Single pair of shoes

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Single pair of shoes

Post by prudentelo »

Supposing you want to own only one pair of shoes, what is your recommendation?

Should be capable for the full of range activities, from (light) hiking to business meeting to running. Tricky, but budget unlimited.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by chenda »


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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by sky »

It depends on the season. Spring, Summer, Fall: Crocs. Winter: Boots.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by ducknald_don »

I pretty much do this, I wear short walking boots everywhere. I actually keep two pairs, the newest pair for going out and the older cleaner pair for walking/cycling.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by Hristo Botev »

One of our priests does something like this with merrell jungle Mocs, which are a comfortable versatile shoe (I tend to think they are inappropriate for him to wear to celebrate Mass, but I’m just that way). My son wears those same shoes for school (and PE), and to church and for other things for which a 9 year old has to wear something other than play clothes with old tennis shoes.

I did this with the old all leather Vasque sundowners when I was in the peace corps. But I wouldn’t want to run or play any competitive sports in those.

If I only had one pair of shoes it’d be all leather boots, either hiking boots or more likely nicer work style boots, like red wings iron rangers or classic mocs or Alden work boots ( ... 1&PageID=8)* or something comparable. But even in the peace corps I still had running shoes in addition to the vasques. Also, the problem with work style boots like red wings is pulling them off without looking like some sort of hipster, poser, faker, wannabe, or whatever. Which is why i like the Merrell jungle Mocs—no better way to signal to the world that you just don’t GAF than with wearing a pair of comfy and user friendly slip ons.

*im a big fan of Alden. My only work shoes my entire 12 year career (and church/wedding/funeral/etc shoes) has been a single pair of black Alden cap toes. ... 2&PageID=8

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by jacob »

I did my phd defense in these: ... r-buy.html ... but then again in my younger days, I also attended a weeding in suit and combat boots, which at least are black and partially hidden under the pants.

It depends on what business you're in. However, look to what cops are using. For example, ... 00101.html
But just search for "police shoes black". I think this will give you a semi-formal pair of shoes that also works on the trail.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by J_ »

It depends too if in no business. Sturdy boots like Jacob’s for mountain walks or shopping in town with a backpack. They fit also for cycling on town bike. And are well suited for gardening.
Many sailboat owners does not allow those boots on their ships, for such situations I have light “barefoot” shoes which I also use for light terrain walks and town walks and in summer/spring/autumn.
In rowing boats there are sometimes fixed shoes on the footboard, if not I use very light gym- shoes.
For my cross country skating ski's I have special light weight ski-shoes, with integrated "connectors"
And if the weather is good I use sturdy sandals.
So for me no single pair…

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by aptruncata »

filson uplander should cover most of your needs although i don't know if i'd run in them.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by Toska2 »

Redwing 608. Few seams, all leather, resole-able.

I also live in a 4 season climate. Walking in the snow for four months in shoes is a no-go.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by flying_pan »

If you don't walk too much/don't run and don't live in a super hot environment, then hiking boots are pretty tough to beat, or just good boots. They are less than ideal if you do exercise a lot, and then run pretty hot, imo.

Personally, I love lightweight shoes but they disintegrate fairly quickly compared to the boots, so you'll probably spend more money on them, but they allow you to be much more active. They mostly suck in the snow, though.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by Stahlmann »

Take care of your feet.

I developed Haglunds syndrome and probably achilles spur, because I was too cheap on shoes and used hiking boots everywhere.

Observe. Draw conclusions. Adapt.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by prudentelo »


Idea is to commission a bespoke pair of shoes made to my feet. This should be the healthiest choice, and maybe the most comfortable.

Which then gives me quite a lot of freedom to choose the design, except for the fact that companies that do this almost all specialize in men's dress shoes.

Should cost a low $x,000, which is like cheap auto or good bike. I think that is a reasonable expense, if the shoes last a long time and are versatile.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by 2Birds1Stone »

Trail runners would be my choice. Not a shoe you would want made bespoke though.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by prudentelo »

That is my biggest confusion now ,after many good replies

Technical materials/retail fit vs "old" materials/bespoke fit

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by Seppia »

2Birds1Stone wrote:
Sun Mar 06, 2022 6:12 am
Trail runners would be my choice. Not a shoe you would want made bespoke though.
As much as I like the idea of one pair of semi indestructible leather shoes that I can keep forever, trail runners / light hiking sneakers (à la Merrell) would be my choice.
I have a bad back so having great cushion/support is very important for me.

Tangent: I noticed that alternating two pair of shoes day in and day out makes them last longer than 2x a single pair.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by theanimal »

Trailrunners are my choice for just about everything unless it's colder than 0F or there is a lot of fresh snow. Their major downside is that they don't last that long. I get just over a year's use out of them before the holes become too big. Holes form for me in the toebox starting around 6 months or so of use. I'm probably a little harder on my shoes than most though and they go through frequent soaked/dry cycles, especially in the summer (crossing creeks/rivers, hiking off trail in wet terrain etc). This may not be as much of an issue if you live in an urban area and are able to keep them dry. The number I've heard tossed around before is 600 miles before they give out. It probably varies slightly by shoe.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by M »

I don't have much to add here except my experience. I used to buy the cheapest Wal-Mart shoes I could find. They would usually cost around 20 dollars and last a year. Not very comfortable. I was not willing to wear boots to save money and figured this was the next cheapest alternative.

Sometimes I would find shoes that fit at garage sales for a dollar or two. I found a pair of new balance 608 shoes once, very comfortable. They lasted a couple years and were used when I bought them. In the spring of 2019 I decided to splurge and bought a brand new pair of New Balance 608s for 55 dollars. Three years later they are still going strong so it turns out that the nice shoes I 'wasted' money on will wind up costing less than the cheap shoes while being way more comfortable. Sometimes the best choice is not always obvious.

I wear these shoes everywhere, mowing lawns, hiking, at the gym, out walking etc. I'm surprised they have held up so well, considering I normally destroy shoes in a year or less.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by Papers of Indenture »

Well if running on concrete is an absolute must and you want to spend big for a shoe that will last 20+ years then I think the only place to get lifetime quality sneakers that are hand welted and built with high quality leather is probably Viberg out of Canada. Similar build profile to PNW boots and Hanwag type boots but they offer a much wider range of styles including lots of low cut options that look very casual. Probably the only place you can get a hand welted tennis shoe. ... g-roughout ... calf-suede

If running isn't that big of a requirement you can spend a little less and go with one of the following Pacifiic Northwest handmade boot makers: Nick's, Frank's, Wesco. These are serious custom built boots that are heavy and require a break in period but I can tell you from experience that the break in pays off big time as they mold to your foot. These are the type of shoe that can be passed down if you are someone who likes to take care of things. They're a significant step up in quality/durability from the RedWing Iron Ranger. Jacob's Hanwag's are the only thing in the same realm. I would find it challenging to wear these in the Summer with shorts but if you are already fashion averse then you will have no issue with the boot+shorts hiker look. Here's a few low cut ones that might be more versatile. ... ront-range ... uick-ship/ ... ?id=Chukka

Nick's does make a tactical boot that might be more conducive to the occasional sprint: ... iguration/

All the PNW shoemakers have a shared heritage (making boots for Wildland Firefighters) and have similar offerings. They'll offer a work line of boots that are made from 8oz leathen that will be practically indestructible if given monthly cleaning and conditioning. Then they have casual offerings that will probably be closer to 5.5oz leather in more interesting colors and textures which will require less break in but still last 20+ years if taken care of. They'll all need re-soles of course. They are fully re-buildable too (they can keep the original upper half of the boot and re-build the lower half for a much lower price than buying a new boot). Wedge soles and honey colored soles will need more frequent re-sole than the hard black Vibram soles.

This is a good place to ask questions and see different builds:

I own a pair of 14 year old White's Smokejumpers which are absolute tanks but I wouldn't recommend White's anymore as they were purchased by a conglomerate about 10 years ago and quality has declined a bit.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by Jean »

i got myself a pair of joe nimble wandertoe 2.0
i just hiked about 50 miles in 2 days in the alps, and they are very confortable. they could also pass for dress shoes. i'll tell you more in one year, but this is my second hike, and i wear them all the time as work/city shoe, and they don't show sign if wear or tear now.

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Re: Single pair of shoes

Post by C40 »

I guess if you really want to have only one pair of shoes it is possible. But.. why? About the only scenario I can imagine is for someone who is traveling long-term and really wants to pack light. Or a homeless person.

If you're running much, the only reasonable answer is for your one pair of shoes to be whichever running shoes work really well for you. Buy them in all black if possible, and accept looking like a dork at other times. Don't run a significant amount in shoes that should not be used for running

If you don't need to run, boots start to make sense. I've spent HUGE amounts of time wearing this model of boots over the last 10-15 years. I actually have two pairs. I wore the soles out on both pairs and replaced them on one. ... safety-toe

I wouldn't want to wear these for everything - and also wouldn't want to wear them all the time. They're too heavy, and perhaps the heel rise is bad for me. I'd hate using them on a bicycle unless it's to mosey around slowly.

I think there are some good suggestions in this thread. They're basically all going to be the type where when the sole is worn out, you throw them away and buy a new pair. (but if you are able to reasonably have multiple pairs of shoes, you can keep a style of boots with replaceable soles, and other/lighter shoes for specific activities needing them)

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