The Most Awesome Black Formal Shoes
There are two categories of formal shoes- (CAT 1) one wears these for 10-12 hours every day and walk a lot. Then we have (CAT 2) shoes which are usually worn for shorter duration 4- 5 hours and that too with more air-conditioned environment and less of physical movement. If you are looking for CAT 2 shoes – then there are plenty of options – Ruosh, Language, Hush Puppies, Top Range of Bata, Woods from Woodland, Clarks, Alberto – all of these are good shoes [technically as well as aesthetically]. All of these [except for...Read more
There are two categories of formal shoes- (CAT 1) one wears these for 10-12 hours every day and walk a lot. Then we have (CAT 2) shoes which are usually worn for shorter duration 4- 5 hours and that too with more air-conditioned environment and less of physical movement. If you are looking for CAT 2 shoes – then there are plenty of options – Ruosh, Language, Hush Puppies, Top Range of Bata, Woods from Woodland, Clarks, Alberto – all of these are good shoes [technically as well as aesthetically]. All of these [except for some of Hush Puppies] weigh more than 1400 grams which is an issue if you want to use these for Cat 1 purpose [say you work in Sales team or in hotel industry].
In other words, for CAT 1 shoes; the functional requirement of these shoes is rather different.
What are you the functional requirement from a CAT 1 Shoe?
Leather on the inside and Leather on the Outside
Well a combination of good quality leather upper with leather lining. The upper should absorb get wet when you put drops of water on it, and likewise the lining should be such that it absorbs a drop of water in less than 20 seconds. The technical term for the leather that you are looking for is drum dyed leather while the lining should be naked drum dyed leather. This combination will keep your feet cooler as this allows the sweat to travel from inside of the shoe to the upper; from where it will dry up – the same principle by which an earthen pot keeps water cool.
But some people have fancy leather on top and interesting fabrics on the inside?
Fancy leathers [printed, pigmented, patent etc] do not have breathability; so, if you want to use them for couple of hours [partying etc] then it works; else it’s asking for trouble. In Italy they pay a lot of premium for a shoe with uneven grains for example because they understand that uneven grain means that the leather is closer to natural version which makes it stronger, more-supple and allows it to breathe. Likewise fancy lining on the inside – foam, polyester fabrics are strict NO and should be avoided. They look good but are terrible at breathing. In case you get a more boring looking leather but which gets wet rather quickly – it's the one to chase. There are too many misconceptions on leather – most people end up buying the not so right version of it.
Cushion- Look for memory foam, PU based cushion or Latex based cushions. These will remain cushiony for over 3-5 years; as compared to EVA which will collapse in 3 weeks. When you walk or stand; significant strain comes on the heel, so until and unless these are cushioned well, you will be very uncomfortable. If you ever wear Hush-Puppies for example their cushion holds good even when the shoe is literally dying – that’s because they use PU based cushion which has phenomenal life. A lot of ‘metoo’ brands do not use these cushions as these are expensive materials. But I would say this a must for all the shoes. The PU based cushions are used in car seats – it should give you some clues on how it lasts over the year.
Sole- The right sole should give you sound grip across surfaces [even the most polished surfaces] and should have a good life and most importantly should have good flexibility. You really do not want to wear something which feels like wooden slippers. Walking is a very complicated action starting from heel and then flattening out with heel going off first with toe being the last point to be taken off. This movement needs decent amount of flexibility from the sole. The issue with most soles is that they are rather heavy or lack the flexibility. Very few people in the world can balance this. The ones doing it well are names like Skechers, Nike, Adidas, Colehaan. A lot of shoes even in the so-called brand category don’t get this right. You should try a pair of Skechers to understand what this balancing means [even if you don’t buy it, try it]. This flexibility is a hard-core requirement in case you want to use a formal shoe for 10-12 hours every day. You need these shoes to be the most comfortable shoes in your portfolio.
Weight- A Category II shoe should weigh less than 600 grams which would mean lot lower shoe fatigue. This is tough requirement – most of the shoes in the market will weigh b/w 1200 to 2000 Grams a pair. Those or not ideal if you want to move a lot. A 500 gram a pair is lighter than most of your wrist watches and that is how light formal CAT 1 shoe should be.
Slope- The inside of the shoe should be slightly slanted from heel to toe – about 12 to 15 degrees. This reduces the stress on the heel significantly as compared to a completely flat shoe. Speak to orthopedic doctor to understand this.
Toe Swing- Ideally Toe Swing should not be more than 14 cms; a lot of shoe makers who do not know about shoe making will make shoes with Toe Swings of 25 cms or so. This tells you more than anything that shoe maker doesn’t know about shoes. The toe swing is designed to help you lift your feet when you walk – the movement starts from heel and toe is the last point of contact when you lift your feet off the ground – it happens at an angle, anything like 25 cms is a disaster.
FIT- Fit of a shoe comes from the shoe last. A shoe last is a 3D resin version of feet on which shoes are given the shape. If a last is wrong – then the fit will be incorrect which basically means extra friction when you use them which would mean extra sweat and extra discomfort and so on.
About TZARO Active Series
This shoe is strongly recommended for daily use and compared to lot of other options this is very high value for money. Similar quality shoes are available for almost double the price.Read less