One important question to ask if you are new to dress shoes is "What makes a quality dress shoe?"
There are several key factors that contribute to the quality of a dress shoe, including:
1. Material: The quality of the material used to make the shoe is critical. Leather is the most common material for dress shoes, and high-quality leather will be soft, supple, and durable.
Look for shoes made from full-grain leather, which is the highest quality leather available.
At Norman Vilalta we source our leathers from the finest tanneries in Europe, including Tanneries du Puy and Tanneries du Annonay of France (both owned by Hermes), Weinheimer of Germany, and Charles F Stead of the United Kingdom.
2. Construction: The construction of the shoe is also important. Quality dress shoes are typically made using either Goodyear welt or Blake stitch construction, which provide durability and flexibility, and allow for the shoe to be resoled. Avoid shoes with glued-on soles.
At Norman Vilalta, our Condal Collection is Goodyear-welted and hand-finished by our team of artisans in our workshop in Barcelona, Spain. We also offer our Brava Collection, a line of lightweight Blake construction shoes for the warmer weather months.
3. Comfort: A good quality dress shoe should be comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. Look for shoes with cushioned insoles, and pay attention to the fit. A well-fitting shoe should have a snug but not overly tight feel.
Shoes should fit snug in the toe-box with slight room for your toes to move around. The facings of your shoes should be slightly open (1.5 - 2 cm) at the top where you lace-up your shoes. This signifies a nice fit in the instep. At the heel, your foot should stay put with minimal slippage.
4. Style: Dress shoes come in many different styles, from oxfords to monk straps to loafers. Look for a style that suits your personal taste and the occasion you plan to wear them for.
Although changes to traditional shoes is slow and subtle, there are some trends that affect even the more conservative dress shoe world such as the move to more comfortable rubber soles. Since comfort is so important at Norman Vilalta, rubber soles from Vibram have been an important detail of many of our quality dress shoes.
The brand of the shoe can also be an indicator of quality. Look for brands with a reputation for making high-quality dress shoes that are known to incorporate the four details above.
Overall, quality dress shoes should be made from high-quality materials, have solid construction, be comfortable to wear, and have a style that suits your needs.
We hope that this short guide has helped you to better understand what makes a quality dress shoe. We encourage you to browse our selection of high-quality dress shoes and hope to have you in a pair sometime in the near future.