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Just a little bit on some of the newer offerings out there before I go into talking about Brooks Brothers' new shoes...

I tried the J. Crew Ludlow and found them to be very much like the Buzz Rickson Officer shoes. They just end up being excruciating on the ball and heel of my foot as the footbed they use just doesn't, or takes too long, to conform to a foot as well as an Alden or Allen Edmonds shoe conforms.

J. Crew has a fantastic last for my foot when it comes to the ankle boots and the wingtips, wide in the front and narrow in the heel, yet when they do their captoes they use a last that is, I'd Guess, three sizes too narrow in the forefoot... if you like one style, you can't buy the other... and I bought both and regretted the captoe for the narrowness of the forefoot expecting it to be like the wingtips, then regretted the, both for the fact that they choose denser leathers for their footbeds perhaps not knowing that it doesn't make for a more comfortable shoe. I see their want to reproduce the Alden shoe, but the materials they chose may cost more, but they aren't made for feet and comfort.

Now to the Golden Fleece shoes by Brooks Brothers.

The criticisms first... They aren't Alden, they aren't Allen Edmonds... they are perhaps the heaviest shoes I've ever seen from an Italian maker. The marketing showing the flexible sole is'nt very helpful as they are just as flexible as an Allen Edmonds shoe and I don't see much special in pushing that as an asset. I Wish they came in wide widths and that the sole didn't have the rubber tap imbedded in the leather so they slid a bit better as I am heavily into shoes that can transition from walking to dancing and these definitely walk, but they do not dance.

That being said... They are ridiculously comfortable and absolutely made for the walking Manhattanite that may like the Cole Haan Luner styles because they have a wingtip styling with the sneaker sole, but they still aren't the look of the classic leather dress shoe.

What I see makes the golden fleece comfortable is their build. They have a raised arch where I think they put a thicker layer of cork than other shoe companies. Above that is a traditional footbed of leather and above that is a removable ortholite footbed of very dense foam rubber. It's very much what Allen Edmonds is doing with their poron footbeds and how AE is now uptating many styles by rereleasing them modified to incorporate the thickness of the cusioning, but Brooks Brothers actually did one better and toipped that with the raised arch. If you put your foot in an Allen Edmonds shoe, it's still a flat surface, whereas the Brooks Brothers shoe completely meets and supports your arch, and that in concert with the dense foam rubber footbed, it just makes for a very comfortable shoe that feels orthopedically the best I've worn in years.

I've been putting arch supports in my Allen Edmonds and Aldens for about a decade and a half and these are the first shoes I've worn that require nothing extra. It's more than the three hour shoe.

I hope they do some two tones in the line and just do a full leather sole without the rubber tap, and I know it's a godsend in wet weather in Manhattan, but if I could special order them with all leather soles so I could dance in them I would.

Try them on and tell me what you think... It's been a week, and I'm still amazed at how they feel, and when it comes to their price compared to other $600 range shoes on the market... the comfort makes the decision.

The uppers are always the topics of most shoe companies... some have smoother than others, Allen Edmonds has a bit of a grainy look, Alden is a bit smoother, the English shoes are smoother and if too smooth we worry about corrected grain, but the uppers on these are superb as well. Very fine calf skin... they look like the executive shoe from the 1940s.

Try them on and definitely tell them Matt Deckard sent you. Also, post what you think here. These aren't the Peal and Co. shoes, or the Alfred Seargent... just the Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece and I need another pair.

I'll ad some pics soon.
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