Buying expensive shoes is a difficult decision that many people face. If you are wondering whether or not it’s worth it, this post will give you the insight to make the right choice for your needs and budget.
So, are expensive shoes worth it? Expensive shoes are usually worth the investment. However, I can’t give you a definite answer whether or not to buy expensive high-quality footwear because of all different factors like how often you wear them and what durability and comfort level is desired. If you are going to wear shoes every day, the price of the shoes should be worth it for the comfort and durability.
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Why Do People Buy Expensive Shoes?
People buy expensive shoes because of their appearance, comfort, and durability.
First off, the most important aspect of buying shoes, in my opinion, is comfort. Sure, appearance is nice, but if you’re not comfortable in them then what’s the point? Next, durability is a major factor as well.
Sure, those obnoxious bright blue shoes that nobody would ever wear except for you might be super cute now, but will they still look this good next month? Or even worse – do they already look worn out and old because you wore them just twice?
Finally, always buy shoes that are well-made. They should be sewn together rather than glued. The sole of the shoe should be thick and sturdy with nice and intricate stitching to hold the sole with the upper.
What Factors Make Shoes Really Expensive?
Shoes can be really expensive for a variety of reasons. It’s important to understand these factors before making your next purchase so that you don’t end up paying too much for something that isn’t worth it.
The most important factor that makes the worth of the shoe is the “comfort”. It doesn’t matter whether it is a dress shoe or casual shoe, if you have to stand for long hours or you like to walk every day over long distances, comfort should be your main priority.
Whether the shoe is comfortable or not depends on if it feels tight, can be worn for a long period without feeling pain, and does not wear down easily.
For instance, Allen Edmonds shoes are extremely comfortable as their leather is soft and can easily conform to your feet. Furthermore, Allen Edmonds shoes are available in a variety of lasts so that you can find the right fit for your shoes. That’s why Allen Edmonds are one of the most expensive dress shoes.
Rockport shoes are one of the most comfortable loafers that allow you to stand for long hours on your feet. Their medium-range price is because of the comfort they provide.
Also, due to comfort, Cole Haan dress shoes are priced for more than $200. Although their leather quality is really cheap, due to their highly cushioned sole and variety of styles, people agree to buy them for high prices. Check my guide on Cole Haan shoes to investigate their different styles and learn how they are comfortable.
If we check out casual shoes like Vans Authentics, their ComfyCush line is expensive as compared to the original line. Although the price difference is minimal i.e. 5USD, you’re paying extra 5 bucks for the comfortable insoles in the Vans ComfyCush shoe line. You can check my guide on the Vans shoes for more details.
In general, durability is one of the biggest factors that determines the cost of shoes. If you’re buying casual wear, you probably won’t have to worry too much about this. But if you want to invest in a pair of dress shoes, for example, it’s important to make sure the materials used are strong enough to hold up under daily use.
You will have better quality materials and craftsmanship for your money. The stitching is more intricate and they typically last longer because of the higher-quality leathers used to make them.
There are the following factors that decide the durability of the dress shoes.
- Craftmanship and Method of Construction
- Leather quality
Leather quality matters are a lot in determining the worth, quality, and durability of the shoes. There are three different types of leather:
- Full-grain leather
- Corrected-grain leather
- Synthetic leather
Full-grain leather is of the highest quality among all leathers. It is made from the outermost layer of the hide. It is the most expensive, but also the strongest and longest-lasting. It’s made from the whole surface area of the animal hide, including all of the grain, which makes it nearly impossible to scratch or penetrate. The grain is densely packed fiber, which is very durable and strong.
Today, most dress shoe brands claim that they are made of full-grain leather. They are just trying to loot your money.
You should first check the original reviews of respective shoe brands before buying them. I’ve researched different shoe brands and found that Allen Edmonds and Meermin dress shoes make shoes from full-grain leather.
Comparatively, the leather of both brands is durable, but Allen Edmonds shoes have relatively thicker leather and are easier to break in. You can also check my guide on Meermin and Allen Edmonds shoes for more details about their leather.
Due to full-grain leather, Allen Edmond shoes can last up to 10 years and Meermin dress shoes can last up to 5 years.
Corrected-grain leather is an inexpensive alternative to full-grain leather that has a coating placed on it before it’s finished. The grains on the corrected-grain leather are removed. The top layer is sanded to remove some imperfections and irregularities in the finish. After that, the layer is dyed to improve its appearance. Moreover, dress shoes made from corrected-grain leather also tend to crease faster. You can check my guide on how to get rid of the creases on such dress shoes
You will observe corrected-grain leather in the dress shoes of the medium price range. Their price is generally less than $200. Rockport dress shoes feature corrected-grain leather. That’s the reason they are cheaper than ECCO dress shoes with similar features as ECCO dress shoes are made of full-grain leather. You can also check my guide on ECCO vs Rockport shoes for more details.
The third type of leather is synthetic leather. It is made from a chemical called polyurethane. It is also durable leather, but it is quite stiffer and takes time to break in as compared to natural leather. The dress shoes made from synthetic leather are cheaper than the dress shoes made from corrected-grain or full-grain leather. Example of such shoes includes Stacy Adams. They are the most inexpensive dress shoes under $100 of price due to their cheap synthetic leather that peels of readily.
Craftmanship and Method of Construction
The method of dress shoe construction is also a deciding factor of their price. Furthermore, labor skill also contributes to the cost of a dress shoe.
Allen Edmonds and Meermin dress manufacturing is handled by the labor of the respective brand. Due to this reason, they don’t compromise on the quality and set the cost higher. On the other hand, brands like Johnston and Murphy, and Cole Haan outsource their shoe manufacturing to a third party, due to which the quality is not properly assured.
Furthermore, AE and Meermin shoes are Goodyear welt constructed, which makes the shoes highly durable as the sole is stitched to a piece called a welt, which is placed between the upper and the sole. Also, Goodyear welted shoes can easily be resoled if the rubber of dress shoes is damaged. Resoling is pretty much affordable that makes your dress shoes look new so that you can wear them for a decade.
Another method by which dress shoes are constructed is the cemented technique. It is a low cost and fast construction technique in which the sole is directly glued to the upper. The dress shoes made through cemented technique are cheaper and not so durable.
Some brands add stitches or welt piece on those shoes just for the sake of the decoration. Also, cemented dress shoes are difficult to be resoled as it requires the technique to separate the glued sole from the upper.
Style Also Matters
This is one of the most important factors when shopping for shoes and also adds some factor to the price. The more stylish shoes are, the more they are demanded by the people. For some people, style is everything. But if you think dressing up every day will be a requirement, it’s probably best to look for something that will match your style.
Since Johnston and Murphy and Cole Haan shoes are available in a variety of styles, they are still popular among people despite their poor quality.
Are Expensive Running Shoes Worth It?
It entirely depends on your running distance, running speed, frequency of running, and your running weight. Sometimes, you want a lighter racing shoe or a more cushioned stability shoe.
For running shoes, it’s not about the price. The thing matters in running shoes are your comfort and fit. I’ve seen people feeling uncomfortable with inexpensive shoes like Nike Pegasus, and feeling content with the inexpensive PUMA running shoe pair.
Sometimes, runners even buy inexpensive junior running shoes as they run occasionally over short distances, due to which they don’t want to break their bank to buy expensive running shoes which are highly durable and cushioned.
Buying expensive running shoes may or may not be fruitful for you. Many runners, who buy expensive running shoes, end up damaging them earlier due to the incompatibility of their running stride with running shoes.
While buying running shoes, you should first analyze whether you’re a heel striker or midfoot striker. Also, analyze do you suffer from overpronation or supination? There is no direct correlation between the price of running shoes and their positive effect on improving your performance or minimizing the risk of injuries. If you suffer from overpronation and you buy expensive neutral running shoes, they will not only cause instability issues for you but will also wear and tear earlier.
Similarly, if you’re a heel striker and need running shoes with high heel drop if you buy expensive $170 worth of highly cushioned HOKA running shoes with zero heel drop, they are not going to be better for you at all.
However, if you’re comparing two running shoes having stability features and the same heel drop and they differ in their price, you should go for the higher-end option as it would offer more cushioning and durability.
Must Read: Are heavy running shoes bad for you
An example of such running shoes is ASICS GT 1000 and ASICS Kayano. Both are stability running shoes with the same heel drop, but they differ in cushioning and durability. If ASICS GT 1000 is Civic, then Kayano is Ferrari. If you’re an everyday fast-paced runner, you should go for the ASICS Gel Kayano option.
Moreover, for expensive running shoes, you also pay for the price of a perfect knitted upper. For instance, if you compare the upper of Brooks shoes with the upper of ASICS shoes, Brooks shoes upper is much better due to its durability, while keeping the running shoes lighter in weight. That’s why Brooks shoes are expensive than ASICS shoes.
TIP: Running shoe brands also offer heavy discounts on their last year’s models. Do check their website regularly if you want to buy your favorite pair of running shoes at affordable prices.