I found myself asking that question 2 years. It wasn’t so much what was better, more why was one so much more money. Could it really be worth twice the price of the other.
On the net the photos were ok, but neither pair of the oxblood brogues had anything more than the technical data, i.e made of leather. There was no background, no reviews and certainly no comparisons. Hence why I started the website, but that’s another story.
What’s better ? Well in the video you can see there are differences, the Loake Royal is a more wide fitting shoe, and certainly the widest shoe we do. The DJ is narrow, and very snug on my wide feet.
The DJ is much almost chisel toed, and certainly has more of a skin, 70’s look about it. The DJ is advertised with yellow laces and again I feel this has a terrace skin feel.
The Loake Oxblood Brogue in comparison is a much more conservative shoe, and I would say better for more occasions. I have mentioned before that it works well with jeans and a suit. I have seen a guy dressed up very smart for Remembrance Day here in the UK with a pair.
The sole on the DJ upsetter was only leather till recently, DJ have now upgraded to Goodyear welted sole and changed the name slightly to the Royale. Both shoes have a very sturdy pair of soles. The Loake are worn by a business colleague and show very little form of wear, despite being worn every day.
The Loake has a slightly better looking leather and I would concede more consistent shoe, meaning the stiching and cut of the shoe is better. BUT is it £75 more better !
Well that’s for you to judge, I personally have a pair of Loakes, but would happily wear the DJ’s.
What I would suggest is how often you going to wear them? What you going to wear them with. What’s your budget. Once you have worked that out then choose a pair.
If you are young or cash is tight, then buy the DJs. They are half the price, which means you could then buy a pair of loafers another day. Meaning you get 2 pairs of decent shoes, for the same price as the Loakes.
On the other hand!
Buy the Loakes once, look after them and you are going to have a really decent pair of shoes for literally years, long after the thrill of a bargain has faded.
The thoughts behind this blog entry are mainly about how different shoes can come up different sizes.
Modshoes stock a range of shoes by different makers,sometimes within their own ranges the shoe sizes vary as well.
So is an 8, an 8 in all makes?
Well straight away you have to consider the style of the shoe. The cut of the shoe, the design of the shoe, how is it going to stretch, is it laced or slip on? The point being some shoes are designed for a thinner foot.
For examples here are two brogues, one by Loake, the other by Delicious Junction. Both are really good looking shoes. Both stylings are good to my eye, meaning the Loake is slightly rounder, and the DJ a more flattened front. Both come in black or oxblood. Both have leather soles. One is £78 and one is £150.
Now the first thing you may think is well, I can save myself half the price. And that is a fine argument. But, and this a big but, which one is going to fit like I want it to?
Now this is the exact reason, I started the Modshoes website. There is not one website out there that could tell me the difference, and more importantly, whether either of them were any good.
So now I have a pair of both and yes they are different , the Loake is designed for a wider foot. My left foot is 8 and my right 8.5. So when I am buying I need to know if the shoe is going to grow to the shape of my feet. The Delicious Junction Upsetter on the other hand (or should i say foot!) had a narrower feel. So much so that I may even consider going up a size to see if it feels right.
So what am I trying to get at? Well here are some simple pointers as I see it;
Make sure you know your proper size. In the UK, Clark’s will measure you, and the cheap outlet Brantano will also.
Do you have a wide foot?
Does the design of the shoe lend itself to stretch if the shoe is a little tight to start off with. More on this in a bit.
If you are a wider kinda guy, are you going to have to give tight Italian winkle pickers a miss!
So how do you accommodate your foot.
A lace up shoe is always going to flex more. Stand to reason doesn’t it. The lace is very forgiving in terms of your front of foot. A Derby lace up is more forgiving than an Oxford. Brogues tend to come in both Derby and Oxford styles, so if you are buying online, you know the Derby is safer.
Next up in my mind is the leather.
Cheap leather is never good. Whether you are buying a lace up or a loafer, you want the foot to be accommodated properly after a few wears. Some quality loafers can take up to a year to wear in, I have heard Sebagos are meant to be like this. But they also last for years!
So time to start naming names!
Delicious Junction Sizing
We sell a lot of Delicious Junction shoes. We sell them because they are a good shoe at a fair price, and aim their styles at MODS. Not all of them but over 50%. The leather is good on the shoes we stock.
They do vary, the Rudeboy which is very popular, I would say is slightly wider then most loafers. I advise people to come down a size, rather than go up.So if you are an 8.5, go for a 8.
The Upsetter though, comes up small, I have tried on an 8 and 9, my normal size being a large 8. But I would get the 9’s because the cut is narrow. Same with the Upsetter boots.
Their other shoes also vary a little, but in the main the loafers come up big and the laces smaller. But this is maybe because I have a wide foot.
The Delicious Junction have only taken a few wears to feel right. The leather on all the shoes I own of this brand have taken about 5 hours of wearing to feel comfortable.
In this video I danced for an hour in a brand new pair of Delicious Junction Detroit loafers and they started feeling good after that hour. The Detroits are the one exception to the range of loafers, if you are an 8.5 go up a size, not down.
Loake though does tend to be more standard in sizing. And as you would expect from a UK maker that’s been around for a while, the range is consistent. But you pay for that, Loakes start at £99.
The leather Loake use though takes a bit more wearing in. Will it last longer! Only time will tell, but I know lots of soulies with Loakes and Bass Weejuns that are years old and still going well.
Ikon we also sell, and again are very like the DJ line. Now maybe this is because both are made in Portugal ! And as such have European sizing rather than stricter UK.
I do want to come back to the design, stitching and leather, all of which play a part in how the shoe is going to fit on your foot.
When considering buying a shoe, think about whether the leather will stretch, also the stitching. Has the designer designed this for a narrow or a wide foot?
A loafer has the stitching to stretch, but if the leather strap across the top is made of cheap leather, it won’t stretch well!
Look at the Loakes here for example.
The Brighton has a wider look, the Georgetown a narrow. Both are very good leather and stitching.
I suppose I would like to conclude that you get what you pay for. Are the Loakes worth twice as much? Well I think so, but are you going to wear them every day or for long hours?
Meaning, if like me you go out once a week, and you have a few pairs of shoes, it is unlikely that a pair of shoes are going to wear out fast, so have more pairs of cheaper shoes.
But if you intend to spend many hours dancing at a soul club, with loads of talc on the floor, then go for good quality ones, your feet will say thank you!
So please watch the video and come back with comments, and also your own experiences of sizing.
Comments and also your own experiences of sizing, very welcome below
Brogues come in many colours and many shades, not to mention styles, but I wanted to concentrate on colours.
When buying a shoe you should consider ‘what I am going to wear them with‘, and that will help you to consider the most appropriate colour.
So, are the shoes mainly to go with jeans for a casual look, or suited and booted? I think about where I am going to be wearing the shoes. So for instance, I go to at least one Northern Soul do a month, where I may be wearing jeans or trousers. I am not likely to have a suit on at this kind of event. During the day though, I am more formal at work, and I tend to stick with classic business Black and Greys, and on occasion a dark blue pin stripe suit.
A brown brogue is a very versatile colour, and possibly goes with any other colour of trouser including blue jeans. The one time i would say it doesn’t work is with black trousers or a black suit.
‘Black and brown makes a frown’
Aside from black, brown will go with every colour under the sun. From navy to grey and green to burgundy, the deeper, richer, tones of brown and tan shoes will much better compliment a wider variety of colours than black shoes – making them much more versatile.
A light brown (Tan) brogue is very popular with the Smart Skin. Oxford Paul ,who lives around here, has several pairs which he combines with light faded jeans and a classic ‘Twisted Ben Sherman’. Worn with confidence it is a good striking look.
One style that DNA Groove do, is the brown suede brogues. I love some of DNA’s designs, think they are really good, especially the basket weavers. All DNA Grooves design are very MOD. The dark browns ones I like the most, the brogue fits well with the colour and styling.
Again shading plays a part, because the darker the shoe, the easier it sits with other trouser colour.
So if you are thinking of buying a brogue, perhaps brown is the best option?
Black brogues are still a worthy contender though. Black goes with everything, but in my opinion can sometimes look a little stark. Meaning black is more for formal occasions. I wear black loafers with dark blue jeans, but have never liked the faded jeans with black shoe look, too 80’s for me!
For work, I have a pair of Half Brogue Loakes in black. The lacing style is an Oxford, which give the shoe a more formal office look. I wouldn’t wear these with jeans, they just dont sit right. The front is more pointed. I wear this make of brogue because I want something tough which will last.
I have seen the Oxford style black shoes at a Northern Soul do only this weekend, but whilst great for dancing and functional, I dont think it is a great looker!
Which brings me on neatly to Oxblood Brogues. This is my fav colour of Brogue. I don’t think all styles of Brogues suit Oxblood and I don’t think it is for every occasion. What i do like though, is that it stands out enough to say ‘This is a going out shoe’.
Oxblood isn’t everyone’s first choice of colour by any stretch of the imagination, but they are in fact one of the more versatile colours that you can wear. Oxbloods are compatible with all shades of grey, most navy hues and are perhaps a little bit more suitable when worn with black. Not dissimilar to brown brogues, they work with pretty much every colour you could think of.
When we were in Brighton recently, it was Remembrance Sunday, a guy walked past in Black Crombie, Dark Grey Trousers and Oxblood Loake Royal Loafers. The look was very smart and worked well. The same shoe could then be worn with jeans.
One style of oxblood brogue I have seen that looks very good, is combined with a Tassel Loafer. Not two styles you would immediately put together. The shoe is not a heavy shoe, but has a light sole. Terry my friend who owns them wears them with 16inch bottom blue trousers. The loafer part stops to show just the right amount of sock. The shoe is not an obvious choice and not one you see lots, but worn in the right way, which terry does, is very MOD.
I would go so far to say that should you wish to make an easy, simple statement, Oxblood is the way to go. Oxblood can be utilised in a near identical fashion as brown but the colour is bolder, more interesting and definitely more individual.
I have seen the style work well with a suit and also with jeans at Northern Soul do’s.
The oxblood colour lends itself well to being that little bit smarter than the Light Brown Brogue.
One issue you might have is that they are an unquestionable step in a new direction for most of the population, so you will have to wear them with a great deal of confidence to pull them off convincingly. But in the main you are buying these shoes to go out in, so why not stand out and wear them with pride!