“It’s quite pungent.”
“It’s a formidable scent… It stings the nostrils…”
“I’m gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.”
That’s the bad news. Out of the box, these things have a distinct… refinery-like aroma to them. That’ll happen with less-expensive and sometimes heavily treated leather. Usually, Nordstrom’s more affordable house-brand shoes don’t have that stink. But these do. Yet if you’re willing to let them air out for a day or two, you end up with a less-fortunate man’s version of the Mora 2.0, with a slightly elongated silhouette and lower profile.
Soft leather. Wrinkling shown here after some light wear.
These are going to be a direct competitor to DSW’s Mercanti Fiorentini double monk. Same basic price range, but the Calibrate option is equipped with a more classic, rounder toe. Like the Mercs, these are real sleek through the sides with a slim toe box. There’s not a lot of head room for your toes, but for an average, slightly wide foot, these slip on easy and are comfortable right from the start.
Leather quality is also comparable to the Mercanti Fiorentini option. Not the best (which is to be expected at this price point) but still much better than some of the crap/rigid “leather” that’s out there. They’re not stiff, and the uppers feel like they’re molding to your foot once you start walking around. Wrinkles (rumples?) develop across the vamps pretty quick, but there’s no sign of major cracks or fissures.
Bright sun can bring out some flaws, but otherwise, they’re plenty nice.
The buckles are gunmetal instead of a true silver. That knocks the shine down a bit, and some guys are gonna prefer that over a glaring chrome. Sole is part leather, part synthetic insert. The color of the leather is called “luggage”, and the variances in shades across the uppers (a painted effect perhaps) give them a nice marbled look. The leather’s not world class, but the designers & manufactures seem to have done a real good job making the most of what they were working with.
The welt is almost certainly glued, but again, that’s expected at this price. Between the overall shape, the rounded toe, the simple cap toe and solid enough feeling construction, these would make for a fine entry-level double monk strap. Even better than DSW’s well respected Mercanti Fiorentini option. As long as you’re willing to set them near an open window for a couple days before wearing them. That smell clears up. At least it did on this pair.
Made in China. Ships & returns free through Nordstrom.