Many thanks to Akiva F. for sending in the tip about the 25% off Friends & Family code. Free shipping kicks in at $50, so consider picking up some socks or something else cheap to tip that balance… if you’re gonna buy.
This “Nolan” shoe from Stafford is not an oxford version of the open-lacing, blucher style “Logan” wingtip. There are some immediately noticeably differences. Now, some of those differences are good. Some of them? Not so good.
JCP’s latest Stafford Shoe. Leather seems… different than past shoes?
THE NOT SO GOOD
The Leather doesn’t seem quite as good as past Stafford shoes: The leather is fine for a $60 shoe, but it is NOT as pliable or thick as the leather that the previously mentioned Logan wingtip shares with the extremely well loved (and for good reason) Deacon & Gunner boots. It’s a little thinner. A little stiffer. Not plasticky looking from above, but it just doesn’t feel as good. If memory serves, the Logan, Decaon, and Gunner are all made in Bangladesh. These Nolans are made in India. Maybe that’s a clue indicating a different leather supplier? Again, it’s not awful. But it just doesn’t feel the same.
The burnishing & finish seems less than great: Stray paint lines under the tongue. There’s some uneccessary (albeit light) burnishing at the toe. And that burnishing? During shooting of these shoes, it looked like there was a smudge on the toe, so, I licked my thumb and tried to wipe it away. And? OFF CAME THE BURNISHING. Off it came with just slight pressure and some saliva. So, be warned.
The “whoops” spot of burnishing that came clean off with a little saliva and thumb pressure.
The Sole: Gone is the thick, black, rubbery looking sole that’s on the Logan. Instead, these get a slimmer, tonal sole. Still synthetic and not leather, but at least it looks a little less clunky. How that sole will wear is unknown though. The looks will be for naught if it gets chewed up super quick. But, it could last and last. Who knows.
The Closed, Oxford Style Lacing: A little sleeker and smoother looking than open, blucher style. Nice choice. should look great with everything from jeans to chinos to summer suiting.
The sole. Slimmer. Still synthetic. Looks better.
The Sizing: Unlike past runs of some Stafford shoes, these appear to be true to size. A 10.5 feels like a 10.5 on my normally 10.5 feet. No wide widths available, and if anything, they may lean a little trim in terms of width.
The Color: These seem just slightly lighter than the “cognac” leather shades on other Stafford shoes. Again, maybe because they’re made in India. But for those that want to try a light, eye-catching brown shade for Spring and Summer, but don’t want to drop the cash on the Allen Edmonds “walnut” calfskin? These are a solid budget option.
The Price: As is always the case with JCP, the list price is too high ($100) but is consistently cut to an on sale price of about 40% off. Extra codes and promos should drop these to $50.
Some good, some not good. Overall solid for a $50 – $60 pair of shoes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A step back compared to previous Stafford shoes… but for fifty to sixty bucks? They’re another solid, budget shoe from JC Penney’s Stafford line. Again, for those who are used to, and really appreciate the thicker, softer leather of the Deacon boot and Logan wingtip, you might be a little disappointed. Maybe it is the same leather supplier, and it’s just a stiffer/less flexible run? Who knows. But it doesn’t feel quiet as good. Yet, it’s hard to nitpick at $50ish for the pair.