The Wolf & Shepherd Shoe Review

The Wolf & Shepherd Shoe Review

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wolf and shepherd shoe review

Are there any great dress shoes out there that are not Good Year Welted, Hand Welted, Blake Stitched or something similar?  Put a different way, are there any quality dress shoes that are of a glued or cemented construction?  Conventional menswear knowledge would say no, there are not any.  I tend to follow this school of thought.  Although there are a number of brands that use a cemented construction along with quality materials to make their shoes, none of these shoes are regarded as a great.  It is worth noting that if taken proper care of, some of the cemented shoes will last for years and wear well.  But it’s just not the same.  Cemented shoes with premium materials is almost like putting a Quartz movement in a solid gold watch.  Sure, the time may be just as (if not more accurate) but you lose the character and heritage of the watch as well as much of the credibility and elegance.  But I suppose there are exceptions to every rule.

Some time ago one of you (ie one of FYG’s readers) asked me about a shoe brand called Wolf & Shepherd (link).  At the time I was unfamiliar with them, fortunately, a few months later I met the brand’s founder, Justin Schneider, at the MRket show.  Justin and I spoke at length and I agreed to try the shoes on, and despite them being a cemented construction, I was impressed.  Wolf & Shepherd’s shoes are not your ordinary cemented shoes.  Think cemented on steroids with a plentiful side helping of comfortable.  This is largely due to Wolf & Shepherd’s proprietary construction.

After talking, Justin and I decided it would be great for me to review the shoes so Wolf & Shepherd was nice enough to send me a pair of their Closer cap toe in Honey and Gambit double monk in Slate.  If you’d rather watch a video of me discussing the shoes, check out below.  Although the content in the video and written review are pretty similar there are unique points made in each so if you are really interested in the brand, please review both.

When designing the shoes, Justin wanted to make them light, flexible and comfortable.  He swapped out the typical metal shank for one of carbon fiber and the typical leather or wood heel for one of EVA.  The difference in weight when you first take the shoes out of the box and then when you first wear them is immediately apparent.  For more detail, refer to the diagram below.

wolf and shepherd shoe construction diagramWolf & Shepherd crafts their shoes in Portugal and sources their leather from Italy; lending to a nice pedigree.  That said, the shoes are priced from $325-395.  Which leads to the big question, how can you charge that much money for a pair of shoes that are not Good Year Welted of Blake stitched.  Let’s take a closer look at the shoes to answer this question.

wolf and shepherd gambit double monk strap shoe reviewThe Gambit double monk is a pretty classic double monk strap.  I opted for the Slate grey version, which came out as a nice shade of grey which in the night sometimes comes off as black.  Upon opening the box, I thought the toe was a little soft for my tastes, however, after wearing the shoes that sentiment has faded.  For reference I wear a size 10.5 in the Gambit.

The Closer also has a nice shape.  Although I usually prefer 5 eyelets to 4 on oxfords.  From the overhead photos of both shoes you can see that you do not see the sole protrude beyond the upper, which would make sense because there is no stitching (or faux stitching); this leads to a clean look.  For reference, I wear a size 10.0 in the Closer.

wolf and shepherd shoe soleAs part of Wolf & Shepherds proprietary design their shoes have a half rubber sole (yes, the brand can re-sole them for around $75).  Which aids in traction and is also quite flexible.  Because the soles are not stitched, the waist can be narrow, which gives way to a nice aesthetic from the side and bottom of the shoe.wolf and shepherd brown shoe reviewwolf and shepherd shoe review grey monk strapThe finishing and QC on the shoes is well done.  I did not note any major oversights on the QC front, which for a shoe at this price, I wouldn’t expect to find any.  As previously noted, the leather is from Italy. It is quality leather, certainly on a level that you would expect for a $350 shoe; so far it has worn well, although I have only been wearing the shoes around for about 6 weeks.  It is not an issue on the two pair that I have, but on some of Wolf & Shepherd’s shoes, particularly those that have a lighter color sole like their Honey colored shoes, The EVA heel and rubber sole remain black, which contrasts with the tan color of the rest of the sole.  This is a look that I am not a fan of.  But as I said, it is not a problem on the two pair of shoes that I have or with any of their darker color models.

wolf and shepherd grey monk strap shoesAfter having the chance to wear each shoe a few times I think I have been able to get a good feel for the shoes.  Of course, I cannot say how they will wear in year or five from now, but thus far, they have worn very well.  Right out of the box they are very comfortable.  Comfortably snug, but not tight at all.  The memory foam insole lends a different feel to the bottom of the foot.  At first it was weird because it was different, but once I realized what it was, the feeling was great.  The memory foam insole also helps with foot fatigue and soreness as the day goes on.

Many of you will know what I speak of when I say that after a long day or night of being on my feet in leather soled dress shoes, the bottoms of my feet sometimes feel fatigued or at worst, like someone took a hammer to them.  This has yet to happen when wearing Wolf & Shepherds shoes.  That said, if you are someone who spends much of your day on your feet these shoes may be ideal for you.  Personally, there have been a few days when I know that I am going to spend a lot of time on my feet so I have worn the Gambits or Closers.  But for others of you, I realize that the shoes not being Good Year of Blake construction is a non-starter.  However, if you do ever want to deviate from that school of thought, Wolf & Shepherd’s shoes may be your best options for a first foray to the other side.

If you have experience with Wolf & Shepherd’s shoes or have any questions, please hit up the comments below.  Thank you for reading and watching.

-Justin

 

Note: FYGblog was provided product and/or compensation in the production of this post.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. After reading this I definitely know my shoes and other shoes a lot better. I can agree that we might be biased about certain types of varieties available but then again it takes something to try! This is what I am going to do next. Try something more flexible.

  2. They, like almost all of the online premium shoe stores, fail in one major way; they don’t offer various widths. This is a fatal flaw for many customers. They could just pick a couple of their most popular styles for a more complete offering.

  3. Light business shoes are a lifesaver. The wolf shepherd looks sharp and professional, like I’m on my way to get a masters in education. It will be interesting to see how long they wear because that’s an important factor as well.

  4. Bad shoes- wore them one time and the leather feels very cheap. Shows significant wear after one time. The leather up by the ankle bone was protruding and sharp. Made my ankle bone bleed after one wear. Unfortunately, all of this was after one wear and the company does not have a satisfaction guaranteed policy…so I had to return and take a 20% loss. Additionally, the return experience was a pain. Inconsistent info, trouble reaching a representative. I would steer clear of these shoes until they have a better satisfaction and return policy. Their current policies don’t work well for e-commerce. Too bad, the sole of the shoe is extremely comfortable and just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I’m not going to experiment with other pairs after getting burned this time.

    • HI MT,

      I wanted to reach out and see if there is anything that I can do to help improve your experience with our brand.
      Our goal is for every client to love their W&S pair and to come back and enjoy future new collections. Also to understand every process of our design from the leathers we choose to the insole construction.

      Per our return policy we do not accept refunds for product that is not returned in like-new condition. We have to be able to re-stock retuned items and I cannot give a client a pair that is damaged from previous use.

      Please reach out to me at help@wolfandshepherd.com and I hope to change your W&S experience into a positive one!

      Thank you
      Ashley

      • Daniel, please note I’ve spoken to you customer Service when I ordered a pair of your shoes size 11 and received 11.5, however the shoes are marked as 11. I asked to return, I was told that is not possible and told to wear them with a tongue pad. Then I was inform after that did not work I should have ordered a 10.5 and then I should try heel pads. All of this from your customer service. Last I asked again to return that there is a serious quality issue with this pair and I was quoted your return policy. You build a bad pair of shoes and will not stand by your product. What does that say about your company about you? Contact your customer service Ashely and Zach then call me so we can find a way for you to make this right.

  5. Mark, great thought. I totally agree widths should be offered in more shoe companies.
    The big problem is that dress shoes at this company already run from size 6-15, half sizes 7-13.
    That is a total of 15 size SKU’s across 27 styles for a total of 405 SKU’s for a high-growth young shoe company. Imagine if they offered a narrow (B) and wide (EE) as well. That brings their SKU’s to 1,215 SKU’s or 810 additional SKU’s. This is simply not possible for many shoe companies due to the inventory risk.

    I’m sure it’s something Wolf & Shepherd would want to offer and as the company progresses they will do their best to offer more widths.

  6. These shoes are terrible, in my experience. I bought into the idea that they’d be more comfortable than others like To Boot, Johnston & Murphy, or Alden. I can categorically state that they’re the least comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. I’ve worn them 3x, and will never wear them again. Further, the company won’t refund my money, after my having shared my dissatisfaction with them. They offered advice on wearing a ‘thicker sock’ or applying ‘some cream’, both of which I find insulting. I haven’t returned other dress shoes for any reason other than sizing, so this seems significant to me.

    • Hi Kirk

      I can understand your frustration.

      Once a shoe has been worn outside it can not be accepted back into stock. We can only accept like-new condition returns and exchanges because they are added back into inventory.
      We cannot re-sell a shoe that shows wear.

      Please reach out to me at Help@wolfandshepherd.com and I would like to help to turn your experience with Wolf and Shepherd into a positive one.

      Thank you
      Ashley

  7. W&F are the nicest and most comfortable shoes I own.. however, ….

    I own a couple W&S, a few Clarks and an Ecco. The Clarks cannot be refurbished. They don’t look as nice but don’t look bad… depending on the shoe. They are close to as comfortable.

    They are 1/2 to 1/3 the price. W&F are simply over-priced compared with Clarks, Ecco, etc.

    Will probably revert back to Clarks… can’t see the value.

  8. Echo’ing the same sentiments as others here … customer service is awful (dealing with Ashley, from above), only thing worse is the comfort of the shoes. Tried them on, they didn’t fit, left them in the closet for the winter as I had touched base with customer service and was assured an exchange (return shipping was to be paid out of my pocket). Fast forward to 6 months later and now they won’t honor the exchange (shoes are still brand new in the box but do not fit). Customer service copy and pasted this return policy to me:

    Please see below for our return policy:
    Exchanges : Please contact help@wolfandshepherd and we will process your exchange for you!
    Returns : Please return merchandise in its original, like-new condition accompanied with all the original packaging within 30 days from shipping date. Use the Return form below to begin.

    Apparently, they don’t even read their own policy, which has no time expiration for an exchange. SMH, my first experience of ordering a high end dress shoe online has left me very frustrated to say the least. I should have just purchased from one of the major retailers here in NYC that would have easily honored an exchange like this. Hopefully my word of mouth campaigning around the office deters anyone else from ordering shoes through this brand.

  9. I find the negative comments on here to be absolutely silly. If one scuffs up a shoe in the process of trying it on, then the cost is on the buyer, and the seller has no obligation to take back the damaged product – this is normal online buying practice and is stated right on the company’s website. This is 100% reasonable. I’ll be trying the shoes out, granted I am picking up a used pair off ebay, because I am cheap, and have no issue wearing someone else’s shoes. I’m getting shoes for the cost of a resole.

    Also to the guy who compared these to Clarks – I have owned Clarks and will say I love them, but the crepe rubber soles wear out very quickly and you cannot get someone to replace them. I tried my hand at cobbling, and replaced the soles on mine with Vibram cherry material, but it was a absolute pain. W&S shoes are not in the same category. Clarks are essentially throw-away shoes for all but the most frugal people (like me)

    Policy statement directly from the W&S website:
    ” Returns/Exchanges : Please return merchandise in its original, like-new condition accompanied with all the original packaging within 30 days from shipping date. Also note the return label and RMA is only valid for five days after date of creation.
    Exchanges: Please contact help@wolfandshepherd.com and we will process your exchange for you! Also note the return label and RMA is only valid for five days after creation.”

  10. DO NOT BUY THESE SHOES!!!

    After just 4 months the sole started to split away. I contacted Wolf & Shepherd who don’t care. It’s been after 30 days so they’re not interested and wont help. Don’t waste your money! for plus $350 shoes i’d expect better

  11. DO NOT BUY THESE SHOES!!!

    After just 4 months the sole started to split away. I contacted Wolf & Shepherd who don’t care. It’s been after 30 days so they’re not interested and wont help. Don’t waste your money! for plus $350 shoes i’d expect better

  12. Justin, thank you for your comments, but your command of the written English language doesn’t meet the standards one would presume necessary to content in a website devoted to making a good impression. I encourage you to go work on your craft before publishing further efforts; your grammar is very poor and your composition ramshackle. Good luck in the future.

  13. Daniel, please note I’ve spoken to you customer Service when I ordered a pair of your shoes size 11 and received 11.5, however the shoes are marked as 11. I asked to return, I was told that is not possible and told to wear them with a tongue pad. Then I was inform after that did not work I should have ordered a 10.5 and then I should try heel pads. All of this from your customer service. Last I asked again to return that there is a serious quality issue with this pair and I was quoted your return policy. You build a bad pair of shoes and will not stand by your product. What does that say about your company about you? Contact your customer service Ashely and Zach then call me so we can find a way for you to make this right.

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