Spring Buyers Guide | Classic Shoes | A Continuous Lean.

Spring Buyers Guide | Classic Shoes

Apr 21st, 2009 | Categories: Footwear, Style | by Michael Williams

Every year at the beginning of spring I have the same thought. “I should throw away all of my spring / summer shoes and start over with just the classics.” Do I ever build up the guts to do it? Not so much. But since this is the internets and I’m free to play with hypotheticals, this is what my dream team would look like. Everything I need, all that I want. Classic. Shoes that work for 2009 and 2049. Are there other scenarios that could be played out here? Yes. The good news is, I’ll leave it up to all of you to name your summer all-star starting line-up in the comments, thereby saving your lowly steward some grief.

spring_shoes

Last night when I was compiling this group I sent the above image to my buddy The Trad and asked him if he thought I was leaving anything out. He wrote back in a friendly yet disapproving tone. “Is this a test?  Cordovan out — everything else in — despite the cliche of it all” Touché Mr. Trad, touché. The thing is, shoes are like beers, everyone has a favorite and who can argue with why you like something. You like what you like. So I’m going to ride this cliche out, all summer long.

Other worthy additions to the above group are the classic lace-up vans, the tasty canvas sneakers from Aprix and finally the high-top Sperry Chukka boat shoes that Mr. Impossible Cool has been rocking all over town. My classics above are detailed below.

The particulars in clockwise order:

Comments: 54

54 Comments to “Spring Buyers Guide | Classic Shoes”

  1. Tom Paine
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 8:41 AM

    My spring footwear rotation:
    Brown Quoddy trail mocs, brown Alden derby, white Jack Purcell, brown beeswax Clarks Desert Boot, and white w/black stripes Adidas Samba.

  2. tons of land
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:00 AM

    seems like a pair of sandals should be in there somewhere… otherwise, well done.

  3. robin sykes
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:15 AM

    You would also probably need nice brown loafers for a semi formal

  4. Theo
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:18 AM

    would someone be able to tell me more about this mark mcnairy fellow and/or how to get some white bucks to australia? it’d be incredibly appreciated

  5. anewnadir
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:25 AM

    not to slag unnecessarily on Alden but I went to look for a pair of wingtips at Alden, Brooks Brothers, and Allen Edmonds. Alden definitely has some nice styles but their fit isn’t too great. More importantly, the service at the Alden store was abysmal. I walked in and the guy didn’t even so much as look up from his desk. Compare this with the woman at Allen Edmonds who was putting on my shoes for me and suggesting fits / styles. In the end service doesn’t really determine how good the shoe looks and feels, but I’d like to think the reason I ended up with the AE’s is because of how well I was treated. I can’t shake the impression that the Alden clerk knew people were dying to throw down hundreds of dollars for their shoes so it didn’t matter one bit whether a customer gets treated properly.

  6. ddml
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:27 AM

    cordovan is not very spring friendly, i agree with Mr Trad. not very breathable. and i prefer the quoddy boat over the sperry. and i’d replace the white chuck taylors with vintage rod lavers. time to dust off the sand desert boots. i can’t hate your list!

  7. james fox
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:50 AM

    ‘dream team’ love it. i guess it never rains in NYC?? zing.

  8. EnzoAGC
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:02 AM

    forget the striper and the chucks, the tretorn nylite canvas is all you need for sneakers in the summer. I’d also swap in the bean camp moc for the topsider and a pair of RL drivers and alden tassels

  9. ad ease
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:06 AM

    Here’s my spr/sum rotation:
    1. Quoddy black bluchers (thanks Sweetu!)
    2. Vintage original Stan Smiths
    3. Alden black calfskin cap-toe oxfords with Cats Paw heel (more breathable than Cordovan)
    4. White American Rag CIE canvas sneakers (bought from INA a few wks back for $75)
    5a&b. Sperry Top Siders (brown with creme sole & navy with creme sole)
    6. Khaki Beams canvas sneakers (thanks Clint!)

  10. ad ease
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:11 AM

    anewnadir, i agree with you about the Alden store. I went there a few weeks ago to pick up my first pair of Cordovan 994s. They barely even knew anything about the shoes they were selling. I was really expecting better more passionate & knowledgeable employees than were there. i was asking about chukkas and red brick soles and all sorts of things and they looked at me like I was weird. These guys acted like could have been working at the Yankees Clubhouse store for all they cared. I wanted to grab them by the collar and scream, these are ALDEN shoes you have here! Have some respect!

  11. william
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:38 AM

    Instead of the white Chuck Taylors, may I suggest a pair of PF Flyers Center Lo…still old school (maybe more so), but a bit more obscure.

  12. akatsuki
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:41 AM

    Pretty good set of classics. Although with the decline in Clarks and Sperry quality, I might have substituted another shoe for Clarks and gone with the Gold Cup series or Quoddy in boat shoes.

  13. Sam Jacobs
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:42 AM

    Nice choices. My spring rotation usually flips between my Timberland desert boots (much like your Clarks), J.Crew penny loafers, Sperry Top Siders (in traditional brown and in navy blue), and Jack Purcell sneakers. Of course, there’s also the Reef flip-flops, but those are for home and beach use mostly.

  14. greenjeans
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:44 AM

    Great shapes and palette. I’d love to think that my kick game was as diverse as this, but in reality, I vacillate between wu-wallabees, nike waffleIIracers, and some camper moccasin things.

  15. Michael Williams
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 11:03 AM

    Theo,

    Email through the McNairy website and I’m sure they will accommodate you.

    ACL

  16. Speedmaster
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 11:42 AM

    I LOVE those Alden shoes. ;-)

  17. Paul
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 12:14 PM

    All of these are great – but i can’t live without tassle loafers – I have at least eight pair (in varying stages of decomp).

  18. Ryan
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 12:30 PM

    Nice compilation Michael,

    Only thing missing is some loafers for me, and a couple trade-ins. Allen Edmonds for me too.

  19. Ol' Sport
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 12:46 PM

    rod laver-mesh
    bass-white buc’s

  20. epaulet
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 12:58 PM

    @ anewnadir

    I just want to point out that the “Alden Store” in NYC is not actually owned by Alden. It’s a totally separate business that exclusively carries Alden shoes. So their service (or lack of) shouldn’t reflect on Alden as a whole.

    For the record, my partners at Alden are some of the best people that I work with. I love that company.

    But I totally agree with AE – I’ve always been treated well at their stores. They have great staff.

  21. JOA
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 1:28 PM

    TopSiders, Quoddy Canoe Mocs, NB 992, Rod Lavers, Wallabees and Alden x Brooks Bros. Shell Penny Loafers…my shoes of choice every spring/summer for years now.

  22. Tretorn Fan
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 2:29 PM

    I’ll be wearing these: http://store.tretorn.com/US/details.asp?catalog%5Fname=tretorn&category%5Fname=MensFootwear&product%5Fid=47149501&mainCategory=Men

    And these:
    http://store.tretorn.com/US/details.asp?catalog%5Fname=tretorn&category%5Fname=MensFootwear&product%5Fid=47111801&mainCategory=Men

  23. Andrew Hazlett
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 3:15 PM

    I can’t believe that those white bucks could be worn more than once before getting spotted or scuffed. Too beautiful to live.

  24. masonry
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 3:40 PM

    My starting lineup now looks like this:

    Clark’s Desert Boots, sand
    Converse Jack Purcell, white
    Converse All-Star High, black
    adidas Stan Smith, white
    Arrow Two Eye Tie Moc, brown

    … but will probably be supplanted by some Vans slip-ons, and maybe some Tretorns.

  25. Chris
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 3:46 PM

    This list is not complete w/o a pair of Vans slip-ons or lace-ups. Could be my inner Spicoli talking or my 10 years in LA but I find my self wearing them with cut off khakis and linen casual pants. Vans has a pretty cool web site where you can build your own.

  26. OneUponATime
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 4:19 PM

    Chris-
    I love you. Well, at least your comment.
    -Nick

  27. kara - all things ordinary
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 4:25 PM

    amen.
    id have to add a black pair in there somewhere.

  28. archredux
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 5:00 PM

    Just picked up a pair of white canvas topsiders, now I need some sun here in Glasgow.

  29. Moldy
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 5:51 PM

    those are all cool classics for me I would add a bunch of vans

  30. Michael
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 7:08 PM

    I’ve always thought that sandals and flip-flops have no place outside of the beach or the shower, so nice call on leaving out those vile things. Men should not show their toes.

    Summer line up:
    White Chucks/black Chucks
    White Purcells
    Old Ralph Lauren bucks that were my dads
    Tricker’s brogues in brown
    Clarks Desert boots
    Vans Sk8 Hi
    Guidi lace-ups in kangaroo

  31. Kevin
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:26 PM

    My response is in regard to comfort. The Sperry’s withOUT laces that tie are not comfortable for me. The elastic is not good. My Quoddy’s (blutchers) are way better, even with a simple arch. I also wear stan smith’s and I don’t know what it is but these shoes kill my feet after a while. I can’t wear Adidas soccer cleats either, just something about them. Off the subject but, I have a pair of N.D.C. plain black oxfords and they are already falling apart, these shoes are crap. So I wear the sperry’s anyway and the adidas with pain and I have to wear flip flops around the house but it is hot as hell here so these comments about not wearing flip flops need to be qualified by geographic region.

  32. citizen wayne
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 9:38 PM

    1. Quoddy Brown Suede Brick Sole Blucher
    2. Nepenthes Ghiles Hi White/White
    3. Needles Ghiles White/White
    4. Visvim Logan Deck Lo Navy
    5. Visvim Skagway Lo White
    6. J.S. Homestead Gym Sneaker White
    7. J. Crew Flip Flops

  33. Winston
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:17 PM

    My perfect spring summer line-up
    1. L.L.Bean Blucher Mocs
    2. Common Projects White Achilles Mid-Tops
    3. Salvatore Ferragamo The Renzo
    4. Rick Owens Black Sneaker Boots
    5. Nike White Air Force 1′s
    6. Visvim Olive Christo Sandal
    7. NewBalance 992′s/3′s (I don’t care what anyone says they are the most stylish running shoes ever)

  34. Christopher Baus
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:28 PM

    I have the Alden saddle’s in #8. Great shoe. Also have a vintage US Made pair of Cole Haan white cap toe bal bucks that I have on today.

    I think the cordovan is ok in the spring. Not that hot.

  35. Nico Dodd
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 10:44 PM

    bass bucks and brown sperrys all year.

  36. JP
    on Apr 21st, 2009
    @ 11:08 PM

    Clarks & Converse get me through 90% of the time.

    JP

  37. r
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 12:04 AM

    real men show toe

  38. D Chandler
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 3:52 AM

    So glad to see the saddle shoes on here. But save 550 dollars and get a pair on ebay. Also, can’t really do Converse because of the whole Nike thing.

  39. john
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 10:58 AM

    Slip-on Vans, also. And Weejuns.

    Chuck Taylors should be high top. Regular Vans have the low top angle covered.

  40. jbird
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 11:25 AM

    i like winston’s llbean blucher reccomendation and all the van’s additions…the one that’s missing from the sperry line-up is the captain’s oxford…

    http://www.sperrytopsider.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=894&itemType=PRODUCT&iProductID=894&pageSuffix=Recently%20Viewed%20Item

  41. Oscar
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 12:09 PM

    Boat shoes fo sho!

    Chucks are too ubiquitous around my area, so I’m gonna rock Jack Purcells this summer. I’ll set the trend.

  42. mike
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 9:42 PM

    summer 5 no particular order

    1. Quoddy mid top deck shoes in Navy
    2. beat black hiroshi chucks from a few years back
    3. yellow huf doughboys for bikin around the city
    4. Brown suede dessert boots
    5. half cabs foe the skating

  43. Pedro Blanco
    on Apr 22nd, 2009
    @ 11:02 PM

    Classic, but predictable, and yes, cliche, but then again:
    1. zig zags/doughboys/winos
    2. white chuck lows
    3. 10 year old weejuns
    4. Nike Bruin SB (free, and for skating)
    5. Old RL white bucks dyed navy
    6. Visvim FBT without the shroud (classy when rocking shorts)
    7. Frye engineer boots (for motorcycle)

  44. Stefan
    on Apr 23rd, 2009
    @ 2:34 AM

    Weird… copped the sperry originals in the very same colorway published. Got em in Palm Springs. It felt right at the time. Good decision I suppose.

  45. Chris
    on Apr 23rd, 2009
    @ 6:22 PM

    jbird,
    Man I am trying to like that Captains Oxford but it looks like a narrow version of a wallabie but with an subtle orthopedic vibe. Maybe it’s the sea foam coloring. Do you have a pair?

  46. Trevor
    on Apr 24th, 2009
    @ 2:19 PM

    My shoe rotation includes…a new pair of Zeha-Oxfords (i dont know how to make them casual), a collection of converse kicks and Air Force Ones….I am a recent business graduate and feel it is necessary to change up my style appropriate for my age and work …any suggestions? Also, what is a good shoe to pair up with shorts?

  47. Dean
    on Apr 25th, 2009
    @ 5:06 AM

    I would choose plain white supergas over the converse, and perhaps throw in a pair of espadrilles?

  48. Dean
    on Apr 25th, 2009
    @ 5:08 AM

    And perhaps a tassled suede penny loafer?

  49. the.mez
    on Apr 25th, 2009
    @ 7:18 PM

    Anyone of sound mind only wears shoes made in Northampton, England.

    Google Prince Michael of Kent, dress accordingly and Never forget: you can’t learn style.

  50. salah
    on Apr 26th, 2009
    @ 4:28 PM

    Another vote for the classic Rod Laver. Not only are they a classically good looking shoe, but they repel water, are easy to clean, and get better looking the older they get. Bonus points for not being very popular, therefore they’re still reasonably priced, and well made.

    My spring/sumer lineup is rounded out with a pair of high top Converse all-stars in black, and a pair of brown suede Ferragamo loafers I picked up about 10 years ago, and are the best shoes I’ve ever purchased.

  51. joel
    on Apr 27th, 2009
    @ 3:40 PM

    I’d add Common Projects low Achilles in white or gray and now my Clae Garveys…

  52. ag
    on Apr 29th, 2009
    @ 5:57 PM

    Very nice list, I have a few that are similar. Here is my current rotation:

    1) LLB Bluchers
    2) Sperry Canvas Blue Boat Shoes
    3) Vintage Cole Haan Dirty Brown Saddle Shoes
    4) Rainbow Sandals for the beach

    Next purchases will be dark brown Clarks Desert Boots and vintage Made in USA Bass Weejuns!

  53. craig
    on May 5th, 2009
    @ 7:28 PM

    A little late I know, but what are your thoughts on wearing desert boots with shorts? I’ve tried with and without socks, chunky wool socks look best. But still feel weird wearing boots with sorts.

  54. Jerry
    on Jul 7th, 2009
    @ 9:08 PM

    Here’s my 10:
    1) Rod Laver
    2) White low chucks
    3) Clarks
    4) Brooks Bros. Shell Penny Loafers
    5) White Bucks
    6) Adidas Black Sambas
    7) Jack Purcells Black
    8) Jack Purcells White
    9) Tod’s Driving shoe chestnut
    10) Black Van lace-ups