This post was written by Lindy Shopper.
I am often curious about men’s footwear, specifically for Lindy Hop and Balboa. You see everything from sneakers to wingtips, but the options for shoes made specifically for dancing are drastically more limited than women’s options. My friend Matt Mitchell from Austin, Texas posed this question on Facebook: “Looking to retire the Aris Allens. What shoes would you recommend? Nick, David, Jeremy, Mickey, and any other lead?” I’d like to know the answer to this myself!
Jon Tigert chimed in first with his endorsement for Pronto Uomo brown leather oxfords, adding that “they are mostly a clothes company, but the shoes hold up great and are super comfortable.” A quick search of the internets revealed very little in the way of offerings for purchase, but if you are looking for tuxedo shoes for this year’s Lindy Focus, their patent leather tuxedo shoes are available at Men’s Wearhouse. A search of eBay shows that there are a lot of these shoes being sold used, which translates into savings for you.
Nick Williams‘ shoe of choice has been discontinued, Nordstrom brand loafers, but Jeremy Otth posted a link to a pair of loafers from Nordstrom that could fit the bill. Nick says that this particular loafer is different in terms of design, so his search for a new favorite dance shoe continues. David Lee adds that he is wearing the new Nordstrom loafers, which were a little hard on his feet until he bought inserts, and they are now great.
Andreas Olsson favors these sweet Moreschi Italian loafers, acknowledging that they are pricey, but that they are very comfortable and extremely durable. He’s still wearing the pair he bought in 2006.
In terms of general brand recommendations, Carl Nelson recommends Florsheim because they fit his feet well. Jason Swihart* perfers Allen Edmonds, but adds that “any quality men’s shoes with a flexible, not-too-heavy leather sole (if the heel is rubber, you can have it replaced)” is good. Jeremy says that Stacy Adams shoes are good if you like a thicker sole, but he prefers the Nordstrom loafer so he can “feel the floor.”
Other general tips:
– Buy shoes that fit your feet.
– Shoe trees and leather treatment can help make shoes fit you better.
– Vintage shoes are a viable option, especially if you have narrow feet.
– If you find a pair of shoes you like and they aren’t leather on the bottom or on the heel, you can always find a cobbler and have them soled in leather or suede.
I found this discussion very useful and broadening in terms of knowning what options are available to men. It appears that classic men’s shoe makers/retailers are the most viable options outside of the Aris Allen brand. Thanks to all who participated in this conversation for your feedback and the results of your trials and errors.
* Mr. Swihart appears on the Lindy Shopper blog with the permission of his legal counsel.