Earlier I wrote about the new rising of a traditional shoe brand Wildsmith (you can see the post here) and when Chay asked me if was interested to give some of their pair a try, I of course was more than glad to take that chance.
As one can see from the pics below the weather in Finland at the moment is not the most optimal for loafers. However I luckily got the chance to wear these already in Florence during Pitti Uomo and now I’m waiting for the summer to come.
Trinity - Brogue punched saddle loafer
When making the choice, I basically had two options - the “George” chukka boot in oxblood pebble grain leather and the Trinity. As my rotation was at the moment missing a pair of calf leather loafers and as there’s actually no pair similar to these available on the market from any brand as far as I’m concerned, I decided to go with Trinity.
The pair chosen combines classic brogue design with the understated style of a loafer / slip-on. Whereas normal penny loafer features a “strap” that in the past was supposed to allow the wearer to place small objects – such as pennies, Trinity only features a brogue punched “saddle” over the instep and in addition medallion perforation at the toe.
Shortly, the shoes are made in Norhampton, England with a goodyear-welted construction, featuring simple leather soles with closed channel stitching and leather lining. Being made of burnt chestnut calf leather I believe the shoes are optimal to create a nice and natural patina over the years.
Few more months to wait before wearing these in the streets of Helsinki
The first wear - in Florence.
A closer look
Even though I had seen the shoes by Wildsmith before few times I was eager to get the package into my hands.
First of all, with every pair there comes (not pictured here) a small shoe horn embossed with the Wildsmith name and a a tin of English beeswax for polishing by Wildsmith as well. For an additional fee (65£) you can get lasted shoe trees made of double-barreled dark wood featuring brass metalwares (made by Spring Line).
When taking a look of the shoes you can see that the level of detail in the finishing is top-notch and even if you would really carefully look for flaws, there’s no reason for complaints. For example every brogue punch has been done properly and the perforation on both shoes is perfectly symmetric.
In terms of the bottom as said the shoes feature “single” leather soles with closed channel stitching. The “waist” of the shoes is nicely bevelled though not as aggressively “fiddled” as for example some pairs of mine from the Alfred Sargent handgrade range but still equally narrow giving the shoes a very neat, clean and classy impression.
Regarding the upper leather I will be able to tell more only after I’ve had the chance to wear this pair more than once. But in general it feels smooth and durable, being certainly at the same level with for example the Alfred Sargent or Crockett&Jones pairs at my shoe shelf.
Wildsmith shoes in a nutshell
As mentioned earlier, the new collection of Wildsmith at this moment includes 12 different models (featuring chukka boot, single monks, brogue and cap-toe oxford, brogue, 2-eyelet plain toe derby and a saddle & penny loafer) made on 3 different lasts in various leather and color choices. In terms of lasts the 216 has a rounded toe, 283 have a slightly square toe and 574-last, which is for the loafers and comes with even rounder toe. All lasts are designed by Chay Cooper himself and based on my experience they all fit pretty much equal (I run 6,5UK in each last).
All of the shoes are goodyear-welted and made by using the very best calf leathers and suedes; leathers that are mainly from Italy, although some Germany and France and suede from Steads in England. As said the shoes are made and leather soles all tanned in England. But unlike for example AS Exclusive range the soles are chestnut bark tanned instead of oak-bark tanned soles.
Chestnut bark tanned soles featuring bevelled waist and closed channel stitching
“The devil is in the details - stitching”
I’m not this time gonna do or write any further analysis in addition to what is written above. I will simply say that I got myself a pair of shoes I’m really happy with and that I believe will give me joy for years to come.
I might be biased but I also honestly believe that Wildsmith customers are going to be very pleased with the quality they are about to get. With the 260-330£ price range this collection will definitely challenge the players such as Crockett&Jones, Alfred Sargent and Carmina, which all are in general at the moment priced higher than Wildsmith.
Considering the price I personally find it hard to find comparable shoe that shows off the same level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Finally, there’s a winter sale going on at the moment at the Wildsmith webshop with some really good deals available. Here’s the top 3 favorites of mine from the sales:
- one of the best looking cap-toe oxfords I’ve seen in while, made on the 283 last.
- midnight blue calf leather is definitely undervalued in terms of shoe colors.
Versatile pair to be worn with either jeans or a pair of flannels during the cold winter days.
First time of wear for my pair - Even though the trinity loafer might look like “old man”-shoe I need to disagree here. Go sockless and pair them with denim and you have a spot-on summer combination ready.