Are Johnston & Murphy Shoes Any Good?

Note: Johnston & Murphy sent me free shoes for review purpose. But fear not! My love can't be bought with shoes. Well, maybe if they're really nice… just kidding! As always, this review is 100% honest and objective.

Johnston and Murphy Review by The Modest Man

Johnston & Murphy shoes are great for some men, but they're not for everyone. There are pros and cons to every brand, especially for short men. Here's my detailed Johnston & Murphy review:

When you're trying to decide which shoes to buy, you have to consider the following:

  • Price/quality (closely related)
  • Comfort
  • Size
  • Style

Let's take a look at each of these…

Price

Johnston & Murphy makes plenty of shoes below $200, as well as many models that sell for anywhere between $250 and $400. This is definitely an investment for most men, but you usually get what you pay for when it comes to footwear.

More expensive shoes will typically last longer than cheap dress shoes. Johnston & Murphy shoes are definitely not cheap, low quality shoes. But they're not as high end as, say, Allen Edmonds or Alden.

Johnston and Murphy Melton Oxford

That said, if you can't afford $400+ shoes, Johnston & Murphy is a great option.

Comfort

I found the Melton Oxfords to be very comfortable right out of the box. They're a bit wider than my Allen Edmond Park Avenues, and they have a taller instep, which is perfect for my feet.

Johnston and Murphy vs Allen Edmonds

Comfort doesn't really have anything to do with price or quality. Different brands use slightly different shapes. You'll probably find that certain brands feel much better on your feet than others. Find one that works for you and stick with it!

Johnston and Murphy Optima Comfort System

If you have a wide foot and your feet are often sore after a long day at the office, you might want to try Johnston & Murphy.

Size

This company makes shoes down to size 6 (US). They don't have every model in stock at these smaller sizes, but at least they make small shoes (many companies stop at size 8).

Johnston and Murphy label

I found that these shoes tend to run big, compared to other brands like Allen Edmonds and Cole Haan, so you may want to size down a half size.

If you wear smaller than a 6, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Style

J&M is an old American company, and their style reflects these roots. They make classic shoes – loafers, Oxfords, ankle boots and boat shoes. And they come in classic colors like brown, black, burgundy and tan.

Johnston and Murphy Melton top view

Johnston and Murphy Melton cap toe Oxford

If you prefer shoes that are more “on trend” and fashion forward, Johnston & Murphy probably isn't for you. Personally, I like the classic, timeless look because it will never go out of style.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right shoes is a personal decision. If you like the traditional aesthetic of Johnston & Murphy, and they fall within your budget, you should definitely check them out.

Just make sure to try them on and see if they're comfortable before committing (they have free returns, so wear them around the house for a few hours to test them out).

Check out the Johnston & Murphy website today.

Do you like Johnston & Murphy shoes? Say “yes” or “no” in the comments!

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Comments

  1. I love my Johnston&Murphy shoes. I have at least 5 pair. They do tend to run big but luckily they do make a 7 1/2 as I usually wear an 8. The best part is their refurbishment program. They will totally restore your shoes to as close as original as possible for about half the cost of a new pair. They are a classic shoe that will never go out of style. Well worth the initial investment.

  2. Good to know your experience of J & M shoes, Brock – thanks! My custom menswear clients often ask me about shoes. We do not sell shoes, so I am always looking for good recommendations. I have often suggested Allen Edmonds, specifically because their shoes come in a very wide range of widths and sizes. I also suggest that my clients use Zappos (free shipping and returns) – so they can order many pairs from a variety of companies to try on at their convenience.

  3. Michael H. James says:

    Really great review Brock. I knew Johnston and Murphy has been around around forever. Nice to see they have new, stylish products that really aren’t too overpriced. I’ve seen plenty of their shoes in boards rooms and they stand out. Might have to pull the trigger and order a pair now. Thanks!

  4. I receive donations of preowned-clothing in order to suit up low income men & women for their interviews. We get very excited when J & M shoes arrive because even previously worn J &M shoes usually still have a lot of wear left in them and are very comfy. Polished up they are as good as new. Most of our clients are familiar with the brand and walk taller in them.

  5. I’m quite fond of Johnston & Murphy. I picked up my first pair of dress shoes two years ago, a pair J Murphy by Johnston & Murphy, and have become surprised by the durability. Shoe trees, regular care and polish go a long, long way.

    I have two pairs of their Copeland Chukkas as well. I think they make a great shoe for what you pay.

  6. Terry Hill says:

    I have worn J&Ms for years. I noticed that you pictured the mid-priced Optima. I have had one pair of Optimas at @ $200 and they were good, but I have had many pair of the $275 Artistocrats which are much better and the equal of any Allen Edmunds that I have had. Tip: order them through a J&M outlet store and you may get them for nearly $200. I often refurb mine 3 or 4 times.

  7. What pants are you wearing in the top picture? I love them!

  8. Timothy Parker says:

    What can I say…I’m a man of style, and I mean the classic style…The line of Johnston&Murphy shoes are timeless pure perfection..Not only do I feel great when I have a pair on, I also often get compliments on my shoes..I own 15 pair, only other shoes in my collection are Allen Edmonds and Colehaan…..If you are well dressed man, and dont own a least 2 pair of Johnston&Murphy shoes, you might not be so well dressed….Smile!!!

    My latest Purchase was on 09/19/2015- Johnston & Murphy Conard Double Monk Strap !

  9. I find most comments ( Johnson and Murphy ) are not based on quality, but mostly on price and brand power.
    Five days ago I purchased dress boots from J and M, but today I had to return them. Cheaply made leather sole without wax protection are not good for walking from the train to the office, unless the road is carpeted. 350 dollars badly spent. Wrong investment. Please ask always if the leather sole is waxed or fortified for early scuffs.

    • You are an idiot, bro. There is no such thing as a leather sole that is waxed. Wtf are you talking about? Leather soles either are full leather that are either stitched with a goodyear welt or glued. And some have rubber injections or leather veneers with rubber mix soles. Know the facts and know leather shoes before you post dumbass comments especially about a brand like johnston & murphy which is a 165 year old company!

      • Sorry Markus . . . there are more than just Goodyear welted and glued as options for shoe soles. Blake stitching for one, or if one prefers, rapid blake as well. And others to boot (pun intended). So, for somebody who seems to try to convey that they are an expert in a field, your comment shows only that you are not one. Perhaps a kinder approach would be in order???

        Perhaps the poster (above your post) really meant was something more like Alden’s “double water lock oiled” leather soles . . . but I really don’t know.

  10. I love my J&M Conard Wings! Comfy and very well made. Sure they’re made in China, but after a year, they’ve held up very well. I purchased a pair of A&E Strandmoks this year, great looking, but back twice for various defects.

    • #1: Not all J&M’s are made in China . . . depends on what line one buys. They have some made in Italy! Others in Brazil! etc. . .
      #2: Not all Allen Edmunds and by extension A&E shoes are made in the USA (unfortunately?). Some are made in China (again, depending on which lines one buys) and others made in Italy. I have some Allen Edmunds made in the USA and also a pair of loafers made in Italy. My experience with the Italian pair I have is that the heal wore out more quickly than they do on the USA made versions. But that could very well be unrelated to the country of mfg. and more about how I wear the different shoes and where. I like Allen Edmunds . . . to me, they are the perfect college graduation gift for a son (or male) for starting their career.

  11. LUIS BORUNDA says:

    just bought my first pair after a week of looking around. I usually buy casual dress shoes but I wanted to step it up a notch. I bought the black Melton’s because I liked the classic look. You are right regarding the cut of the shoe being slightly larger. I wear a 10 in other shoes but the 9.5 fit better. I am surprised how comfortable they are right out of the box and they aren’t even broken in yet.

  12. Arthur Williamson says:

    The difference between J&M and as Allen Edmonds or Alden is the way in which the shoes are made. J&M makes shoes or everyone, meaning they make a “Last” in which they hope will accommodate most people feet profile. Whereas Allen Edmond and other higher end shoe makers will make a “Last” for a specific foot characteristics or profile. This the defining factor as to why Allen Edmond it’s far superior than Johnston & Murphy, Bostonian and other low to mid-level shoes.

    I owned the shoes that were shown in the review and can say that they were very cheap and poorly put together. The calf skin held almost no shine and ( and I use Sapphire shoe polish and wax) the welt was not in the channels in the sole of the shoe. I gave them away for free and will never buy a pair of J&M again. As my understanding of shoes construction has expended I have know move on to other well made shoes like Edward Green, John Lobb, Peal & Co, and Crockett and Jones but, still wear my AE and Alden shoes with pride.

    • Your statement about “lasts” is ridiculous. What “specific profile” does A&E and others design for? Duck feet? They want to fit all many feet as J&M. A difference maybe the quality of leather. Also, J&M has a higher price line.

  13. Purchased 300.00 pair of boots. Great Style.
    Then, rubber sole at front started to come apart.
    Brought into my shoe guy only to find out the wooden piece was actual compressed cardboard. Not shopping there again.

    • Cardboard? Not corkboard? I am not disputing you, just surprised . . . and wondering a bit if the wrong word may have been used.

  14. Anthony S. says:

    When you say the shoes run large and you should size down by 1/2 a step do you mean: 1 ) half size down from your normal shoe size or 2) 1/2 size down from your normal dress shoe size? In regular sneakers I usually wear an 8 1/2, but in dress shoes I typically wear an 8. So I’m wondering if I should buy a size 8 or 7 1/2 in Johnston & Murphy’s? Thanks if anyone answers this.

  15. Jeramey Bouillon says:

    DO NOT BUY THESE SHOES!!! I was extremely disappointed to say the least. What a cheap quality shoe for the price. I got ripped off.
    I went into Men’s Wearhouse to buy a couple new suits for a job interview. I figured while I was there, I would pick up some shoes to go with my new suits. The salesmen swore J. Murphy shoes were the best and would be a great addition.
    I made it through 2 of my job interviews andnthe shoes were great. My 3rd interview was a working interview. By the end of the day, the leather part of my shoe had come un-glued from the sole and I had to go home because I was too embarrassed to finish yhe day with my sock poking out the side. Are you kidding!???
    I spent $149 before tax on these shoes and they wouldn’t last 1 work day??! What a complete rip off. Please do not get fooled like I did. I have bought shoes from TJ Max and Ross that have lasted me 6 months or longer and only cost $25. I feel like going back to Men’s wearhouse and getting my money back. I won’t though. I will actually never go back to men’s wearhouse because they recommend $149 shoes that fall apart after 3 uses. Such a joke. I feel so taken advantage of right now. J.Murphy company 8s probably laughing at anyone who buys their shoes…. all the way to the bank, while us suckers who buy their shoes are out money because they charge $125 too much for their product. Please please please, don’t let J. Murphy fool you with their false promises and lies. Sooo mad right now!

  16. guy davidson says:

    i find them extremely comfortable and to me they are some of my favorites.

  17. Joseph Teifer says:

    I own 6 pairs of the Aristocrat shoes. The shoes run true to size and width. They take a great shine. These shoes cost about $275. The company has 3 levels of service to repair the shoes. For about 1/2 the cost of a new shoe they will replace the heel and soles and refurbish the uppers. This is outstanding long term product support. The shoes were ‘out of the box’ comfortable.

  18. I’m sorry to disagree with the reviewer and many here but Johnston and Murphy are a mere ghost of the proud made in the U.S.A company they used to be. The shoe quality is not worth the price. Allen Edmonds has sales all the time that bring many styles down to about 250. They just can not be beat in regards to price and quality. Now if you can pick up some new old stock Johnston amd Murphy on EBay. those are great shoes.

  19. Patrick says:

    I have had my J&M&s for 9 years and love them. Yes generally too big (i need size 8.5 but have ti settle with 9)but can get away with it for a day. HOWEVER, I only get two wears and the heals separate. Hovering around now from meeting to meeting till I can get to show repair

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