoes two days in a row.

If leather soles do get damp, I always let them dry on their sides or on a rack, as the soles won't dry properly if standing upright.

Matt Deckard
01-19-2013, 01:13 PM
Rubber soles tend to always hold in more moisture for me. I've worn rubber and leather, and rubber will always be more comfortable when it comes to running around and needing traction, but leather does have the dance advantage and it's just dressier. We've come to a point in history where rubber soled shoes are beginning to be acceptable in the most formal occasions. I'm not completely against this since the things we love from the past are about innovation in their own way. The suit coat as it is is a shortened frock coat that was looked down upon as very informal. I think that rubber soled shoes are fine as long as they aren't obnoxiously taking away from the dressy appearance of your wears.

Allen Edmonds makes a few styles with rubber soles that I would love to have just for their utility.

Even this modern day Broadstreet goes quite well with a suit at tie. Not a tux, but a good suit and tie. It's kind of a sport jacket of a shoe. works with jeans or dressier.
http://www.allenedmonds.com/wcsstore/AllenEdmonds/Attachment/images/database/allenedmonds_shoes_broadstreet-webgem_navy-grey_l.jpg

tonyb
01-19-2013, 01:31 PM
A shoe repairman of my acquaintance recommends against leather soles, except for those shoes that see very little if any wear out of doors. He reasons that in this generally damp climate, leather provides too little grip and it wears out too quickly to be practical for most "real world" use. If we were in a dryer, sunnier locale, he says, he might feel differently.

GoldenEraFan
01-19-2013, 02:24 PM
I do know that thick rugged looking rubber soles definitely date back to the 1930's. I've seen two examples of them, one pair worn by a Hollywood tour guide and another by the famous animator Ub Iwerks. I would imagine they were more popular on the West Coast due to the more "casual" atmosphere.

wdw
01-22-2013, 01:05 PM
persnick, my great might not be yours, but I have these two:
http://www.lyst.com/shoes/trickers-burgundy-commando-brogue-bourton-shoes/
http://test.crockettandjones.co.uk/Product/Islay-Bronze

The shoes are very solid indeed and a huge leap in quality from similar leather soled burgundy Grensons I have, although the Grensons are an almost perfect match for Horween cordovan jackets.

The boots are lighter than the shoes, and feel more comfortable because of that. I also like the relatively high leg and the fact that the speed lacing hooks start in exactly the right place. I was wearing these in snow today and would never have worn leather soles in these conditions.

Joel Shapiro
01-22-2013, 01:36 PM
Does anyone have experience with the Allen Edmonds combination tap (v tread) sole? They will put one on a Leeds for $25.

Edward
01-22-2013, 01:44 PM
persnick, my great might not be yours, but I have these two:
http://www.lyst.com/shoes/trickers-burgundy-commando-brogue-bourton-shoes/
http://test.crockettandjones.co.uk/Product/Islay-Bronze

Those Trickers are nice... I have a pair of John Whites that are a very similar design indeed - great in the wet.


The shoes are very solid indeed and a huge leap in quality from similar leather soled burgundy Grensons I have, although the Grensons are an almost perfect match for Horween cordovan jackets.

Ha! I have a pair of Barkers that are a dead ringer for the shade of my Aero Bootlegger in Cordovan, love wearing those together. Alays had good experiences with Grenson, too. Trickers are really something else, though, if you can find them at the right price. Most of the ones I've seen have been like a more formal equivalent to Red Wings, sort of. If you follow me...


The boots are lighter than the shoes, and feel more comfortable because of that. I also like the relatively high leg and the fact that the speed lacing hooks start in exactly the right place. I was wearing these in snow today and would never have worn leather soles in these conditions.

Yes, those look really nice. More rubber-sole shoes are my target for the next couple of years.... More rubber soles, and hopefully in particular a ouple of pairs of co-respondents with rubber soles (hard to find, at least decent quality ones).


I now keep leather soles for dry days only.

Not always possible, I find, given our changeable climate, but yes, that's the ideal. And why I need to up my rubber-count.


Does anyone have examples of great looking rubber soled shoes? The only nice ones I've seen are done by Herring....otherwise Allen Edmonds rubber soles usually are ugly.

Personally, I find leather soles impractical for winter weather in my neck of the woods. Why anyone not in a dry climate would put up with leather is beyond me.

I think most of the big names now do nice rubber-soled versions of their shoes, which look much the same. Charles Tyrwhitt have some lovely shoes with rubber soles (likely Herrings rebranded), but I've seen plenty of others from Grenson / Barker / Church's, and all the other usual suspects.

http://www.ctshirts.co.uk/men's-shoes/Black-Paddington-full-brogue-Derby-shoes?q=gbpdefault||ML096BLK||||8,|||||||||&ppp=27

wdw
01-22-2013, 01:59 PM
Edward, the Trickers are the heaviest shoes I've ever known, other than hiking boots. Solid is putting it mildly, but really well put together. They're really in-yer-face but I like them so much I'm keeping my eye open for some of Trickers other retailer-specific colourways. They seem to do short and different runs for certain retailers such as Herring and Shoe Healer and the quality is worth paying for.

After the earlier references about Allen Edmonds I had a look at their site and they seem to have some interesting things there, especially the cordovans. Luckliy I'll be in NYC in October, so will take the chance to visit their store there.

Edward
01-22-2013, 02:34 PM
Edward, the Trickers are the heaviest shoes I've ever known, other than hiking boots. Solid is putting it mildly, but really well put together. They're really in-yer-face but I like them so much I'm keeping my eye open for some of Trickers other retailer-specific colourways. They seem to do short and different runs for certain retailers such as Herring and Shoe Healer and the quality is worth paying for.

After the earlier references about Allen Edmonds I had a look at their site and they seem to have some interesting things there, especially the cordovans. Luckliy I'll be in NYC in October, so will take the chance to visit their store there.

Yes, Trickers are fantastic - just unfortunately out of my budget for the most part. One day...

AS for shopping in the US, that's a great idea. I'v e had my eye on a pair of Alden Indys for a long time. Here in the UK they're reaching GBP400; in the US, they can be had for not much over half that. Same for a lot of things (tempted by a Schott 613 or 618 - averaging GBP100-150 cheaper, new, in the US). I'm toying with the idea of a holiday out there at some point. One with plenty of money and an empty suitcase on the way out....

cordwangler
01-22-2013, 05:00 PM
Get yourself to the Trickers store on Jermyn Street for their yearly sale. I've got some great bargains there, a couple at less than half list price.

Edward
01-22-2013, 07:53 PM
Get yourself to the Trickers store on Jermyn Street for their yearly sale. I've got some great bargains there, a couple at less than half list price.

Oh! I will have a look into that!

jkingrph
01-27-2013, 01:24 PM
Generally speaking, I prefer leather soles, especially the Allen Edmonds with the extra thick soles they call "double oak". I used to stand for extended periods and found them quite comfortable. Leather seems to be better if you are walking on a carpeted area as they do not seem to grab and hold like rubber, and leather seems less slippery on wet vinyl or polished floor surfaces.

I recently got a pair of Allen Edmonds chukka boots with rubber soles and like them very well.

Joel Shapiro
01-27-2013, 03:22 PM
Generally speaking, I prefer leather soles, especially the Allen Edmonds with the extra thick soles they call "double oak". I used to stand for extended periods and found them quite comfortable. Leather seems to be better if you are walking on a carpeted area as they do not seem to grab and hold like rubber, and leather seems less slippery on wet vinyl or polished floor surfaces.

I recently got a pair of Allen Edmonds chukka boots with rubber soles and like them very well.

I've also decided on Allen Edmonds shoes: Leeds, Bradley, and Shelton. They have very nice spectator shoes called Broadstreet. I'll probably go leather soles. I feel they'll have a cleaner look. When it's wet, I'll wear boots or use swims. AE will put on half-soles, but it's a custom change and the shoes are non-returnable.

Edward
01-27-2013, 04:30 PM
Generally speaking, I prefer leather soles, especially the Allen Edmonds with the extra thick soles they call "double oak". I used to stand for extended periods and found them quite comfortable. Leather seems to be better if you are walking on a carpeted area as they do not seem to grab and hold like rubber, and leather seems less slippery on wet vinyl or polished floor surfaces.

I recently got a pair of Allen Edmonds chukka boots with rubber soles and like them very well.

Is that a typo? I find the opposite. I prefer leather in the abstract myself, but I've really been appreciating my rubber soles recently.

hgrail
01-27-2013, 05:19 PM
I've switched over to rubber from leather over the last 10 years. I've found the rubber soles withstand the weather better (especially in the Northeast) and they are more comfortable for walking and standing. I've also found that I seem to wear through leather soles quickly which was annoying.
I've migrated over to several pairs of Ecco shoes and enjoy them immensely. I also agree with the rotation bit - with any type of shoe.

Foxer55
01-28-2013, 06:40 AM
I prefer leather, especially on dress shoes because changing back and forth causes problems. If I wear the rubber soles I need to constantly be aware they grip immediately while leather soles have an adaptive grip. If I'm rushing and think I have leather soles on and make a fast step I'll go straight down on my face as the rubber sole grips instantly. Its that high coefficient of friction, ya know...? I haven't seen many quality dress shoes with rubber soles. I do have some nice Bostonians I wear for work and the shoe maker offered to replace the rubber half sole when I had the heels done. Do it. I'll tolerate rubber soles on boots because they're boots and will be in the elements more. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

bond
01-28-2013, 07:09 AM
Ok here's my two cents worth. I prefer rubber Vibram type soles on all of my shoes as I pound the pavement a lot and I like the extra cushion that a good rubber sole provides. Leather soles are nice but if your doing a lot of outside walking they just aren't as comfortable as a good rubber sole like vibram.
I have a nice pair of Florsheim veblens with a leather sole that I would seriously like to have fitted with a vibram sole but won't do it as I think it would take away from their beauty,so now they live in a box unworn .
Good luck

Joel Shapiro
01-28-2013, 09:14 PM
All the shoes I like come with a leather sole from the factory. I'll probably just have them re-soled with Dainite when they're re-crafted/re-soled. I heard AE will put on a Dainite sole even though it isn't available as a factory option for some reason.

LoveMyHats2
01-29-2013, 09:18 AM
True, there are options available for soles on shoes or boots. In part, no matter what the bottom of a boot or shoe is made of "sole wise", quality is of issue, and if made well, that is what makes a difference to some degree. Also taking care of the shoe or boot. I have found that for some rubber products, more so on a crepe sole, you can apply the same clear silicone spray made for automotive use, (black magic product) that was originally designed for rubber and black plastic trim on a car, to preserve and aid in keeping the soles of a shoe supple, if made from non leather. I don't think this would be a positive product for a leather sole at all, just a rubber product. And after allowing it to soak in, you have to spend some time with a clothe rag to wipe off any surface excess or you will be slipping and sliding on any smooth hard surface!

LoveMyHats2
01-29-2013, 09:29 AM
Ok here's my two cents worth. I prefer rubber Vibram type soles on all of my shoes as I pound the pavement a lot and I like the extra cushion that a good rubber sole provides. Leather soles are nice but if your doing a lot of outside walking they just aren't as comfortable as a good rubber sole like vibram.
I have a nice pair of Florsheim veblens with a leather sole that I would seriously like to have fitted with a vibram sole but won't do it as I think it would take away from their beauty,so now they live in a box unworn .
Good luck

Dang Bond, you can wear those rascals, if you want to keep the leather from wear, you can look around on eBay or other sources that supply shoe care products, there is some sort of clear film that is self adhesive for the bottoms of dress shoes, it is some sort of flexible plastic and self adhesive. They sell sheets of it, you have to make a template from your shoes, trace transfer to the plastic, cut it out and then apply it. I would even purchase some barge cement and use a tool made from a wooden ice cream stick to apply it super thin, and then apply the plastic sheet of protection on the leather. If later you elected to remove everything, you could use some solvent made for preparation of leather before application of a dye, it would be strong enough to get any glue back off. Then if you wanted to "spruce up" the smooth leather sole, soak in some conditioner let it dry, apply some neutral shoe polish, and buff them like a mad man! Note: I did this to one pair of my shoes, a pair I still have today, it added a many years worth of wearing without even scuffing the bottom of the leather soles, just a few indentations from stones etc. It was some work to get the barge off the sole after the clear plastic protection sheet wore through, but it took a lot of walking on black asphalt to wear them to a point of no return.