The $100 – $200 Dress Shoe Search: Nordstrom Cap Toe

Shoes with curb appeal but without the sticker shock.

In Person:  John W. Nordstrom Adrian – $175.00

Forget Liza and her bucket.  There’s a hole in the men’s shoe market.  Specifically, oxfords or dress bluchers that are decently made, look great, and cost somewhere between one and two hundred dollars.  Not everyone has the cash for $400 stunners, and not everyone wants to wear department store clearance rack specials.  The search is on for these endangered shoe species, and if you’ve got a bead on one, feel free to send in a style tip.

The Pros
  • The Shape:  Toe shape is perfect.  Certainly not too elongated, but not stumpy either.  Slim but not thin.  Adult but not elderly.
    .
  • The Styling Details:  Perforations, a true oxford with closed lacing, and a terrific medallion.
    .
  • The Color:  The shade of the Italian leather is a right in the middle, not too dark, not too light brown.  Not dark chocolate, not cognac.  A rich, medium brown.  Should go perfect with all kinds of blues.
    .
  • The Free Shipping:  Free returns too.  Always a huge plus when ordering shoes online.
    .
  • The Construction:  Made in Italy with a soft leather lining and leather sole.  Finding shoes at this price point that have the sole stitched on, rather than just glued, is going to be close to impossible.  So yeah, these are almost surely glued.  Regardless, these feel nice and solid.  Not flimsy feeling at all.
The Cons
  • The Price:  $175 is getting up there, and you have to hope that these would drop below $150 during a half-yearly sale or something like that.
    .
  • The Leather Quality:  It’s okay.  Just fine if you’re not right up close to the shoes.  Not paper thin by any means, but the leather isn’t bulletproof either.  Has that maybe-too-smooth look like DSW’s made in Italy shoes.
    .
  • Available only in medium width:  They fit true to size but they’re on the slim side.  Wide foot fellas can forget it.
The Bottom Line

They look great, feel great, and offer a more classic alternative to the DSW lightly chisel-toed Mercanti Fiorentini’s.  But the DSW options can dip to $120 or under during sales, and since these are from Nordstrom, sales will be few and far between.  $175 is also getting awfully close to that “why not just wait for an Allen Edmonds clearance sale” category, but if the slimmer lines, style, and right-now availability are what you want, then they’re there for the taking.