Paul Evans is a shoe brand that longtime HSS readers will be quite familiar with. I own two pairs from the NYC-based footwear company–the Brando Semi-Brogue oxford and the Martin Wholecut oxford, both in oxblood–and have worn them extensively on the site. Today, we’re talking about a new pair that I’m pretty excited about, a classic cap-toe double monk strap called the Burton.
This post has actually been a long time coming. It turns out the Burton in chocolate is one of their most popular items and was sold out for quite some time. Luckily for all of us, it’s back in stock and ready for its maiden voyage here on the site.
For those who aren’t already familiar with Paul Evans, let’s start with a quick overview. The company was founded not all that long ago in 2012 with a simple goal: to make stylish and comfortable shoes from the highest quality materials. Each shoe is handcrafted in Naples, Italy and is Blake stitched, which means you’re getting maximum sole flexibility as well as the ability to easily have them re-soled when the time comes
One of the key components of the brand’s business, however, is being direct to consumer. Removing the middle man helps Paul Evans keep prices lower compared to similarly-sourced competitors. A comparable shoe from a traditional brand will run you about three to five times the $399 Paul Evans price. Kind of puts things in perspective–are you paying for the shoe or are you paying for the brand?
Style. What is there to say about the style of the Paul Evans Burton chocolate double monk straps that isn’t already supremely evident? The fact that they were sold out for a stretch of time should be a small clue. In chocolate, the Burton is easily one of the most stylish and versatile shoes in my closet. They’re a natural fit with any brand of suited look, from a classic navy business suit to an Italian-inspired double-breasted number. But, they pair equally as well with your best slim, dark denim. (Further reading: A Concise History of Monk Strap Shoes.)
Sizing & Fit. If you’re considering any pair of Paul Evans shoes, be sure to read their fit guide and review their size chart very carefully. In general, as they state pretty clearly each product page, you’ll want to take a Paul Evans shoe a full size smaller than your regular US shoe size. I typically wear a size 9 (Euro 42) so a Paul Evans 8 should be my size and it is for my Brandos. Not for my Burtons, however. And I have to give Paul Evans a lot of credit here–if you read everything on the product page, you’ll see that they recommend taking a full size and a half down for this model. Right on the money for me. The 7.5 is most definitely my size. So there is no reason to second guess what they recommend for you on the site.
Comfort. Leather shoes typically take a little time to break in. And some can be downright uncomfortable until you pay those dues. While I found my Paul Evans Burtons to be on the mildly stiff side for the first several wears, they began to loosen up nicely over time. However, although they did have a bit of stiffness to begin with, they still felt comfortable on the my foot throughout the day.
Quality. Here’s what you’re getting: a full-grain Italian calfskin leather upper, leather sole, leather lining, Blake construction all in a shoe that’s handmade in Naples, Italy. As this is my third pair of Paul Evans, I’ve had some time to wear them enough to get a fuller picture of their quality and, more importantly, how they hold up. And I can report that they’ve held up quite well.
In researching this post, I did find some folks who complained about what they found to be excess creasing near the vamp. I just ran upstairs and checked my other two pairs and I don’t have what I would consider excess creasing. While I do see some creasing–you can see it too in these photos–it is not at all troublesome and not nearly as much as on some of my other pairs from similarly-priced brands.
In closing, if you’re in the market for a pair of shoes and have identified the $300-$450 price point as something you’re willing to do, I would definitely consider giving Paul Evans a try.
Chime in: If you own a pair of Paul Evans shoes, share your experience in the comments.