Creedy Commentary


The Lesson of the $300 Shoes

Blucher-BalmoralLast week’s blog sparked a lively conversation on and offline about clothing. From those conversations I think it might help to add one more insight.

It was 1989. George H.W. Bush was president. I had just come from a podiatrist because my feet were in constant pain. I have flat feet. My prescription: wear only tie shoes with “blucher style” laces. (see photo blucher is on the left)

I happened to be walking through the shoe department of a local men’s store when this ancient man (95 year old Mr. Eggerton) hailed me with “Your shoes are too small.”

“How do you know?” I responded.

“I can tell by how they crease.”

That man knew shoes and feet. I told him my story. Up until then I had been wearing Johnston and Murphy which I thought pretty expensive at $125 a pair.

Mr. Eggerton introduced me to Allen Edmonds brand. The $300 pair put me in shock and I had to go home and think about it for a couple of days.

I remember Mr. Eggerton’s parting comment: “These will be the least expensive shoes you ever buy. If you take care of them, resole them and reheel them as needed, you will be wearing them 15 years from now.”

I still have those shoes. I have lost count of the resoling and reheeling. They don’t look exactly new but they are still very serviceable as dress shoes. And, boy, do they take a shine.

I learned two lessons from Mr. Eggerton:

  1. There are experts in every field no matter how humble. Find them and listen to them.
  2. Inexpensive clothing is an expense and expensive over time. Quality clothing looks better lasts longer and is often significantly less expensive. Quality is a long – term investment. Those $300 shoes (excluding reheeling and resoling) amortized over their 26 year life now have an annual cost of $11.53.

6 Responses

  1. Todd Angood

    I can speak to the value of ownership of Allen Edmond shoes. I own 14 pair of them. To keep them tip top, when they are in need of resole, send them back to the factory. I sent three pair back that were 10 years old. They came back almost as new. That was four years ago.

  2. Allen Edmunds Headquarters is a mere 20 miles from me. There, they have a factory store. Over the last 30 years, I have invested in several pairs of well made Allen Edmunds Shoes. As Allen indicated, these shoes last for decades, I almost needed to have a funeral for a pair I purchased in 1986, had been rebuilt several times, but finally went to shoe heaven in 2010! Two points well taken.

  3. Darryl Sturino

    Dear Mr. Creedy,
    A little story I would like to share with you in regards to your blog in regards to clothing.
    My son and I where in a men’s clothing store picking up some newly purchased suits and ties, when the clerk presented me with the total, my son looked at me with surprise and shock in regards to the total, as I very nicely mentioned to him, which he still remembers these words to this day,
    ” Son, it is not good to look cheap, but it is not cheap to look good.”
    He smiled and nodded. He and I speak of that day often, he has never forgotten those words.
    Words to live and dress by,
    best regards,

  4. Glenn Taylor

    Two Anecdotes

    One: The high spirited mother of friends of mine always good naturedly chided me about my “undertaker shoes”. She was right of course. Allan-Edmonds Park Avenue cap toe oxfords are the quintessential undertakers shoes; never particularly fashionable but always in style. And always supportive throughout a long day. Fashion is dictated by others while style is of one’s own creation.

    Two: The late Alex Broussard of Beaumont, Texas is credited by his son Tom with the following observation: “When you’re well dressed, you’re noticed. When you’re not, you’re talked about.”

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