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Graduation Shoes

Graduation Shoes

February 01, 2019

What are the best graduation shoes for men?

University graduation.  It's one of the biggest days of your life.   You've worked for years to finally get to this day.  You've hired the graduation robe and mortar board. But what shoes to wear?  Does it matter?

You may have an old pair or two of smart/formal shoes in your wardrobe, but you need something special for graduation - this BIG day, where every detail is important.

And you'll see those graduation photos for years....

Trainers are out, naturally - too casual.   Derbys or bluchers?   Maybe, but they are a little too informal too.

You want something that makes you fit in (this is the establishment after all), but still shows you as a man of style, taste and influence.   You're going places.

The most formal and 'appropriate' shoe is an oxford, but are you ready for a black cap toe just yet?   

The wholecut oxford however is a perfect combination of formality and style. 

It is more sleek, minimalist and edgy than other oxfords.

It's a good trick to pull off but it's true.

Here's one of our favourite Thomas Bird interns, Daniel, showing off his chestnut wholecuts.  Oh, and his degree.

You won't wear them just once.

Buy a good pair of quality leather shoes and you can wear them for years.

You can wear them for your graduation, and also when you get that important interview for your first big career job.  Keep them safe and sound for your wedding or your children's christening (yes, many, many years into the future). 

But what colour?

The first instinct for many is to go for a black wholecut.   It is such a versatile colour. 

But other colours are fine too these days, and add a bit of pop and interest to your outfit.  So how about a nice tan, chestnut or brown?  See the full range of wholecut colours.

'A good pair of shoes is an investment'.

You may have heard this one, but is it really true?  

A quality pair of wholecuts, like Thomas Bird Benson wholecuts, are made with high quality full grain, calf leather, they have a calf leather lining, and they have a blake stitched sole.

Why is this important?

Full grain leather will keep its looks for years if properly looked after.  It ages to a nice natural patina.  It can be repolished and brought back to as nearly good as new.  Many will say better than new.

Cheaper shoes with inferior leathers can look fine in a shop or in photos online, but not after being worn in.

A quality calf leather lining absorbs moisture, which is ideally removed after wear using shoe trees.  This helps preserve the shoe.

Unlike cheaper glued soles, the stitched sole can be replaced when worn, lengthening the life of the shoe.   Thomas Bird wholecuts also have a rubber insert in the leather where most wear occurs, making them last longer.

So the cost of ownership of a quality pair of shoes can be less expensive in the long run than having several pairs of lower quality shoes. 

And they will look so much better with your college cap and gown.

Here's another shot of our favourite intern trying on his wholecuts for size and finally settling on the ideal colour to go with his blue trousers.

Of course quality costs more.   And when you are starting out on your career, money may be tight.  But Thomas Bird wholecuts, currently retailing at £225 (approx $280) rival luxury brands at twice the price.

And they are an investment for the future. 

So if your proud family want to show how pleased they are with you, maybe ask if they can help a little towards your first pair of quality shoes.   Remind them that are an investment.  Did we say that?

We hope this article helps.

Good luck!  Well done.  And enjoy your big day.

(And send us your photos.)

All the best,

Thomas Bird 



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Size Chart

Thomas Bird fits fairly true to size. If in doubt, go half a size smaller. This size guide shows how EU sizes compare to US and UK sizing.

Not sure?  Please ask our advice and tell us what you normally wear and we'll be happy to help.  Ask us.

Europe UK USA CM
39 6 7 24
40 6.5 7.5 25
41 7 8 26
42 8 9 27
43 9 10 28
44 10 11 29
45 11 12 29.5
46 12 13 30.5
47 12.5 13.5 31