Banana Republic Vincent Brogue Dress Shoes – $154 w/ BREXTRA30 ($220)
NOTE: Code BREXTRA30 is good for 30% off almost all full priced stuff at Banana Republic through today, Monday 6/26/23.
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
If you’re a regular Dappered reader, you already know that we love longwing bluchers. For many of us, they perfectly bridge the gap between traditional business casual and a more modern, relaxed “smart” casual style where footwear versatility is incredibly important. Dress them up with a four-season wool suit for a Summer wedding or dress them down with a linen button-down collar shirt and tailored jeans for a simple, but elevated outfit for your date nights. Regardless of your office (or home office) dress code, odds are a good pair of â€˜wings can slot in and work like a Swiss Army Knife for you in your dress shoe rotation.
Banana Republic recently launched a new collection of shoes that are made in Portugal, which look to be a notable upgrade from their previous collection that had a much lower MSRP. Today we are taking a first-hand look at the new Vincent longwing brogues and we’re giving you the full lowdown from toe to tread. Let’s see how these stack up against some others in a market that feels saturated with direct to consumer boots and shoes fighting for your money.
Longwings = Where the wings of the “W” run all the way back to the heel.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
- Brand: Banana Republic
- Style: Longwing Blucher
- Size: 10.5
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Blake stitched?
- Upper: Cowhide
- Lining: Cowhide
- Sole: Rubber studded
- Details: N/A
- Extras: One flannel shoe bag
- Country of Origin: Portugal
- Price: $220 US
Whiskey colored cowhide contrasts nicely with the caramel tan leather welt and rubber outsole.
My pair of longwings was ordered on a Saturday morning via the Banana Republic website. They shipped out on Monday evening via Lasership – I can’t tell whether this was a “Ground” shipment or something expedited, but as a Banana Republic/Gap rewards member, it was free. Either way, the package arrived the next day, so no ordering or shipping complaints here.
FYI: Banana offers a pretty standard return policy. You have up to 30 days from ship date to return or exchange items by mail that are purchased at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Return labels are included at no extra charge, or you can always return to a local store as well.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, fast shipping, and a simple FREE return policy.
Just a run of the mill unboxing experience with these brogues.
This pair arrived in Banana Republic’s new standard shoe box, which is a nicely textured cardboard material in a deep shade of charcoal. Inside, the box is filled with printed graphics that look like they’re straight out of Lord of the Rings or some sort of Arthurian tale of fiction. In any case, the shoes themselves were wrapped and stuffed with a few layers of cream colored tissue paper. The design team was nice enough to include a lonely flannel shoe bag, as well.
Score: 3/5 Stars – Unboxing experience was OK, but nothing to really WOW you.
Fresh out of the box, I’m really liking the overall aesthetic of the Vincent brogued longwings. The cognac or whiskey colored cowhide leather upper contrasts nicely with the caramel tan leather welt and rubber outsole. This five-eyelet longwing brogue design is a classic and will pair very well with a wide variety of menswear styles, especially for those guys who prefer traditional menswear with a heavier focus on tailored suiting or upscale “smart casual” styles with sportcoats and jeans. The longwing panels are neatly pinked and perforated, the medallion on the toe is clean and simple, and there are no notable errors or stitching issues.
Clean pinking, punching, and stitching keep these longwings dialed in.
Inside, each shoe is lined in a soft but thin layer of either cowhide or sheepskin and it runs the full length of the shoe. That’s a big improvement over other department store dress shoes that transition to a fabric or synthetic lining at the toe box. The heel cups are lined in reverse leather, aka suede, to help cut down on heel slips and movement.
Heel cups are lined in suede to help cut down on heel slips and movement
Finally, the insole unit consists of a thin layer of leather and a thin layer of foam that both get glued down to a fiberboard base. In a perfect world, we’d have vegetable tanned leather insoles with cork filling underneath, but at this price tier, it’s hard to find brands that use those higher quality materials. Here, this comfort foam layer feels rather thin and probably won’t last given frequent, hard wearing. You definitely wouldn’t want to wear these to a meeting or trade show where you’ll be on your feet all day.
Leather lining runs the full length of the shoe.
Insoles are a thin layer of leather over a thin layer of foam on a fiberboard base.
Comfort and durability may be an issue for some.
Below deck, these longwings feature a passable facsimile of the classic Dainite studded rubber outsole and heel topper. Those little studs act like cleats, gripping onto wet concrete and slick asphalt better than a pure leather outsole. I can’t speak to the long term durability of this specific outsole, but if it’s even 25% as good as the original Dainite design, they should last for a good long while. I believe the heel stack is made from leather or cardboard composite, but at this price point, solid vegetable tanned leather slabs would probably be too costly to produce. I also believe the sole stitches are genuine as you can feel them running through the shoe and up past the fiberboard insole. If that’s the case, then you can consider these Blake stitched.
Score: 3/5 Stars – At MSRP, these longwings are average to slightly above average.
A likely Blake-stitched, Dainite facsimile sole will help these shoes grip.
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying your true-to-size Brannock measurement. I tried this pair in my usual size of 10.5 US (43.5 EU) and while the size is correct, I can tell that the last, or fit of the shoe, isn’t ideal for me. With my heel locked into the heel cup and the widest part of the shoe meeting the widest part of my foot, I start to notice that the last’s shape narrows and tapers pretty quickly into somewhat of a “skinny” almond shape. That equates to feeling some light pressure along the sides of my foot towards the toe, in front of the ball of my foot. I also notice some pressure from the vamp, pushing down onto the top of my foot. I didn’t expect this shoe to have a shallow toe box, but given the last’s shape, there’s not much space for my foot to expand up front.
The last’s shape narrows and tapers pretty quickly into somewhat of a “skinny” almond shape,
leaving not much usable space in the toe box.
Some feet won’t like this shape.
Unfortunately, Banana Republic doesn’t offer a wide width and I hesitate to size up as the length feels correct. If you happen to be in between sizes (and don’t mind trying on multiple pairs), I’d suggest trying both your Brannock size as well as one half-size up to see how that changes things for you. Remember, feet are three dimensional meat sacks and everyone has a unique situation down there. While these don’t work for me, don’t let that stop you from trying them on in person and judging the fit for yourself.
For size reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most athletic sneakers from Adidas or Nike. Have a size question? Email us!
Comfort is always subjective, but you can tell that the insoles have little to no padding or cushioning. The comfort foam layer underneath the leather sockliner is barely thicker than a quarter and it doesn’t seem to be very durable. Long term, I suspect that these won’t be as comfortable as a better pair of shoes with vegetable tanned leather insoles and cork filling. Unfortunately, that’s often what you get with fashion-focused shoes from mass market brands.
Score: 3/5 Stars – This fit is subpar for me, and initial comfort and quality is lacking.
Wrapping this one up, Banana Republic’s Vincent longwing brogues seem to be a slightly better entry level option for those guys and gals who are fresh out of university. The upper leather is decent enough, the comfort is basic but serviceable, and the possibility of a stitched sole adds a hint of durability to the package. While they may not last you a lifetime like a pair from Grant Stone or Allen Edmonds, these will definitely get you through a year (or two?) of frequent wear. Quality wise, I’d put them somewhere just below Spier & Mackay’s Blake collection and ahead of similar styles that you would find at Amazon, Target, or UNIQLO.
If you’re just getting started in your professional career and you’re working with a smaller budget, I believe these brogues would be a decent option to pair with traditional business casual suiting and modern “smart casual” office wear that includes tailored sport coats, button-down collar shirts, chinos, jeans, etc. In a world where versatility matters because budgets and closets are shrinking, these will do just fine. As always, try to land a good sale!
Avg. Score: 3.5/5.0 – For most guys, these longwings will be a decent entry level pair.