This is the gaping hole in the men’s dress shoe market:
- Between $100 and $200
- A modern shape but not spear like
- Equipped with a few extras like closed lacing, a leather sole, or brogue style details
There’s just not many men’s dress shoes that fulfill those three requirements. DSW’s Mercanti Fiorentini true oxford plugged that hole for awhile, but after it sold out? Once again there was nothing.
Until now. Enter the Nordstrom house brand Calibrate and their “Brandon” true oxford, which picks up where the Mercanti Fiorentini shoes left off, and they even come out ahead in a few areas.
The “genuine” leather uppers feel more durable than the Mercantis (which on a side note, are holding up just fine for me) and like the Mercantis they don’t look cheap or plasticky. The sole happens to be rubber and is most likely glued on, but it’s slim and doesn’t scream “Hey look! There’s rubber down here!” If that makes any sense.
Styling is spot on. They’re trim through the toe box and not overly elongated. The cap toe, medallion, and the lines where the perforated detailing sweeps up and over the vamp give it an expensive look.
The brown is a true darker brown (not a lighter cognac) and they’re certainly suit worthy. But the brogue details also give them enough texture that you could wear them with a pair of deep, dark jeans.
Plenty comfortable right out of the box and they might run a half size large. Maybe. They are made in China but they don’t feel like they’ll fall apart on you any time soon. Especially if you’re not the daily dress shoe type. Ships and returns free if you don’t have a Nordstrom nearby.