Reader Mail | Casual Fall Footwear

Reader Mail seeks to answer life’s sartorial curiosities and other perplexing material issues.

Dear ACL,

I was wondering if you could recommend some casual shoes for the upcoming colder months. Up until now I’ve been wearing top-siders, and with the weather lately, they’ve left my feet cold. I just need something casual that I can wear with jeans and khakis.

Samuel — New York City

The transition to fall footwear can be an awkward one. You don’t want to rock the snow boots on a sunny September day, but at the same time you need to make sure your warm weather shoes are seamlessly shelved until spring. The good news is, casual fall footwear options abound. So there is no reason you can’t be comfortable, function and stylish come cooler temperatures. My short list of laid back fall classics are are below.

L.L. Bean Blucher Moccasin — $69
The L.L. Bean Blucher Moccasins have officially become the fall / winter replacement for the Sperry Top-Sider. The shoes are timeless and can basically go with any outfit you can throw at it. Still not a believer? GQ endorses them, as does, not to mention the stylish gents in Vampire Weekend. What else do you really need?

Clarks Originals Desert Boot in Wolf Suede — $90
Versatile, simple, classic and authentic — the Clarks Desert boot pairs perfectly with jeans and khakis for when you want to look casual and smart. You can even wear these with a suit depending on the fabric and cut. At $90 you woul be hard pressed to find a more all-encompassing fall shoe.

Tan Buck Oxfords— $145
Dirty Bucks as they are commonly known in more tradly circles, are my go-to shoe for fall. The suede goes perfect with all sorts of autumn trousers, from fabrics like wool, tweed, denim, khaki, corduroy and fall colors like navy, hunter green and even black. The one drawback to these shoes is wet weather traction. Any sort of precipitation coupled with fallen leaves could easily spell disaster. So as a rule of thumb, only bring out the bucks when the weather man is calling for clear skies.

Quoddy Trail Moccasin Company Blucher Moc — $178
Maine based Quoddy is the thinking man’s L.L. Bean. While the Bean blucher mocs are great and surprisingly affordable, the Quoddy bluchers are the real deal and still made in Maine. Even though the Quoddy mocs are more than twice the cost the Bean variants —you can expect these shoes to get softer and better looking with age —which to me is priceless.

The Quoddy mocs are also available in the UK through Oi Polloi for £90.

Quoddy Tracker Boots — $316
The company also makes fantastic boots with the same quality and softness you would expect from an old school American shoemaker. Like the other Quoddy model these shoes aren’t exactly cheap but when you consider that the materials and domestic production, you know you are paying for quality and materials and not just a crazy mark up.

More Reader Mail can be seen here.

Comments on “Reader Mail | Casual Fall Footwear

    liquidatoron September 23, 2008 @ 12:13 PM:

    clark’s desert boots are footwear you really have to limit to days without any prediction of rain. They have a tendency to soak straight through to the sock via the toe. great shoes though.

    Coryon September 23, 2008 @ 12:15 PM:

    Nice work. Desert boots and Blucher’s are a must for any come fall. And if you’re hesitating on the Quoddys, I’d suggest Arrow Moccasin Co. out of Hudson, Mass. On Valet:

    Kevinon September 23, 2008 @ 12:34 PM:

    I just picked up a pair of the Quoddy’s before the price increase. My old FJ60 is waiting for a waterpump to arrive so I’ve been commuting by bike and these shoes pack easily. An added benefit I wasn’t expecting.

    Coreyon September 23, 2008 @ 12:53 PM:

    I actually saw a pair of the Desert boots on sale at Martin + Osa this past week on sale for about $40. I bought them thinking that I could only wear them in the summer time.

    Good to know that they’ll make a good transition shoe! Thanks for the info.

    Ryanon September 23, 2008 @ 12:53 PM:

    Common Projects?….haha

    The Quoddy’s look real nice. Those are all good options. Good post.

    Björnon September 23, 2008 @ 1:57 PM:

    Great list! Ive been wearing the LL Bean bluchers alot lately, works perfectly with some wide wale cords, cotton duck pants or raw denim.

    Id like to add
    LL Bean dress rustic oxford , great shoe, rather chunky which is good for fall wear, good traction, affordable and classic. The cheap mans Russell Moccasin oxfords

    Timberland classic hand sewn (
    the rugged version of the boat shoe.

    justinon September 23, 2008 @ 2:07 PM:

    i just ordered arrow mocs last week – a 6 week wait, but fantastic customer service – you can tell people that really care are asking you how you would like your shoes to be made for you. i second that recommendation emphatically.

    Tayloron September 23, 2008 @ 9:16 PM:

    Quoddy Trail has a website with all of their offerings available to purchase. I am about to by a pair of their Dawson Moccasins. From everything I have read there is really no comparison to the craftsmanship and quality of Quoddy. Better looking than the Arrow mocs too in my opinion.

    Dougon September 23, 2008 @ 10:33 PM:

    Spray your desert boots with waterproofing spray and your wet sock problem is solved.

    shoremanon September 24, 2008 @ 10:25 AM:

    Just received Quoddy’s ring boots with a crepe sole–these are RUGGED. A little more earth shoe than boat shoe.

    thesundaybeston September 24, 2008 @ 12:56 PM:

    Nice choices – but it seems this would only work for certain, shall we say Gilded Age, looks.

    I guess that’s all there is in casual right now though.

    joanna goddardon September 25, 2008 @ 8:07 PM:

    love that top shot.

    Mikeon October 1, 2008 @ 9:21 AM:

    I have a pair of the Quoddy’s; great looking, well-made and very comfortable moc to wear all day. With their thick double soles and a *good* pair of quality 3/4-legnth insoles (the mocs come with insoles but they’re not much more than cosmetic) you can explore your favorite canyons …concrete or otherwise …and not even raise a blister. They are light and breathable, have good ankle support and look great with jeans. All of Quoddy’s double-soled mocs can be resoled and will last just about forever. I scored my as-new pair on eBay …back when they were *only* $220 from Quoddy. With their $300+ price today I’d go with a like pair from Arrow or Dyer moccasins …same rugged leather and hand-made in USA quality.

    Topheron October 2, 2008 @ 8:55 PM:

    I go with the clarks trailman series, has a stich down the center of the shoe, I were them pretty much everyday, great work,play and dress shoe

    Danon November 22, 2008 @ 1:11 PM:

    Does anyone know what kind of knot is used in the Blucher photo? I love mine but my laces are looking a little long..

    RHWon November 28, 2009 @ 3:44 PM:

    I think that’s a simple double knot in the top Blucher shot. I cut my laces and burn the ends to prevent fraying.

Comments are closed.