Sunday, September 29, 2013

The one travel shoe

I've been on the hunt for the ideal pair of travel shoes that can meet my particular needs - namely, I prefer to wear a single pair of shoes to carry me through a short business trip (usually 3-4 days or less) for either domestic or international travel. The reason for this 'one pair of shoes' philosophy is that I like to travel with just a carry-on shoulder bag and a laptop briefcase.

This puts special demands on that single pair of travel shoes including: being reasonably priced (i.e. repair cost in case of damage), comfortable, airport security-friendly (i.e. easily taken on or off), wet weather capable and versatile (i.e. able to be paired with suits, sports coats and casual clothes such as jeans).

Another requirement for me is absence of significant metallic components. For instance, many Alden shoes are built with a steel shank that tends to trigger the metal detector and an additional pat-down. I also would rather look at RTW or MTO shoes due to ease and cost of repair in case of damage during travel.

I have concluded that the two types of shoes that best suit my needs are monk straps and dress loafers outfitted with rubber soles (Dainite or equivalent), preferably finished in dark brown calfskin. Another option is the gusseted side elastic oxford (such as the Crockett & Jones Petersham and Edward Green Kibworth) but these are generally harder to find with fewer models to choose from.

For quite some time, the Allen Edmonds Thayer monkstrap (in burgundy) served me well but I have had to find a replacement after several years of useful service (the strap attached to the vamp gave out).

Crockett & Jones Monkton monkstrap

My new travel shoe is the Crockett & Jones Monkton monk strap in dark Cotswold grain and the elegant 348 last. I will also probably add the C&J Sydney dress loafer (again with Dainite rubber sole) to my travel shoe rotation since I believe my constant wear of the Thayers contributed to their somewhat early demise.

In terms of repairability, Crockett & Jones has very good retail coverage in the US, UK, continental Europe and Japan - five stores in London alone, three in Paris, one in Brussels and the major department stores in Tokyo. The NYC store offers factory refurbishing ($210 as of August 2013) which takes about 10-12 weeks.

Additional link
- Quality and affordability in men's shoes

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

One question: can you find gusseted side elastic oxford with rubber soles?

sleevehead said...

Yes you can find rubber soled versions if you don't mind going MTO. This entail waiting longer and paying an additional upcharge for a special order.

You can do this with either the Crockett & Jones Petersham or Edward Green Kibworth.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

You might to look at RM Williams. You probably know they are famous for their Chelsea boots, which slip off easily at security checks, but they also have now a non metal shank.

They also have good chukkas. Not many are aware of how customisable RMs are.

Fxh