Goodyear welt development is taken into account by many to be the be-all and end-all of shoe development strategies. It is because it’s a way that enables a shoe to be resoled many occasions over with out inflicting injury to the higher. There’s typically an elevated price ticket for footwear which can be made on this manner.
Till a couple of weeks in the past, for those who had advised me that I may purchase a pair of Goodyear welted footwear for below $100, I’d have laughed in your face. Okay, that’s not solely true. I’m nicer than that, so I might have simply been politely skeptical.
That is exactly how I approached footwear made by Samuel Windsor, a British firm that makes a full line of clothes and footwear that’s designed for guys on the tightest of budgets. Provided that my son’s day care has primarily elevated my lease by 80%, I recognize an organization that retains a person like that in thoughts.
However what about high quality? Whereas I like deal, I’m additionally a agency believer within the saying, “You get what you pay for.” Had been these guys severe about promoting Goodyear welted footwear for as little as $79?
General, I’ve to say that Samuel Windsor makes a good shoe for the cash. The standard of the product itself is okay, however the customer support is actually what impressed me probably the most.
Samuel Windsor Traditional & Status Assortment Assessment
Samuel Windsor affords two collections of footwear: Traditional and Status, retailing for $79/pair and $99/pair, respectively. Each make the most of Goodyear welt development. The one distinction is that the Status Assortment makes use of a better grade Italian leather-based on the higher and sock liner, and has extra padding within the sock. The corporate’s flashier designs and night footwear are from this line.
Level being: there’s a distinction between collections, however not within the development. To learn extra about Goodyear welt development, see our piece on Grant Stone footwear.
I acquired a brown suede semi-brogue from the Traditional Assortment and Paul acquired a navy blue suede tassel idler from the Status Assortment.
What’s In The Field?
For a $79 pair of footwear, I used to be impressed by what got here within the field. The footwear themselves had been rigorously wrapped in branded paper and every completely full of paper to assist them keep their form. The footwear additionally got here with a plastic-but-sturdy shoe horn, a pamphlet with firm data, and a further set of laces. There was additionally a pre-paid return delivery label, which I believed was handy.
It’s value noting right here that these footwear declare to be “handmade.” Whereas I might by no means name anybody a liar over this, there may be no manner that that is technically true for a shoe that prices $79. There’s no manner it’s true for a shoe that prices $350. There’s no manner it’s true for a shoe that prices even $800.
Totally bespoke footwear or extremely high-end footwear like John Lobbs that value nicely over $1000 per pair are handmade.
I’ve little question that skilled human fingers did certainly rigorously information these footwear by shoemaking machines over a multi-step course of. However handmade? Until a shoe is absolutely bespoke, then it’s extremely unlikely that such a declare is true.
In equity, Samuel Windsor just isn’t the one firm to make use of this terminology in such a manner. In my early days within the footwear trade, my firm bought a beautiful shoe that was “Benchmade in England.” This was legally true however a bit sneaky, as “benchmade” is synonymous with “handmade” and solely about 20% of the work on these footwear was carried out by hand. The remainder was carried out by machine, albeit by a highly-trained artisan in England.
They retailed at $425, and that was in 2006.
Supplies & Match
As acknowledged above, Paul and I each ended up getting suede footwear. I chosen a chocolate semi-brogue, and he acquired a navy suede tassel idler. Whereas it’s unlucky that we didn’t have an opportunity to overview a leather-based possibility, it gave us an incredible sense of the corporate’s customer support (detailed additional under).
One other optimistic that got here from that’s this bit of recommendation: for those who’re going to purchase price range footwear, suede is a way more forgiving materials than leather-based.
Actually, I’m a bit jealous of Paul’s footwear, which can look killer with a pair of white trousers within the summertime.
Being a British firm, Samuel Windsor sizes its footwear in British sizing, and rule of thumb is to go a full dimension down out of your American dimension when changing. Paul has a large foot, a 14 large to be actual. I’m on the opposite finish of the spectrum, rocking a 7D on my 5’4″ body. He ordered a 13, and I ordered a 6.
Paul wasn’t optimistic in regards to the footwear becoming all that nicely, however he favored the fashion and has handled imperfect shoe matches previously, so no large deal. They match so nicely, actually, that he was stunned and delighted by it.
My footwear had been a contact large, particularly on the left, which is the smaller of my ft. This was simply remedied by an insole, however as a purchaser you need to know that our expertise is that the footwear run a bit massive.
If I had been prepared and in a position to climb a mountain (and let’s be clear, I’m not), I might sing Samuel Windsor’s praises from the mountain tops with regard to their customer support.
My contact was a beautiful gentleman named Dan. He was fast to reply to emails and was unfailingly form all through the method, which is a superb begin. What actually acquired me was how he dealt with a difficulty we had with the primary set of footwear we obtained.
I initially ordered a 6.5, and Paul requested a two-tone leather-based shoe. The 6.5 was far too large on me, and sadly, the leather-based pair Paul ordered had some high quality points on the higher. It was disappointing.
After I reached out to Dan and defined the issue, his response was one thing that customer support managers ought to practice all of their staff to do: he apologized for the standard problem and despatched us replacements instantly, earlier than I even had an opportunity to drop the originals again on the put up workplace, utilizing the pre-paid return label.
This “we’re going to take nice care of you, no questions requested” angle makes me really feel assured in shopping for from this firm. Dan handed me off to a different consultant when he went out on paternity depart, and everybody else I labored with was equally form and accommodating.
I put my brown suede semi-brogues on with a pair of denims, because it was a Friday and I used to be feeling a bit informal. The spouse and I went for a stroll after an hours-long rainstorm.
The great thing about a brown suede semi-brogue is that it may be dressed up or down. It offers denims an air of sophistication they might in any other case lack, and it’s a pleasant technique to take a little bit of stuffiness out of a worsted wool swimsuit.
Last Assessment: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Samuel Windsor affords good worth. On the planet of price range clothes, it’s tough to search out objects which can be fairly well-made and in addition handsome. That these footwear got here with a shoe horn and further laces was a really nice shock that added some worth to an already well-priced merchandise.
Are the supplies right here high notch? No. If you’d like actually high-end leather-based and suede, you’re going to need to pay extra. Are these probably the most comfy footwear I’ve ever worn? No, however I’ve paid much more for footwear which have wrecked my ft, and I’m positive these will mould to my foot over time anyway.
Are there higher trying footwear in the marketplace which can be constructed this nicely at this value level? I positive haven’t discovered a pair. For $79-$99, these are an incredible worth and for those who spend that elsewhere, you’ll get a lesser product.
Providing stellar customer support and a value-driven product that’s an incredible match for a younger man who’s simply beginning to construct his wardrobe, I’m pleased to suggest Samuel Windsor.