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Mens Shoes ...

Like a tradesman's tools, shoes must be bought with a function in mind and if they suit the purpose for which they were purchased, then provided that he looks after them, they will serve him well and give him value for money. There is great sense in the old saying ‘Buy cheap, buy dear', but even greater sense in our ‘Fit the foot, fit the purpose and leave the head out of it till its time to pay' philosophy. What may seem expensive now, if it is fit for purpose, you will not have to replace it anything like so soon. In our age of built in obsolescence and many shoes fitting in with that, it is very easy to get into the habit of a ‘replace' rather than buy quality and repair a product. If you take that one step further, it is easy to buy cheap and get poor service from your shoes. Within most people's budget there will be something to suit them, suit their budget AND suit their purpose.

We choose brands that we feel make shoes that suit a specific purpose and bearing in mind Comfort, Style, Functionality and Value we build our gents ranges to suit our customers and if the brands don't make a shoe that suits, then we will find a factory that does. We don't compromise and believe you shouldn't either.

Why Comfort?
Everyone has had an uncomfortable pair of shoes. Is it not the case that if your feet are not comfortable, the rest of you isn't either? You cannot concentrate because your feet are sore, you cannot walk as far for the same reason, you walk awkwardly to save your feet and the rest of your body starts aching, in other words Comfort is king! OK, so what can you do about it? Can all four factors be incorporated into one shoe? – Yes.
Style ...

Style With lifestyle being generally more casual so too is shoe design, the style of a shoe or even a brand being geared towards a particular lifestyle or dress code. The issue of ‘casualness' nowadays is more a matter of degree rather than a choice between casual or formal. Some brands specialise in casual products of varying quality and comfort e.g. Ecco and Clarks, whilst others like K Shoes, Barker and Loake specialise in formal shoes. There is overlap in that there are smart casual shoes and formal shoes with the inside comfort features of a training shoe, so nothing is really is black and white.

Style is affected by the type and thickness of material used for the upper, the type of lining materials, in that the lining often controls unwanted stretch, the sole materials used and the ‘last'. The last dictates the shape of the shoe and is critical in achieving comfort. A last is the form over which the upper of a shoe is formed and is designed for a specific heel height and shape of foot, extra length being added to it for pointed toes and width added on or shaved off to achieve different width fittings. It is worth pointing out that formal shoe manufacturers often produce shoes that are broadly speaking symmetrical in the toe shape and given that one look at the human foot shows that the foot is anything but, begs an answer as to why! I have tried to get a decent answer, but have failed. Shoes should match the shape of the foot but as in most things in life compromise for the sake of style always creeps in.

Fit ...

Most of us recognise the need to get our children's feet fitted for ‘growth' and forget that fitting is not just for growth but also for shape and comfort and therefore we as adults should also be aware of ‘fit'. So, how much room do your feet need? Your toes should never be cramped or ‘shaped' by a shoe in a manner that is not natural for your foot. It is bad for your circulation, your joints and toenails.

Your toes should NEVER touch the end of your shoes. If they do they are too short. There should be anywhere between 0.6-1.0 cm to the front of the shoe from your longest toe. A lace shoe will always support your foot and close the shoe around your foot better than a slip-on shoe. The shape of the shoe should match the shape of the foot. You should always fit your bigger foot. Given that most people's feet vary in size, width and shape or a combination of all three, the ‘textbook perfect fit' with ‘off the shelf' shoes probably doesn't exist. Width fittings will help your search for comfort from the point of view of girth. Half sizes will help get the length right. Remember that with the sizing (length) of shoes being in different scales e.g. UK (Imperial), Continental and American sizes, guessing the correct size is difficult as the various scales do not usually exactly tie in with each other – more compromise! Don't be afraid to ask for help, that is what our staff is trained for. Buy a shoe that is ‘fit' for the purpose for which you intend to use it, otherwise you have no guarantees. Our advice is free!

How to describe a shoe ...
It can be really difficult to describe a shoe, so here are a few definitions. The materials used in shoemaking and their benefits (or otherwise) are listed on a separate page.
Lacing Styles ...

Gibson or derby lace: where the facings (the two flaps that the eyelets are put into) open right up to reveal the whole of the tongue of the shoe (the flap that protects the foot from the lace). This lacing format is friendly to ‘high insteps' and is commonly used in casual and country shoes.

Oxford lace: where the facings are sewn into the vamp (the front part of the upper of a shoe) forming a ‘V'. These are renowned for restricting access into the shoe especially in the case of high insteps. This format does help trousers ‘lie' better and is commonly used for formal shoes.

Gillie lace: Where there is no tongue and the lace criss-crosses to loops that are part of the upper. Often used for shoes that are part of the Highland Kilt Outfit (Gillie Brogues). Highland dancing pumps also use this method of lacing.

Slip-on Styles:

Loafers: Generally accepted as a slip on style developed in the USA, and is probably a derivative of the Native American Indians Moccasin. Not usually regarded as a ‘formal' shoe but as a ‘semi- formal'. Unless they are available in multi fittings and lasts, they only fit where they touch! In other words they are often worn too tight or too loose and the wearer has to grip their toes to keep them on as the fit in the front gives the fit at the heel. In general the higher the vamp the better the fit is likely to be.

Gusseted slip-ons: Slip-on shoes that have an elastic gusset under the tab at the front to improve fit. Trousers tend to lie nicely over the shoe, as there is no lace to catch the hem of the trouser. Used as a semi formal or formal shoe, seldom nowadays as a casual shoe. There are often un-gusseted versions on these shoes but the fit is then critical as mentioned above in Loafers.

Chelsea and Dealer Boot: Are more or less the same thing except that the dealer boot is meant for country wear. They both have a long gusset up the inside and outside of the leg and are a pull-on boot. Zips and Velcro are other methods of fastenings that are occasionally used.

Other Fastenings :

Zips and Velcro are other methods of fastenings that are occasionally used.

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