A short guide to buying shoes…

Published: 20th Mar, 2009

Time to bin the sneaks, fellas


Trainers, as we all know, are excellent. They look slick, they feel magnificent, and yet after only nine minutes of wear they are already practically destroyed. Hanging from your feet like tattered rags on a harsh winter tree. Hence, no one in the history of shoe shopping has been able to successfully return a set of sneaks. Shop keepers just won’t have it. And, sadly, as the long financial winter draws ever more looming and inevitable, you won’t be heavy enough in the pocket to renew your footwear every couple of weeks. So, with that in mind, we thought it high time we explained the art of shoe shopping. Here’s all you need to know:

1. Look for sturdy, not sexy.

Your impressionable eyes might be drawn to things that sparkle or shine with all the colours of the rainbow, but when it comes to buying a serious pair of shoes, you have just two choices – black or brown. Anything else would be folly. Remember, these shoes need to last you at least a couple of years. So, have a word with your inner child and explain that, yes, patterns are nice, but this is serious business now.

2. Only leather will do.

While things like canvas, suede and flowing silken shoes look nice, the minute the weather shifts, they are obliterated in seconds. Suede, for all that is good about it, hasn’t evolved to deal with simple household rain. Sadly, this counts out desert boots, which are fantastic shoe/boots. So, leather only.

3. If they’re comfortable, don’t get them.

The rule of thumb when buying trainers is that if they feel good, that’s great news, you should get them. The opposite is true of a decent pair of shoes. They will eventually mould into the right shape, but this should take a couple of months of crippling pain, bleeding feet, and silent tears down side streets. It will be worth it in the long run. The less comfortable, the longer lastable, so says our slogan.

4. Pay above the odds.

You’re not bargain hunting, you’re making a long term investment – like buying a house. A decent pair of shoes should last you a couple of years of day to day wear, so do some simple maths. In that time you’d probably burn through at least six pairs of trainers, spending hundreds. You are therefore allowed to flirt with three figures.

And that’s it. You now know how to buy shoes. Next time, how to correctly purchase a shirt.

Josh Burt
About the author:
Josh has been a writer and journalist for the best part of twenty years and has written for modern staples like FHM and Cosmopolitan and The Daily Telegraph and The Sun. He has also written a small handful of so-so books that you can still buy.

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