New Season Update: It looks like BR renamed these the “Owen” for 2013? Not sure if they’re the same quality.
They might have won Store Wars, but Banana Republic just doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to shoes. Stories have floated around about quality being disappointing, and there’s even this review of the Jarret Suede Lace-Up sitting in plain view on BananaRepublic.com:
“Male Emelda Marcos“? ‘kay. Well, two things. First: Of course they’re going to be glued. They’re $84 at 30% off. And second: This immediate welt to sole failure scenario is one often repeated by those who are anti bond-welt (glue), even if they’ve never experience it for themselves. Of course it could happen, and why would Mr. Marcos there leave that review if it didn’t? But gluing the sole of a shoe to an upper is cheaper than stitching them together, and plenty of shoes use this technique.
It just seems like the story, which is probably extremely rare, gets repeated exponentially more often than it has actually happened. Did these blow the sole within the first month of hard wear? Here’s how they’re doing:
They’re holding up great. The suede is still a rich color that’s much deeper than the blue shown on Banana Republic’s site. I’ve probably worn these two, maybe three times a week since they were purchased. And I haven’t been kind to them. They’ve been on numerous walks, gone on a few medium distance bike rides, and had wine spilled on them. Aside from rinsing off the wine, they haven’t been cleaned at all. Haven’t seen a shoe tree either.
Again, these are glued, so that stitching along the outer edge is just for show. Nice show though. Looked all around the edge for any sort of noticeable gap between the upper and the sole, but there’s just nothing like that there. Still solid, and the glue has been applied pretty evenly so unless you’re right up on it, you won’t see it.
Been wearing these sockless probably 95% of the time. The insole is still soft, springy, and has handled my foot sweat well. White stuff is obviously foot powder. Leather linings have some give to them, and don’t cut into your feet or heel.
The one noticeable bit of wear is happening at the toes. Looks like the tips have been getting chewed up by all the pavement walking, or perhaps it’s because I sit on a high, pub-style chair at work for most of the day and lock my feet on the lower rungs. I haven’t been known to drag my feet, so the synthetic sole on these might be subject to some faster than average wear. Maybe.
Again, haven’t cleaned them. But like light pants, light soled shoes seem to attract scuffs, marks, and stains. Honestly didn’t noticed how dirty these have become until I started snapping pics.
So far so good. Really good. Especially since a mere $84 was shelled out for the pair. They’re incredibly comfortable and they seem to go with any pair of pants or shorts thrown at them. Might have to clean up the edges of the soles since they’ve quickly become a favorite, and they appear to be sticking around for awhile.
Own these or any other BR shoes? Do you think the bondwelt/glued sole failure story is overblown? Have you experienced it yourself only to swear off glued shoes? Leave it in the comments. Expect another update next month.