I’ve been thinking about a pair of navy blue suede sneakers. In my opinion, they are a shoe that straddle the line between a dress shoe and a casual sneaker while understanding that they are, in fact still a sneaker. In other words, I wouldn’t wear them with a formal suit & tie, and hope that nobody notices that they are sneakers. I would wear them with jeans or chinos or heavy wools or a dressed down suit and own them. I’ve decided I definitely don’t want an obviously sporty pair like adidas or Nike (not that there’s anything wrong with either of those brands.) I’ve found three that capture the look I’m after.
First, there are these from Sid Mashburn. They, like most things Sid puts out capture what I’m looking for to a T. They are sporty while still maintaining an element of formality. The contrasting tan leather laces add a sense of refinement that can easily be added to either of the two pair that will follow. They are currently retailing for $195, and come with an extra pair of navy leather laces, and the knowledge that you are wearing sneakers by the master, Sid Mashburn.
Pros: Look great, probably well made, contrast piping and laces.
Brooks Brothers makes a similar looking pair under their Red Fleece label. They also come in grey and in brown, and feature standard tonal laces with extra white laces thrown in for good measure. They retail for $78 – more than 50% less than the Mashburns – but do not feature any of the contrast leather piping. They also look cheaper. That’s not to say they look bad. Just, not as good. And I can easily go out and buy a pair of tan leather laces, and have them look almost as good as the ones by Sid. Brooks tends to run sales often, so we could see these marked down by 20-30%.
Pros: Similar styling to Sid Mashburns, priced well.
Cons: Cheap looking metal eyelets.
Finally, we come to one of my favorite shoe brands, Allen Edmonds. They put these out last summer originally retailing for $245. They are now on clearance for $97. And I could save an extra $20 by buying them through Shoe Bank, their factory seconds site. The question is, why are they so marked down? The reviews are largely positive. The design is decidedly more sporty than those from Sid Mashburn and Red Fleece. But they do feature a Vibram sole which are known for being very comfortable. Again, we see contrast white laces which can be changed out.
Pros: Allen Edmonds are well made, Vibram sole, priced well, might be marked down further for Presidents Day sale
Cons: A little sportier than the other two, not made in AE’s US factory
So, if you were me, and you were buying a pair today which would you go with?
Thanks for reading!