A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft





Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meermin's "10164" Semi-Brogue Shoe



One of An Uptown Dandy's earliest followers was Pepe Albaladejo, founder of Meermin Shoes (you can view the website here and the tumblr page here). The scion of a family that has long been associated with Mallorca's well-known shoe-making tradition, Mr. Albaladejo has carved out an impressive niche by producing a line of shoes that offer great value at very competitive prices.



Mr. Albaladejo was kind enough to send me a pair of semi-brogue shoes for review - referred to as model 10164, in light brown calf leather on the New Rey last. This model is part of Meermin's Linea Maestro, or Master Line, which is described as being made to "handwelted goodyear" standards. What follows, then, are my initial thoughts and impressions regarding construction, leather quality, etc. I say "initial" as I've yet to wear these out on the street, and so will follow-up at some point in the future after a few wears.







I was pleasantly surprised by several aspects of the semi-brogue shoe. The leather quality seemed surprisingly sturdy yet supple, and the light brown calf leather had an intriguing richness of color, with subtle distinctions in tone along the uppers which suggests a lovely patina should develop over time. The stitching shows no obvious blemishes and the broguing has been darkened to give the shoe an "antiqued" effect.  All in all, I was most impressed with the leather uppers, and would compare them favorably to my Crockett & Jones bench-grade shoes.










The sole of the shoe is equally impressive. The waist is only lightly bevelled but features a very narrow cut that really accentuates the elegance of the New Rey last. I was initially concerned that it would be too narrow for my foot, but after discussing sizing with Mr. Albaladejo, he recommended a size EU 9.5E which turned out to be spot-on. The shoe fit quite well at the heel and the toe box. To be honest, I was surprised at how comfortable my feet felt in what I thought would be a tight fit. I'm very interested to see how the shoes actually feel while wearing.

Most people aren't terribly concerned about the sole but this one is quite nice to look at. The two-tone color scheme, combined with the narrow waist and natural sole edge, complements the light-brown calf leather uppers nicely. The rounded nail head pattern along the toe of the sole is also a nice touch.





I should also point out how well-balanced the semi-brogue is on the New Rey last. The captoe definitely features a smart, rounded last that is elongated without being pointy - a subtle difference which many shoemakers apparently fail to comprehend. But the proportions are well-done on this shoe and on par, in my opinion, with Edward Green's Falkirk on the 82 last or G&G's Rothschild on the DG70. Simply put, it is very well done.



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One potential issue that I identified only after looking over the shoes several times was what appeared to be a crack along the middle of the heel on the right shoe. I'm not entirely sure whether this is a superficial scratch along the heel edge, but it appears to run along almost the entire circumference of the heel (and is much more obvious along the outer edge on the right side of the shoe).When I pull down on the bottom of the heel, you can actually see that the crack runs along the inside of the heel as well (along the waist of the sole). On this point, I will reserve judgment until I've worn the shoes - it may not have any effect whatsoever so could be a purely cosmetic issue. Should it develop into something more problematic, Mr. Albaladejo has offered to send a replacement heel.

Unfortunately, this seems to speak to a larger issue of quality control which customers have commented upon previously. Obviously, the paying customer will most likely take issue with such a defect  - and he/she should have every right to do so. That being said, my understanding is that Meermin addresses such issues in an honest and forthright manner, which is to be commended. Nevertheless, a tightening up of the quality control function would probably be best in order to avoid these situations entirely.

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To summarize, I was most impressed with the craftsmanship, leather quality, design, and proportions of the 10164 semi-brogue model. At 260 euros, this Linea Maestro offering provides exceptional quality comparable to Alden or Crockett & Jones' bench-grade at a fraction of the cost. While quality control remains a problem at Meermin (most likely due to increased demand for the Classic, Linea Maestro, and Cordovan offerings), issues such as the one described above have ultimately been resolved to the buyer's satisfaction.






10 comments:

  1. I very much appreciate your review of the Meermin 10164. After a bit of a search, my husband and I came across Meermin and ordered a few pairs. I will post my own review in time, with pictures, but I just wanted to second the review.

    I have two pairs of Meermin pumps that are fantastic uppers, beautiful design, excellent craftsmanship, at a very reasonable, if not fantastic, price point. I would chose Meermin over Barker and Church's as well as women's Carminas at this point based on multiple samples of shoes from each brand.

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  2. Excellent review, thank you!

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  3. Great review but quality control issues at that company need addressing. Look at thew brogue pores all clogged with wax polish and around the waist.

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  4. Hi all,
    V, thank you for the informative comment!

    Thank you Andrew!

    Mike, I hear what you're saying - I guess I focused on the heel crack because the wax is somewhat cosmetic and I can do something about it. But you're right, these are probably all issues that should be addressed at the Factory.

    Best,
    Dan

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  5. Hey,
    I also have some minor issues with quality control with the shoes Pepe sent me. However, they were just cosmetic and not functional. I have been wearing the shoes pretty consistently since July and they have broken in well and have had no further issues with them. Highly recommend them, a great value.
    Justin

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  6. Hi Justin,
    Thanks for the info - good to know!
    Dan F.

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  7. Hello Folks,

    Just received my first two pairs of Meermins a few weeks ago. Thirty seven days from placement of order to delivery to my door, including two days stuck in US Customs. Also had to pay 8.5% duty.

    Great shoes (101286 Testa Nubucks & 101198 Black Calf Oxfords) that have received many compliments, but need to pay careful attention to the size charts. I'm a size US9.5, so I ordered UK9 shoes. The oxfords are a snug fit, while the nubucks have alot of extra room. The size charts are different for different shoes for a reason.

    Cheers,
    Mark

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  8. Nice shoes and nice review it should be noted that the value of these shoes is due to the fact that they are produced in China and the coloring is done in Mallorca.

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  9. one issue is that their shoes don't "breath" too well and some sort of glue gets squeezed out at side of inner sole (near forefoot area) after few hours of wear. Socks get some odd chemical odour. Few months later, odour still there despite not that strong...

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  10. An interesting point - thank you for sharing!

    An Uptown Dandy

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