The formal shoes can be classified in two categories. (CAT 1): You wear for 10-12 hours every day and walk a lot. (CAT 2): You wear it for 6-8 hours and sit more than move around. There are plenty of options for CAT 2 shoes –– Ruosh, Language, Hush Puppies, Top Range of Bata, Woods from Woodland, Clarks, Alberto – all of these are good shoes [technically as well as aesthetically].
However, if you are looking for CAT 1 shoes [say you work in Sales team or in Bank Branch or in Hotel Industry]; then your requirement is of a different grade of shoes which is hard to find.
What are you looking for in a formal shoe [CAT 1]?
Leather on the inside and Leather on the Outside
Well a combination of good quality leather upper with leather lining. The upper should absorb water when one puts 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 this upper leather is drum dyed leather while the lining leather should be naked drum dyed leather. This is the combination, which will keep 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 put keeps water cool.
Nevertheless, some people have fancy leather on top or interesting fabrics on the inside.
Fancy leathers [printed, pigmented, patent etc.] do not have breathability; so, if one wants to use them for couple of hours [partying etc.] then it works else it is asking for trouble. In Italy they will 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, suppler 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 one gets a more boring looking leather that gets wet rather quickly – it is the one to chase. There are too many misconceptions on leather – most people end up buying the not so right version of it.
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. Many ‘me-too’ brands do not use these cushions, as these are expensive materials.
The right sole should give sound grip across surfaces [even the most polished surfaces], have a good life and most importantly should have good flexibility. One really does 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 brands in the world can balance this. A lot of shoes even in the so-called brand category don’t get this right. 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.
A Category-I shoe should weigh less than 600 grams which would mean lesser 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 one wants to move a lot. A 500 gram a pair is lighter than most of the wrist watches and that is how light formal CAT 1 shoe should be.
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.
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. The toe swing is designed to help lift feet when walking – the movement starts from heel and toe is the last point of contact when one lifts feet off the ground – it happens at an angle, anything like 25 cms is a disaster.
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 means extra friction when one uses them, which would mean extra sweat and extra discomfort and so on.
TZARO Superlight Series was designed to deliver performance for people who use the shoes for 8 to 12 hours every day and move a lot in the shoes. Few things about this shoe-series are:
They weight as little as 650 grams a pair; which makes it superlight
The sole is made of a new material– this gives a grip even on glass surface and is super flexible – you can make circle out of the shoe and twist it even sideways
The shoe has naked drum dyed genuine leather lining and has good genuine full grain leather on the top
The shoe has memory foam cushion and the shoe slopes about 14 degrees on the inside
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