There is a running joke among my friends, that whoever I marry needs to understand and accept that I love shoes and probably have more than her. Snapple facts and I'm proud of it! Like most men in menswear, when I started getting my wardrobe right I let my wallet dictate my purchases. Understandable and fair, I could only get what I could afford. It really helped when I worked at Men's Wearhouse where I was given a very generous employee discount and a sort of payment plan that came out of my checks. The longevity of those shoes were a hit or miss, some lasted a few month others I'm still wearing three years later. As much as I'm a collector of dress shoes, I don't have money to splurge and want them to last. So as a shoe lover I've decided to review some shoes (starting with the Thursday Boot Loafers) to see if they are worth the purchase. Some of these shoe brands you may know, others you may not, either way I'm trying to,find the best quality shoe in the market today.
The Brogue Workshop
Alot of big name brands have the marketing dollars to have them in our faces and make them household names. So it's cool to come across, lesser known companies that offer quality products at competitive prices. In comes Brogue Workshop, based out of Hong Kong, who were kind enough to send me a pair of their really awesome dress shoes for review. I must say, a quick glance through their website and I was very impressed with the aesthetics of their shoes. Even more blown away by how they looked when they arrived in the mail. But enough with being mesmerized by its aesthetics, I wanted to see if this shoe was indeed a quality shoe worth investing in. Here are the categories I looked into.
Winged tip with beautiful broguing all around the shoe. Broguing has its roots in Great Britain in the early 19th century when farmers went out into the field they wanted a shoe that will allow water to go through. It is a derby style shoe which means there's an extra layer of leather creating an opening on the vamp. I feel this type of shoe is best for men with a high midfoot as the closed vamp on an oxford may be too uncomfortable.
The upper is made from top grain calf skin which is a first in my collection and I see why folk herald it so much. This type of leather tends to last longer and the inevitable crease that show aren't as visible as its chromoxcel leather counterpart. The added component that gives it the two tone navy blue look is nubuck, much more durable that suede that will contribute to the longevity of the shoe. It has a leather bottom and leather/rubber sole stitched to the upper through a good year welt construction.
It has a leather interior , which is expected from good dress shoe. Perhaps it is the calf skin or I'm still in the process of breaking it in but it still feels very firm around my foot. It is true to size, there wasn't any extra room or my feet feeling cramped up wearing these.
Based on the price I would say this was a mid-tier shoe compared to a Beckett Simmonon and a Meermin. Honestly you wouldn't want to go lower than $150 when looking for shoes that will be an investment and last a while. Cheaper shoes tend to made from cheap products, often with a glued sole. As the saying goes, buy cheap buy twice. With this type of pricing, I see the mid tier pricing market is starting to get very competitive.
Slightly lower than a Paul Evans, higher than a Men's Wearhouse brand, these Brogue Workshop shoes exude sophistication, simplicity and tradition. I'm really impressed by how tough the calf skin is, in my clumsy walking I've scraped it against chairs and tables and it still looks like I just took it out of the box. The good folks over at the Brogue Workshop were nice enough to offer you guys a discount code, so if you want to check them out enter "BWNEW18" at checkout and get and additional $15 off. Though these were sent to me, I'm really looking into buying a couple more from them, these shoes are sweet!
For more photos click here for detail shots.