We here at The Loaded Vault constantly get asked what clothing or accessory items can we invest in that will make the biggest impact.
Accessories and shoes are the top 2 influencers of perceived style and power and sheer attention grabbing, in our experiences.
You can have a $250 suit, $50 shirt, with $50 of accessories and $250 shoes, and get more compliments and acknowledgments than someone with a $1000 suit, $100 shirt, and $50 shoes with no accessories. You’ll get 10x the compliments with the first option, while spending only half as much (20x as much if you get it tailored). Yet, people tend to go towards the doubly expensive plan B.
That’s a shame for them, but awesome for you.
Before our culture moved towards one of consumerism, being able to have items that lasted a long time was the norm, and that’s something that has sadly faded a bit. This has been hyper-exaggerated by today’s fashion trends that intentionally put out multiple styles per season, and encourage you to not wear the same thing from season to season.
This is particularly the case for women, but thankfully for guys, a standard suit has been fashionable for over 100 years. A guy should start with a standard tailored suit that looks like it’ll be in fashion 10 years from now (we recommend a solid navy blue).
And, do you wonder what will be acceptable 10 years from now? How about you take a look at some pictures of suits throughout the centuries and realize not much has changed, besides the accessories.
The same should go for shoes. A decent suit is made for multiple wearings, but solid shoes can be made to withstand time as well; while actually costing you less than the pair of dress shoes you currently have.
Right now, it’s not uncommon for a guy to spend at least $50-100 or more every 6 months getting new shoes because his old ones wore out. That’s a shame, and that’s a sign of poor craftsmanship.
You want one with real leather, quality heels, and quality stitching. You’re looking in the $200+ range here, generally (and that’s not name brand stuff that’s marked up a ton, either).
If you get one pair of black shoes and one pair of black shoes in this range, you’ll be set. I grab all of my shoes from Zappos now, as you can search by colors, fit, price range and more.
Assuming you have those shoes, here’s what to do to make them last:
1) Weather protect them
Many leather shops will put on a special coating to be able to protect your investment from early wear and tear. Depending on the weather you live in, this will hold up for 3-12 months usually, and at a cost of around $10 per pair.
2) Get regular shoe shinings
The weather coating tends to dull the shine of your shoe, so spend another $5-10 to keep them looking nice, and to buff out any scratches that might have come your way.
3) Get a shoe tree
These slip inside of your shoes at the end of the night and are made of a quality wood, and one will generally last a lifetime. These shoe trees serve multiple purposes: they’ll keep the shape of your shoe’s uppers in place and prevent them from prematurely becoming misshapen, while also absorbing moisture. Moisture not only kills a shoe off early, but it also make your shoes and feet stink even worse. Grab them on Amazon, or perhaps your shoe shiner has some for sale.
4) Use a shoe horn
It’s a simple thing that you can purchase for a few bucks online or in most retailers that have shoes available. It’s essential to keep from putting pressure and creases into your back heel over time.
And, probably most importantly:
5) Have your shoes repaired, don’t just get rid of them.
Heels and the insoles tend to be what falls apart when we throw our shoes away, not the leather uppers. By following the earlier steps, your uppers will remain in immaculate condition, leaving you in the awesome position of getting extra YEARS on your shoe’s life each time you replace the heel and/or insoles.
And, last, but not least, the reason you get 2 pairs of shoes isn’t just for having something fashionable, it’s to rotate to give your shoes time to recover between wearings. Having the extra day off helps remove the last bits of moisture from the shoe, and it keeps them from being constantly worn down.
It also makes it easier to gauge the life of your shoes and when they’re due for shining or extra protectant.
Now you’re a shoe pro. Get those quality shoes you’ve been eyeballing, knowing it’ll actually cost you less in the long run, knowing what you know now.
What shoes do you wear? Let us know on Facebook.
Once you have your shoes on point, then you need to make sure your socks send the right message and if they have shoelaces, consider one of these 15 ways to lace them up.