How To Look And Be Tip-Top Pt. II: Tip of Your Shoes

Continuing our discussion about the life philosophy of Tip-Top, we begin to discuss theAE boots particular elements of those things that are within your control. As we previously said, the basis for being and looking Tip-Top (How To Look and Be Tip-Top) is style, grooming and life. With the framework of looking good from the Tip of your shoes to the Top of your head, we begin at the Tip of your shoes.

I have written several articles about shoes in the past (Allen Edmonds Broadstreet, Shoes Are Essential) and strongly believe that they are one of the most powerful essentials to style that can speak volumes without ever saying a word.

The process for choosing the best shoe for the right occasion can be bewildering to some but there are a few rules of thumb that can eliminate faux pas. Rule #1, let the occasion highly influence your choice of shoe. A formal or informal occasions may require you to up the ante and select a classic/elegant or tennis shoe. Rule #2, make an impression with your shoes and let the shoes speak for themselves. Although, making an impression with your shoes cannot be the overriding factor. Going to a picnic in wingtips and trying to play volleyball in nike shoethem may not be the best choice. Rule #3, know your style and clothing because you may not be able to pull off the desired look. Not everyone can rock penny loafers or Harley boots and a pair of 501’s so be cognizant of what your personal style.

More importantly, know who and what you are before you venture out to the wild blue yonder. The best impression you can make is that which comes natural to you. No shoe, hair style, or article of clothing can ever substitute for the type of person you truly are and that will either attract or repel others.

Starting from the bottom, Tip of your shoes, and working our way to the Top will help you not only understand your style but also portray it effectively to others. Regardless of your choice of shoes remain passionate and confident in who and what you are and only then can you achieve a state of being Tip-Top.

Mr. M

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Review: The Broadstreet By Allen Edmonds


The thud from a rubber heel and the slap of the leather sole declares that a Gentleman is on the move, with each step confidence and style becomes audible. A quality shoe contains high-grade materials and craftsmanship that makes a lasting impression. I am pleased and honored to review the Broadstreet shoe from an American institution, Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation Belgium, Wisconsin.

Established in 1922, AE  has weathered many economic and global conflicts, ranging from the Great Depression, WWII and Disco! Although there has been changes in manufacturing and fashion, AE remained on course and never compromised on quality and craftsmanship. Not only did AE supply GI’s during WWII with standard issue Army boots (above image) and dress uniform shoes, the Park Avenue model has been worn by U.S. Presidents (Reagan- Bush II, Obama on occasion)! Whether a Gentleman was fighting on the Stock Exchange or at the Battle of the Bulge, you can bet they were more than likely wearing AE.

The Broadstreet made its debut in 1922 and was re-released in 2012 for the 90th anniversary. The name originates from the cross street at the New York Stock Exchange. It is a two-tone spectator shoe with a wingtip pattern. The shoebox I received is a matte black box emblazoned with gold lettering that reads, “Allen Edmonds The Great American Shoe Company”. Before I opened the box, AE displayed confidence in the quality and craftsmanship of their product.

Opening the shoebox reveals another surprise, because there is two soft cotton bags that protect the shoes from dust. Picking up the bag I noticed a sturdy and solid shoe that were not heavy and felt balanced. As I pulled the shoe out of the bag, the smell of fine crafted leather was strong and revealed volumes of information about its creation. The shoes bear the signature of being handcrafted, with crisp lines and stitching that serve as testimony of solid craftsmanship. The shoe is beautifully matched with a rich walnut and bone finish. I hesitated to wear them for a few weeks but eventually I would need to.

The walnut finish is rich and deep and highlights the intricate design patterns. The wingtip pattern is a classic design that allows the walnut and bone finish to compliment the circular and linear shapes that oscillate between light and dark tones. The patterns found in the bone are subtle and in the background, while the finish highlights the foreground. In addition to the walnut and bone finish, the leather sole is dark translucent brown that displays the layers of leather. Overall, the colors and shades create a simple but powerful statement that is timeless.

The shoes are very comfortable to wear because AE has crafted them with comfort and style in mind. Beneath the insoles is a layer of cork that will eventually conform to the shape of the foot and produce an “orthotic-like fit”, AE calls this feature “custom cork comfort”. The shoe is constructed by hand using their 212-step 360o Goodyear welt construction process. The Broadstreet comes in a few color combinations, a matching belt is also available.

If I had to rate the shoe 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I would confidently give the shoe a 12+! The shoe is crafted with high-grade materials and quality construction. Moreover, the shoe is re-craftable, which is the process of rebuilding the shoe from the bottom up for a fraction of the purchase price. Now that the topic of cost has been broached, the price of the shoe (about $345) reflects the high-grade material and quality construction. In a previous article ( I stated that a quality shoe may cost you around $400 and will last you more than 10 years, which works out to $40 a year for a hand crafted shoe made in the U.S.A!

It is not rare to find AE vintage shoes selling for $150+, which affirms the craftsmanship and longevity of a high quality shoe. The Broadstreet is a portrait of what you could expect to find at a shoe cobbler 91 years ago. If you are in the market for a quality shoe with a timeless design the Broadstreet is a homerun. Whether you wear them with denim or pinstripe slacks the Broadstreet will impress. Check out AE’s website for many great shoes and follow them on Facebook for great deals and special pricing.

This really blew me away, I visited a store as a secret customer and the service was amazing! It was during the busy holiday season and I walked in wearing old cowboy boots, 501’s and a vintage Pendleton and was treated like a Fortune 500 executive! Wait it gets better, the young woman that helped me was very knowledgeable and courteous as she brought me several shoes. She treated me like a customer who was going to make a purchase, even after I told her I was just looking. Thank you Kesia and Jeff for everything! (@Philadelphia location now, I believe)

Overall, AE shoes and customer service proves they are “The Great American Shoe Company”.

Allen Edmonds on Facebook

Allen Edmonds online

Mr. M


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Shoes Are Essential


When it comes to style there is only essentials and essentials. Why do I say that? Well pants, shirt and shoes are essentials contrary to popular belief that shoes are accessories. According to my favorite MacBook dictionary an accessory is, “a small article or item of clothing carried or worn to complement a garment or outfit.”  The shoes a Gentleman wears should not to be overlooked or minimized because they are one of the few things that can speak about your personality, confidence and style without a word ever being spoken (see articles: “The Craftsmanship of Barbers” and “Mustache: Style and Personality”). In this article I will exclusively deal with classic dress shoes the style, color and manufacture.

Before we get to the nuts and bolts of the article, a good example of how shoes create an impression can be found on the hit show Boardwalk Empire. In the intro to each episode before you ever see the main character’s face, Nucky Thompson played by Steve Buscemi, there is a close up (click image above) of his shoes! Immediately you know his style and character based upon the essentials, heavy pinstripe pants with a pair of spectator wingtips. At the end of the opening scenes there is a close up of Nucky’s eyes followed by another view (click image to left) of the shoes!  Everyone who has watched the show will forever associate black and tan spectator wingtips with the character Nucky Thompson and Boardwalk Empire. The shoes play an essential role and speak volumes in silence.

The style of a shoe is often disregarded because it is viewed as an “accessory” and not an essential like pants or shirt. If you take the time to wash, iron or dry clean your clothes logically you should choose the right style of shoe. Would you really wear nice pants and great shirt with some raggedy ol’ shoes or awkward style? Not all styles are fitting either because the lines and contour of the shoe can demonstrate power and simplicity or relaxed and elegant.  The classic wingtip design is invading the market once again. Even tennis shoe companies (image on right) are making them! A few classic styles are displayed below and depending on the manufacturer will vary slightly (Allen Edmonds are displayed).

Once you chose the style understand that color will also create an impression. Some Gentlemen want to stand out from the crowd and go with a color that stands out (image below, 2 shoes on right are suede). While others want their shoes to be the building blocks and flow with the rest of the apparel. The shoe color should match or be very close to the belt color (as shown below/Allen Edmonds).

 Now that you have chosen the style and color the decision of shoe manufacturer should be determined because not all shoemakers are the same. The craftsmanship is what sets them apart and it is not unusual for a quality shoe to last for decades. There are several things to consider: sole, lining, uppers and heel. Some shoes are re-craftable which means they can be rebuilt for a fraction of the cost but not all manufacturers offer that. A few notable quality companies are Allen Edmonds, Stacy Adams, Floreshiem.

Do plenty of research because some manufacturers may not have the style you are looking for. When it comes to shoes you will get what you pay for in quality and style. Just think of it this way, if you pay $400 (high end) for a pair of shoes that can last 10 (or more) years that works out to $40 a year! Although, the heel and sole may need replacing during that period. There is no piece of apparel that can give you that kind of life and value. Of course, you will need to care for them and not use them for jogging or riding your Harley.

In the end a dress shoe is a statement about who you are and where you are going. People will rarely notice the brand of pants or shirt but shoes will definitely create and leave an impression. Personally, I have heard more compliments about my shoes than any article of clothing!

Gentlemen of tradition and distinction have used quality shoes and only a few manufacturers still create shoes with craftsmanship and uniqueness. We should place shoes in their rightful category of an essential to style.

Mr. M




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