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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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 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 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 them 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 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 . The marketing showing the flexible sole isn't 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 embedded 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 Lunar 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 updating many styles by rereleasing them modified to incorporate the thickness of the cushioning, but Brooks Brothers actually did one better and topped that with the raised arch. If you put your foot in an Allen Edmondsshoe, 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... it all comes down to the comfort



 

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I tried them on a few days ago. Very comfortable but not a sleek shoe at all. If I had to walk several blocks a day in the city I would no doubt feel differently.


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Matt, thank you for that marvelous review! Very informative.

It seems comfort in footwear is very much an individual thing. I've had Alden AE and many Italian makes, but consistently find that UK lasts usually work best for me. I happen to be wearing a pair of Cheaney chukkas on their 125 last. And while it's slightly elongated, which is an aesthetic I generally don't prefer, it's still a good looking boot, and supremely comfortable! Though on might not think so looking at it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When it comes to Lasts, I'm a huge needer of the a narrow heel and a wide forefoot. It's just frustrating finding this fit which when scouring through vintage shops seams to be the norm, but near impossible to get today. Also... even looking at the old Johnston and Murphy Crown Aristcrafts and Aristocrafts, they appear to have known exactly what arch support was as it's built into many of their styles from the 1940s and before. I don't know why near flat footbeds and narrow toe boxes are the norm outside of them looking sleeker over comfort as we now have a sneaker option. I prefer a dress shoe I can wear all day.

What I love most so far... The Alden Truflare last My best fit is the 9 1/2 EE and Alden has informed me that they will never make a shoe on that last again.
The fastest dress shoes I've ever worn out.

Next up would be the Allen Edmond's 511E, it's not used enough, but I had them make me a pair of Cambridge Shell Codovans on it and aside from having to add arch supports, the shape is dreamy for my foot. Wide in the forefoo and close to the toe.

I'm near buying a pair of the new Allen Edmonds Whitney just to see how the shape compares to the 511E. The toe box appears great when tried on at the store and it's on the 42 Last. I have high hopes but seeing all the marketing they are flat inside and I believe will require me finding the right arch support to add.

The Golden Fleece are amazingly comfortable because they have that arch shaped into the footbed which is perhaps closest to those old JM Aristocraft builds. The issue of the toe being long and out there does cause for some curb bumping but the comfort and how it just leaves the balls of my feet pain free for a standing day is completely worth the purchase.
 
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