A guide to choosing the perfect shoes this Fall.
As we head into September the colder air in the mornings reminds us that we're heading towards Autumn / Fall once again. Before long we'll have crisp frosts on a morning, and crunchy leaves under our feet, so it's time to be thinking about putting your summer footwear away for hibernation and looking out for suitable Autumn footwear.
For me, Autumn is my favourite time of year, and one that can be matched to a wide variety of footwear. In the next couple of days I will be writing about different types of boots for Autumn, but if like me, you prefer to keep wearing a shoe, then read on!
In this article I'm going to be focusing on brown shoes - black shoes can stay in the office for now. There is such a rich choice of brown leather on the market at the moment that it would be silly not to consider it a serious proposition for the Autumn - and even the Winter months.
If you live in the UK - or even overseas if you feel like risking import charges - Herring Shoes (http://www.herringshoes.co.uk) are a company who are passionate about shoes and shoe making. They have their own lines of shoe, which are made for them by companies such as Loake, Barker & Cheaney. Herring tend to specify their shoes with better quality leather, and lots of nice little touches over and above the equivalent shoes from each maker.
Let's take the Herring Burlington shoe. This is a Derby shoe available in Black Calf Leather, or Chestnut Brown Calf Leather. The shoe is made by Barker on their 386 last, and very similar to Barker's own offering - the Epping.
Barker Epping (top) & Herring Burlington (bottom)
As pictured to the right, the Herring shoe features a leather heel with just a rubber tip, rather than the full rubber heel of Barker's own shoe. According to Herring their shoe also uses a nicer grade of leather.
The colour of the leather seems to differ slightly too, with the Herring offering (Chestnut Calf) appearing to be a bit darker in tone than the Barker (Conker Calf).
In my opinion both shoes are perfect for a slightly informal look this season, although personally I would probably plump for the Herring shoes over the Barker. If Herring's claims are correct, it would look to be a superior shoe for the same cost (£185) as Barker's.
Barker Epping (left) & Herring Burlington (right)
How about a Loake?
Loake is certainly one of the more instantly recognisable names of the English shoe trade. Loake have been making shoes since 1881, and are generally a very well thought of outfit. There has been some discussion in the last couple of years or so about their cheaper shoes, which are manufactured out side of the UK. It's widely accepted that their best shoes come from the 1880 range, which is their flagship selection.
This shoe is a classic full brogue based on Loake's Capital last. The Buckingham is available in four different colours which include: black, dark brown, brown & tan. These shoes feature a full calf lather upper, lining, insole and outer soles. The heels are also part leather with a rubber tip.
The classic brogue shoe works with many clothes combinations, from a pair of informal jeans, through to a grey or suit. For this season I would recommend the standard brown leather, rather than the darker brown. It has some nice burnishing detail around the toe box, which looks just a little bit more interesting - at least to me - than the other colours.
This shoe retails at around £199.00 from Loake directly, but you may be lucky and find it on sale somewhere else.
A little more upmarket...
If you're looking to spend a bit more on a pair of shoes, there are many more shoes that you could quite happily wear this year. The Barker Lincoln is a shoe that struck me as soon as I first saw it. It's a classic Oxford / Balmoral shoe with a cap toe. Initially it may look a little bit formal, but it can certainly be dressed down with jeans, or corduroy as well as being very acceptable in a more formal environment.
The Lincoln comes from Barker's Handcrafted range, which are made in England. This particular shoes comes in a brown which Barker call "Brown Shadow Antique Calf". It has somewhat of a mottled appearance, with some lovely depth of colour to it.
This shoe is constructed as you would expect, with full calf leather uppers, soles, heels with a rubber tip & is Goodyear welted. The usual retail price for these shoes is around £235, although I have seen them on offer for as little as £180, so it may well be worth shopping around for these.
Cheaney Arthur 3
This is another brogue made by Cheaney & Sons that really is worth a mention. It's a full brogue, and as above, has all the leather 'bells and whistles'. Cheaney hand craft their shoes in their Northampton factory - where most English shoes originate from.
These shoes are finished in calf leather, in a colour which Cheaney call "Dark Leaf". The shoes feature heavy hand burnishing, which in my opinion, lend the shoe a very distinguished look. The contrast between the different browns in the leather really do give it an 'Autumn-y' appearance.
Again, this shoe could look great with a variety of clothes. For Autumn casual wear I tend to select corduroy - but these would work just as well with chinos or jeans.
As you can see there are many shoes available, over various styles that will work really well with many looks. I hope this article has helped you make a decision. Before making a decision, do look through the full catalogues of Loake, Barker, Grenson, Cheaney, Crockett & Jones, Church's & Alfred Sargent.
As for me, I have ordered the Herring Burlington as my 'go to' shoe for this Autumn. I'm also very tempted by the Barker Lincoln for the wonderful tones in the leather, which I may use for more formal events.
© 2013 Timothy