Men's shoes buying guide

 

This guide is designed to explain what each style looks like; provide you with your European, US and Japanese shoe sizes; and give you some tips on care and what to wear with your new footwear.

Parts and construction

Sections of a shoe

  • Upper Material that comes over the foot to ensure shoe stays attached to foot.
  • Lining Is the inside part of the upper. It can be made of same or material as uppers, but not necessarily.
  • Welt A strip of material that's stitched between the sole and upper.
  • Outsole The bottom part of a shoes.
  • Insole The part that comes in contact with the bottom of your foot.
  • Midsole The section between the between the outsole and insole.

 

Types of construction

Goodyear Welt
This traditional method of construction involves stitching an extra strip of leather, known as a welt, between the upper and the insole. A cavity is formed, which is then filled with cork for breathability. Besides making the shoes more comfortable and durable, this process also means that they can easily be resoled. So although the initial cost of the shoes will be higher, Goodyear-welted shoes will last longer and provide insulation against the cold and heat.

Cemented
An easier and less expensive way of making shoes. The outsole is glued to the insole and under flaps of the upper by an adhesive agent. The space between the outsole and insole is packed with filler material to create a flat footbed.

Stitch-down

The under flaps (bottom edge) of the upper is folded outward and stitched to the sole.

Moccasin

The upper is wrapped around the last and is sewn together at the seam created under the last.

Choosing a style

Even if smart shoes have a fashion-forward design, most of them can be categorised into the following types.

Fashion and care advice

Style tips

  • When wearing a suit or formal trousers, you need to make sure your belt matches the colour of your shoes.
  • Try to avoid wearing trainers with a suit, but if you must, then do so with lots of attitude and copious amounts of confidence; otherwise you'll look immature - not very attractive.
  • A general rule for teaming footwear with a suit is to find a pair that's as dark, if not darker than the suit. This means you can get away with wearing brown shoes with a navy suit if the shoes are as dark as the suit. Brown shoes of any shade should not be worn with a black suit.
  • Socks don't have to match your shoes, so don't be afraid to experiment. Just make sure they work with the rest of the outfit. Pick your socks, like you would pick your tie.
  • Although jeans go with any style or colour footwear, it's best to avoid wearing patent dress shoes with them.
  • And finally, never, ever wear socks with sandals! Even if they're Birkenstocks.

 

Care guide

  • Suede shoes really need to be treated with a protective spray. Invest in a suede brush to keep the nap raised and the suede looking new.
  • Make sure new shoes with leather soles are well scuffed before you wear them in the rain or on a well-waxed floor. Don't stick rubber soles onto them!
  • Prop up wet shoes with old newspaper and let them dry naturally, as this will prevent the uppers from cracking and the leather layers of the soles from separating.
  • Shoe trees are a necessity when it comes to high-end shoes.
  • Regularly check your shoes for any scuffs or worn soles and seek professional help to fix the problem. A good repair shop can dramatically prolong the life of your shoes.

 

Sizings

Sizing chart

UK 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 12.0
Europe 39 39.5 40 40.5 41 41.5 42 42.5 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46
US 6 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 12.0 12.5 13.0
Japan 24 24.5 25 25.5 26 26.5 27 27.5 28 28.5 29 29.5 30 30.5 31

Timberland sizing chart

UK 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 12.0
Europe 38 39 39.5 40 41 41.5 42 43 43.5 44 44.5 45 45.5 46 47
US 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 12.0 12.5
Japan 24 24 24.5 25 25.5 26 26.5 27 27 27.5 28 28.5 29 29.5 30