There’s always someone who arrives at the office woefully under-clad for the conditions. Often it’s the guy who, despite the wind and rain, doesn’t feel the need for a coat, or an umbrella, or a decent pair of leather winter shoes. You know what they say: No sense, no feeling.
Any man worth his salt takes care of himself, and between the months of October and April, that means doing whatever it takes to keep your feet warm and dry, and your good self in the upright position come rain or snow.
Goodyear welted soles are the gold standard for dealing with winter weather. Invented over 150 years ago, Goodyear welting refers to a special machine which stitches a strip of leather around the perimeter of the sole. It isolates the upper and sole from the insole, creating a water-resistant capsule within which your feet remain dry when it’s wet outside.
Modern construction methods mean there are other options too. Uppers can be cemented to soles with tough modern adhesives, achieving a waterproof shoe without the manpower required to make a Goodyear welted sole. Or there’s the Blake stitch method, where the sole is stitched to the upper, directly through the insole – this makes for a more flexible sole, but it’s not as waterproof or as sturdy as a Goodyear welted shoe.
If you like a leather sole, do consider having a cobbler attach rubber pads to the undersides of your shoes. You’ll be glad of the extra grip, and there’s less chance of ground water seeping through the leather to make your feet damp.
Oxfords or Derbys
Polished Oxfords are obviously the most dapper choice for the office, but because the eyelets are stitched under the vamp, they’re also more waterproof than a Derby shoe. Try our Prestige Bartlett Brogue for size – it also features Goodyear welting, and a tough rubber sole. As The Idle man says, “Men’s tan brogues are…the perfect choice for a winter outfit.”
Prefer a Derby? Try the Davington Brogue which features waterproof rubber soles and has an air of rugged versatility. They look great with dark moleskins or cords for smart casual office wear, but they’re equally at home with a pair of jeans at the weekend.
Boots for walking
Winter boots offer extra support, and on frosty mornings keep your ankles warm and protected. Brogue boots are a wonderfully traditional option which are smart enough for most office applications. As On Point Fresh say, “The best dress boots are the footwear equivalent of “loosening your tie” – the high-top marks them as decidedly informal, yet with the right pants, most can pass for office wear.”
Can’t quite face the prospect of retiring your Chelsea boots to the closet until spring has sprung? Our slip-proof Chelsea boots feature rubber sole inserts over the original leather, guaranteeing you’ll cut a dash when all around you are slithering on winter ice.
After some tough weekend wear? The Cumbria is a smart casual boot which offers a grippy rubber sole, a soft cushioned insole to keep your feet extra warm and soft Italian leather uppers. Another option is a rubber soled Chukka – the perfect marriage of style and practicality, they feature a rubber Goodyear welted sole.
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t necessarily mean consigning your favourite shoes to the back of the cupboard. Choose your day, and wear the right socks and even your loafers can make the odd outing. In fact, their low ankle line means you can dress them up with snazzy – and warm – hosiery and you’re onto a winner.
Likewise a deck shoe with a chunky sole offers winter versatility. The moccasin-style stitching keeps the seams above puddle level, while the leather lining and upper afford some all important weather proofing.
Deal with disasters
Even the best prepared among us can put a foot in a puddle that’s deeper than we anticipated. To protect your shoes and your feet, it’s really important to get those wet shoes off as soon as you can.
Dry them by stuffing them with newspaper and placing them somewhere at room temperature where there’s adequate ventilation. Never put wet shoes on the radiator or close to the fire because they’ll curl and crack.
The same advice goes for your feet too. Never put cold feet to the fire. Chilblains are areas of swelling or blistering on the hands or feet, most often caused by warming cold extremities too rapidly. You’re much better off putting on a pair of dry socks and a decent pair of slippers, and letting your feet recover at their own pace.
What’s your favourite pair of winter shoes? Do let us know by heading to our Facebook page and leaving us a message.