The black cap-toe Oxford shoe is the cornerstone of a well-dressed man’s wardrobe. With a leather sole, they are the most formal of shoes, equally appropriate when meeting the President or attending a funeral. Paired with a dark suit, the black cap-toe Oxford is always the proper choice.
The most important thing to remember when buying shoes is common sense. If you are only going to wear the pair on occasion, it really isn’t worth splashing out many hundreds of euros on them. Cheap shoes, with glued soles should be avoided, however, since there are a wealth of quality options available, – even for those on a budget.
Long story short, shoes should have leather soles, especially for more formal events, but history doesn’t have a precedent for punishing a man for wearing rubber soled shoes. But, that being said, leather soled shoes are your best bet and can be used safely in slippery conditions and in wet weather, by utilizing galoshes.
To comprise the following list, I took a tour of the local businesses I knew to carry quality men’s shoes. I also included two online stores, whose products aren’t available on the shelf in Finland, but whose prices are more befitting the prudent man.
Allen Edmonds is a high quality shoe manufacturer from the United States that has been operating for over 90 years. Their best known cap-toe Oxford is the Park Avenue which can also be found on the shelf at Fere. Allen Edmonds is also available to order from Butiken på Landet.
A quality British manufacturer with a lower price point, Barker carries a variety of Oxford shoes. Juhlagalleria in Tampere carries the Nevis. Also another models can be purchased in Vaatturi Eklund form Turku.
Bexley is a French manufacturer whose reputation is build on excellent price-to-quality ratio and fast delivery. The Flavio is, as its name suggests, an Italian-styled shoe, which is readily apparent in the longer toe. My own experience suggests that the euro-sizing is very accurate. The price for the Flavio is 139€ and when buying a second pair (90€) the price-per-unit drops. Excellent for a tighter budget!
Church’s is a British quality shoemaker’s that is part of the Prada portfolio. Church’s is a sure choice if you want a pair of shoes that lasts from father to son. In Finland, Churchs’ shoes are sold by Stockmann.
Crockett & Jones
English quality manufacturers Crockett & Jones boast a wide variety of cap-toe Oxford shoes. At least two of their styles are available in Finland, of which the classic subdued Hallam can be found straight off the shelf at Fere. They also offer the Connaught on order.
A new player on the market, Meermin, a Spanish shoemaker’s that has gained much praise for their low price-point and high quality. Meermin carries two collections, the more affordable Classic Collection and the handcrafted Linea Maestro. The pair I chose as an example was the Classic Collection 101198 model, a classical take on the leather-soled cap-toe Oxford. Price for a pair is just 160 €, with price and quality meeting beautifully.
Sanders is a British manufacturer with a very classically beautiful style. They produce two nearly identical models, differentiated by the material of the sole. The leather-soled option is called the Stockholm and the rubber-soled one is dubbed Helsinki. Sanders’ shoes are sold by Herrainpukimo. This is a great option for the price-conscious, especially since the shoe can be tried on in the store.
Other Brands to Consider
People passing through Helsinki may also like to consider Vaatturiliike Sauma, where those not in a hurry can order Carmina Oxfords. The store carries a range of Carmina shoes to help determine shoe sizing and width. Another place worth checking out is Solo, who carry Roberto Morelli and Fab shoes.
A Recap of Brands, Prices and Locations
- Allen Edmonds Park Avenue, Fere
- Barker Nevis, Juhlagalleria
- Bexley Flavio, Bexley
- Church’s, Stockmann Helsinki
- Crockett & Jones Hallam, Fere
- Sanders Stockholm/Helsinki, Herrainpukimo
Translated from the original Finnish by Jan Hoffman.