Magnificent Bastard

Thursday, April 24, 2014

shoes

Win a Pair of Hydrogen-1 'Neptunian' Slip-Ons

Win a Pair of Hydrogen-1 'Neptunian' Slip-Ons

We filed our taxes. The Timberwolves' season is mercifully over. And the days are getting long enough to golf until 8:15 (if our country club wasn't covered in 2 inches of fresh snow). Life is good (except for the part about snow), so we’re having a contest.

This time we're teaming with our favorite supplier of casualuxe footwear: Hydrogen-1. Take our latest quiz, and you may win a pair of limited-edition "Neptunians" — aka the striking suede slip-ons pictured above.

If you're wondering, their rich hue is officially known as "Capri blue," after the waters that surround the Italian island whose beaches are so desirable it was attracting tourists even before cruise ships were invented. (Roman emperor Augustus had a summer palace there.)

The Neptunians are manufactured in Italy, in the Le Marche region, where four out of every ten residents are employed in the footwear industry and the other six know an awful lot about elasticized gores and textured toe-foxing. The Neptunians feature blue suede leather, a full leather lining, and a vibe that practically guarantees sunny skies overhead and competent bartenders near at hand. Retail price, $355. But one of you people is going to get a pair for free.

Here's how this works.

1) Take the quiz. The deadline to submit is 11:59 PM CST on May 15.

2) Everyone who scores 100 percent on the quiz and tweets the link will be entered into a drawing we'll hold the week after the contest closes. Winner gets the Neptunians. (Note: These shoes come in whole sizes 7 – 12. If your feet are bigger than that and you win, you will have to cut off your toes.)

3) We'll announce the lucky winner, and share this information with Hero Nakatani, the proprietor of Hydrogen-1. Hero will take it from there, providing you with instructions on how to order your shoes.



HINTS

1) http://hydrogen-1.com/collections/le-summer-2014/products/neptunium
2) http://www.universetoday.com/21669/temperature-of-neptune/
3) http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/240-contempt-the-story-of-a-marriage
4. http://hydrogen-1.com/collections/le-summer-2014

Ask the MB: Penny Loafers

Top: Original Weejuns. Bottom: Ferragamo Twist
Top: Original Weejuns. Bottom: Ferragamo Twist

Q: I'm getting some Penny Loafers. Which would the MB stand behind? These Rancourt & Co. Beefrolls, these Prada, or these Allen Edmonds? I like the Pradas the best, but you know, they're $650.
—Zach

A: As you probably know, George Henry Bass created the original penny loafer, aka the Bass Weejun, in 1936. Since you haven't included the Weejun as one of your potential choices, we assume you're hoping to find a shoe that puts a twist on this menswear staple. That's a good instinct, but to our eye, your choices are still a little too Old Footwear — even the Prada with its "high-shine leather" and the stylized orifice of its penny keeper still looks fairly traditional.

So we think you should double down on your seeming desire for a twist and go for something even more different than the archetypal penny loafer. While we aren't huge penny loafer fans, there are some things about them that appeal to us. Namely, no laces and no buckles. They are, at heart, a casual shoe, and perfect for those tough mornings-after when a shoe with laces just feels too complicated to operate — you don't even need hands to put on a pair of penny loafers.

Thus, when you're looking for a twist, we encourage you to focus on the "loafing" aspect of penny loafers. The thick crepe sole on this pair of penny loafers from our friends at Oak Street Bootmakers make us want to nestle into a bean bag while our old lady refills our hash pipe. And these sneakerized penny loafers from Salvatore Ferragamo look both comfortable enough to get a heart surgeon through a 12-hour transplant and yet simultaneously sporty enough to propel us to a relatively painless six-minute mile.

Ask the MB: Pool and Beach Footwear

Ask the MB: Pool and Beach Footwear

Q: Hey MB: Headed to Miami and Key West next week and need footwear for the beach and pool. That sounds easy but I struggle with open-toe and also need arch support. I've tried OluKai, Sanuk, and I am embarrassed to say, Teva. None have worked out. Any ideas?
—John

A: A Google search for "stylish orthopedic closed toe sandals" returns zero results.

But we have a couple of suggestions.

First, try to find a pair of Converse All-Star Chuck It mesh slip-ons on eBay. Arguably Converse's greatest contribution to footwear since the All-Star high-top in 1917, these are our all-time favorite beach/pool shoes. Sporty, light, submersible as a Triton 100, quick-drying, comfortable, and oddly enough, boasting better arch support than the traditional All-Stars provide. Unfortunately, Converse hasn't produced them since 2010, which is why you'll have to hunt for new old stock on eBay.

Second, since you're headed to Florida but stressing over arch support, we assume you're not going there for Spring Break — you sound like someone who is probably a little more seasoned than a college student, and presumably a little more well-heeled (and simultaneously weak-arched). So we think you probably have the means to invest in these Prada espadrille sneakers. While you won't be able to swim in them, they've got an insert, so are far more comfortable than most espadrilles that are set on a flat jute slab. And they will give you all the support your arches need no matter how heated things get on the shuffleboard court. Enjoy your vacation!

Ask the MB: What's the Right Way to Tie Shoelaces?

Ask the MB: What's the Right Way to Tie Shoelaces?

Q: At a cocktail party last night, an acquaintance pointed out that the lacing on my trusty oxfords was mismatched: the right shoe, straight bar (courtesy of the shoe shop) and the left, crisscross (courtesy of me). Before I correct this four-years-old case of absentmindedness, I thought I should consult MB. What is your recommendation for lacing methods, lace type and end length? (And just what is your thought on the bi-color lacing I see in the magazines?)
—Brian

There is a thin line between senseless lack of utility and trying too hard, and it can be found at Ian's Shoelace Site. While we admire attention to detail in unexpected places as much as anyone, we also have a thing for simplicity. Nine out of ten times we do Criss Cross or Display Shoe. With a dressier shoe we'll sometimes mix in Straight Bar, which requires a bit more effort for its streamlined effect but isn't so complicated that we suddenly feel like we're crocheting instead of getting dressed.

Specific lace types depend on the shoe, of course. We like natural laces (cotton, rawhide) over synthetic options, and stay away from any lace that's fat enough to qualify as a skinny tie.

Regarding end length, Professor Shoelace's obsession is instructive here. As his illustration suggests, a 10-inch end length leaves with you a fairly neat bow, and a 12-inch end length crosses into droopiness. For maximum artful dishevelment, we aim for 11 inches.

As for bi-color lacing, we classify that the same way we do dressing up for Halloween: Best left to children and chain-restaurant waitstaff.

MB Endorses: Hydrogen-1 Shoes

MB Endorses: Hydrogen-1 Shoes

Designed in California and made in Italy, Hydrogen-1s are a little bit like a mullet in shoe form: Business on top, party on the bottom. Or at least comfortable sneaker sole on the bottom. We bought our first pair of Hydrogen-1 Magnesiums at full price a couple months ago and liked them so much we quickly bought a back-up pair.

The Magnesiums are all gone now, but Hydrogen-1 is currently clearing out its Founder Edition Collection at prices even Black Friday can't believe.

If you work at an Internet start-up, these wingtips will help you look like a grown-up when you go to pitch VCs, yet still give you the traction you need to radically change course when your first business plan tanks.

If your office is, say, an NBA arena, try these blue brogues. Even with their sneaker soles they're not quite as tuned for professional sports competition as a pair of Air Jordans. So you may lose a step to Chris Paul or even Marc Gasol. But you'll look fantastic going up and down the court. (As long as you’re wearing some dark denim jeans, that is. We don't recommend pairing these with gym shorts.)

Ask the MB: Is Ryan Lochte Gay or Straight?

Ask the MB: Is Ryan Lochte Gay or Straight?

Q: I am madly in love with Ryan Lochte but read on MSNBC that he has 130 pairs of shoes. This is roughly 100 more pairs of shoes than I own. Which team IS he on?
—Elizabeth

A: 130 pairs is a lot of shoes, but well below the well-known homosexual shoe-ownership cutoff of 150 pairs. Dude is straight.

While he would bring more shoes into the relationship than you, we'd be far more worried about his taste level than his sneaker collection. In an interview with Women's Health Magazine he says his celebrity crush is Carmen Electra. This answer was possibly appropriate 15 years ago, when Lochte was 13 and Electra was on Baywatch and in Playboy pictorials. Now ... disturbingly weird old chick fetish!

Ask the MB: What is the Guy in the Header Wearing?

Ask the MB: What is the Guy in the Header Wearing?

Q: What's the MB in the header wearing? The shirt is mostly likely a custom shirt, what about the pants and shoes? Thanks!
—Viktor

A: Good eye on the shirt. That is a custom Deo Veritas made with windowpane Thomas Mason in magenta. It's $138 and totally worth it. Vinnie makes great shirts and if you mention MB he'll take good care of you.

The pants are the bottom half of a suit separate prototype one of us is working on.

The shoes are Converse Chuckit mesh sneakers. They work best for the beach or pool but can also be adopted as streetwear during hot Pulaski summers, as shown here. Unfortunately these don't seem to be available online unless you are OK with purple in men's sizes 3, 4, or 7.

MB Endorses: Swims 'Mobster Boot' Overshoes

Swims 'Mobster Boot' Overshoes via Allen Edmonds, $149.00
Swims 'Mobster Boot' Overshoes via Allen Edmonds. $149.00.
When a pair of galoshes is the year's best purchase, it could be argued that 2011 was a pretty lousy year for gear. Either that or Swims' "Mobster Boot" Overshoes are that good.

Whether you wear Chuck Ts or wing Ts to work, these protect them from rain, snow, sleet, (and even hail!), keep your feet warm, and they pair as nicely with a pair of denim as pair of wool trousers. They even have a reflective square on the heel for inclement cycling, which is what we've adopted them for. $149 is not cheap for something that may cost more than the shoes you're trying to protect, but they're totally worth it.

Ask the MB: Antonio Maurizi Wing Tips

Ask the MB: Antonio Maurizi Wing Tips
Q: I'm shopping around for a new pair of wing tips. I see Antonio Maurizi shoes featured all the time on Gilt. What's your take?
—Jim


A: We were extremely optimistic about a pair of Antonio Maurizi chukka boots last year but upon delivery they clearly were on the "excessively pointy" side of the MB Shoe Toe Pointiness Chart. Now, wing tips are certainly different from chukkas, but their toe shape still doesn't plot high enough to be considered.

Ask the MB: Shoes for a Summer Wedding

Ask the MB: Shoes for a Summer Wedding
Q: I have a summer wedding to attend and have a grey zzegna cotton suit. I am not sure what shoes to pair it with as the pants are quite narrow. Please help.
—John


A: With the notable exception of the recent Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries wedding, which featured $5 million earrings and an absurd, six-foot-tall sex toy made out of wedding cake, summer weddings are casual. So your choice of a casual cotton suit is a good one.

In his highly entertaining (and highly recommended) book How to Be a Man GQ Style Guy Glenn O'Brien says:

"...the fashion-forward periodically tell us it's OK to wear sneakers with a suit. Maybe if you've been embezzling and the auditors are in the office, sneakers will give you an edge if you make a run for it, but basically sneakers with a suit is a fundamental error, no matter how much the sneakers cost or who designed them."
We disagree. Or maybe it's just that we have more expansive definition of "sneaker" than O'Brien does. In any case, we think these textured leather sneakers from Thompson would be perfectly wedded to your Z Zegna suit. Despite their Anglo-sounding name, they're actually made in Italy — like your suit — and their narrow cut will pair well with your narrow pants.

If, however, you fall more in line with the Style Guy's way of thinking, then go for these suede Gucci lace-ups. They're dressier than the Thompsons, but with their relaxed lines and non-glossy finish, you won't look like you just came from a wedding when you hit the bars after the reception ends.

Ask the MB: Boat Shoe Alternatives

Ask the MB: Boat Shoe Alternatives
Q: Boat shoes. I can't stand 'em. And I've always refused to have anything to do with them. That policy has worked fine up until now, since I've been comfortably ensconced on dry land. But now I'm going on a week-long yacht trip in the Mediterranean, and I have no idea what to wear. Is there a practical, non-naff-looking boat shoe substitute out there?
—Don


A: While the mind tends to immediately translate the term "boat shoe" into "Sperry Top-Sider" or, more generally, "those brown leather shoes with nautical rigging on the sides," the term is actually more expansive than that, at least in our minds.

A boat shoe is characterized by (a) water-resistance and (b) a non-slip sole.

Paul Sperry, creator of the iconic Sperry Top-Sider, did his most important work tackling the non-slip sole aspect of boat shoes. As the new book Icons of Men's Style recounts, Sperry bought a schooner in the early 1930s but unfortunately found himself slipping all over its deck when it got wet. To solve this problem, he first tried to make the deck less slippery, but eventually he decided it would make more sense to make his shoes more grippy. Drawing inspiration from the grooves on the pads of his cocker spaniel's paws, he created the concept of "siping" and cut grooves into a rubber sole in a herringbone-like pattern. Voila, problem solved, he'd found a shoe that allowed him to keep firm footing on the high seas.

Do you need the rest of the trappings of the Sperry Top-Sider when you leave dry land? JFK spent more time on boats than he ever did in the Oval Office, and while we don't know if he felt as strongly about classic boat shoes as you do, he did eschew them in favor of white canvas tennies. We're not sure how much traction his shoes featured — keep in mind that he was a man who was unusually sure of foot — but here are few models we think he'd endorse:

Sperry Striper CVO, $60
Seavees Army Issue Sneaker, $56
Converse Jack Purcell Racearound PH Ox, $33
Supra Wrap Shoe, $49

Finally, please note that JFK was a size 10. If you're anywhere north of that, white shoes can easily look like clown shoes. In this case add some color in the form of these Clae Zissous in Deep Navy, which are what boat shoes would look like if they aspired to be a sneakers.

Ask the MB: Espadrilles

ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via asos.com, $17.24
ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via asos.com. $17.24.
Q: What is your take on espadrilles?
—Bill


A: In the June 2011 GQ creative director Jim Moore stops just short of endorsing them but recognizes their popularity saying they're "a big trend this summer," and that they're best "anytime you'd wear your flip-flops." [page 58]

Even though they were invented in the 14th century (principle of archaism), and are usually made of canvas and rope (principle of organic materials), for us they fall into the footwear no-mans land between a shoe and a sandal, currently occupied by MB bête noires Sanuks and Crocs.

However, if your preferred pedicurist is booked — June is Pedicure Awareness Month, BTW — we say go for it, as long as they're a. less than 20 bucks, and b. gingham.

Earlier: Brad Pitt wears Sanuks so they're OK. Right?

Earlier: 4 year-old Rory McDermott lost the nail on his big toe thanks to Crocs. Ow!

MB Endorses: Shackleford

MB Endorses: Shackleford
One month ago, a reader headed toward the Kentucky Derby asked us about appropriate footwear to wear to the event. We applauded him on his instincts to go with a pair of Santoni double monk straps — and it turns out the reason for his attendance there, an underdog named Shackleford, was pretty well shod too. He was running at 23-1 odds and finished fourth.

Turns out our reader is also Shackleford's owner, and we've enjoyed hearing reports of his subsequent success. He started the Preakness at 12-1 and won.

Next up is the Belmont this weekend and this time the odds on Shackleford are 9-2. Needless to say, we've placed our bets and will be rooting hard for the spirited front-runner. Here's to holding off Animal Kingdom and Nehro down the stretch.

On Sale: TST Sneakers

On Sale: TST Sneakers
Late last summer we crowned TST our all-time favorite sneakers, and the intervening 9 months have done nothing to curb our enthusiasm for these hand-sketched, hand-finished shoes by designer Seishi Tanaka (pictured). We now own two pairs of the sneakers, two pairs of the boots, and are putting our Chucks on injured reserve.

These are the best Japanese export since the Walkman.

YOOX has a bunch of models on sale now, and while the discount on most pairs isn't super-deep at the moment, shipping is free.

Ask the MB: Stylish Surgeon Shoes

Ask the MB: Stylish Surgeon Shoes
Q: Hey guys. Long-time reader, can't tell you how much I love the site. I wear scrubs (sky blue) most days of the week and am looking for dark-colored footwear that strikes a balance between professionalism, function and style. I don't want my patients doubting I know what I am talking about, but would also like something MB enough to score some points with the talented nursing staff (it would also be a plus if they were a bit blood-resistant for the operating room). Shoes are essentially the only clothing item I have any control over so I feel like I really need to nail it here. I'd appreciate any suggestions, I trust you won't steer me wrong.

Keep up the strong work,
—BB


A: Doc, you want a blood-resistant shoe that's professional, comfortable, stylish and goes with sky blue scrubs? That's a tough prescription to fill.

On the other hand, the last time we went under the knife everyone in the OR was wearing Crocs, so you do have the advantage of low expectations working in your favor. Indeed, it's hard to imagine footwear less resistant to blood than Crocs — all those holes must mean the country's surgeons possess a lot of DIY polka dot socks!

Given that scrubs are essentially sweats for medical personnel, we think you should go with something that's obviously sporty, like these navy nylon and black leather sneakers from Prada. They'll communicate professionalism to your patients and style to the talented nursing staff, while being comfortable during surgery and easy to clean in case that angioplasty patient has really high blood pressure. At $336 a pair, they're not cheap, but that's what Medicare's for, right?

Ask the MB: Kentucky Derby Shoes

Victoria Gotti (top); Churchill Downs (bottom)
Victoria Gotti (top); Churchill Downs (bottom)
Q: If one were lucky enough to own, hypothetically speaking of course, a horse that were talented enough to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, what could one wear in so far as footwear that would be appropriate? Would, say, Santoni double monk straps sans socks be too ridiculous? Hypothetically speaking, of course.
—Fish


A: It's the Kentucky Derby, not the Kentucky Loafer. You could be wearing a pair of live flaming kittens on your feet — no one's going to notice. The Kentucky Derby is all about hats. Hats that would make Princess Beatrice say "What the fuck is that on your head? A designer extension cord? A pterodactyl's vacation home?"

Now, about those Santonis. The degree of difficulty is obviously very high, and unless you're a clotheshorse with a very good pedigree, we recommend them only for occasions where the collective blood alcohol level is .10 or higher. But that's exactly where you're headed, so we say go for them. Spending $1000 on shoes to wear in a setting where they're guaranteed to get overlooked takes senseless lack of utility to a level that makes us want to put a tiny replica of Churchill Downs on our heads, just so we can take it off to you.

Good luck on Saturday.

Earlier: Spring/Summer Looks. MB Endorses: Exposed Ankles

Earlier: Ask the MB: Kentucky Derby

Ask the MB: European Vacation Walking Shoes

Ask the MB: European Vacation Walking Shoes
Q: I'm heading to Europe this summer for a few weeks of tromping around. I need some footwear advice - I'm looking for something that can support LOTS of walking around being on my feet all day, and doesn't scream 'American Toolbag'. Bonus for something that works with pants and shorts, but I'd be willing to get two pairs to cover both ends of summer bottoms. Thoughts?
—Peter


A: Peter, a trip to Europe is definitely time to heed Tom Ford's five easy lessons in how to become a modern gentleman and leave the shorts at home. You might not scream "American Toolbag" in them, but unless you're at the beach or in the midst of a 5-setter you definitely scream "American."

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. For previous questions regarding European travel we've endorsed getting your American on — your feet — and for your excessively ambulant vacation we suggest you get into a pair of Cole Haan Air Mercury lace oxfords.

They don't have the pedigree of some more iconic trailblazers in the casual sneaker field — Chucks, PF Flyers, Tretorn T56s. But if you're doing lots — and especially if you're doing LOTS — of walking, we recommend the Air Mercurys. There's a reason why America embraced car culture so enthusiastically — walking in Chucks can turn your feet into bloody stumps even faster than Jigsaw or Freddie Kreuger can. Go with the Air Mercurys and you should be good for at least 15-mile days if necessary. (The black ones are on sale at colehaan.com for just $59.95).

As for that other pair of shoes you offered to pack, definitely bring along some loafers for after the sun goes down.

Earlier: Ask the MB: French Honeymoon

MB 2011 Golf Equipment Guide

MB 2011 Golf Equipment Guide
In this part of the country, The Masters is the unofficial start of golf season (even though courses aren't open 'round here yet). With that in mind, we've got a few equipment recommendations to keep your style out of the Woods.

BAG

The Original MacKenzie Walker
$735

A disposable nylon stand bag this is not. Hand-crafted in Portland, OR, from leather with stainless steel hardware, this is the last golf bag you will ever own. A side pocket for balls and tees, another for a windbreaker (or just leave empty), it's as simple — and as good — as a golf bag gets.

TRAVEL CASE

SKB Small Travel Case
$136.99

As the soft vs. hard golf travel case debate rages on, MB comes down firmly on the side of hard. An SKB travel case may outlast your MacKenzie golf bag. These things are as solid as a rock and SKB's customer service is second to none. After about 20 years of use a wheel broke off one of ours last year and they send a free replacement wheel via 2-day shipping. (NB: Only order the small SKB travel case if you have a small bag, like a Jones or a MacKenzie.)

DRIVER

Nike Victory Red
$400

These days, finding a traditional pear-shaped driver that doesn't come with an instruction manual is as rare as a Tiger Woods Tour win. Even longtime MB standby Titleist has gone high-tech with its SureFit adjustment system. Speaking of Woods, while he's got a terrible eye for strippers and porn stars and clothes, his eye for golf clubs is superb, as he's largely responsible for the design of Nike's best clubs, like this one.

DRIVER HEADCOVER

Jan Craig
$70

Nothing can ruin everything we've discussed so far faster than using the logoed polyester headcover that came with your driver. Throw it in the garbage. Jan Craig has been making hand-knit wool headcovers in Chicago, IL since 1962. If they were good enough for Nicklaus and Watson, they're good enough for us. (Get the 8" pom.)

IRONS

Mizuno MP-11s
~$150

There isn't a more beautiful piece of forged steel on earth than the Mizuno MP-11. Except for maybe the MP-14. Or MP-9. Or MP-29. You get our drift. If you've got game, there is nothing quite like the feel, not to mention look, of vintage Mizuno forged blades.

SHOES

Puma Club 917
$89.99

No one shops harder for cool golf shoes than Magnificent Bastard. In what's turned into a quest, each season we look at every shoe from every golf shoe manufacturer, and usually just end up wearing old Adidas we stocked up on five years ago. This year, however, we discovered two pair worth your consideration: The Nike Air Range in dark grey, and the black/white/cherry tomato Puma Club 917, pictured. Best prices online are at shop.pgatour.com, and both run small. Size up one.

CART

Are you fucking kidding? Unless you have a note from your doctor, or dictator, this game is walked.

Ask the MB: OBEY x Generic Surplus Plimsoll Boat Shoe

Ask the MB: OBEY x Generic Surplus Plimsoll Boat Shoe
Q: Hey guys: Love the website, and a couple of times it's stopped me from making a fashion mistake - I appreciate it. Anyway, I saw these on Gear Patrol and wondered what you thought. They're not crocs or thongs, and I thought the blue ones would look good with some white jeans. I will defer to your expertise though.
--David


A: Obey and Generic Surplus are both brands we like, but this plimsoll-boat shoe fusion (top) has us imagining comical sunburn patterns we'd just as soon avoid. We say: Women alone should bear the risk of skin-exposing mesh (bottom).

If you want a navy boat shoe, there is always Sperry, of course, but we also like the Oak Street Bootmakers version, made from Horween Chromexcel and handcrafted and handstitched in the USA.

As for navy plimsolls, Lyle and Scott's version hail from the island where the word was invented, and we also really like Superga's take on them.

Finally, we applaud your choice of white jeans. Here in the upper midwest we're just weeks away from being able to wear them, and tomorrow we'll list a few of our favorites.

Ask the MB: Doc Martens

Dr. Klaus Märtens and Dr. Herbert Funck
Dr. Klaus Märtens and Dr. Herbert Funck
Q: Seeking to embrace the inner bastard, I have increased the number of blazers in my wardrobe and the only writing on my t-shirts is if I am exercising or sleeping in them. One wardrobe staple of mine from the past many years does not appear to be mentioned as truly bastard-worthy and I am concerned. What says the MB on my basic black, made in England (Anglophile approved, I should hope) Doc Martens?
--Christopher


A: Christopher, you're on the right track -- the number of blazers in your closet should always exceed the total word count on your entire wardrobe. If you ever find yourself with more words than blazers, you either have to throw out some of your t-shirts or buy more blazers. (BTW, we're counting our WikiLeaks sweatshirts as one word).

Now we just need to work on your footwear; there's a reason why you haven't seen a DM recommendation here.

The Anglophilic pedigree of Dr. Martens is not nearly as strong as most people think. They were invented in 1945 by German army doctor Klaus Märtens, who hurt his foot while skiing in the Alps. While recovering from his injury, he designed a recuperative boot with soft leather and air-padded soles. So essentially Doc Martens are orthopedic Nazi shoes, and they certainly look the part!

(The Anglophiliac connection? In 1959, a British company, R. Griggs Group Ltd., acquired the rights to make and sell the shoes in the U.K.)

Browse our shoes channel and you'll find lots of far less clunky, more appropriate footwear options for your new and improved look.

5 Incoming Style Tips to Avoid

5 Incoming Style Tips to Avoid
At approximately $10 a year for a subscription, GQ and Details are now nearly as free as the Internet. But as with the Internet, don't believe everything you read in them.

Tasseled Loafers TASSELED LOAFERS

They Say:
"They're about as Waspy as a shoe can get, but in the hands of Tom Ford, the favored footwear of country-clubbers everywhere has acquired some genuine sex appeal."
Details, 11/10

We Say:
Sorry, Tom, the only place we like tassels is on the nipples of an aging stripper named Frenchie.
Pleats PLEATS

They Say:
"As Michael Bastian explains, 'Changing the proportion a little changes everything.' Get yours with a single pinch and tapered legs."
Details, 11/10

We Say:
Even with a single pinch, pleated pants make us think of ironing, PowerPoint presentations, and bad cologne. We never want to think about any of these things.
Double Breasted DOUBLE BREASTED SUITS & BLAZERS

They Say:
"Oh, and one insider tip: The cool kids are calling them 'D.B.'s.'"
GQ, 1/11

"Slimming and stylish, the modern six-button blazer has left the midtown office behind for the downtown scene."
Details, 11/10

We Say:
Unless your height-to-weight ratio is 2 lbs. per inch or lower -- like Kid Cudi, pictured -- double-breasted suits or jackets will simply make you look fatter than you are, even if you call them D.B.'s.
Club Collar CLUB COLLAR

They Say:
"It's a shirt with a little bit of nostalgia that packs a whole lot of cool."
GQ, 2/11

We Say:
All the sensitive nerve endings are in the tip of your collar -- do not circumcise it.
Saddle Shoes SADDLE SHOES

They Say:
"Say goodbye to the classic blue and white. These versatile two-tones will take you much further."
Details, 2/11

We Say:
Even in such understated incarnations, saddle shoes are possibly the only footwear a pimp, a schoolgirl, and John Daly might get in a fight over. Stay out of the fray.

5 Incoming Style Tips to Avoid

5 Incoming Style Tips to Avoid
At approximately $10 a year for a subscription, GQ and Details are now nearly as free as the Internet. But as with the Internet, don't believe everything you read in them.

Tasseled Loafers TASSELED LOAFERS

They Say:
"They're about as Waspy as a shoe can get, but in the hands of Tom Ford, the favored footwear of country-clubbers everywhere has acquired some genuine sex appeal."
Details, 11/10

We Say:
Sorry, Tom, the only place we like tassels is on the nipples of an aging stripper named Frenchie.
Pleats PLEATS

They Say:
"As Michael Bastian explains, 'Changing the proportion a little changes everything.' Get yours with a single pinch and tapered legs."
Details, 11/10

We Say:
Even with a single pinch, pleated pants make us think of ironing, PowerPoint presentations, and bad cologne. We never want to think about any of these things.
Double Breasted DOUBLE BREASTED SUITS & BLAZERS

They Say:
"Oh, and one insider tip: The cool kids are calling them 'D.B.'s.'"
GQ, 1/11

"Slimming and stylish, the modern six-button blazer has left the midtown office behind for the downtown scene."
Details, 11/10

We Say:
Unless your height-to-weight ratio is 2 lbs. per inch or lower -- like Kid Cudi, pictured -- double-breasted suits or jackets will simply make you look fatter than you are, even if you call them D.B.'s.
Club Collar CLUB COLLAR

They Say:
"It's a shirt with a little bit of nostalgia that packs a whole lot of cool."
GQ, 2/11

We Say:
All the sensitive nerve endings are in the tip of your collar -- do not circumcise it.
Saddle Shoes SADDLE SHOES

They Say:
"Say goodbye to the classic blue and white. These versatile two-tones will take you much further."
Details, 2/11

We Say:
Even in such understated incarnations, saddle shoes are possibly the only footwear a pimp, a schoolgirl, and John Daly might get in a fight over. Stay out of the fray.

Ask the MB: Spectator Shoes

Ask the MB: Spectator Shoes
Q: Hello MB, I recently stumbled upon your site and I became an instant fan. For some time, I've been thinking about switching to two-tone dress shoes. Not something crazy, but maybe black and white spectators or even a slightly more attention-grabbing light-brown and white pair. But I'm involved in politics and want an appropriate but still stylish pair of shoes. Would the two-tone shoes be too much, and do you find them to be stylish or just too out of date?
--Dodge


A: All the great politicians -- or at least the most memorable ones -- had some signature feature or accessory: Churchill's Romeo y Julieta, Hitler's mustache, FDR's cigarette holder, Reagan's dyed hair. While wearing spectators isn't something that's ever crossed our mind, these shoes may sway the coveted independent voter, and are not believed to cause cancer.

Ask the MB: Gray Shoes With Belt to Match?

Son, please don't tell us you bought these
Son, please don't tell us you bought these
Q: I've just bought a pair of grey Kenneth Cole leather oxford shoes. I intend to wear them with long-sleeved shirts in the office. Should I wear a grey leather belt too?
--Mark


A: First, we hope those Kenneth Cole oxfords plot on the proper portion of our shoe pointiness chart. (We're afraid for you, Mark!)

Second, we've never been fans of strict adherence to the belt-must-match-shoes rules handed down by previous generations of MBs, and the gray-on-gray you're wondering about sounds a little too Garanimalistic for our taste. You've essentially opened up the accessory playbook by wearing a pair of gray shoes, which is the footwear equivalent of denim. So while black and brown belts will both work, feel confident in pairing them with just about anything.

MB Endorses: TST Sneakers

MB Endorses: TST Sneakers
When we did our 10 Sneakers for S/S 2010 feature this spring, we had no idea we'd end up discovering our all-time favorite sneaker: TST. Hand-sketched by Japanese designer Seishi Tanaka, then hand-detailed in construction, these are an obscure, more stylish alternative to Chuck, Stan, Jack, and Rod. The human element -- along with the unique and super-comfortable three-piece sole construction -- gives these shoes an organic feel and degree of wabi-sabi, which is essentially Japanese for artful dishevelment.

You can buy them online at YOOX and Six Whiting Street. They fit slightly small to size, so add one.

Ask the MB: Patent Leather Puma Sport Fashion

Ask the MB: Patent Leather Puma Sport Fashion
Q: I think every Puma sport fashion shoe you guys post sells out pretty quickly. I'm looking for an all around black shoe to wear to work or out with friends. How does this one work for an MB in training?
--Justin


A: If this came in a matte black version, or a matte anything version, we'd enthusiastically recommend it. But unless you're at a wedding, patent leather has no place in your wardrobe. It violates the key MB matte vs. gloss principle, and would be too much for using it the way you've described (unless you work as a wedding planner, or crash a lot of weddings with your friends).

Ask the MB: Wowcool.org

Ask the MB: Wowcool.org
Q: Year long reader here. Thanks for all the tips. On to my question: What is up with www.wowcool.org? Prada sneakers for $40 with free shipping? True Religion jeans for $40.00? What gives? Usually when things are too good to be true they usually are. I know that you probably don't want to give this site any exposure by posting this on your blog but maybe you could e-mail me personally?
--Nick


A: Wowcool.org is a Chinese site that sells counterfeit products. If you don't mind wearing clunky $40 Praba sneakers, this is the place to find them. If a company can't even manufacture a decent logo in Photoshop, do you really want to trust them to manufacture a pair of shoes?

Ask the MB: Allen Edmonds Gift Certificate

Ask the MB: Allen Edmonds Gift Certificate
Q: I've been given a very large gift certificate (which cannot be converted to cash, so don't suggest that) for basically a free pair of Allen Edmonds shoes. Suggestions? I need a pair of black shoes to wear with suits. Thanks.
--Chris


A: Next time tell your grandfather to just give you cash. But it's late spring and we're thirsty so let's turn lemons into lemonade.

If your gift certificate is indeed very large then this Cordovan blucher (in the more matte Black Shell, top) is the best shoe AE sells and will last a lifetime. For a slightly less generous gift, the best option is definitely the McAllister. These are classic, understated wing tips that have stood the test of time (first introduced in 1956). In our college days, we never got any gift certificates so had to make do with raiding dad's closet for the merlot version, which can be paired with denim or khaki and exposed ankles to great effect.

Bike to Work Week: Shoes

Bike to Work Week: Shoes
For commuting and utilitarian riding we prefer platform pedals over clipless -- that way we don't have to change shoes when we get off the bike. But just because we're not clipping in doesn't mean we don't want shoes with some cycling-oriented features. Moving from dressier to more casual, here are four pairs we like.

1. Quoc Fam Fixed Shoe. $130.
A hand-crafted leather cycling shoe that looks as sleek as a Prada loafer, plus it comes with a super-complicated ten-step lace-tying guide? We're sold!

2. Dromarti Storica. $237.
We're not sure why, but these shoes make us think of vintage catcher's mitts, and we like that: Catcher's mitts for our feet, crafted by Italian designers. Do you want anything less when you're speeding through the city on two wheels?

3. Chrome Midways Sneaker. $90.
Chrome designs for the messenger demographic, so they know all the features it takes to equip your standard mid-top for heavy-duty bike usage: Reinforced shank to support the midsole, reflective material on the heel cup, a "lace garage" to keep your laces out of your chain, etc. Yep, "lace garage." It's that little elastic thing in this pic, and it works. Synthetics alert: The Midway is made from Cordura nylon. Normally we favor natural materials over synthetic ones, but if you want a tough, scuff-resistant shoe, this is the one to get.

4. Keen Coronado Bike Shoe. $80.
Here's a casual option made with canvas and nubuck leather. Like the Chrome Midway, it's also got a shank in the midsole for more pedaling power than you'd get with a traditional sneaker, plus a "a soft rubber forefoot pod for pedal grip." It sounds like marketing BS, but if you've ever experienced the banana-peel-like slip that can happen when you suddenly start pedaling hard on platform pedals while wearing shoes with slick and/or non-grippy soles, you know why this is important.

In honor of Bike to Work Week, we're giving away an awesome Bowery Lane Bicycles' bike. It's a $695 value and all you have to do is send us a cool picture.

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010
Last week we had a shorts-with-shoes question and answered the first part. Now for some shoe suggestions.

First, some guidelines:

1.) Clear some room at the end of the bench for Chuck and Jack this summer. They've been playing non-stop all year and could use a breather.

2.) Sneakers that you plan to wear with shorts are one item where we give more leeway than we usually do to bright colors, patterns, and logos. Don't go crazy though. If Turtle from Entourage would wear it, you've probably gone too far.

3.) Sticking with white or gray is your best bet for picking a shoe that can work with a wide variety of shorts. (Important note: If you're a size 12 or over, do not go with an all-white shoe unless you're trying to pick up work as a clown at children's birthday parties.)

4.) If you're dying to incorporate red velour into your wardrobe, a pair of sneakers is the only place to do it.
Topman

Topman Grey Jersey Plimsolls
$32

If the world must have sleeveless t-shirts, we like to think that all those amputated sleeves go to some greater style purpose -- like adding a textural twist to classic gray plimsolls.
ShoeLab

ShoeLab Dark Brown Sneaker
$49

The sneaker scientists at the UK brand ShoeLab get the overdying just right on these. They look nicely faded and disheveled, but stop short of trying too hard.
Tretorn T56

Tretorn T56 Canvas
$55

The T56s offer timeless style. Our great-great-great-great-great-grandkids will be wearing these in 2210. In 2010, they're the shoes we reach for when we know the evening's going to involve some furious table tennis action.
Superga

Superga 2750 Classic
$65

"Leave your socks at home," the Superga website enthuses, because the interior of the 2750 feature finished inseams. We like that touch but we're not going to go that far. For all summer sneaker-wearing we recommend the Banana Republic no-show socks.
Williot

Williot Gabardine Wool Sneakers
$79

Williot is a Spanish brand that made its debut in the U.S. market last summer. If you want to look sporty but not athletic -- i.e., you aren't planning to do anything more strenuous than mixing cocktails by the pool -- these are a great choice.
Lyle & Scott

Lyle & Scott Canvas Plimsolls
$85

Scottish brand with a golfing heritage, founded in 1874. Just like Scottish singer Susan Boyle, these plimsolls are built a little more solidly than many others on the market.
Cole Haan

Cole Haan Air Mercury Sport Oxfords
$98

Why are we recommending these Chuck clones and not the real thing? Thanks to the hidden Air Nike technology hidden in the heel, they're one of the few Chuck-style shoes that you can play basketball in and not sentence your feet to a lifetime of Bill Walton-like pain. When your day involves anything more strenuous than a J. Crew photo shoot, wear these.
TST

TST
$125

Designer Seishi Tanaka hand-draws the sketches for the TST line and it shows. This model leans toward the more athletic end of the athleisure shoe spectrum -- we think we could actually play some touch football in it -- but it has an organic quality not found in the hyper-engineered footwear of, say, Nike or Reebok.
Pataugas

Pataugas Rock
$138

If you want to add a Gallic touch to your Fourth of July barbecue, try these sneakers from Jean Paul Gaultier's shoe line, Pataugas. (You can pick up last year's slightly different model at yoox.com for only $89.)
Prada

Prada Velour Sneaker
$295

For those with the bucks, deluxe Chucks. "Red velour" and "understated" aren't words that usually go together, but we think they apply here.

Shoe Feedback: Allen Edmonds

Shoe Feedback: Allen Edmonds
Hi. Saw your latest "Ask the MB" post on shoes and thought you might like something new from Allen Edmonds: The Bucktown for $199 and The Boulder for $175. Thanks for all you do.
--Joel


A: Joel, please keep reading this site! The Prada loafers strike the perfect office/sport balance that is the MB dress shoe aesthetic. They will shine with a suit, all manner of dress pants, and even indigo denim. The Bucktown (Crosstown Collection, top) is going to feel most at home with a traditionally cut wool suit. And you shouldn't be wearing those anymore.

Meanwhile, The Boulder (Weekend Collection, bottom) looks like a marriage that's headed for divorce: hiking shoe soles grafted onto a loafer that looks like it should never travel outside a suburban Boomer's well-manicured yard.

Ed. note: We are hearing you. $460 is not a realistic shoe price for a lot of readers -- even with free shipping -- which is why we suggested the Camper Dni as a more affordable alternative that's very close. They're discontinued, are available here, and have word from someone who understands German that Herren Ausstattler does ship to the U.S.

Ask the MB: Kenneth Cole Black Oxfords

Ask the MB: Kenneth Cole Black Oxfords
Q: Looks like Kenneth Cole finally checked out your shoe pointiness chart. What do you think of these and what would you recommend in a basic black everyday dress shoe?
--Matt


A: Kenneth Cole has definitely taken a roundover bit to a lot of his footwear, but he's still missing the MB mark by a mile. These are too shiny and too clunky for you to wear, Matt. One of our favorite pair of black everyday dress shoes is the discontined Camper Dni, now available only at a German web site Herren Ausstattler for €145. Our freshman German is a little rusty, so we're not even sure if they ship to the U.S. If they don't we recommend these Prada leather loafers. Yeah, they're $460, but trust us that you'll love them, and for an everyday shoe you love, and look this good, $460 is a value. And Saks will throw in free shipping with code SHIPFREE2!

MB Deal of the Week: Tretorn T56 GTOs

MB Deal of the Week: Tretorn T56 GTOs
Does Sweden still have an army? Yes, apparently, and according to Wikipedia, it's currently around 2160 soldiers strong. We found a picture and suspect these troops may be doubling as Ikea salespeople, but that's not why we're delving into Swedish military history today.

We're doing so because the Tretorn T56 GTO, a washed leather version of a style that debuted in 1956 as a training shoe for Swedish infantrymen, is on sale at 6PM.com. For just $24 (regularly $80). Meaning you could shod the entire Swedish Army for just for just $51,840!

We don't think you could win a tetherball match in them, much less a war -- comfort-wise, 1956 shoe technology leaves much to be desired. But if you're looking for a "new classic" alternative to the ubiquitous Chuck Taylor, these fill the bill nicely.

UPDATE: That super-deep discount is temporarily suspended; now they're $48 a pair. A decent price, but unless the Swedish Army decides to make a run on them, we're pretty sure they'll be back down to $24 eventually. Hold your fire until then.

Ask the MB: Sanuk Shoes

Ask the MB: Sanuk Shoes
Q: Sanuk. Bastardly, or not? I figure if it's good enough for Brad Pitt, it's good enough for me.
--CJ


A: Maybe because Brad Pitt wears them, maybe because of their frayed edges and unstructured construction, Sanuk sidewalk surfers have apparently fooled a lot of people into thinking they are something other than Crocs for homeless surfers. They aren't, and if you're thinking about getting a pair, only do so if you're extremely angry at your feet and want to play a practical joke on them.

Why don't we like Sanuks? It starts with the logo, which looks like some handless logo designer tried to draw one of our favorite 1970s designs -- the iconic smiley face logo -- with her mouth. Or maybe her ear.

Then there's the names of their shoes: the Vagabond, the Hobo, the Dylan, the Kerouac. We've never actually seen a vagabond, a hobo, or Bob Dylan wearing these things -- where is the model called The Sunburnt Project Manager Doing Jaeger Shots at a Bar in Boca Raton While His Wife Quietly Contemplates a Divorce?

Finally, there's the sandals themselves. That thick ungainly slab of foam they call a sole. The overly broad vamp. The weird, leaning-tower-of-Pisa tilt every model seems afflicted with. Put all this together, and what you've got is a shoe that looks like it was made by aborigine orthopedists for fellow tribesmen suffering from posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

But don't just take our word for it. Here what some of the Sanuk's biggest fans have to say about them at Zappos.com:

* My wife thinks they are hideous but I like the appearance as well as the comfort.

* Thought I could get away wearing these without socks at work and realized feet sweat too much and start to stink.

* Comfy but sweaty and VERY STINKY...The smell is intolerable at this point.

* Sanuk Rules the roost!!! I thought Crocs were the most comfortable things I have ever put on my feet until I met Sanuk's!!! These shoes are off the hook when it comes to comfort.

* They are also great for some hacky sackin.


If such vivid first-hand testimony fails to convince you that there's nothing bastardly about these things, nothing will.

Chuck Taylor All-Stars Losing Battle With Anorexia

Chuck Taylor All-Stars Losing Battle With Anorexia
Like the Snickers bar and the Belstaff jacket, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars were a near-perfect design right from the start, requiring only minor tweaking to attain icon status. Then, someone at Converse decided Chucks were essentially Etch-a-Sketches with slightly less arch support, and over the past few years, we've seen their timeless simplicity assaulted more brutally than Sylvester Stallone in the last fifteen minutes of a Rocky flick. Freakish mutations, hideous graphics -- there is no end to the indignities this classic, unassuming shoe has been made to suffer in the name of fashion.

Now, Converse has introduced the Chuck Taylor All-Star Slim line, which, like Michael Jackson's seventh nose job, appears to be a nearly invisible twist on an already unnecessary alternative, the Chuck Taylor All-Star Light. We say enough is enough. Like Liv Tyler, Chucks just look right a little chunky, and we wouldn't have them any other way.

Ask the MB: Shoes to Wear While Standing 10 Hours a Day

Ask the MB: Shoes to Wear While Standing 10 Hours a Day
Q: I am making a transition in my career to the position of a restaurant manager. I find myself wondering what my options are for shoes with rubber soles that look sharp, last a long time, and won't break my heart, or the bank, if they have food or drink spilled on them. Keeping in mind that I'll be on my feet for upwards of 10 hours a day, what do you recommend?
--Wasabi Chimp


A: WC, you are asking us to be really practical, and we hate being practical. However, if we ever find ourselves dining in the restaurant you manage, we don't want you spitting in our food. So here goes: Cole Haan Air Obori Oxfords. They're almost as sleek as a pair of Tods, we suspect they're just as comfortable as Crocs (though we'll never actually try on a pair of Crocs to test this theory), they have rubber soles per your request, and they're on sale at Amazon for only $99.

Ask the MB: Stacy Adams Shoes

Ask the MB: Stacy Adams Shoes
Q: Are Stacy Adams Madison shoes sufficiently MB? They are the nicest, hardest wearing $100 shoes I can find.
--Brian


A: These shoes have a very devoted following, and those customers young enough to use a computer rate them very highly at zappos.com. But they're the Ford Taurus of dress shoes. I.e., no one's ever going to look twice in a bad way if you're wearing them. But no one's going to look twice in a good way either.

Ask the MB: Pants and Shoes that Work Together

Ask the MB: Pants and Shoes that Work Together
Q: I've noticed that certain combinations of shoes and pants lack the seamless blending/transition at the overlap, such as flare pants with skinny width shoes. Are there any tips to get the right balance? See Exhibit A (top) and B (bottom).
--Mike


A: It's only January 7th but we're pretty sure this will be the most astute observation made all year. Well done.

While our answer should probably take the form of a pseudo-scientific chart, the only tip or guide you need is to follow the architectural principle of proportion. Or, why wearing narrow-outsole sneakers (like a Puma Roma) with bootcut denim feels totally weird.

Similarly, a jacket's lapels and tie should be of like widths. A big part of the problem with the skinny trend (RIP) was the poor bastards who merely dipped their toe in and bought a skinny tie to wear with a traditional-width lapel suit. Like so many breast enlargement surgeries, it looks wrong, and there's a reason why.

Ask the MB: Wingtip Shoes

Gucci grey polished leather wing-tip oxfords via bluefly.com, $420.00
Gucci grey polished leather wing-tip oxfords via bluefly.com. $420.00.
Q: I've used your shoe-pointiness graph as a guide in footwear purchases since you've published it, but it doesn't address style. How does the MB feel about wingtips? Are they an old classic or just old?
--Joe


A: The highly-polished, stacked-heeled, leather-soled wingtips our grandfathers are still wearing definitely look a bit stodgy these days. And they're so noisy, like car alarms for your feet. (Don't even try to steal that Scotch, Gramps! We totally hear you!) We still like wingtips but they're a classic in desperate need of a twist, like the flat rubber-soled Guccis we endorsed a few weeks ago.

Ask the MB: Basketball Coach Wardrobe

Ask the MB: Basketball Coach Wardrobe
Q: Dear MB: I am a basketball coach and would like to carry my magnificent ways from the classroom to the practice court. What kind of athletic apparel do you recommend to keep me on the magnificent path. Thanks.
--Press


A: Press, the answer to your question lies in a '70s TV drama. Ken Reeves, aka "The White Shadow," shows the way magnificently, just as he showed Carver High's ball club how to run the high pick-and-roll with Coolidge and Salami: fitted white polo with deep placket and pointed collar, slim track pants with contrast side stripe(s), and low-top sneakers.

Here's how to pull it together:

* Wyatt jersey pocket polo, via bluefly.com
* Nike Silver Vintage Killshot shoes, via urbanoutfitters.com
* Adidas Superstar track pants, via shopadidas.com
* Metal whistle from the American Whistle Corporation, the only metal whistle manufacturer in the U.S.

Ask the MB: Disney World Shoes

Ask the MB: Disney World Shoes
Q: This is a time-sensitive request, so hopefully you will publish an answer soon. I am convinced other fathers will have the same question. I will be taking the kids to Disney World in December and was wondering what a Magnificent Bastard can wear on his feet for all that walking that will send the appropriate level of Magnificent Basterdness to the Crocs-wearing dads I am destined to see there. I don't want my feet to hurt, but I also don't want to look like...well you know what I would look like in Crocs or a similar kind of "shoe." Of course they can't be dressy because it's about as casual a vacation we can go on...short of spending all of our time on a beach, but I am sure Bastards such as yourselves can solve my problem.
--Jeff from Illinois


A: Jeff, first off, relax! Disney World is the one place on the planet where wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt may qualify you as the coolest guy in the room. Or to put it another way: If your goal as an MB-in-training is merely to outdo some Crocs-wearing stroller-pusher from Topeka, well, you're setting the bar kind of low! But what the hell -- baby steps, right?

Browse our shoe channel and you'll note our interest in classic sport shoes. In fact, visit the MB-recommended classicsportshoes.com and just about anything will do, though we seem to always end up in Adidas or Puma. One of our all-time faves is the difficult-to-find Puma California EXT, available in 8.5, 9, 10, and 10.5. And don't mess up the socks. Go for no-show or none at all.

Ask the MB: Where Do You Buy Your Shoes?

Ask the MB: Where Do You Buy Your Shoes?
Thank you for answering my MB polo shirt buttoning policy question! Here's a follow up: With Christmas around the corner family has been asking what I want. I've decided I'm ready to ditch the Clarks and get a legit pair of new business casual shoes for work (black and brown). To accomplish this I'm going to request gift cards but they'll have to be to the same store in order to stack them all together. But which store is the best for MB shoe shopping? Was thinking Nordstrom but haven't been that impressed with their selection. I'd also prefer an actual store versus online but will defer to your expert opinion. Where do you get your shoes?
--Jay


A: We get our shoes all over the place. Any of the retailers linked on our home page, if they sell shoes we've probably bought a pair. Our biggest wins, however, have come from bluefly and we recommend it for you in spite of its online-ness. Great options for your immediate bizcash need and depending on your adventurousness and line of work, they've always got interesting sport/fashion from Prada, Puma, Tod's, and Adidas, which is the direction we're going these days.

Ask the MB: Magnificent Golf Shoes

Ask the MB: Magnificent Golf Shoes
Q: I need to buy a new pair of magnificent golf shoes, but I don't really know where to look. Any ideas??? Thanks!
--Blake


A: Unfortunately golf shoes have followed in the footsteps of running shoes and gone all ugly space-age (top), when MBs just want the golf shoe equivalent of New Balance 574s (bottom).

It's difficult to offer suggestions in such a depressed golf shoe environment, but last season's Puma Club Shoe works and is on sale for $70. Also keep your eyes on eBay for Adidas and Puma models when they were cool, like back in 2008.

It's Alive!

Crocband via crocs.com, $39.99
Crocband via crocs.com. $39.99.
We thoughts Crocs were dead. Deader than Michael Myers at the end of Halloween. Deader than Jason Vorhees at the end of Friday the 13th. (Or was it Jason's mom? It's been along time since we saw that one.) We were wrong. Horribly wrong. Not only do Crocs continue to haunt this mortal coil, they're even birthing new mutations. We believe these have possessed the soul (but not the soles) of a pair of Chuck Taylors. Out, demon shoe! Out, cursed footwear abomination! Let us walk in peace.

Ask the MB: Black with Brown (Again)

Black pants, black shoes. Period.
Black pants, black shoes. Period.
Q: So I work in a bank now, and the attire demands shirt and tie. I'd look a little overdone in a suit. Can I wear brown dress shoes with black dress pants? (I know the policy on strictly wearing black shoes with a black suit, but since this isn't a suit...)
--Christopher


A: Christopher, rules are definitely meant to be broken, but to break this one you have to know what you're doing. It has to be just the right black pant and brown shoe combination. In other words, if you have to ask, stick to black footwear with your black pants.

Ask the MB: Black with Brown

Ask the MB: Black with Brown
Q: After long debate and no conclusive answer, my friends and I decided to ask the MB gods for the final say. Black and brown together?
--Christopher


A: Brown shirt and black pants? Only if you're a UPS driver who moonlights as a member of the New Zealand All Blacks, and your shorts are in the wash.

Black shirt and brown pants? Only if you're a UPS driver who moonlights as a member of the New Zealand All Blacks, but vice versa.

Black suit with brown shoes? A black suit is useful only for weddings and funerals, and then should be paired with black shoes.

Brown suit with black shoes? Now we're getting somewhere. Though make sure the combo is appropriate by consulting the black shoes-brown pants chart.

Ask the MB: Boat Shoes

Ask the MB: Boat Shoes
Q: Boat shoes -- yea or nay?
--Charles


A: We think boat shoes are fine, but encourage you to wear them only if you're actually on a boat or headed toward one. As for specifics, we all know the default choice when talk turns to boat shoes. Paul Sperry invented the category in 1935; the Top-Sider is an American classic. But so is Donald Trump and we don't want him anywhere near our feet. We don't feel quite so strongly about Top-Siders ... we've even given them a conditional thumbs-up in the past. But if you're in the market for something whose style is a little more amphibious, check out these Puma Decker slip-ons. We also like the Harrys of London Blake in dark tan, which is to the Top-Sider what ScarJo is to Marilyn Monroe, a more streamlined update to a tried-and-true design.

Ask the MB: Barefoot at Dinner Party

Ask the MB: Barefoot at Dinner Party
Q: I'm going to a dinner party at a friend's house. All my summer shoes of course, I wear without socks. Is it appropriate to be barefoot if they ask you to take off your shoes? What's the etiquette on that?
--Phil


A: In survey after survey throughout the 20th century, people have named Gandhi as the guest they'd most like to have at their summer party. In other words, as long as you don't start any fights and generally project a serene vibe, you should be fine. Furthermore, a genetically superior set of toes combined with a recent pedicure look better than any pair of shoes.

Ask the MB: Opera Pumps

Also, it doesn't hurt to have Dean Martin as an accessory
Also, it doesn't hurt to have Dean Martin as an accessory
Q: They fall under all of your MB rules: matte, history, pedigree and tradition: Calf leather opera pumps. On occasions when you have to wear black tie are they the better alternative to the shiny, plastic and cheap looking patent leather oxfords? Cary Grant wore them, and so did Sinatra. What say you?
--Sean


A: If you had a face like Cary Grant, or a voice like Frank Sinatra, you can get away with calf leather opera pumps, because no one will be paying much attention to your feet. Otherwise, avoid. Either way, never let anyone hear you say the phrase "calf leather opera pumps" out loud.

Ask the MB: Rocking Shoes

Ask the MB: Rocking Shoes
Q: I'm shopping for some new boots and or shoes that I can wear to work. I work in the music industry so, stylish is not only acceptable but encouraged. What do you think about the Clarks desert boot? Or Robert Wayne's "Crue." I have a strong suspicion that the "Crue" doesn't have a clue about MB status.
--Sethro


A: Sethro, it depends on how loudly the music you work with is typically played. Clarks desert boots meet just about every MB principle: They have a pedigree, they're Anglophilic, they're matte, and Steve McQueen wore them (top). But can you see Spinal Tap rocking "Sex Farm" or "Swallow My Love" in 'em? Exactly. This is where the Robert Waynes come in (bottom). Yeah, they're square-toed and shiny with an ugly Fleur de Lys design and an even uglier pirate on the sole, but you need something similar if your bands' amps go past 10.

Ask the MB: Pedicure Alternative

Ask the MB: Pedicure Alternative
Q: If you have nasty feet and shouldn't be wearing sandals, what do you recommend with shorts? Some Pumas with low socks? Thanks.
--Chris


A: Over the last three decades, thousands of Vietnamese immigrants have journeyed across oceans in boats we'd be afraid to board in a wading pool just to make your feet presentable in sandals. Get a pedicure! And if you think that sounds kind of girly, do you know who else gets pedicures? Lions! Well, circus lions anyway. And if it's man enough for them, it's man enough for you too.

And what if you have some kind of physical deformity a pedi can't cure? You're on the right track. We prefer anything vintage from Puma, Tretorn, Adidas, with no-show socks or none at all. You'd have a hard time going wrong picking just about anything from Classic Sport Shoes' Adidas Originals page.

Contact the MB: Crocs

Dewar's ad from 1954
Dewar's ad from 1954
Dear MB, I am a woman who has had PF (Plantar Fasciitis) issues on and off for fifteen years and my darling MB husband developed symptoms several years ago when he began running seriously. Let me tell you now: the ONLY things that will help your PF are 1) podiatrist-prescribed orthotics (be warned, you will need to start buying shoes 1/2 size larger; 2) serious, daily calf stretching; and: 3) a night splint. Go to heelspurs.com for more info. Wearing Crocs, is, well, a croc, and flippin' butt-ugly and non-MB to boot. (By the way, the reason my symptoms have come and go over the years is because I am a runner, and because orthotics don't really fit into strappy heels. The MB HB hasn't had any problems since he started serious calf-stretches at the gym.)
--Dru


A: Blessed with absolutely perfect feet, we admit we were treading on unfamiliar ground with our recent foray into feet healing. In any case, we are relieved to hear Crocs are as medically worthless as they are aesthetically painful. Even recommending them in a half-hearted, ironic manner was giving us a headache not even a constant Dewar's IV drip could cure. Thanks for enlightening us.

Ask the MB: Plantar Fasciitis

Ask the MB: Plantar Fasciitis
Q: I am fully on board with your preference for vintage sneakers (Jack Purcells, etc.) for casual wear and would like to get on board. There's just one problem: I have plantar fasciitis, and my podiatrist says it won't get better if I wear unsupportive shoes. By supportive, he means shoes with a 3/4 length nylon shank built into the mid sole - i.e. a shoe that has a rigid arch. I can't seem to find any casual sneakers with this feature. There are plenty of running/athletic shoes out there, but they are only MB approved for their intended function. Are there any MB approved shoes that I can wear to the ballpark, rock concert, the beach, etc that will give me the support I need?
--Mark


A: What the hell do we look like? Dr. Scholl?

A few weeks ago when the Washington Post wrote about the demise of Crocs (and George Clooney being their only hope), several commenters were crushed by the news because Crocs were the only thing that relieved their plantar fasciitis. Some additional Googling and it seems to be true: Crocs help plantar fasciitis. So we say get a pair, wrap them in silver duct tape, and if anyone asks about what the heck is on your feet, tell them they came recommended by Dr. Scholl.

Taylor Lautner's Dad Shoes

Taylor Lautner's Dad Shoes
We'll cut the kid some slack since he's just 17 years old, but Twilight star Taylor Lautner needs to work on his footwear. Spotted in LAX yesterday on the way to shoot Eclipse, Lautner demonstrates acceptable shirt length and sleeve rolling, but then wrecks the ensemble with a pair of Florsheim-ish dress shoes it looks like he borrowed from his dad's closet.

Running Shoes Unsafe at Least Until 2012

Running Shoes Unsafe at Least Until 2012
The August Details says running shoes outside the gym are suddenly OK, thanks to YSL creative director Stefano Pilati (left) and designer Raf Simons (right). As Project Runway's Isaac Mizrahi would say, "We're just not buying it." First, most running shoes are far too ugly even for the treadmill in your basement. Second, Details is forgetting running shoes' deep recession thanks to the president's infamous first pitch look (inset).

Ask the MB: Dress - Casual Crossover Shoes

Puma Black Label black leather 'Speedcat Re-Luxe' sneakers via bluefly.com, $168.00
Puma Black Label black leather 'Speedcat Re-Luxe' sneakers via bluefly.com. $168.00.
Q: So I've been searching for a pair of black shoes for around 2 months now. My initial thought was something between casual and dressy. I would like to have the flexibility to wear them with jeans or a pair of nice pants. Any MB help/recommendations would be great.
--Chris


A: Chris, you obviously haven't been reading this site for 2 months because you'd know the answer to your footwear dilemma lies in Puma Sport Fashion. End of story. A few of us were in Dassler versions (sockless, of course) at a wedding reception at the Pulaski (WI) American Legion on Saturday night and the feedback was universally positive.

Ask the MB: Keen Sandals

Ask the MB: Keen Sandals
Q: I'm an avid reader... and have to say... you're starting to read my mind. Last night, my wife and I were watching TV -- and saw the belt bug spray fan-thing. I said, I bet the MB would NOT approve of that. She agreed and said it looks like a flea collar. Now, less than 12 hours later, you post something on it. You da man.

Now here's a situation that you're sure to agree with me. I bought these shoes. They have the feel of Crocs (though, I must say I have NEVER owned a pair.) I plan to wear them to the pool, at the beach and when we go whitewater rafting. But the other day, I saw someone wear a pair to the movies. When will toolbags learn?
--John


A: John, we may need to graduate you to full-on Vulcan mind-meld. The fact that you mentioned Crocs in the same breath as a recent footwear purchase should set off alarm bells. Do you still have the receipt?

We're strongly opposed to this entire genre of footwear, whether it be Crocs, Keen, or Teva. These are for the fleece and granola set, where MBs are as rare as a dodo bird.

Incidentally, for the rafting we recommend an old pair of Jack Purcells. They work great and look amazing.

Ask the MB: Shoes That Can Work With Workout, and Work

Rudolf Dassler Kapitan via Puma, $250.00
Rudolf Dassler Kapitan via Puma. $250.00.
Q: Are there any shoes you can think of that I can wear at the gym and with a suit?
--Nicholas


A: We've been thinking about this a lot lately so we're glad you asked. While no single shoe will simultaneously work for an AM 5K and a PM meeting with the CEO, Puma is the closest to cracking the code if, say, it's your lifting and not your cardio day. Their Black Label line, the Alexander McQueen collaboration, and some of the Rudolf Dassler stuff can do double duty, depending on the suit. (Again, we're working on one.)

Ask the MB: Off-White Sneakers

Puma Sport Fashion Roma Re-Luxe via Zappos, $254.00
Puma Sport Fashion Roma Re-Luxe via Zappos. $254.00.
Q: Is it ever OK to wear off-white sneakers? I recently procured a pair of Pumas online and now that I'm looking at the color I'm seriously questioning my decision. Nothing seems to look quite right with them.
--Joe


A: Put. The Dockers. Down.

Joe, say it's so: you got into a pair of the new Sport Fashion Roma Re-Luxe, from Puma Black Label (available at Zappos). Of course khakis are a no-no with this shoe, but denim is a sure thing, and pairing these with white jeans or trousers would look très MB. Give 'em another try.

Ask the MB: Are Square-Toed Kenneth Coles Really Not Cool?

Sign in downtown Annapolis, MD
Sign in downtown Annapolis, MD
Q: In your recent post on spring footwear, you apparently diss square-toed Kenneth Coles. Then I looked at the STKCs on my feet and said, "Damn! I'm not as business casual as I thought I was." Please elaborate on this thought. Can STKCs ever be magnificent? Are the just too casual to be "business casual?" Or too formal? And how square is square?
--Marc-Ange


A: Let's get one thing straight, Marc-Ange. We did not "apparently diss" square-toed Kenneth Coles. If square-toed Kenneth Coles are Somali pirates, we're the U.S. Navy. No, they can never be Magnificent or Bastardly or any other adjective/adverb worth a damn. For further information and new footwear purchasing guidance, please consult our Shoe Toe Pointiness Chart.

Ask the MB: Birkenstocks

Ask the MB: Birkenstocks
Q: Are Birkenstocks ever OK?
--Lisa


A: Lisa, please check the map for the inverse blast radius acceptability of Birkenstocks. Eugene, OR is ground zero. Anything outside the yellow zone is red (where they're not OK).

Ask the MB: Spring Footwear

Salvatore Ferragamo Mantra Moccasin via Neiman Marcus, $395.00
Salvatore Ferragamo Mantra Moccasin via Neiman Marcus. $395.00.
Q: Spring is nearly upon us and, as a man of comfort and style, I want to enjoy some suede loafers / boat shoes from time to time. However, I'm not sure if they're really "business casual." Please advise.
--Davis


A: Yeah, the Elgin #1 has been spotted, which means spring is definitely here.

We oppose any hard and fast rules on acceptable "business casual" footwear. We wear tennies with a twist and HR has not been in contact. Suede loafers easily qualify in most cases, and although "boat shoes" get you word-associating "Sperry topsiders," check the Neiman Marcus collection of boat shoes for spring. Most of these are sure as hell more "business casual"-appropriate than a co-worker in square-toed Kenneth Coles.

Ask the MB: Belgian Shoes

Ask the MB: Belgian Shoes
Q: What does the MB think of Belgian shoes? They appear to have some kind of cult following on the Upper East Side and Glenn O'Brien is quite a fan. I got conned into buying this pair years ago and have worn them a grand total of two times. My wife thinks they are the girliest shoes ever. And I'm inclined to agree. Does an MB need a little more courage to wear them or just some common sense to give them the heave ho? Thoughts?
--K Nelson


A: Mr. Nelson, Sir, you should probably get these into your regular rotation. We typically prefer a much more urban look (there are a bunch of new Pumas today on Bluefly), but wearing a $350 pair of slippers 'round town is the essence of Magnificent Bastard-dom. Exclusive, obscure, and posess a senseless lack of utility. Pair with your most beat-up denim for maximum juxtaposition. And tell your wife to mind her own business.

If you remain unconvinced, we're sure there's a homeless stockbroker on the Upper East Side who needs footwear.

Ask the MB: What Shoes Are in the Header?

Ask the MB: What Shoes Are in the Header?
Q: What shoes are worn on the male model in the site header? Also, do you have any MB suggestions to something similar to those? Something dark or light colored for the spring/summer.
--Mark


A: Thanks for noticing. Those shoes are one of our all-time favorites: Puma Sport Fashion Standpunkt by Rudolf Dassler in "warm black." You can wear them with denim or a suit. If you have a small foot, you can get them cheap at Zappos, if you're bigger than 7.5 (and who isn't?) they're still available at Miller Shoes.

Ask the MB: Lugz

Ask the MB: Lugz
Q: How does the MB feel about Lugz?
--Frank


A: In our view, Lugz are the Crocs of hip-hop. They look exactly like they sound -- clunky, badly proportioned, and possibly reinforced with multiple layers of body armor-grade Kevlar. Unless you have an endorsement deal or people shoot at your feet a lot, avoid.

Ask the MB: Florida to Washington Relocation

Ask the MB: Florida to Washington Relocation
Q: I will soon be moving to Seattle after having lived all my life in sunny Florida. I am not well equipped for the weather, and was hoping you could recommend appropriate overcoat and footwear options (I cringe at the thought of exposing leather shoes to that much moisture). Would you consider a raincoat too plebian?
--Alex


A: Hey Alex, kind of a good-news/bad-news scenario, eh? You just reduced your melanoma risk by 100%, but elevated your risk of SAD by at least that much. For the latter, up here in northern Wisconsin we've discovered heavy doses of alcohol usually does the trick. And it sure beats chemotherapy. Anyhow, we digress...

Footwear: Rubber-soled leather shoes will hold up well. Camper is an affordable all-time MB favorite. Depending on your relocation package, also consider Prada (a bunch of new options now at Saks). Just stay away from suede, or keep a suede brush in your laptop bag at all times. Also consider just strapping on some Swims over your existing footwear, and put all your money towards:

Outerwear: Two words: Mackintosh Coat. Your move has provided you with an opportunity to wear this iconic outerwear a lot. Yeah, they're expensive, but a Mackintosh coat is one of those rare pieces that you can wear for a lifetime because it will never go out of style. Go for the original (left, $813.00), or the slightly updated J. Crew version (right, $800.00).

Most importantly, follow Dan Rather and Humphrey Bogart's lead and be sure to turn up the collar.

Ask the MB: Fluevogs

Ask the MB: Fluevogs
Q: I was recently looking at getting a pair of Fluevogs and was curious; how do they rate on the MB scale? I figure they make the grade, and while some are a little too pointy and others not pointy enough (http://www.magnificentbastard.com/posts/ask-the-mb-shoe-toe-pointiness), I'm guessing these are acceptable based on the rules. What say you, oh swami of pithy style?
--Gregory


A: Sure, some Fluevogs might qualify as acceptable based on the MB Toe Pointiness Chart; it's their positioning on the MB Good Style Chart you should be more concerned about. These just don't do it for us. Their look is so overpowering and Austin Powers-y that if you decide to get a pair please follow this advice: make them the featured wardrobe item and combine with an exceedingly ordinary pair of pants and top.

Ask the MB: Puma Pony Hair in Black

Ask the MB: Puma Pony Hair in Black
Q: I have a pair of brown pony hair Puma Clydes, but am trying to find them in black. Any suggestions?
--Mike


A: First of all, consider yourself lucky to own a pair of these at all. (They're rare ... what's the deal? Is there a pony shortage or something? Grow some more.) Second, you want to know what sucks worse than not finding the shoes you desire? It's when you Google "puma pony hair" + black and our own site has the #1 and #2 search results. As if we're going to be of any help!

Your best bet is to set up Google and eBay alerts. If you insist on the pony and can't wait to find the black, the "Clyde Jungle Pack" is available and on sale for just $90.

OK. Wait until you find the black.

Ask the MB: Thom Browne or The Hobbit

Ask the MB: Thom Browne or The Hobbit
Q: Recently in GQ's online series "How to Become a Well Dressed Rebel in 30 Days," Adam Rapoport interviewed Thom Browne and suggested that you forgo the socks with your suit. When they show the pictures of Thom Browne I got a distinct feel that he looked like a 12 year-old that got a suit when he was 7. I guess this can be classified as artful dishevelment but I feel that less dishevelment is better than more Hobbit. Am I completely off the mark? And how should a MB go about the no socks advice?
--Ryan


A: We've never understood the fashion world's hard-on for Thom Browne. Thom Browne this. Thom Browne that. Whatever. His approach to pants is a completely unflattering trend, kinda like women's capri pants from a few years ago. (Like the Terminator, they'll be back.) However, Thom Browne's thoughts on no socks with suits is a good one, but do it in an understated (i.e. MB) way. Go sockless with a normal inseam and then surprise folks with a leg cross or a nicely-timed gust of wind. Just be sure to wear a pair of these socks with your shoes.

Ask the MB: Purple Shirts and Shoes

Ask the MB: Purple Shirts and Shoes
Q: My boyfriend keeps asking me what color shoes to wear with various colored shirts. I honestly never have a clue. I know what works for women, but not for men. Is there some sort rule? For instance, what color shoes/belt would you wear with a purple shirt?
--Jessica


A: This might be an issue for women because their color palette is enhanced, especially for shoes. How many guys own a pair of pink heels? To answer your question, it really doesn't matter. He can confidently wear that TCU long-sleeve shirt with either black or brown. Just not white New Balance, please. Go Frogs!

Ask the MB: Losing His Edge

Ask the MB: Losing His Edge
Q: As an early 40's MB whose M has slipped a bit, what do you recommend as the basic wardrobe essentials for bring it back?
--RG


A: As a one-time true MB, your perceived slippage probably has less to do with wardrobe selection than it does with hair loss, weight gain, or your wife going to pot. Instead of having an affair, try two far less expensive options:

Denim: We see far too many aging men wind up in "Dad Jeans" (top) -- aka "Jerry Seinfeld Jeans" (bottom). Get into a good pair of denim; something that's not Levi's tapered high-rise.

Footwear: Something else we see far too much of: white New Balance running shoes. These have become the Hush Puppies of aging Gen-Xers. Along with your new jeans, try a pair of Campers, or Adidas Originals, or anything from Puma's Alexander McQueen collection, and start getting your M back.

Contact the MB -- Running Shoes

Contact the MB -- Running Shoes
Just saw your post on running shoes. classicsportshoes.com is fine if you're content with "classic" shoe technology. For good looking shoes with the latest technology, you should take a look at Nike iD. You design 'em yourself, so you can tone it down as much as you want. You can even put a white Swoosh on a white background, so it's barely visible.
--Miller

A: At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Ethiopian Abebe Bikila won the gold medal in the men's marathon, running the race in bare feet. You trying to tell us that a few years of marginal technological advances in shoe design make a difference for the average 15-mile/week hacker? Shin splints are a small price to pay for style.

(The 2008 Olympic Men's Marathon is on Sunday, August 23 @ 7:30pm ET.)

Ask the MB -- Gordon Rush Plus Sandals

Ask the MB -- Gordon Rush Plus Sandals
Q: Hey guys. Enjoying your blog. Just wanted to ask if you're familiar with Gordon Rush's line of footwear. I recently ran into a pair of GR dress shoes, and I am thoroughly impressed with the smooth, clean looks, yet they have an understated boldness to them as well. I can't find the same particular shoe online, but thought you may want to check out the web site: www.gordonrush.com.

While I'm at it, how do you feel about these sandals. Not a fan of the logo-ing, but I'm getting the pedicure next week and attending an outdoor wedding, so I'm running out of time. Thanks.
--Matt


A: We admire Gordon Rush as a fairly young designer who's been fairly successful, but he hasn't been mentioned since this site launched for a reason. There's just something too smooth and too clean about his aesthetic. Not to mention, his go-to toe shape is a little too square. (See MB Shoe Toe Pointiness Chart for reference.)

Regarding the sandals, it's fair to say logoed footwear is verboten at a wedding ceremony, but certainly the pedicure will help mitigate the style damage.

You're getting warmer, son, but keep reading.

Ask the MB -- Shoe Toe Pointiness

Kenneth Cole New York Oxfords via bluefly, $96.00
Kenneth Cole New York Oxfords via bluefly. $96.00.
Q: What is the MB take on square-toed vs. round-toed shoes? I thought square-toe was out but I still see them quite a bit. Thanks MB.
--Steve


A: Mainly thanks to Kenneth Cole, square-toed shoes had their day late last century. In this millenium, go with a round shape, or a wing tip-style shape is also MB-approved. Consult the Official MB Shoe Toe Pointiness Chart below for guidance.



MB Shoe Pointiness Chart

Ask the MB -- Alden Shoes

Alden Straight Tip Blucher (& Sputnik 1) via aldenshoes.com, $390.00
Alden Straight Tip Blucher (& Sputnik 1) via aldenshoes.com. $390.00.
Q: How do you feel about Alden shoes? They fit the "no logos" AND have been made in America for over a hundred years. But can the price be justified? Especially for Cordovan. I ask because I just bought a few pair - so you BETTER SAY YES!
--Jeff


A: In spite of Alden's strong pedigree -- or maybe because of it -- they're too "trad" (traditional) to get a strong MB endorsement. Other legendary brands like Pringle and Burberry have changed with the times, offering updates to the classics. Alden seems content plodding along (get it?) with their aging, evening news-watching market.

Anyhow, if you're going to Go Grandpa, make it work by matching with updated accessories, an unstructured blazer, or basically anything that makes it look like you were born this side of Sputnik 1. And definitely show some ankle. Whatever you do, do not combine with anything from Brooks Brothers.

Ask the MB -- Running Shoes or Clown Shoes?

New Balance 574 via Classic Sport Shoes, $59.95
New Balance 574 via Classic Sport Shoes. $59.95.
Q: As far as workout attire, specifically shoes, should fashion give way to function? I've been looking for a good pair of running shoes, but I can't find ones that will offer great comfort and performance and don't look like a gaudy monstrosity of multiple stripes, colors, and logos. Do you take the hit and buy a pair of hideous shoes for the greater good of a great body, or is there never a good excuse for wearing what essentially amounts to Nike clown shoes?
--Ron


A: Good question. Whenever we need to blend fashion and function in sport shoes, we head to classicsportshoes.com. There you will find, ahem, classics like the New Balance 574s. Yes, there is a big "N" on the side -- difficult to avoid branding on running shoes -- but surely no multiple stripes or colors or any other clown shoe-related styling.

Ask the MB -- Chuck and Frank

Top: Ramone Converse<br />Bottom: Frankenclydes
Top: Ramone Converse
Bottom: Frankenclydes
Q: I need sneakers. Can a 40 year-old wear Frankenclydes? Seems a little skate-rattish and Sketcher-like. I'm gravitating in my mind toward a simple pair of canvas sneakers. But nothing seems to exist to fit the bill. Chuck Taylors are just plain boring. Original Penguin has a pair, but they look old-mannish.
--Bry


A: Stick to Penguin for clothes and avoid their footwear; and definitely avoid the Chuck Ts as you hit 40, unless you're either John McEnroe or entered into a Dee Dee Ramone look-alike contest.

Franks fully pass muster for 40-somethings in our opinion. First, their roots are from the hardcourt; you rarely if ever see Frankenclydes at the skate park. Second, Puma has done something smart by introducing luxury Frankenclydes like this pony-hair version (which we've mentioned before a few times). They're fairly expensive, quite difficult to find, and will hold up well to 20-something scrutiny.

Say, for instance, you run into a Frankenclyde-wearing lad and you're in a pair of these. No words need to be spoken but here's what you're communicating: "Yes, you are wearing cool shoes. However, we both know that mine are cooler. I am your style and disposable income superior. Have a nice day."

April Foolin'

Clyde Hair-Calf Sneaker via Neiman Marcus, $200.00
Clyde Hair-Calf Sneaker via Neiman Marcus. $200.00.
And to think we'd really recommend white tennies with jeans...

Whoh! Whohhh. White sneakers? In 2008, really? What about the Frankenclyde's you so recently praised? And white socks w/ jeans? Am I twelve or am I Greg Brady?
--Bry

******

New Balance shoes? Seriously, WTF? Anybody that even resembles an MB can tell you that, barring engaging in serious physical activity, wearing running shoes with white athletic socks is a one-way ticket to Toolbagtown. You would actually have to carry around a bag of hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers to match the toolbag-level quality of your outfit.
--Bo
******

You have to be kidding me about wearing the white sneakers. Those New Balance look corrective. You guys just lost 10 cool points.
--Eric

Ask the MB -- What Shoes With Jeans?

Ask the MB -- What Shoes With Jeans?
Q: I often wear jeans and find myself puzzled. What do I, a MB in training, wear on thy feet? Are Nike Dunks acceptable?
--Joshua


A: Sure, Nike Dunks are acceptable (top), as long as they're all white. If you truly want to be MB, however, go for the white New Balance 652s, with ABZORB shock absorption technology in the heel and toe. And don't forget to match with white sport socks!

Ask the MB -- Black Shoes & Brown Pants

Ask the MB -- Black Shoes & Brown Pants
Q: What's the rule for wearing black shoes and brown/tan pants together? The easy rule is that you never do it. But I've seen the combo out and about before. Is this kosher? Under what circumstances?
—James


A: James, great question. It's a tough one because there is no hard-and-fast rule. It requires "feel" and feel can be hard to cultivate. What style are the pants? Is there a pattern? What are they made of? These things play a role. We're going to do our best to give an answer by providing you with the following chart as a rough guide:

magnificent brown pants/black shoe guide

Ask the MB

Ask the MB
Q: Dear Magnificent Bastard: My husband has requested a pair of "cool" casual shoes for Christmas. In the past he has worn Campers but I am wondering if they are post-peak. Any thoughts, suggestions?
—Amy


A: Camper has become basic, so don't worry about them going post-peak. (We love 'em, incidentally.) If you want to turn the style dial a click or two to the right, and have him wear something a bit more anonymous, try out a pair of Ballys (top) or Sabelts (bottom). Bally just oozes cool, and Sabelt has a pedigree in Formula One footwear. Let us know how he deals with a shift from Camper. They can be a hard habit to break.

Frankenclyde Is Back

Frankenclyde Suede via Puma, $70.00
Frankenclyde Suede via Puma. $70.00.
Praise Jebus! Since Puma pulled them from their site about 18 months ago, we've been scouring ebay for a pair of Frankenclydes, with no luck.

They're Franken' back. These are the most comfortable sneakers you will ever have on your feet. Seriously. Not to mention cool as shit. We're buying 4 pair while they still last.

(Burnt Olive-Vaporous Gray show. Also available in Black-White, Java Brown-Safari Beige, and New Navy-Flint Gray.)

Ask the MB

Ask the MB
Q: Remember when docksiders were cool? My husband wants to know if they still are. Some fashions can make it several decades, don't you think?
— Nancy


A: Your husband is navigating some tricky waters here, ma'am. "Nautical" is (was) a trend for 2007, and retro can be a smashing success, but this footwear selection can go down as fast as the Titanic if made with the wrong pant and shirt pairings. Hard to starboard! Dockers® pleated khakis dead ahead!

Got a question? Ask it.

Sabelt Style

Sabelt laced shoes via YOOX, $168.00
Sabelt laced shoes via YOOX. $168.00.
Sabelt's experience making Formula One racing shoes has definitely paid off for their fashion line, a successful sport-dress combo that rivals Prada. You can find 'em on sale at YOOX, one of any MB's favorite hang-outs.

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