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Men's Footwear: 4 Important Rules to Follow

Did you know that the world's oldest shoes date at least 10.000 years? What's more is they were made with intricate waves which means that not only were they functional, but also stylish. This implies that even from our tribal days, men looked for and valued footwear that not only got the job done, but looked good doing it. Nowadays, there are more brands and different styles of shoes, boots and trainers for men than ever before, meaning there's an option for every occasion. And while I won't try to convince you that you need a special pair of shoes for every occasion, I'd like to try and convince you that quality footwear can be one of the best wardrobe investments you make that can elevate your personal comfort and style significantly.

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Every man should care about his footwear, simply because it's the foundation he stands upon. On any average day, your shoes will absorb the force of your entire weight about 3000 times. A bad pair of shoes can cause not only discomfort, but lead to injury. Then there's the whole appearance aspect of shoes. Your shoes receive a lot of attention, despite being at the bottom of your body and covering only 5% of it. That being said, you should always look for functional shoes, boots or trainers for men. This is best done by following four basic footwear rules.

Rule #1 - Always Wear the Right Shoe For the Occasion

The most common mistake many men make is not wearing the right type of shoes for the occasion. Every type of shoe has a purpose. For instance, running shoes protect your feet and provide cushioning when running. Steel toe work boots provide protection while working in rough environments, etc. Wearing these shoes out of their intended purpose is fine as long as they're still appropriate, but many people take it to the extreme and completely abandon the middle ground between ultra-casual and formal.

Rule #2 - Always Invest in Quality Footwear

Not everyone can afford spending hundreds of dollars on footwear, but even those who can oftentimes choose to spend that money elsewhere and buy inferior quality shoes every couple of months. This is never a good idea, as low quality shoes is made using cheap raw materials and glue that don't age well. You can actually save money in the long run by buying more expensive, but high-quality shoes that can last for several years. While you might have to save and budget to make the best footwear purchase, you'll end up having more respect for the quality of the shoes you buy which can encourage you to take better care of them.

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Rule #3 - Don't Sacrifice Fit and Comfort

Always buy shoes that fit the shape and size of your feet properly, even if it costs you a bit extra at a brick and mortar store versus going for the lowest price/tax free route. Most of the time, this will end up being a good deal, especially considering that you may end up supporting a small, local business that can really give you solid advice as to what styles are available and show you how to take proper care of your shoes. The biggest fit issue with men is shoe width. Men with extremely narrow and wide feet learn this early in their lives, but those who have only slightly narrow or wider feet never learn about their ideal size because normal shoes usually do an okay job for them. Take your time to find the right size and fit, and you'd be surprised about how much more comfortable your shoes will feel.

Rule #4 - Take Care of Your Footwear

No matter what the purpose of the footwear you choose is, make sure you keep them in good shape. Waterproof them if you're going to walk around in wet areas, clean them to keep them looking sharp, and rotate between a couple of different pairs to allow them to dry. Furthermore, use wood shoe trees to soak up perspiration, which can be especially important for leather shoes, as their interior has probably not gone through the chemical treatment of the upper, making it susceptible to rot.

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Before you go into a retail store for shoes or look online, you should get familiar with some of the terminology you'll come across

  • Sole - This is the bottom part of the footwear and is divided into outer sole, mid sole and insole depending on the type of shoes you're looking at
  • Upper - This refers to the part of the shoe that's above the sole
  • Insole - The insole, or inner sole is the part of the sole upon which your feet will rest. A quality insole can be the difference between shoes that last a few months or 10 years
  • Heel - The back part of the shoe that comes in direct contact with the surface and provides elevation to the foot. Heels are generally built from 2 to 4 pieces of leather known as lifts and are reinforced with rubber
  • Laces - You can choose between round and ribbon laces, with round being stronger and more formal due to their core, whereas ribbon laces are more elastic and come in a variety of colours, making them ideal for hiking and athletic footwear
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