So, your favorite pair of shoes wore out once again and you’re stuck trying to choose a new pair. You may be wondering if spending a little bit extra on a quality pair of shoes will last you longer. Spending a good chunk of change on a single pair of shoes can be quite stressful. Especially if you’re uncertain if there is actually any added value. So, let’s find out, are expensive dress shoes worth it?
In short, yes, expensive shoes are absolutely worth the added price. Since expensive shoes typically adhere to higher standards of both construction and quality of materials, they should, in theory, last longer, look better, and feel more comfortable than any cheap pair of shoes that you can buy.
With that said, expensive shoes may not be the right choice for everyone or for every situation. For example, if you’re considering purchasing a pair of shoes that you will rarely wear or that are well above your price range, it might not make sense to spend the extra money.
So, how do you decide if an expensive pair of shoes is the right choice for you or if you should buy another cheap pair that you may have to replace in 6 months?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re about to cover.
Let’s dive in!
Expensive Dress Shoes Vs. Cheap Dress Shoes
First, we have to understand the difference between a quality pair of dress shoes and the mass-produced alternative we have become accustomed to.
One of the key differences between a high-quality pair of shoes and a cheap alternative is the construction. There are several different ways to construct a shoe and this shows in the overall quality, comfort, and durability of your shoes.
- Goodyear Welting – Goodyear welting is the best construction method and uses two-level stitching to attach the soles of your shoe. This creates a water-resistant shoe with a durable sole that can be easily re-soled if needed. Shoes made this with this method are a great investment and can last for a lifetime.
- Blake Welting – Blake welting is constructed using a single-level stitch which results in a more flexible shoe. However, they also offer less water-resistance. And while these can be re-soled, it is more difficult and requires a cobbler with special machinery to do so.
- Glued – Cheap shoes are almost always glued together. Without the added strength and structure of stitching, this results in a revolving door of shoes that quickly begin to fall apart and look bad after very little wear and tear.
Another key factor in overall shoe quality is the leather used in construction. This is the most visible portion of the shoe and will determine how long they look their best or how quickly they begin to show how cheap they really are.
- Full Grain – Full grain leather is the highest quality available. It comes from the topmost layer of skin and all of the grain is still intact. This creates the best-looking shoes, and they will remain beautiful and unblemished for years to come.
- Top Grain – The next highest quality type of leather is top grain leather. To create this the skin had to be sanded, the fibers are still intact but have become weakened from the treatment. These will also look good over the years but may require additional maintenance.
- Suede – Suede provides a great appearance but has none of the grain left in the material. This results in a softer and thinner shoe because of the missing layer of skin. Suede shoes provide a great look but do require additional maintenance to keep them looking their best.
- Synthetic – Cheap shoes are made with nearly 100% synthetic leather. This inferior material will quickly begin to crack and show signs of wear. There is almost nothing that you can do to maintain a good appearance on these synthetic leather shoes. As they age you will need to replace them frequently.
In mass produced cheap shoes, quality control is often lacking. If you’ve never invested in a high-quality pair of shoes you may not even realize how much of a difference this actually makes. There are several factors that go into ensuring the highest quality shoes from a more expensive brand.
- Handmade – The highest quality shoes are handmade by cobblers who take pride in what they do. This attention to detail results in a better shoe every time. Machines simply cannot create the same perfect fit as an experienced cobbler.
- Reputation – Expensive shoe brands rely on their good reputation to stay in business. People would not continue to pay the high prices is if they didn’t feel that the quality matched expectation. This means that these companies rely heavily on quality control to ensure that their customers are happy with their purchase and keep coming back for more.
- Small Batch Size – Since these shoes are handmade, batch sizes are significantly smaller than what commercially produced shoes are. Where a cobbler will produce 25 to 50 shoes in a batch, a commercial producer will produce thousands. It’s nearly impossible to inspect 1000 shoes to the same standard as you can inspect 50.
What Is Your Situation?
So now we know that expensive shoes are better quality, longer lasting, and worth the higher price. However, there are certain situations where spending the extra money for a high quality pair of shoes would not be the right choice for you.
How Often Will You Wear The Shoes?
One of the main things to consider is how often you will be wearing these shoes.
If this is a pair of shoes that you’ll wear once or twice a year the added cost may not be as beneficial. One of the best reasons to buy a high-quality pair of shoes is for the added durability which results in a lower overall cost overtime.
However, if you are going to be wearing these shoes infrequently this added cost doesn’t do much for your bottom line.
On the other hand, if these shoes are something you will be wearing every day to work it’s absolutely worth the additional cost. You see, overtime a high-quality pair of dress shoes will pay for themselves both in saved time shopping for new shoes and actual cost of the shoes.
Think about it, if you have to buy an $80 pair of shoes every six months, after a couple of years you’ll have spent the same amount (or more) than you would have on a pair of high-quality dress shoes that would have lasted years.
What Is Your Budget?
While a more expensive pair of shoes can actually be cheaper in the long run it is still important to consider your immediate budget and cash flow.
If you’re not at the point of being able to afford an expensive pair of shoes, then holding off may be the right choice. You may want to purchase a cheaper pair of shoes now while you save up for a higher quality pair in the future.
However, if budget is not a consideration for you, investing in a high-quality pair of shoes is a no-brainer.
In fact, if money is no object for you, then what are you still doing here? You should already be out investing in your comfort and appearance.
How To Care For High-Quality Shoes
While more expensive shoes are longer lasting, they do require some amount of maintenance. This may make you wonder if they are worth the added effort.
Keep in mind that while you will have to maintain your more expensive shoes, you’ll spend less time shopping for a replacement for your favorite shoes. Taking them to a cobbler to be re-soled when necessary or getting them cleaned up requires very little effort on your part.
So, do high quality shoes require more maintenance? Not really. Any additional maintenance is simply an added investment in the quality of your wardrobe.
There are several important factors to consider when spending money on a pair of shoes. Taking into consideration your budget, how frequently you’ll be wearing the shoes, and if a higher-level of quality is worth the added price is the best way to determine what shoes are right for you.
But ultimately, there’s just no two ways about it, adding a great pair of shoes to your wardrobe is one of the best ways to level-up your style. And the best part is, in most cases, you can expect a more expensive shoe to not only last you longer, but keep you more comfortable.
If you are looking to learn more about men’s fashion, what is a good investment, and what is a waste of money, be should subscribe to our email list. We are constantly coming out with new content to keep you up to date on all of the newest style trends and help you get the most out of your wardrobe…and your hard-earned money.