Unlike women who seem predominately to buy shoes for self gratification and assimilation with other predetermined items or events, men seem to have an almost diametrically opposite approach.
Men by and large buy shoes on need, rather than want; on performance rather than the most noble of reasons … that they simply like them.
In many ways buying shoes and boots (which are an even more acute example) illustrates one of the many delightful differences between the male/female gender stereotypes. That is, men will predominately buy shoes because they have to, women because they want to or for the even more charming reason, just because they can!
Sadly this means that many men miss out on experiencing the more sensual, irrational delights that having a great pair of shoes could give them. Rather than even moving away from the 90% solid black shoes to dark brown or any other slight colour variation, most men will remain in their conservative comfort zone seeking reassurance and mate-ship by not breaking ranks and wearing ‘weird shoes’.
Quality for men is usually hard wired into their brains with cost. This of course creates a very fictitious impression that the more money spent equals a higher quality product bought. Thus men are being conned at both ends of the market in that some cheaper shoes (those retailing under $200) are actually very good quality and many pairs that cost well over that amount are not so much priced on qualitative issues but marketing and by restricting availability. Another comparison would be that the average man would rather spend $60,000 on a brand new car rather than spend half that amount on a pre-loved classic which could be far more function rich and feature poor.
So back to shoes, putting the cost issue to one side the question of quality for men seems to be based on visible evidence such as weight, materials used (particularily in new or chunky shoes) and manufacturing complexity. Quid pro quo the heavier, more performance based shoes made from new materials with evident build complexity will appeal to men. For example, retailers have witnessed the sales of Timberland boots and Prada or Church shoes for men surpass other more ‘interesting’ brands.
So what do I call interesting in shoes? Well, in many ways I look for the same the same emotional contentment from my shoes that other men get by either spending a lot of money or buying the latest look so not to feel out of step (no pun intended).
So yes, men and women both ultimately want to feel good about ourselves in what we wear. I just prefer to fulfill this desire by satisfying my sensual criteria through the shoe, look, feel, smell (soft new leather) and sound (on hard surfaces).
One should never, ever underestimate the powerful sound that the creak and crack of new brogues make upon timber floors.