“Original Goodyear Welted… made by hand… Genuine Leather Sole… Made in Spain”
When Jack Erwin kicked onto the scene about a year ago, they quickly became known for making sleek, blake-stitched shoes, at a reasonable sub-$200 price tag, and included free shipping & free returns from the get-go. And they seem to have done mighty fine with that line. But with their new “Sullivan” collection, they included four models of Goodyear Welted shoes to their arsenal. And just like their blake-stitched lineup, shoes still clock in at $195, with the boots going for just a bit more.
So what’s the difference between Blake & Goodyear?
Honestly, most of us aren’t really going to notice much of a difference, but there is a difference. Blake-stitched shoes are a little lower to the ground and sleeker , but some guys have concerns about water seeping up and in if worn in wet weather. The out-sole is sewn directly up and into the insole. Goodyear welted shoes have a thicker welt, with a less direct way of attaching the outsole to the upper of the shoe. Still stitched, but it’s not a simple up and down sew-job like the Blake. Water stays out, and they’re also easier to re-sole.
Think of it this way*: Blake stitched shoes are the rear-wheel drive sports cars of the shoe world. Fast and sleek, but maybe something you don’t drive everyday, year-round. Goodyear welted shoes are the all-wheel drive option. They can handle just about everything, sometimes look a little thicker, and you’ll probably pay more for those bits that are between you and the ground.
That said, plenty of us have worn Blake-stitched shoes in rain storms, and come out just fine on the other side. So perhaps it’s really the ease or replacing soles that makes Goodyear welting the favorite. But applause to Jack Erwin for expanding into Goodyear welts, and the styles they chose really do a nice job in adding to the variety of their small, but ever growing and purposeful lineup.
The Goodyear-welted “Sullivan” collection includes a wingtip boot, a longwing blucher, a sleek looking loafer… and these: “The Jasper“, a Medallion toe oxford.
True-oxford, closed lacing, and a medallion at the toe. No cap, no pinked/serrated edges… just the medallion and a minimalist stitch line that wraps around to the heel. That’s it, that’s the list. It’s a tough design to find, and for a lot of us, it’s desirable. There’s just something about a medallion on the toe of all that uninterrupted leather. Also, the fact that they chose a burgundy shade of leather for the Jasper, instead of a standard brown, racks up more bonus points. Like all of their other models, they’re also available in black.
Some might find these to be a little too conservative in shape. They’re not stumpy by any stretch, but the last would probably look a little more elegant with a slightly elongated toe. The thicker Goodyear-welt probably contributes to their workman-like shape, but they’ll do more than fine with a suit. Navy, charcoal, light grey, etc… that burgundy shade can do it all.
The full grain leather uppers are nice and soft right out of the box and feel on-par with their previous leathers. All the stitching/eyelets/construction bits look even and orderly. Hell, they even smell good.
Jack Erwin suggests you drop down a full size from your most comfortable, standard US sized shoes, but as someone who usually wears a 10.5 D, their 9.5 feels just a hair too small. Maybe it’s my slightly wide feet (yet I never wear an E), but just like their blake stitched Foster collection, my 10.5D feet feel best in a 10 from Jack Erwin. You might experience something different, but they do have you covered with free shipping & free returns.
Gotta hand it to Jack Erwin. From the consumer side, they don’t appear to be going too far, too fast, yet they’re still expanding and making terrific design choices. Their new Goodyear welted collection, and especially these “Jasper” oxfords, are proof.
Enter here to win a pair of Jasper Oxfords in either Burgundy or Black, in any size Jack Erwin makes. One entry per person. Deadline for entry is 11:59 pm ET 8/26/14. Good luck!
UPDATE: Congrats to Lain M. who won the drawing for a pair of these Jasper Oxfords in his size/preferred color. Thanks once again to Jack Erwin for providing a pair for review & giveaway!
*This is obviously a far-from-perfect analogy. Car dudes: please pump the brakes (ha!) on picking it to pieces in the comments. Thanks.