I’ve always been skeptical about purchasing dress shoes with rubber soles for a variety of reasons; mainly because they never seemed to have the…elegance that dress shoes with leather soles have. I also used to read in style forums how it’s ‘against the rules’ to wear a rubber sole dress shoe in the corporate world. For a while I followed the ‘rules’ and I wouldn’t even consider purchasing a dress shoe with a non-leather sole. The problems with leather sole dress shoes are amplified when I’m traveling every week for work and living in Chicago with the crazy weather. The idea of putting on and off galoshes for the 10 minutes I’m outside wasn’t appealing at all.
Rubber Sole Dress Shoe Recommendation Links:
Leather sole dress shoes
Pros – Look great. More traditional / ‘respected’ look. Slightly more breathable.
Cons – Rain, snow, slush or any adverse weather condition and the leather sole should be protected. There is also no traction with leather soles, which makes them very slippery.
Rubber sole dress shoes
Pros – No need to worry about any inclement weather. The shoe is more comfortable since the rubber absorbs more of the impact while walking.
Cons – If you buy the wrong style / brand the shoe is going to look like hell (just sayin’). But seriously, if you purchase a chunky sole dress shoe with a rubber sole, you might as well just wear boots.
Allen Edmonds Dainite Rubber Soles
Allen Edmonds is one brand that solved this problem for me. The majority of their dress shoes can be customized to include the Dainite rubber sole instead of the leather sole. They also produce shoes with the Dainite rubber sole as a primary sole without having to customize. In addition to the quality of Allen Edmonds dress shoes, AE has completely streamlined the look of the rubber sole construction, which counteracts the main reason why I was originally never interested in rubber sole dress shoes.
I’m not replacing every shoe in my closet with a rubber sole dress shoe, but I will say that having a pair in the rotation is necessary. These two Allen Edmonds shoes are my go-to dress shoe for weekly travel and the Chicago tundra.
This shoe is hands down the most complimented shoe in my entire wardrobe (in-person and on Instagram). I had been wanting to buy this shoe since I started purchasing Allen Edmonds years ago, but I was always concerned that the red Dainite rubber sole that comes on the shoe made it too casual for the corporate environment. I was able to fix this concern by customizing the sole to the black Dainite rubber sole. Allen Edmonds included the red laces as an alternative lace and I’ve had them in the shoes since I originally changed them! The shoe is definitely bold, but it’s subtle enough to draw the right amount of attention.
I selected this shoe because of the wingtip detailing and the beautiful walnut color. I used to only wear tan leather on nice days in the spring / summer, but I wanted a tan dress shoe I could wear all year round and this was the perfect shoe.
Be sure to check out my full dress shoe guide by clicking here.
There are other brands that make a streamlined dress shoe with a rubber sole as well, but I’ve always gravitated to Allen Edmonds.
Feel free to reach out if you have questions or want a second opinion on a shoe you have or are considering purchasing!
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