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Quality shoes for women

Discussion in 'The Front Parlor' started by bbshriver, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. bbshriver

    bbshriver One of the Regulars

    Hi Ladies!

    Something that comes up from time to time between my wife and I. I tend to like spending a lot of $ ($100-300) on a pair of quality shoes that I expect to last a lifetime, look great and be comfortable. Allen Edmonds is my "go to" for USA made, recraftable, and comfort, but I also have some Italian made dress shoes, and some Indian made Johnston and Murphy. Of course boots are another topic.

    My wife however will go for the $20 shoes at the generic shoe shops in the mall, that usually wear out in less than a year, are visibly poorly made (plastic/vinyl not leather) and I suspect not terribly comfortable. I'll comment on this and get the retort "well there's no Allen Edmonds for women's shoes". But surely there is something like "Allen Edmonds for women"? I know there's plenty of very expensive women's shoes (Prada, et al), but I'm not sure if they're really better made and more durable or just more fashionable.

    So is there a brand of women's shoe that could be compared to Allen Edmonds? She's a 3rd grade teacher, so on her feet most of the day. At ~5'2" she likes a bit of a heel, but no crazy stillettos or anything... Just a good looking conservative, comfortable and durable shoe, something like a 2" heel probably.

  2. There are very, very few well-made womens' shoes, at least the kind affordable by the average woman -- there's bespoke European shoes, but nobody in the real world wears such things.

    This wasn't always true. Red Cross, Selby, and Enna Jettick were companies that made high-quality non-extreme-styled women's shoes up until the sixties or seventies, but once the "designer" fad hit, they went belly up. The Boys From Marketing have sold the idea that we're all dithering little style-obsessed fools who wouldn't wear a pair of shoes long enough to wear it out no matter how shabbily-made it is, and that's the philosophy modern manufacturers follow today.

    The last American company making quality women's shoes was Clinic, which produced footwear for nurses, waitresses, housewives, and other women who were on their feet all day. They shut down last year, and that's the ballgame.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  3. bbshriver

    bbshriver One of the Regulars

  4. The only shoes I have found in stores around me that are decent are Clarks.

    They are made in China, but they will last several years as dress shoes if properly taken care of. But they are not a workhorse. They are comfortable (I also taught) and repairable.

    Womens shoes are sort of like flying nowadays: you can pick a better airline or pay more and get a marginally better flight, but in the end you still have to go through security to get on the plane. It's kind of like picking the best of the worst.
  5. Nora

    Nora New in Town

    The only shoes I own that I can imagine lasting that long is the hiking boots my brother grew out of. I'm on my second pair of leather Winter boots lined with lambswool that has started losing their soles, shedding in the lining, and generally wearing out. That's only on the second year, and those cost me at least 300$.

    Of course, here in Norway we have the 25% tax on everything you consume, but still...
  6. Rockapin-up

    Rockapin-up A-List Customer

  7. bbshriver

    bbshriver One of the Regulars

    That's an interesting site... supplier for the military so you'd think they'd be decent quality, and prices are not out of line with dept stores..
  8. CaramelSmoothie

    CaramelSmoothie Practically Family

    My favorite brands are Anthropologie, J. Crew, Chie Mihara, Indigo by Clark. Chie Mihara is the most expensive of the bunch but are soooo cute!
  9. AvavanBlythe

    AvavanBlythe Familiar Face

    I'm glad I stumbled onto this thread. I have a pair of go-to shoes, but in a year or so I know they'll need replaced. I'd sooner have a color/style for the basic situations. I'm not one to have a closet full of shoes. -chuckles- It can be tempting...

    Just to make a suggestion for heel height and general pain: I've found that Insolia inserts do a great job re-distributing the weight. They're not cushions, but make it so that your weight is distributed as close as possible to when you're wearing flats. In medium height heels, I've lasted for quite a few hours.
  10. scarletgrenadine

    scarletgrenadine New in Town

    I find it extremely difficult to locate well-made shoes. I have often bought shoes in the $100-200 range that lasted less than a year before utterly falling apart. I don't wear the same pair of shoes every day either. I've also bought $300 shoes. They don't last any longer. Shoes for women tend to be delicate and they get scratched all over by pavement if they have heels. I can't tell you how many times $100-ish dollar leather heels worn once or twice have been ruined by a hole in the pavement.

    I don't ever really wear the Payless type shoes because I'm prone to blisters if I wear anything made of a synthetic. So it's not as if I only buy cheap fashion shoes. It's just that the more expensive ones are rarely meant to last any longer. I also have trouble finding styles I like for anything I can afford, as cheaper shoes always have more ugly gewgaws and less elegant styling. I love Chie Mihara shoes, for example, but they are out of my budget right now at $300+ per pair. I also have no idea if they would last any longer.
  11. Dear scarletgrenadine, have you taken your shoes to a shoe repairer? It's not that good shoes never break but they can be repaired, unlike low-quality shoes which can only be tossed in the rubbish. Women's shoes are usually glued, not sewn like good men's shoes, so they won't last as long, but still at five years is a reasonable request. I have some Chie Mihara shoes and am happy to report that even the first pair, bought in 2007 and worn ever spring and autumn is still in good condition (although resoled a few times and taken to shoe repairer every autumn before putting away).
  12. scarletgrenadine

    scarletgrenadine New in Town

    I have tried to take my shoes in for repairs. Most recently, I had a pair of heels purchased for about $100 at Nordstrom Rack that had a scuff mark on the heel where the leather tore a bit from being scratched against uneven paving. The man at the repair store said he could put a new heel on, but he informed me that my shoes would not look nice afterward. I had only worn them two or three times. Every time I bring shoes in, they actually discourage me from having them fixed, and I am not bringing in shoes with awful damage. I've started to feel insecure about it, as they are always so condescending to me.

    I have a pair of barely-worn Hasbeens where the staples of the ankle strap pulled out. I've asked my husband to bring them to the repair shop instead so I won't get talked down to.

    I'm glad to hear the report about the Mihara shoes lasting. I will certainly consider them next time I can spend a little on shoes.
  13. Oh, I sympathise with your troublesome experiences with shoe repairers. For whatever reason, there is a strong tendency for shoe repairers to be slightly hostile towards their customers. I am especially annoyed at the shoe repairers who see fit to judge on my behalf whether some operation is monetarily worth doing it. I'd much prefer they just state what it costs, and let me decide if I want to invest in it or not (of course, I do appreciate if they tell me some operation is not worth doing, because the shoe won't last long anyway, or the effect of said operation will fade in a day - this is shoe repairer expertise and not making decision on the customer's behalf). But finally, I found a shoe repair place where the service is pleasant, the repairers are skilled, but honest to tell me if something is impossible, and they have a special affinity for vintage shoes. And they explain quite thoroughly what they are going to do to my shoe, if the operaton is any more complex than replacing heel tips, so I have actually learned a lot from them. Now that I'm reminded of the trouble I had locating a shoe repair place which I like, perhaps I should gift "my shoes boys" with chocolate or something...

    I apologize for steering this discussion to another track, but on the other hand (leg?), quality shoes and shoe repairers are definitely connected.

    ps. I'm afraid leather-covered heels which have been scuffed can't be repaired completely unnoticeably, they are safer to wear indoors only. They are in much danger from pavement stones and metal grills. But still, a skilled repairer can smooth and glue the scuff "flaps" back in place and so the shoes remain usable if not perfect.
  14. BettyMaraschino

    BettyMaraschino Familiar Face

    Swedish Hasbeens? I got a pair last summer, wore them twice and didnt notice the leather on the ankle strap had started to tear. (this is twice for maybe 30min a time, mainly sitting on a bus.) I only noticed this summer when I got them out of storage. Hasbeens refers me to the place I bought them from, and the place I bought them from refers me back to Hasbeens. This really upset me, definetly would never purchace them again. £60 sandles and I got two short wears out of them. shoe repairer cant do much at all. Ive had to get the Mr to pull out the stapels and remove the ankle strap just so I can wear them as mules around the house. (which of course, he is yet to do ;) )
    sorry that went a wee bit off course there.

    Ill be keeping a close eye on this thread and saving my pennies for some really decent quality shoes. oh and of course waiting for said companies to have a sale! :D
  15. mactire

    mactire New in Town

    You're in the right spot as being in the UK you can get to Northampton which is the centre of welted shoe production and many of the ?British shoemakers have ladies collections:



    Crockett & Jones








    Peter Bullock



    Suffolk Shoes


    A list of bespoke makers in the UK


    A Spanish maker


    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  16. BettyMaraschino

    BettyMaraschino Familiar Face

    Oh deary me, you dont know the impact of that info hahaha. Twice a year we got to Northmpton for the Psychobilly weekender (Bedlam Breakout).
    This now means saving up lots of extra pennies and buying shoes, and Mr being upset at how much Ill be spending on said shoes! :D At least I have until March to save up the extra ;)

    Been stalking Loakes in our local department store. Far too tempting!
  17. mactire

    mactire New in Town

    That's quite alright duckie, you can get me back with an intro to a few dolls looking for a tweed geezer ;-)

    Whats more important is that if you do the tour of the factory shops in Northampton you can buy seconds/imperfects for about £99 as well as samples etc. The seconds in my view are quite slight and you wouldn't see the difference at all. If you're up there AA Crack & Son is possibly the largest leather warehouse in the UK and has a sample room where you can get leather hides from old runs etc. as well http://www.aacrack.co.uk/catalogue.asp?page=home Well worth a look if you were up there especially for bespoke work.
  18. GigiL

    GigiL New in Town

  19. GigiL

    GigiL New in Town

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