As much of a home run as the Stafford Camlin wingtip boot? Not quite. But up there all the same.
Instead of Stafford, these get the Claiborne branding. And like those Stafford shoes, the quality of the materials seem to be well beyond the crazy affordable price tag. Cheap suede almost always beats out cheap leather, but the suede on these is particularly nice for the low investment. Soft, a medium nap, and unlike other cheap suede shoe options, these haven’t been burnished all to hell on the heel and toe. It’s an equal color/depth of suede from front to back.
A bit darker in person compared to the jcp website, but does show some shade variations in different lighting.
For sizing: They do run about half a size large, with a strangely large gap between sizes. I’m normally a 10.5, and those were way too big. A 9.5 (what I wear strangely enough in the Camlin) was comically tiny. Lucked out with the size 10 and got a Goldilocks porridge just-right fit.
They feel well built, the toe shape is perfect, and the leather lined interiors are comfortable and pretty well padded. There aren’t many drawbacks, but they’re worth mentioning… The slight sawtooth sole seems unnecessary and while not hugely visible, it does keep them pretty casual. It’s possible to wear them with a summer suit, but a smooth sole would be better. Also, the laces just feel awful. They’re a thicker lace that’s coated in some plasticky, not quite wax substance. But those are easily replaceable.
Synthetic sole is expected, but a smoother one would have been appreciated.
Suede laceups are a luxury to have. You certainly don’t need them, but having a rich, dark brown pair to wear with jeans or chinos on occasion is a great way to inject some subtle, yet intentional style into your look. With these, those of us in the rank and file can do just that, without sacrificing too much of our clothing budget for a pair that’ll see sporadic, but welcome use.