So, that was a tough two weeks. 6,000 words and 14 days of toil later and I’ve officially finished my first term of third-year. For those whose lives were turned upside down by my fortnight absence, I apologise profusely, but I’m glad to be writing up a new post for you guys, and this seems to be one that a fair few people have expressed interest in.
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, my first and foremost passion in men’s style is footwear. Over the past three or four years, I’ve picked up a few tips for finding great pairs of shoes as inexpensively as possible, and I tend to follow a relatively rigid route when searching for a new pair. In that time, my collection of footwear has grown to ten pairs, eleven if we’re counting my gym trainers, but I wouldn’t put those in amongst my best. I’ve never felt comfortable wearing trainers for anything but exercise. I actually only really wear a handful of different styles of footwear, if that, so the greatest challenge when buying new pairs is to make sure I’m not just buying the same shoe – though, this doesn’t ever go to plan, and I have several very similar pairs. Whenever I fancy adding to my collection, and by that I mean ‘have the money to’, I begin on every website by refining the products down to a choice of four styles: Chelsea boots, Oxford shoes, Derby shoes, and Worker/Military boots. I occasionally opt for a monk-strap, but it’s rare for me to find a pair I really love. I also work with a very limited palette – blacks, greys, burgundy, brown and tan. Predominantly black. When you can narrow down what it is you’re looking for as precisely as possible, I find it becomes far easier to find the right shoe at the right price. Once you’ve got a good idea of what you want, there’s a number of places to begin your search.
My first port of call tends to be the ASOS Outlet section, simply because it often has footwear discounted by up to 70%. It’s rare that I can’t find what I’m looking for in their vast range. Whilst I’m on ASOS, I’ll also take a quick look at their non-sale range, and here’s where a useful tool comes in. Now, I can’t vouch for this 100% because I’ve only been a user for a couple of weeks, but there’s a tool called Shoptagr that allows you to tag items you like across an array of retailers, and set an email alert for when each item is discounted. It’s really easy to use; you just download the add-on/extension for your browser, and then you can tag whatever you want. All the tagged items are saved in a list on their website, and they send you an email as soon as something gets given a price reduction. This can be really handy for getting the pair of shoes you want at the lowest price, and also saves you the nuisance of buying something only to find it’s in the sale a few days later. I’ve just tagged these Chelsea boots. If they go down to £30, I’m 100% getting them.
The next-best places to look are websites like MandM Direct and Shoeaholics. MandM is a heavily-discounted clothing retailer, which is usually full of crap, but with a bit of digging you can find some gems. It’s more often than not very hit-and-miss, but I like to keep an eye on it and check it regularly, because when you do find something, it tends to be well worth it. Shoeaholics is basically a Kurt Geiger outlet, and offers quite a large range of footwear, including some from other brands, with discounts of up to 70%. They also have a clearance section, where you can find a few bargains.
Silver Street – Gerrard Black Leather Brogue Boots – £39.99, down from £80.
High-street retailers are where I look to after the outlets, specifically Zara and River Island. Zara’s footwear is, from my experience, impeccable, and worth every penny. The best tip I have for buying boots or shoes from Zara is to tag them with Shoptagr because they always seem to get discounted by at least 20%. Their ‘Special Prices’ section is basically their sale, so check that out, too. With River Island, I never need to look beyond their limited edition pieces – these are very high-quality, and are usually more expensive than the rest of the footwear they offer, however, after a few months of being in stock, I’ve seen these slashed to 50% off or more; that’s how I got my pair of brogue boots at £20 rather than £50.
These buckled Zara ankle boots are going on my Christmas wishlist. They look like a pair of Saint Laurent’s.
The last place I’ll look is TKMaxx. Whilst I know that my chances of finding exactly what I’m looking for are usually slim here, I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised at the shoes that I do find. It’s definitely worth checking out their clearance section, refining the range to what it is you’re looking for, and crossing your fingers.
Now lets have a look at my current footwear collection. I have eleven pairs at the moment, but a couple of these pairs are getting rather old, which means a shoe shop might be necessary in January. I have four pairs of lace-up boots, a pair of Chelsea boots, a pair of monk-straps, four pairs of oxfords and derbies, and a pair of trainers.
First up are my River Island black brogue boots. These were limited edition, and cost me £20.
I really love these burgundy leather Chelsea boots by Selected Homme. This is probably the pair I wear most often, alongside my ASOS worker boots. I think I paid £40 for these, but I can’t remember exactly.
Right, this next pair needs to be thrown away because they’re pretty much dead. They’re a tan leather Derby shoe, also by ASOS. I couldn’t even find the ASOS order for these, they’re that old. So, I have no idea what I paid, but I’m guessing around £20.
My eighth pair come studded, in black leather, again by ASOS. These were £30.
I hope this post will be helpful for anyone looking to pick up a new pair of shoes – feel free to drop me a message on Instagram, or tweet me @nikpxtxl, if you want further help. Also, leave a comment letting me know which of my shoes/boots you like best! Cheers.