Rockport Dress Shoes Review: Style, Comfort & Value
Allow me to submit my qualifications for this Rockport dress shoes (for men) review. I walk a lot. Generally, I cover about twenty-five miles per week on average or more. You might call me a gentleman walker. I never wear sneakers, as my attire is strictly dress casual or better. I require tasteful dress shoes that compliment my garb while offering maximum long-distance comfort. Also, I am very hard on shoes. I need a sturdy, durable shoe. Oh, one more thing. I’m frugal (cheap). I also need shoes that come in well below budget. Now that you have my resume, let’s begin this review!
These Shoes Are Made for Walking …
Shoe purists (snobs) will quickly dismiss rubber-soled dress shoes like Rockport while heaping praise on expensive all-leather shoes with classic Goodyear welted construction. Classic leather-soled shoes of this type generally cost $300.00 or more from iconic shoemakers such as Allen Edmonds and Alden Shoes.
Well, if my daily routine was limited to jumping out of an Uber, grabbing a latte at my local Starbucks before walking a block to the office, a pair of beautifully crafted, high-priced Allen Edmonds leather-soled shoes would make perfect sense. However, I often walk and stand for hours. traversing the full range of urban terrain in all types of weather. I need a more cost-effective, sensible shoe, something closer to a sneaker or track shoe in comfort and utility but with the style of a traditional dress shoe. Here is where Rockport dress shoes shines.
The large photo above shows a pair of Rockport Cap Toe Oxfords dress shoes that I own that would cost about $95.00 when new (I paid $16.00 for them second-hand on Poshmark.com). I have owned these shoes for nearly eight months and they have approximately 5 miles per month of wear (a total of 40 miles of walking). Generally, they are worn once or twice a week. I put shoe trees in after each wear to preserve the shape of the shoes and polish them three or four times a month using a cream shoe polish. I use rubber taps on the heel where they would be subject to the greatest wear. After eight months, they remain in excellent condition with only slight wear on the soles and minimal creasing on the uppers.
Rockport, The World’s Most Athletic Dress Shoes
I have worn many brands of modestly-priced rubber-soled dress shoes including Clark’s, Nunn Bush, and G.H. Bass before settling on Rockport as my go-to brand. Rockport combines foot-cushioning comfort, athletic shoe utility, durability, and superior styling. It is the one brand of rubber-soled shoes I am most likely to confidently pair with a suit or sport coat and tie. The styling can look classic and dressy, mimicking the best features of expensive leather-soled shoe design while providing the sort of ultra-comfort I need for walking or being on my feet for hours.
I have purchased other brands of modestly priced rubber-soled dress shoes that look good when you first buy them. However, soon the sole starts to warp and thin and it all starts to feel a bit mushy as the shoe spreads with wear. I do not have that problem with Rockport shoes. They offer firm but comfortable support that holds up with long-term wear. The insole support is very durable and the rubber sole holds its shape over time. Although Rockport shoes use cement construction common to shoes in this price range ($80.00 – $130.00) they are very durable. I have never had a pair of Rockports come apart at any seam, and the rubber soles are some of the most long-lasting I have worn.
Rockport offers dress shoes that are made with a choice of corrected grain leather or full-grain leather. Corrected grain leather is any leather whose surface has been altered in some sort of way or another in order to give it a certain finish, color or appearance, one that is not natural to the actual hide. It does not feel as supple or natural as full-grain leather. Full-grain leather shoes are generally more expensive. I have Rockport shoes made with both types of leather that are durable and good-looking.
I Wear Rockport Because They Look Good …
I own more Rockport shoes than any other brand, and this has been true for close to twenty years. They offer some of the most stylish affordably-priced rubber-soled dress shoes that I have seen on the shoe market. Truth be told, if my Rockport shoes did not look good, I would not wear them. You can find classic cap toe, wingtip, and oxford shoe designs from Rockport that look very similar to more expensive leather-soled dress shoes. Give your Rockports a proper mirror shine and they will compliment your best suit without the clunky, chunky, design that is typical of rubber-soled shoes. Being the frugal soul that I am, most of the Rockport shoes I own have been purchased on eBay in gently-used second-hand condition. Often you can find excellent deals on discontinued models in online markets such as eBay.com, amazon.com, and overstock.com.
If there is one complaint I have about Rockport dress shoes, it is how frequently their dress shoe styles change. You may purchase a pair of Rockport dress shoes that you love only to discover that a year later that style has been discontinued. Often there is something similar in their current styles, but it can be a bit frustrating not being able to get the exact shoe you purchased earlier and loved.
Also, as menswear becomes more casual, many of the current ‘dress’ shoe styles in the Rockport catalog are taking on styling details that make them unsuitable for true dress wear such as one-piece wedge style heels in bright colors. That’s fine for jeans, but not a sport coat or suit. Please, don’t forget about the guys who still dress up Rockport!
Where to Find Rockport Shoes
Rockport sells shoes online on their e-commerce website and through retailers. You can often find great deals on Rockport shoes on other online marketplaces such as eBay.com and overstock.com. It is quite common to find Rockport shoes on sale. For example, as of the week of July 22, 2019, there is a two for $99 sale on Rockport.com.
How To Care For Your Rockport Dress Shoes
Most Rockport shoes I have purchased are made of corrected grain leather. I have found that cream shoe polish does the best job of maintaining the leather (it conditions leather, wax shoe polish does not) while maintaining a pleasant shine. Wax shoe polish tends to buildup on the leather and tends to crack and cake with overuse. Cream shoe polish keeps the leather more supple. Also, I highly recommend using liquid shoe polish as an edge dressing for the rubber sole. This gives the edge of the sole a shine that mimics the look of leather and hides the grayish tone of the rubber heels and sole edges. The shoes shown above are polished two to three times per month with 1 coat of cream shoe polish and a light buffing.
How To Make Your Rockport Shoes Last Longer
I find that the heels of my rubber-soled Rockport shoes are where the greatest amount of wear is commonly seen. To prevent wear, I glue rubber taps to the heel area where wear is most common. I use adhesive and small tacks to secure the rubber tap. I replace them before wear on the rubber tap reaches the shoe heel. You can pull them off with a pair of pliers and glue on a new pair to extend the life of the heels. Read this post for more tips on extending the life of your rubber-soled shoes.
Rockport Shoes, Highly Recommended!
I have not found another manufacturer that combines dress shoe styling with ultra-comfort as well as Rockport. I hope they continue that in spite of the overall emphasis on casual wear in today’s market. If you need sharply styled dress shoes that feel as good on your feet as sneakers for a great price, take a close look at Rockport shoes!