There’s a group of guys out there who turn their noses up at shoes under $200. The leather won’t be excellent, the soles will almost always be glued instead of stitched, and these guys claim anything less than a pair of Allen Edmonds or Aldens will leave you up shoe sh*t creek in no time flat, because sub $200 shoes “always” fall apart.
What these guys don’t understand, is that there are plenty of us who: 1. Have never had major quality issues with cheap shoes, and we can make them last with decent care, 2. don’t want to be married to a pair of shoes for the next decade, and 3. don’t have the cash on hand to lay down for bulletproof oxfords… even if they are a fine investment.
The ten pairs below look good enough to catch some stares, and they’re inexpensive enough that they’d make a snotty shoe snob’s toes curl.
Another potential major winner from the DSW house brands of Mike Konos and Mercanti Fiorentini. Made in Italy with decent quality and great looking leathers. Leather sole, good looking toe shape, and while the soles aren’t stitched, these brands seem to hold up real well. Will get cheaper when DSW runs their next tiered sale. Need an ultra cheap doppelganger? These run only $70, and more on those tomorrow. Through today, 5/7, use the code BIGSTYLE to save $5 on one pair of shoes. SHIPR gets free shipping if you join their email club. Hey, it’s something…
Not one for all the fancy perforations, medaillons, or wing tips? Or maybe you just want something clean, sleek, but not too trendy either. They’re almost sold out online, but these from DSW’s Mercanti Fiorentini should satiate the Budget Minimalists appetite for clean, closed lacing dress shoes in black. The way those lines sweep and crawl halfway up the laces give it a real modern look. Made in Italy. And like the Mike Konos above, through today, 5/7, use the code BIGSTYLE to save $5 on one pair of shoes. SHIPR should work too.
From the Nordstom house brand and as inexpensive as it’ll get for a pair of shoes with this kind of look. A true oxford with closed lacing. Full review here. Ships and returns free via Nordstrom. Toe could be a little rounder.
And for fifty bucks more, you get the Calibrate’s big brother. Made in Italy with a more traditional toe shape. More elegant than the Brandon, but fifty bucks is a lot of money. More over here.
Hugo Boss Matano – $139.30 ($275) | Cenerello Wingtip – $129.50 ($225)
Both drop to the prices shown here during the many extra 30% off sales LastCall.com seems to run. They’re running one now, and it happens to end today. The Matano is a pretty basic, modern wingtip with what they call an “almond toe”. The Cenerello has been kicking around for awhile, and it’s a wingtip that looks smoother than most thanks to a lack of those sawtoothed pinked edges and perforations. Consider those an extra pair to the list, since sizes are getting short.
For the traditionalists who don’t want a lot of flash. Just a plain, brown, cap-toe dress shoe with a rubber sole. Equipped with Nike Air, like most Cole Haan shoes, and like most Cole Haan shoes, this one started out awfully high at full retail. Dropped down to an about right price through Endless.
Made in Italy and sold through Yoox. Their wingtip boots did real well during the wingtip boot search, and this is just one pair of dress shoes that they offer. Cap toe and brogue styling. True oxford. Available in brown too.
The Mr. B’s collaboration has done wonders for Aldo’s reputation. They’re upgraded shoes with plenty of looks, and clock in at reasonable prices. Scared off by the “dotted detailing?” They make a similar black and brown pair called the “Decost” that doesn’t have it.
Not the first time these have appeared on the site, and they’re one of the few pairs of shoes that look this good, hit this price range, and come in a wide width. Now if they’d just make a brown version.
The star of this list. A wholecut oxford for under two bills is a rare thing. Made in India from Italian Calfskin uppers that have slight shade variations throughout… but it’s subtle enough that it totally adds to the look. A lone medallion with little other detailing aside from a sweeping line of stitching and a few perforations on either side of the achilles. Leather quality feels surprisingly good. Real slim so if you’ve got a widefoot, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Once again, no stitched soles here and they come with a “bondwelt” construction, but man do they look good.
Got a favorite pair of dress shoes under $200? Under $100 even? Your picks go in the comments.