Business / dress / work shoes

Mong.

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Having ventured a little into the corporate world, it's slowly becoming increasingly obvious that it's quite worthwhile to step up my wardrobe a little bit. I started with shirts and a couple of suits, but I think all of that is for nothing if I keep wearing my shitty Chinese fused sole corrected leather shoes. I've been trying to find a decent pair of stitched shoes suitable to bridge the divide between appropriate for work and also wearable at fancier out-of-work events too. I'm staggered at how little real quality or value is to be found in brick and mortar stores even during the EOFY sales.

I didn't think that it was particularly too much to ask to be able to find a plain, stitched leather shoe for <$200 in Melbourne that I could try on and walk around in a little bit. No dice though. Low-level shoes in England, Spain and the US get rolled out at premium prices here and I'm a little bit disgusted. Surely there must be hundreds of blokes looking for plain and durable leather work shoes in a fairly standard Oxford or Derby style.

What do you other suit-and-tie blokes wear on your feet to work? In the end, I settled for a pair of Loake 1880's from an overseas site that's regarded well on Whirlpool and a few other places. They're certainly not cheap, so I'm expected significant durability from them as they'll be on the sunny side of $300 landed. Ultimately, the ability to keep replacing the sole as long as the upper is viable won me over to the big initial investment, and I take pretty good care of my shoes. It'd be nice to find something a little cheaper as a second pair of good shoes though. Any suggestions?

I was looking into the Meermin range, who apparently have a family relationship with another well known Spanish brand called Carmina. Anyone have any experience or heard anything about them?
 
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eggbert

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Shoe prices are one of the items I have noticed are seriously overpriced here. I've seen sorry rubber soles pieces of crap sell for far more than a decent leather does, stitched show would sell for in Europe.

Luckily I am in a job/ environment where I don't have to worry about that now but it was one of the things that kept on annoying me when I was.

It has nothing on my biggest bugbear which is the cost of bread in this country which is little more than daylight robbery. How can UK supermarkets make decent (ish) bread in house and sell for 50p when the same costs $6 or more here.

At least with shoes you have the option of shipping abroad.
 
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Have a look at some RM Williams boots. Can do half leather half rubber, leather or all rubber. Amazing service. Have had one of my sets re-soled 3 times. Now they are expensive. But after being done 3 times they are cheaper than other shoes I couldn't get refone
 

Mong.

doesn't care for Euro Palmolive
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Melbourne
Though I did end up shipping from overseas, I only felt comfortable doing that after going in to David Jones and trying on a different pair of Loake's with the same 'width' size. It's as close as I could get to reliably checking my size, but it does make it a little bit of a gamble. Luckily, the vendor does permit swaps for sizing troubles and has a reasonable postage arrangement so I feel a little bit more at ease. All that aside, it's pretty ridiculous that I've purchased a pair of shoes from the Loake English-made premium range for less than it would have cost to buy a pair of their Indian-made low end models from DJ's. Even more ridiculous that someone hasn't found a way to fill this gap in the market with a simple and plain well-engineered shoe. I have to suppose that it's harder than it seems.

I did consider RM Williams boots, but I think they'd be more appropriate once I have a couple of more conservative pairs in my wardrobe already. It's interesting though, everyone I've asked has mentioned them. Clearly their quality and durability prevails with so many recommendations and good opinions. As you say, it's money well spent if they can last you a decade, or even half of that these days.
 

eggbert

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Australian distributors and the large companies are greedy. Plain and simple.

I've not mentioned it here yet but we are expecting so I've been doing some pram/stroller research. Even NZ is much cheaper than here and that has been directly attributed to the distributer by someone in the business.

There is no reason for Aussie companies to charge as much as they do when with a little work we can purchase the same products 50% or more cheaper online. I don't buy into Gerry Harvey's bullshit and i wouldn't shed a tear if companies such as his folded.

I realise that Aussie companies and distributors don't have the same economies of scale of the likes of Amazon, but if they didn't price gouge as much as they do I would be more willing to deal with them.
 

Drubbing

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Harvey isn't so much a store franchise as it is a credit agency that sells stuff. Their prices get way better when you take borrowing out of the uqation.

Still for shoes, I won't buy leather soles, they're uncomfortable and really, like shaving most people aren't going to notice whether you sprung for $300 brogues or rubber soled chinese stuff form Country Road. But what do I know about looking good, I wear cardies to the office. But I wear em like Brad Pitt would... I reckon.
 
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There are a set of RMs with a zip side. The look more dress boot than riding boot and so can be worn with a suit. That said leather sole oxfords are really the only shoe that should be worn with suits. Aussie break the rules so why not dress boots.
 

filobiblic

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It has nothing on my biggest bugbear which is the cost of bread in this country which is little more than daylight robbery. How can UK supermarkets make decent (ish) bread in house and sell for 50p when the same costs $6 or more here.
So that's why Coles has their bread made in Ireland, frozen and then shipped here as "Freshly baked" bread...

http://smh.com.au/business/coles-guilty-over-false-freshly-baked-bread-claims-20140618-3addf.html

After living in Asia for a few years, I got used to making bread with a bread maker. Since coming back to Oz I've kept up the habit. Haven't calculated the savings but probably pretty high...
 

filobiblic

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Sorry @.Mong I can't add much to the discussion. My shoes seem to wear out regularly no matter what I have.
Though I did find a pair of Bally Italian leather shoes in Vinnies for $8 recently. That's where I usually buy my shoes these days.
 

Drubbing

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So that's why Coles has their bread made in Ireland, frozen and then shipped here as "Freshly baked" bread...

http://smh.com.au/business/coles-guilty-over-false-freshly-baked-bread-claims-20140618-3addf.html

After living in Asia for a few years, I got used to making bread with a bread maker. Since coming back to Oz I've kept up the habit. Haven't calculated the savings but probably pretty high...
I'll check with the mrs, she audits a lot of suppliers to Coles and is well versed in where they get many lines. But I doubt they access that much pre-proven dough overseas.The main reason for the high costs of grocery is the Coles/Woolies duopoly.

The Fresh Baked in store thing however, is complete bollox. Virtually none of their small stores have onsite bakeries, and partially cooked bread products are finished in store even at the bigger ones, I believe. Yet, they use this baked instore tag for everything with Coles name on it.

You'll be glad to know the Heston's stuff (and Jamie's at Woolies) is all made here in WA not shipped in. Yes, I thought they'd locked them up out the back too…
 

Mark1966

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Hmmm, maybe a shoe purchase is coming up during my UK trip in November ....
 

Mong.

doesn't care for Euro Palmolive
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Make sure they can remove the VAT if you have a crack in-store, most overseas stores seem happy to do it if you show them your passport.
 

filobiblic

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Make sure they can remove the VAT if you have a crack in-store, most overseas stores seem happy to do it if you show them your passport.
Nice tip!
 

borked

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Hmmm, maybe a shoe purchase is coming up during my UK trip in November ....
Knowing you will power to resist, I believe that it's a shoe in you will...
 

Marlow

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Quakers Hill. Sydney
Doc Martins, there is the thing when the brothers had a falling out and the other brother made the same shoe but with the difference being that he couldn't use the yellow stitching, so the story goes,

so his company uses a whitish opaque stitching instead. The brand is Air Ware. I used to wear them when I was a School Principal and could pass myself off as a straight officious type or if I sat down and let

my trousers creep up a bit I could show what a hip dude I really was :). I used to buy the boot type. Bloody comfortable things they were.

Hmmm, might buy another pair, when I wear out my Camper's.
 
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Mar 23, 2014
I recently bought some shoes too, was shocked when i saw that stores like henry bucks were selling the same UK shoes at a 40-50% markup here. Unfortunately i couldnt try on the shoes before buying them so they are a tad oversized, and now im running around trying to find some tongue pads to push my foot back and get a better fit. Its a real dissapointment that i had many cobblers and shoe stores give me blank looks and ask "tongue pads? what's that?". Same thing happened when i was looking for shoe trees...

Basic shoe trees that cost less than $10 in the US are selling for $30+ here. Its daylight robbery. I ended up buying full ones off ebay for less than $30...

Apparently Saphir cream/polish goes for $25 here when they sell for $10 or so from a UK site, includding shipping. Facepalm.

For anyone who wants decent shoes locally, i found this site : http://www.matadorshoes.com/

Made in spain using what they say is full grain leather and blake stitched soles, for less than $200. No experience with them, but i had someone else tell me they were decent.
 

Mong.

doesn't care for Euro Palmolive
Group Buy Associate
2015 Sabbatical
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Aug 9, 2012
Location
Melbourne
I can't imagine any serious cobbler would be unfamiliar with shoe trees. I need to pick up a pair myself, but the prices are ridiculous. I'm leaning towards a relatively economical pair from Amazon, but postage might make that unreasonable too. Could you PM me with your eBay vendor for the shoe trees if you're happy with them? If you have a good vendor for the Saphir stuff too, that would be very much appreciated.

My pair of Loakes were picked up yesterday from the courier, and I'm reasonably impressed with them. The craftsmanship is good, stitching is impeccable and the fit was bang on. I'd definitely recommend trying on a pair of Loakes at David Jones for sizing if anyone is considering doing the same. They're comfortable and the leather sole isn't too slippery and will improve over time. There were a couple of little scuffs in the leather when it arrived, and I considered contacting the seller to see if they might throw in some free polish to compensate me. Turns out that they'd already added a shoe horn and a tub of clear polish as a gift anyway, so I'm happy enough with that. It adds a little bit of character to the shoe, will almost definitely buff out, and is pretty much where the toe crease will form anyway. I'm also impressed at how solid the Goodyear welt on the sole is, it looks both durable and extremely secure. I'll probably run some wax around the stitching to try and add a little more waterproofing, but it doesn't look like it needs it.

So, I'm now happy to recommend the UK-based Pediwear as a good vendor for shoes. Customer service was very good, a couple of freebies was nice, and they use DHL as their courier. It took three days for the shoes to move from Leeds to Melbourne, and the weakest link in the chain was the lazy-ass Aussie deliver guy. Pediwear are also offering a standing 10% discount off future purchases of Loake shoes from them, seemingly designed to make sure that they retain the cheapest online price. It's a nice touch, and might encourage me to make another purchase from them around Christmas. I would like a matching pair in black...
 
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