Welcome to the second in my series of 3 reviews of road testing formal black shoes (dress shoes). As part of my review I wanted to test a pair of shoes which have leather soles and leather uppers, but are not Goodyear Welted. I was curious to see how well they stood up to day-to-day walking, rain and wet conditions.
I have considered obtaining a pair of monk strap shoes for some time and purchased a pair of suede ones from Marks and Spencer last year. I liked the style, the fit, and the slim line of the shoe lends itself to a narrow cut of trouser I favour – especially with cords. I decided to return to Marks and Spencer to acquire a black leather pair of monk straps.
My first impression of the shoe was how lightweight it felt. Although the leather uppers felt solid in construction the leather (in comparison to the other shoes I am testing from Jones and Samuel Windsor) is very thin. In additional the soles, because they lack the robustness of a Goodyear Welted construction also lacked a certain robustness. The sizing was also a little small and I found I needed an extra half size to add to the length of the shoe.
After their first 6 weeks of wear here are the findings:
- Polishing. Following the same cleaning format I have adopted with the other shoes (saddle soap, shoe cream and then wax polish) these shoes are top of the list. They polish extremely well and have developed a mirror like sheen on the toe caps.
- Comfort. Despite how thin the leather uppers originally felt the leather is now developing a softness and is moulding to my foot very comfortably.
- The soles. I am convinced the soles will not last long, they are after just 6 weeks already feeling vulnerable. Although, I must say they kept my feet relatively dry during a walk in some very wet conditions. I suspect I will be having them re-soled within their first six months (I did take another pair of thin leather soled shoes from Marks and Spencer to my local shoe repair shop recently and he was able to replace the soles with a much thicker sole – this photograph demonstrates the excellent job he was able to undertake).
- The look. I cannot fault the look of these shoes – now they are polished and gleaming they look classic and timeless and work well with my suits (especially my dark blue pinstripes). The gentle creasing appearing on the uppers is adding to their individualism and character. Once they have some more robust soles on I suspect they will be even better.
- Price. I paid £55 ($80) for them and would rate them as good value for money for a leather shoe.
I know I need to add another £20 soon for new soles, but I believe I have shoe here that will last for many years to come.