High-quality men’s shoes in Germany: Investment or waste?
Whereas for women, footwear is more than just footwear; men often seem to care less about quality, workmanship and manufacturer of men’s shoes. In fact, you can see them everywhere: Perfectly styled business men with modern haircuts, pretty nice suits from various men’s outfitters and then the disillusionment when looking further down: Cheap dress shoes, probably bought at H&M or Deichmann, often not more expensive in their acquisition than 50 Euro. Men are wearing those as long as possible. Finally, at some point they throw them away and buy a new pair. Guys, there is more to dressing well than mere looks!
Why should I buy expensive shoes, when I can get similar ones way cheaper?
This is a more or less legitimate question, which is valid for suits too. If you ask a fashionably-conscious man, how he can recognize a high-quality suit, then he would probably know the answer. Most notworthy is the extravagant cut, a perfect fit at the waist and hips, the canvas, the Milanese buttonhole and the extremely comfortable feeling comparable to a second skin. While such a high-quality creation can be used many years, a cheap suit cannot compete in any case. So why do those findings simply stop at the ankles?
As the Federal Statistical Office recently announced for the year 2016, German households spend approximately 108 Euro per month per household (!) on shoes and clothing. This includes 24 Euro for men’s clothes, 46 Euro for women’s clothes and 22 Euro for shoes and its accessories. These values seem to be ridiculously low, but this might not be very surprising considering all those low-cost outfitters (e.g. H&M, Primark, discounters such as Aldi, Lidl, etc.). Furthermore, the statistics for single housholds are intersting. Men spend around 43 Euro (8 Euro for shoes) per month for clothes and shoes. In contrast, women spend 71 Euro (14 Euro for shoes). This makes nearly 100 Euro per year for shoes for men (170 Euro for women). Such statistics are sometimes astonishing, especially when it comes to such a wealthy country like Germany.
Significance of shoes in other countries
Only a few men are actually aware of the importance of high-quality footwear in other countries. Take for example the shoe culture of Italy and imagine those pretty boutiques in small Italian towns. Where the smell of fresh leather spreads and you automatically get in the mood for buying shoes. In Italy you certainly take your time when buying shoes, you let yourself get inspired and you appreciate the craftsmanship. Unfortunately, shoe tourism has arrived in Italy too, and it slowly destroys these small shops.
While previously the price of shoes was as indicator of quality, people nowadays prefer shopping in huge outlet centers. As a result those picturesque shoe villages are vanishing. Here, where you do not speak of “shopping”, but where you enjoy a strong, Italian coffee during the consultation/ fitting.
”La bella Figura“ – being ahead of the world in terms of shoe fashion
Fashion in Italy focuses on footwear. But also in France and England gentlemen attach great importance to high-quality and above all classic shoes. Quality and style are very important here, shoemaking craft has a centuries-long tradition and enjoys a high reputation. Many small businesses have been running exclusively within the families, for many generations. High-quality calf, nappa or suede leather are being used. Furthermore, the shoemakers are meticulously working on accurate seams and the perfect look. If you want shoes with an excellent fit, then you should opt for fully bespoke shoes.
You will never achieve a dapper look without a good shoe.
Not only the fit is important for fashion-conscious men who appreciate high quality. Similarly, the comfort when wearing the shoe is crucial. A great shoemaker dedicates a lot of time, manual work and passion to achieve an extremely comfortable shoe. Due to this, individual shoe models can be created and not mass-produced in the sizes 40 to 45. And even large size shoes are crafted so skillfully that the foot is displayed in a very special and subtle way. The shoe can then be wonderfully paired with a suit and perfects the look of the stylish man. Yes, the Italians – just like the French – have a great sense of the overall look! And even if the suit is expensive and chic, you will never achieve a dapper look without a good shoe.
Good men’s footwear will last a lifetime
If you do not want to travel to Italy and experience its shoe culture first-hand, you can also find great footwear in a few specialist shops in Germany. One example is “Ladage & Oelke”, a men’s outfitter in Berlin, on the luxury street Neuer Wall. Here you get high-quality footwear, also shoes for more than 1.000 Euro are available. You will only find brands, which have a tradition in shoemaking and are overall appreciated in the sartorial world.
In Munich we can also find these traditional stores. For example the one of Eduard Meier offers welted footwear which costs around 650 Euro. Depending on the brand and possibly also on special customizations (made-to-measure for example), they can easily cost as much as 1.000 Euro or more.
High-quality men’s shoes can last a lifetime.
Certainly, men’s shoes with quality and tradition have their price and are definitely not cheap. However, the – at first glance – similar looking Deichmann shoes just cannot keep up. Those who claim something different, probably have never had a really good shoe in their hands. This is just to sensitize you to the benefits of true quality work because high-quality men’s shoes can last a lifetime. Finally, what is better than a perfectly fitting dress shoe, which still looks absolutely amazing after several years?
Shoe care (cleaning, nourishing, shoe shining, polishing, etc.) is really important. Only this will let your shoes last a very long time. Have a look at all those absolutely stunning pictures of clean, polished shiny shoes on Instagram. Wouldn’t you want to have those on your feet, too?
Buying timeless men’s shoes – Investment in the future
It is almost incomprehensible that in a country like Germany so little emphasis is placed on high-quality footwear. Especially, where the trend has been developing clearly towards “handmade”, “BIO” and “high-quality” for the past years. Some might argue that one always wants to go with the current shoe trends. In addition, they might say that the shoes will not be fashionable after a short period of time anyway. So why spend so much money on them? The simple answer is that quality shoes from real artisans are absolutely classy and will never go out of style.
Hence, you do not have to buy loads of shoes. Get a few high-quality classics. Those will serve you for a very long time and can be paired with most of your outfits. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you will also feel better and more elegant while wearing them. The large corporations from the U.S. or China might look with a mocking smile at the tradition-oriented quality houses. However, the impeccable gentleman will always know the value of authentic shoes.