Florsheim Vs. Johnston & Murphy: Which Shoes Are Better?

Shoes say a lot about a man. The right pair can pull together an outfit, express your personal style, and make you look sharp whether you’re headed to the office or a night out.

With so many options on the market, it can be tough to choose which brand hits that sweet spot between quality, comfort, and style. Two stalwart names in men’s footwear are Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy.

Let’s take an in-depth look at these classic American shoemakers to see how they stack up.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureFlorsheimJohnston & Murphy
HistoryFounded in 1892 in ChicagoFounded in 1850 in New York
Leather QualityReliable leathers from South America, ItalyFocuses on full grain leathers
ConstructionGoodyear welted and Blake stitchedMainly Blake stitched
Style VarietyClassic and modern dress shoes plus casual styles like boots and sneakersKnown for classic dress shoes with some modern updates
Sizes AvailableUp to 17 EEEUp to 7E widths
Pricing$135-$250 regular retail, frequently on sale$195-$350 regular retail
Customer ServiceHighly rated for responsivenessMixed reviews, inconsistent across channels
Best ForStylish, comfortable shoes at an affordable price pointPremium materials and quality construction for formalwear

A Brief History of Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy

Florsheim Shoes
Florsheim Shoes

First, some quick background on each brand.

Florsheim was founded in 1892 in Chicago by a German immigrant named Milton Florsheim.

The Florsheim family focused exclusively on men’s footwear, earning a reputation for well-made dress shoes.

Many of the early innovations in comfort features like arch support and cushioning originated with Florsheim designs.

Johnston & Murphy got its start around the same time in 1850 in New York. Company founder William J. Dudley was himself a bootmaker who merged with business partner Robert Johnston to create Johnston & Murphy. Their shoes quickly became favorites among celebrities, politicians, and other public figures.

Key Differences Between Florsheim And Johnston & Murphy Shoes

So both Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy have pedigree and a long tradition of quality craftsmanship behind them. Let’s see how they compare today.

Leather Quality and Materials

Superior leather is perhaps the most important ingredient in a great pair of shoes. Florsheim utilizes leather sourced from all over the world, including South America for smooth calfskin uppers and Italy for finely textured leathers ideal for bicycle toe dress shoes.

Reliable leather tanning partners in India, China, and Vietnam give Florsheim’s leathers flexibility, durability, and a buttery hand-feel.

Johnston & Murphy also uses leather from established tanneries around the world, focusing on full grain for most of their dress shoes. Full grain leather comes from the outermost part of the hide and has appealing natural grains.

Both brands use high-quality leathers that can be maintained for years with proper care and polishing.

In terms of synthetic and fabric materials, Florsheim incorporates some textile fabrics in more casual designs. Textured fabrics like nubuck leather and suede appear across Johnston & Murphy’s catalog of shoes, boots, and sandals as well.

Overall, it’s difficult to declare one brand’s leather selection definitively better than the other’s.

Shoe Construction Techniques

A quality shoe depends on more than just nice leather. Proper construction gives shoes their structure and durability. This includes components like:

  • Welt type (how the sole is attached)
  • Midsole material
  • Shank support
  • Lining
  • Footbed cushioning

Florsheim employs a full leather lining in most of its dress shoes for breathability and comfort. The company uses a combination of Blake stitched and Goodyear welted construction methods.

Blake stitching is a bit more flexible, while Goodyear welts make resoling easier. For comfort, Florsheim adds polyurethane midsoles and padded footbeds to many shoes.

The Johnston & Murphy flagship line uses premium full-grain leather uppers and leather linings paired with a leather or synthetic outsole. Construction is mainly Blake stitched for flexibility, with some Goodyear welted shoes as well.

The company has developed a lightweight composite shank to provide arch support without the rigidity of a steel shank. An extra comfort feature is a cushioned Poron footbed in many Johnston & Murphy styles.

In comparing the technical aspects of shoe construction, both brands demonstrate fine workmanship and attention to comfort. It’s too close to call a definitive winner.

Style Variety

Johnston & Murphy Shoes
Johnston & Murphy Shoes

Johnston & Murphy is best known for its classic men’s dress shoes for business wear, though the product selection includes boots, loafers, sandals and athletic shoes as well.

The brand offers both timeless styles as well as modern takes on classics – think a bicycle toe derby with intricate broguing details.

The hallmarks of Johnston & Murphy’s style are quality, handcrafted leather and fine decorative touches.

Florsheim also got its start producing high quality men’s dress shoes, and continues that legacy today. But Florsheim has expanded into more casual looks alongside the expected Oxfords and slip-on loafers – think Chelsea boots, chukkas, and sneakers.

They offer distinct collections like Vintage, Mid-Century Modern and Collezione Italiana with fashion-forward styling. Overall, Florsheim may have the edge in variety of styles.

Size Availability

Proper fit is just as key as stylish looks when finding the right pair of shoes. Both Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy offer a broad range of men’s sizes from 5 to 16, including regular, narrow and wide widths. Half sizes are available as well to dial in the perfect fit.

For hard-to-fit feet, Florsheim goes up to size 17 EEE, while Johnston & Murphy offers 6E and 7E widths as need. The brands also have selections of shoes in big and tall sizes. When it comes to fit options, Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy are comparable in the range available.

Also Read: Differences Between Stegmann And Birkenstock.

Cost and Value Comparison

Now for the bottom line – how much do these quality shoes cost? And which brand offers better value for money?

The flagship Johnston & Murphy line retails from $195 to $350. However, many styles are frequently on sale for $100 to $250. The brand’s prices reflect the premium materials and construction methods.

There are more budget-friendly options from Johnston & Murphy like the Melton Oxford at around $150 full price.

Florsheim shoes retail for $135 to $250 at full price points. Sales can bring the price down to $70 to $200 for many pairs. Key collections like Lexington, Veblen, Magnifi and Mid-Century Modern remain under $200 regular retail cost.

Florsheim also produces more affordable shoes under other brand names which sell for average prices.

When it comes to price tags, Florsheim generally comes in lower than Johnston & Murphy while still offering quality materials and craftsmanship. For shoppers on a budget, Florsheim may provide better overall value.

Customer Service Reputation

With brands that have been around as long as Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy, customer service expectations are high. Both companies offer standard conveniences like free shipping and free returns to take the hassle out of online ordering.

Florsheim has a strong track record for responsive customer service, according to online reviews. Many compliments go to their helpful and knowledgeable customer service team. Minor issues are swiftly resolved to customers’ satisfaction.

Johnston & Murphy also aims to provide exemplary customer care, but reviews indicate somewhat mixed experiences. While some praise friendly and patient service reps, others report inconsistent treatment across different sales channels. On balance, Florsheim edges out Johnston & Murphy in the customer service department.

Which Brand Is Best For You?

Florsheim Shoes

Now that we’ve compared Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy’s key characteristics from materials to value, which brand should you buy?

For classic men’s dress shoes with premium leathers and craftsmanship, Johnston & Murphy is hard to beat. The quality and attention to detail justify the price for shoes you’ll wear for special occasions and formal business affairs.

Florsheim deserves consideration if you want durable, comfortable shoes that don’t compromise on style. Modern and fashion-forward looks make Florsheim a versatile choice for the office, a night out, and weekends. The generally affordable prices add to the brand’s appeal.

In the end, it comes down to personal priorities and which brand’s style suits you best. Rest assured that both Florsheim and Johnston & Murphy make shoes to last that any man would be proud to wear. And keeping your shoes polished and maintained will let you enjoy them for years.

With this overview of the two brands, you’re equipped to choose the right pair of shoes to elevate your wardrobe. Whichever you pick, you can step out in confidence.

Also Read: Comparison of Hoka Speedgoat And Altra Olympus 4 Shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Johnston and Murphy high quality?

Yes, Johnston and Murphy is considered a high quality, premium brand known for fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. Their shoes feature top of the line leathers sourced from established tanneries around the world. Construction methods like Goodyear welting demonstrate Johnston and Murphy’s commitment to quality and durability. The brand’s reputation in men’s footwear spans over 150 years.

Are Florsheim shoes still good quality?

Florsheim absolutely remains a quality shoe brand. They continue to use fine leathers and textiles from trusted suppliers. While Florsheim has expanded its styles beyond classic dress shoes, construction methods are still geared towards longevity, like Goodyear welted soles and full leather linings. Florsheim has maintained their reputation for quality and comfort through 100+ years in business.

Is Johnston and Murphy a luxury brand?

Johnston and Murphy is considered an affordable luxury brand. The shoes are priced higher than average due to premium materials and attention to detail during construction. However, Johnston and Murphy is not as expensive as ultra high-end designer labels. The brand offers luxury touches like handcrafted Italian leathers and artisanal detailing at an accessible price point.

Are Florsheim shoes well made?

Yes, Florsheim takes pride in making shoes the time-honored way with quality craftsmanship. Their construction techniques, like double stitching upper parts together for durability, ensure that Florsheim shoes can last for years when properly maintained. The company uses strong, flexible leathers and cushioned insoles for comfort. While prices are reasonable, Florsheim does not cut corners in workmanship or materials.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to legacy shoe brands, you can’t go wrong with either Florsheim or Johnston & Murphy. Both companies have over a century of experience making high-quality men’s footwear from premium leathers. Johnston & Murphy earns its reputation through meticulous construction and timeless dress shoe styles.

Florsheim matches this quality while expanding into more modern and casual looks at generally affordable price points. Shoppers seeking versatile, durable shoes across multiple wearing occasions may favor Florsheim.

But Johnston & Murphy is the choice for no-compromise formalwear worthy of the splurge. Whichever you choose, keep your shoes looking sharp with regular polishing and maintenance. With this foundation, you’re ready to step out in style.

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Enrique

    Thank you for your well explained review.
    Saw a few pairs of J & M and Florsheim for sale. Surprisingly, the J&M (50% off) were discounted a lot more. Florsheim were 25% off.
    Once again. Thank you for your reviews.

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