Zara “Tailored” Oxford Shoe – $139.00
What was said about these last week? “Got a feeling that these are going to be excellent, or awful.” Ah. Well, wrong on both counts. They’re not excellent, and they’re certainly not awful. What they are, is a lot of looks with not a lot of substance, and at this price, you’re much better waiting for the next big Zara sale than purchasing them now.
Made in Spain? Again? Indeed. But they’re also proof that country of origin isn’t everything. Zara is similar to H&M. A good amount of variety, lots of turnover in styles, but they aren’t really known for a high level of quality. So while the looks of these shoes are right on, the quality of leather is just so so. Even for a mid $100s shoe.
Looks to spare, but substance is so so.
Apply pressure to the uppers and you see a familiar “crackle” that becomes more prominent with the less expensive the leather gets. After a short, on-the-carpet fitting, they started to show signs of creasing and some denting. Yeah, non-cordovan leather is gonna crease, but for the same price, DSW’s affordable Mercanti Fiorentini’s seem to use leather that’s a bit of a step up (especially on the new wingtip boot). Those crease too, but they seem less fragile, while still feeling more flexible.
Release the crackle! Just a bit. But still.
Now, all this yaking about the leather shouldn’t take away from the fact that they’re a great looking shoe overall. Plenty of entry level dress shoe brands could learn a lot from the shape and the details. Burnished toes, quarter brogue perforations, and a not-so-normal dip in those perforations midway back towards the heel. It’s like they moved a wingtip from the hood to the passenger side door. And it works. The color is bold, but it’s not a crazy light tan either. That means they actually work easily with a medium to darker grey suit. They’re reasonably comfortable. Sole is almost certainly glued instead of stitched.
Overall shape is spot on, with the sides being trim but the toe not reaching too far out front. No wide sizes in these, and no half sizes either. A 10 on my size 10.5 feet was a little snug, but not awful.
If they ever dropped to $50? Well, of course. Absolutely. Maybe even if they got cut to under $100 during the next end of season clearance. If they made them in suede, they might be worth full price… just because cheap suede almost always outperforms inexpensive smooth leather. But these are starting to sniff Jack Erwin territory, and there’s stiff competition at this price point from DSW’s already mentioned (Mercanti Fiorentini) house brand.
The original speculation was that these would be either outstanding, or awful. Turns out they’re neither. And to most, they’re just not going to be good enough for the asking price.
Ships & returns free through Zara. No half sizes available. Made in Spain.