Tag Archives: carmina
Styleforum x Carmina Shoes GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]
To celebrate Styleforum’s new home on the Internet, we’ve partnered with Carmina to give away two (yes, two) pairs of shoes on Instagram for you and a friend! Here’s what you gotta do:
- First, from your Instagram account, follow @styleforum and @carminashoemaker, if you are not a follower already. You can search for “@styleforum” and “@carminashoemaker” in the Instagram application or visit http://instagram.com/styleforum or https://www.instagram.com/carminashoemaker in an internet browser to locate and follow the accounts.
- Next, tag one (1) friend in the comments under this picture.
Do that, and you’ll be entered to win one pair of shoes for yourself, and one pair for the friend you tagged in the comments. You’ll be able to pick from any of Carmina’s standard offerings (MTO, shell cordovan, special orders, limited editions, and exotic leather are excluded), which means that your feet are going to be looking fine this spring.
The contest closes on April 28, 2017, at 11:59 PM EST. So make sure to enter before then for your chance to win a fantastic pair of shoes for you and a friend!
Be sure to visit Carmina’s new store in New York City, opening this June.
The Fine Print
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
Entries must be received by April 28 2017 at 11:59PM EST
Sponsor: Carmina Shoemaker, Berenguer d’Anoia, 60 2º 07300 Inca, Mallorca Spain (“Carmina Shoemaker” or “Sponsor”).
Administrator: Styleforum, Styleforumnet LLC 205 N Monroe St. Moscow, Id 83843 (“Administrator”)
1. Eligibility: Styleforum X Carmina Giveaway (the “Giveaway”) is open only to natural persons who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited or restricted by law. Employees of Styleforum, Administrator, and their respective parent companies, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, and immediate family members (spouse, parents, children, siblings, and each of their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) or household members (whether or not related) of each are not eligible. All United States federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
2. How to Enter: The Giveaway starts at 9 EST, April 20 and ends April 28, 2017 at 11:59PM EST (the “Giveaway Entry Period”). To enter the Giveaway, during the Giveaway Entry Period use your web-enabled mobile device with a camera, and launch the Instagram application for free at http://instagram.com. An Instagram account is required to enter this Giveaway. All terms and conditions of Instagram.com apply. From your Instagram account, follow @styleforum and @carminashoemaker, if you are not a follower already. You can search for “@styleforum” and “@carminashoemaker” in the Instagram application or visit http://instagram.com/styleforum or https://www.instagram.com/carminashoemaker in an internet browser to locate and follow the accounts. Accurately tag one (1) friend in the comments.
By entering this Giveaway, entrants accept these Official Rules and agree to be bound by the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding. Entries will not be acknowledged or returned. Limit one (1) Entry per person during the Giveaway Entry Period. Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the same Instagram account. Any attempt by an entrant to obtain more than one (1) Entry by using multiple/different Instagram accounts/usernames, identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods, will void that entrant’s Entries and that entrant may be disqualified. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of an entrant, the authorized account holder of the Instagram account used to enter will be deemed to be the entrant. The “authorized account holder” is the natural person assigned an Instagram account by Instagram. Entries made by bots or other automated devices are ineligible.
You must have a data service plan with your wireless service provider or wireless internet service for your web-enabled mobile device and a device that supports the Instagram application to enter. By entering this Giveaway, you understand that data rates may apply. See your wireless provider for pricing plan details and mobile device capabilities.
-Two (2) pairs of shoes or boots by Carmina Shoemaker, one for the enterer, one for the friend tagged in the comments.
MTO, shell cordovan, and exotic leather are excluded from the Giveaway, as well as special orders and limited editions. Carmina Shoemaker reserves the right to inform the winner of the Giveaway whether his/her item of choice is eligible or not.
Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of the prize is $800 USD. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible Entries.
4. General Rules: An Entry into the Giveaway may not contain any content that is lewd, obscene, sexually explicit, pornographic or contains nudity, disparaging, defamatory, derogatory toward any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group, libelous, obscene, or that otherwise contains inappropriate content or objectionable material as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. An Entry must not promote alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing), promote any activities that may appear unsafe or dangerous or promote any particular political agenda or message. An entry must not defame, misrepresent or contain disparaging remarks about Sponsor, other people or companies. Any content submission must be your original work, created solely by you, and must not infringe the copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other intellectual rights of any person or entity, including, without limitation, trademarks and copyrighted materials owned by others (including photographs, sculptures, paintings, and other works of art or images published on or in websites, television, movies or other media). If Giveaway entry requires submission of a photo, you must have permission of the photographer. If individuals are included in your photo, you must provide all signed releases and consents necessary (if requested by Sponsor) to permit the exhibition and use of the entry by Sponsor as set forth in these Official Rules. If any person appearing in your entry is under the age of majority in his/her state, the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on the release (if requested by Sponsor).
An Entry must not contain the name, likeness, voice or other indicia of any person, including celebrities, without the consent of that person. An Entry must not contain any personally identifiable information such as license plate numbers, personal names, e-mail addresses or street addresses. An Entry may not identify any commercial content, including, without limitation, any trademarks, logos, or trade dress (such as distinctive packaging or building exteriors/interiors) owned by others, which must be used in compliance with these Official Rules. An Entry must not communicate messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or goodwill of Sponsor. An Entry must not violate any law. An Entry may not have been previously published or submitted for any other promotion, and may not have won previous awards.
By submitting your Entry, you agree that your Entry conforms to these Official Rules and that Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may disqualify your Entry for any reason at any time if it determines, in its sole discretion, that your Entry fails to conform to these Official Rules or otherwise contains unacceptable content. You agree that you will not use the Entry for anything other than personal use after Entry submission, including no use of the Entry for commercial or professional purposes, sweepstakes or contest entry, without the express consent of Sponsor in each instance.
By submitting an Entry, each entrant grants, and represents and warrants that the entrant has the rights and authority necessary to grant Sponsor and the Released Parties (as defined below) an irrevocable, non-exclusive, fully sublicensable license and right to exploit, edit, modify, adapt, copyright, publish, transfer, use and distribute the Entry and all elements of such Entry, including, without limitation, the likenesses of any locations and individuals embodied therein, in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity without compensation, permission or notification to entrant or any third party. Although Sponsor is under no obligation to post or feature your Entry, you hereby grant permission for the Entry to be displayed or featured on Sponsor’s or Styleforum’s social media or digital sites, and by others promoting Sponsor’s or Styleforum’s sites, and in other promotions and/or advertisements at any time without your prior approval or consent, and without compensation to you or any third party. You agree that Released Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized use of Entries by third parties. Released Parties do not guarantee the posting or featuring of any Entry and reserve the right to remove any posted or featured Entry at any time and/or for any reason.
5. Administration: Released Parties are not responsible for lost, late, garbled, inaccurate, incomplete, misdirected or stolen Entries, uploads, photos, hashtags or @mentions, or transmissions, or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human or electronic, including to your device. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, cancel or suspend part or all of this Giveaway, including if virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention or other causes corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or proper play of the Giveaway. In such event, Sponsor may select Potential Winners in a random drawing from all eligible Entries received up to the date of cancellation or suspension. If for any reason your Entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, your sole remedy is another Entry in the Giveaway during the Giveaway Entry Period.
Sponsor may prohibit an entrant from participating in the Giveaway or winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that such entrant is attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Giveaway by cheating, hacking, deception, or other unfair playing practices (including the use of automated quick entry programs) or intending to annoy, abuse, or threaten any other entrants or Sponsor representatives.
CAUTION — ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE THE WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE GIVEAWAY MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK ANY AND ALL AVAILABLE REMEDIES (INCLUDING ATTORNEY’S FEES) FROM ANY SUCH ENTRANT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW, INCLUDING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. SPONSOR’S FAILURE TO ENFORCE ANY TERM OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE A WAIVER OF THAT PROVISION.
6. Release: Sponsor, Administrator, Instagram and each of their respective promotion and advertising agencies, and any other organizations affiliated with the sponsorship, fulfillment, administration, prize support and all respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents, as well as each of their respective successors, representatives and assigns (collectively, “Released Parties”) shall have no liability, are hereby completely released, and shall be held harmless by entrants for any damage, loss, rights, claims or liability to person or property, due in whole or part, directly or indirectly, by reason of participation in this Giveaway or the award, acceptance, use, or misuse of any prize (or portion thereof) , including without limitation personal injury, death, and/or property damage, as well as claims based on publicity rights, defamation, and/or invasion of privacy. Entrants will indemnify, defend and hold harmless Released Parties from any claims, liability, damage, loss, injury or death to persons or property caused or claimed to be caused, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in connection with participation in the Giveaway (or any activity related thereto); acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize; use of entrant’s name or city/state to announce the winners of the Giveaway; or use of winner’s name, city/state, voice, likeness, biographical information, entry, statements attributed to winner (if true) or city of residence, for publication, advertising and promotional purposes.
7. Disputes: Except where prohibited, you agree that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Giveaway or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (2) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Giveaway, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (3) under no circumstances will you be permitted to obtain awards for, and you hereby waive all rights to claim, indirect, punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and Sponsor in connection with the Giveaway, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Idaho without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Idaho or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Idaho.
8. Copy of Rules and Winners’ List: These Official Rules and the Winners’ List will be posted on the original Giveaway announcement post on instagram.com/styleforum.
9. This Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. By entering, you understand that you are providing your information to Sponsor and not to Instagram.
Gifts for the CM Wife or Girlfriend
If you’re a Classic Menswear dude with a female partner, chances are she’s a classy, educated woman who treats her clothes just like you do: a vehicle to express her impeccable taste in a manner that is neither extravagant nor – heaven forbid – fashionable.
(The exception to this is if you are my husband, who is the archetypical CM guy, but somehow ended up marrying a fashion blogger who collects Victorian mourning jewelry).
If you recognize your wife in the picture I just introduced, and Zara and H&M are cringe-inducing words to her, keep reading and find some ideas for your better half.
Eileen Fisher is my husband’s obsession when it comes to womenswear. Every time we go shopping together, he secretly hopes that I will drop the eye-catching lace dresses and opt for an understated, elegant poncho made of a soft alpaca and cashmere blend. In his wildest dreams, I’m wrapped in an Eileen Fisher hand-woven cardigan in a melange color with tailored pants featuring perfectly ironed pleats.
The thing is, I like Eileen Fisher a lot. Despite my preference for lace and more “statement” clothing, I even own the above-mentioned poncho (which I hardly ever wear here in SoCal). Almost any Eileen Fisher piece is an evergreen garment that will work with most women’s wardrobes – even those in which white lace is predominant. Eileen Fisher is the anti-Zara, and any woman who has an appreciation for quality over “trendy” will gladly welcome such gift.
I personally discovered Carmina’s women shoe line at The Proper Kit this past November, and it took all of my strength and willpower not to break the bank over their boots. If you’re just a little familiar with women’s fashion, you know how hard it is to find pieces that equal menswear’s in terms of quality – at least through mainstream outlets. When I think of quality footwear for women, the first names that pop in my mind are Louboutin and Ferragamo, and even then, the construction is not on pair with a comparable menswear collection. Carmina offers mind-blowing construction and materials as well as classic designs that will likely last for over a decade. Again, if you wish to give a gift that lasts, and if your partner has the sensibility to appreciate the great work and care that’s behind this type of product, you can’t go wrong with Carmina.
A bracelet stack by Astley Clarke
Jewelry is, obviously, a great classic when it comes to gifts. Some couples even have a tradition where they give at least one piece of jewelry a year, in order to slowly build up a collection that can be passed on to the next generations, or to simply remind them of the years that pass while they’re together.
The first and most important thing to remember when you shop for jewelry is to avoid Tiffany’s at any cost. It’s mainstream, banal, and overpriced, and you don’t really want to see a condescending smirk appearing of your wife’s face when you hand her that sickening “blue box.”
Once you bid farewell to overrated jewelry houses, you will find a world of glimmering collections. One of my favorite brands – and I have to thank my husband for introducing it to me – is the English maison Astley Clarke. The founder was even appointed by the Queen with one of those crazy titles the English appreciate. Dame of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or something like that.
In any case, you can find something delightful on Astley Clarke’s website, and the best thing is that prices go from $50 to $50,000, so you really have a wide choice at every price range. I would personally choose one of their bracelet stacks, which follow the trend of layering jewelry with no risk of incurring in the Jersey Shore/Christmas tree effect.
Long are gone the days when a woman used to carry huge wallets and stuff them with anything ranging from pictures of her parents as toddlers to Target’s loyalty card. If there’s one good thing that smartphones did, it was ridding us from such superfluous paraphernalia.
Normally I dread patterns, but since a cardholder is such a small item, I feel that this could be a good time to be a little adventurous and choose a piece that would turn heads when making its appearance out of the purse. This beautiful Dolce&Gabbana cardholder features a typical Sicilian tile motif, and since it folds over, it actually has some space to carry some cash, which always comes in handy.
If you’d rather play safe and stick to a more traditional look, this Smythson card holder in powdery blue will do the trick.
There is something incredibly sensual in a woman covering her neck with a scarf (and a man too, actually.)
Perhaps deep down I am a vampire, but I consider it quite intriguing when one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body is hidden under layers of precious cashmere or impalpable silk, perhaps sprayed with a sophisticated fragrance.
On this account, I believe that the gift of a scarf comes out as thoughtful and delicate, even protective. It’s a way of saying: “I’m here and I’m taking care of you.” There is more love in a man kissing goodbye to his wife on her way to work while wrapping a scarf around her neck than there is in any epic poem.
Chelsea Boots for All the People
Just to catch you up if you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, the Chelsea boot, with it’s characteristic double elastic gores, has been the footwear du jour. Without fear of jumping on the bandwagon really late, I’m going to endorse them.
Kanye is probably to thank for the popularity of the style for some younger and some more Kanye influenced wearers, and Common Projects should probably be on their knees, thanking Yeezus for putting their lightweight, crepe soled version (in the sand color) on waiting lists for the entire FW15 season.
Putting aside debates about Kanye’s cultural significance, chelsea boots have been a staple in closets of well-dressed men (and women) since the Victorian era, when they were made for the Queen herself before eventually finding their way into men’s closets. Now, they are perhaps best remembers as a staple in the UK’s mod scene in the 1960s, which has seen something of a revival as of late. They also gave birth to the the pointy-toed, Cuban-heeled Beatle Boot variation, but weather with low heels or high, the easy on-off comfort has made the chelsea beloved of the sleek ‘n trim streetwear set – led by you-know-who. They’re a natural extension of the skinny side-zip that has been quite popular for several years, and most makers streetwear makers are pursuing similarly streamlined silhouettes.
On the other end of the style spectrum, Blundstone’s rugged (guaranteed for life!) snub-toed, thick-soled version of the style has been a staple among Australia’s outdoors-minded set since the Victorian era as well. While not exactly elegant, that was never the purpose – and if elegance is what you desire, you can still find plenty of classic shapes from brands such as Alfred Sargent, Carmina, and others. Guidi, beloved of every dark-goth-romantic-bohemian-ninja, also makes an object-dyed chelsea boot, should you wish to trade your well-heeled Victorian footwear mores for a rougher look.
So, at this very odd intersection in menswear history, outdoorsmen, dandies, gothy-ninjas, and of course Kanye fans, are all endorsing the same style of boot.
My pick of the bunch is Epaulet’s Chelsea. That’s because it’s a lot more versatile than other examples. Epaulet’s quality and construction have always been top-notch, and the leather on this pair is a lustrous steerhide that achieves the improbably feat of going with everything. In addition, the last is neither Blundstone-blobby or Yeezy-narrow, so you can wear them with jeans or casual trousers. Plus, crepe soles are really, really comfortable. These were initially a pre-order, but there are a few pairs still available on Epaulet’s website. Although I own a pair in “sand suede,” I think this “Cuoro Como” model is a fantastic buy for anyone looking for a comfortable, stylish boot. They’re only $325, too – which is a really good deal.
You can find your own pair here.
Pitti Uomo: A Buyer’s Perspective
At this point you guys have probably read a hundred Pitti Uomo recaps. But I figured that I’m chime in with somewhat a different perspective: what it’s like to visit as a buyer, and a first-time Pitti attendant at that.
Good lord. I’ve been to plenty of trade shows in my time, but never on this scale. Pitti Uomo is held in Florence’s Fortezza da Basso, a sprawling fortress complex that dates back to 1534. Without stopping, it would probably take at least 40 minutes just to walk the perimeter of the show. I’ve been to men’s shows before in NYC, Vegas, Germany, and Spain, but this one dwarfs them all.
You need to stay focused.
Trade shows are all about meeting people and putting names to faces. Most of my time is taken up with appointments for brands I already carry–for example, an Alden buy might take 2 hours, Southwick might take 90 minutes, etc. If you’re investing the time and money to fly to Italy, then you really need to make that investment worth it. That means getting there at the opening bell, keeping things tight and focused, and really trying to balance time spent in meetings with time spent looking for new brands and product. Pitti was the most difficult time-management in buying that I’ve ever dealt with.
The hardest items to buy, focuswise? Ties. Buying ties and scarves is hard as hell. There’s hundreds of fabrics and hundreds of designs in several colors apiece. Best to grab a strong-ass coffee and some water to stay well hydrated for those tie appointments.
Buying and attending are different experiences.
Before I went to Pitti, I had a cool idea. I would bring along my 1950s Leica M3 and shoot dazzling photos. Oh yeah; I got the lens cleaned and adjusted beforehand. I would make an entire photo gallery of 35mm pics of the “Pitti scene.” I’d have dozens of photographs of incredibly dapper Japanese guys and an overview of all my rounds there.
I had two and a half days at the show. The first day I spent 9 straight hours in the basement of one building, just moving from vendor to vendor. I didn’t get outside until dark and didn’t shoot a single photo with the Leica. Believe me, I was pretty envious of the #menswear Tumblr crew and the many pictures of them hanging out in the main square. When you’re buying at Pitti, you never really have time to appreciate all of the peacockery and happenings going on there. You obsessively look at product and slam a panini for lunch. Not that I’m complaining. An entire day of looking at shoes and sportcoats is a pretty damn good day for me. But buyers never really get to shoot street style photos and ogle the Brunello Cucinelli booth (unless you carry his line in your store).
Pitti is a great resource for manufacturing.
There’s nothing better than talking with people who make things. There’s no BS, no showroom hustling, and no guy-who-just-got-the-account-6-days-ago-and-knows-jack-shit-about-what-he’s-selling. Meeting with manufacturers is a joy for me and it’s one of the best parts of my job. And Pitti is absolutely filled with small-scale manufacturers. I’m talking incredible artisan companies that you’d never find outside of Europe. There’s a robust domestic market in Europe in general and Italy in particular, so Pitti is dotted with small firms that just serve local shops and designers. You’d never know about them unless you go there, and you won’t find them there unless you really put the work into it. But I found a bunch of great stuff, and hopefully all of these contacts will bear some serious fruit come fall 2012.
Florence is pretty ace.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Florence a few times before, and it’s a gorgeous city. In terms of trade show cities, it’s pretty close to the top of the heap. I love Cirque du Soleil shows and dinner buffets as much as the next man (editor’s note: Mike’s opinion on Cirque du Soleil is his own and does not reflect ours), but Florence has it all over Las Vegas. And the Fortezza da Basso will put a serious hurting on the Jacob Javits Center. It’s an inspiring place to visit, and touring the excellent menswear shops in the city will definitely put you in the right frame of mind. Of course, I don’t even have to mention how great the food, wine, and coffee is. It’s a small city, so you’ll run into friends and contacts easily. Overall, I had a wonderful time, and I’d whole-heartedly recommend Pitti Uomo to any other menswear buyers interested in expanding their assortment with some really unique collections and pieces.
Photos courtesy Mike Kuhle.
Should I Use Sole Guards? Nick V. Weighs In
The debate—whether it’s advisable to add sole guards to your shoes—has been raised many times on the forum. I wanted to share my insight on the topic from years of experience. There are several angles to consider.
First, many people refer to sole guards as “Topys.” Topy is a brand that makes sole guards and has done a great job marketing their name, attaching it to a product until it became the accepted generic. In the same way, people refer to galoshes as Totes. Galoshes are a product. Totes is a brand name. Many brands, patterns, thicknesses, and colors of sole guard are available on the market today.
Next, shoe manufacturers are very protective of whats become a secondary market for them. That is, the ability to re-sole their own brand. This helps them in three ways: sales, customer loyalty, and profits. I have heard salespeople are instructed to advise against sole guards. They are trained to explain that it prevents the sole from breathing.
Clearly, rubber soled offerings are becoming more popular on the high-grades these days. On a Goodyear-welted shoe, the construction on a rubber soled shoe vs. leather is largely the same. The only difference is, on a leather-soled shoe, the sole is stitched to the welt. With a shoe finished with a factory rubber sole, a midsole is stitched to the welt, and the rubber sole is cemented to the mid-sole. The cork footbed is made of the same mixture of rubber cement and cork. Both elements are flexible, but barely breathable.
So, if the claim is made that a thin sole guard prevents a leather soled shoe from breathing, why are they offering rubber soled high-grades?
Some also claim that sole guards make the shoe less flexible. In 35 years, I never heard one complaint from a customer regarding inflexibility of shoes with sole guards. So, I can’t give this argument any merit.
Some might say sole guards throw the shoe off balance. Most sole guards are slightly thicker than a credit card. The leather sole needs to be roughed before applying the sole guard, likewise the under-skin of the sole guard. The net difference of a shoe with a sole guard vs. one without is very close to the thickness of a credit card. So, you can test it yourself. Before you decide on sole guards, put on your new shoes, with one, step on a credit card (under the ball of your foot), the other on the bare floor. If you feel an uncomfortable significance in the balance, opt out on the sole guards.
I have also heard concerns that when a sole guard is being applied its necessary to sand down the new sole, potentially damaging the sole stitching. My comments are based on using a reputable cobbler. Yes, there are butchers; but I’m talking skilled cobblers here. Most high-grades are stitched with in a channeled sole—that means the stitching lies below the surface of the sole. No cobbler worth his salt will hit the stitching while prepping for sole guards. Further, Goodyear-welted shoes are stitched with a lock-stitch. That means each stitch is independent of itself. Even if one or two stitches are accidentally nipped (very unlikely) the stitching won’t unravel.
Now, to the pros of sole guards. Aside from traction and waterproof, the biggest benefit of using sole guards is their value. A thin sole guard will generally twice outlast a leather sole, in many cases, more. Say, for example, a leather sole lasts you a year and it costs $100 to replace; in two years you will have spent $200. Replacing a sole guard costs $30 to $40. Plus, with a sole guard replacement, you can get your shoes back in a day or so.
I have also heard comments like “If you are spending hundreds of dollars for a high-grade shoe with a leather sole why would you want to cover it with rubber?” As an example, we recently added guards to two pairs of J.M. Weston 180s in croc. Two different customers, both wanted sole guards, for shoes that retail at over $3500 per pair. For those that just like the feel of walking on leather, I have no debate for you. For everyone else, there are other things to consider.
Lastly, a word of caution… the purpose of sole guards is to prevent leather from wearing out, they are waterproof, nonskid, and can present value over time. If your existing shoes have soles that feel spongy or are severely worn, DO NOT put sole guards on them. Even if your cobbler tries to talk you into it. They are intended to be preventive maintenance, not a cure for damage.