The Cobbler Union Shoe Review

The Cobbler Union Shoe Review

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cobbler union boot review

For the past few years we have seen the online-only market for suits, shirts, ties and accessories blossom.  The lagging category has been shoes; until recently Meermin was the most prominent name.  Over the past year there have been a few brands of note that have entered the online market place; Awl & Sundry, Jack Erwin, Paul Evans, Jay Butler and Cobbler Union.    For the purposes of this post, we are ignoring the first 4 and focusing on the last name, Cobbler Union.  I suppose it was around a year ago that I first heard of Cobbler Union.  Shortly thereafter the founder of the brand, Daniel Porcelli, reached out to me (he co-founded the brand with Santiago Periero).  After speaking on the phone with Daniel I was able to get a much better picture of the brand.

In short, Daniel wanted to (and for what my opinion matters he has) create an online shoe brand that provides men’s dress shoes of exceptional quality.  That is not to say that Cobbler Union may not go into physical sales in the future, but in the beginning the brand will focus on online sales.  What it does mean is that ideally the $395-475 you will pay for a pair of Cobbler Union shoes will buy you a lot more than the same amount of money would from other brands.  Although Daniel did not say it, I believe he strives to have his shoes compared to the Alfred Sargents, Crockett & Jones and Carminas of the world.  The brand is based in Atlanta, but the shoes are made in Spain.  For what it matters, I generally prefer the Spanish style of Good Year welted shoe over the English and American equivalents or the Italian Blake stitched soles; at least for dress shoes.

cobbler union louis boot and windowpane suit

So how do the shoes stack up in terms of quality, style and fit?  The look of the shoes is excellent.  Any man would do well with a pair on his feet.  The materials used for the shoes are exceptional; the leather on the upper is nice and supple and the rubber soles are Vibram and the leather soles are also of good make.  I can say this for both the pair of boots that Daniel provided me to review, the Louis model as well as the Guillame II that he provided Sabir at Men’s Style Pro; whom I know is also very happy with his boots.  Confidently, I can say that I believe this will hold true for the rest of the collection.

cobbler union louis boot
The Louis model is a derby boot.  Although a more casual boot due to the open lacing, split toe, rubber sole and pebble grain leather; they can easily be dressed up (see above photo of them worn with a double breasted suit).  The lines of the shoe are excellent, they sit on the last very well.  In fact, the overall style of the Louis is exceptional.
cobbler union shoe review
As previously noted, the shoes are Good Year welted.  The stitching is crisp and tight.  I observed no errors in the stitching on either shoe.  You can also see the stitching of the upper here, which is also very nice.
cobbler union louis shoe review
The boots have a pull atop each of them, which is very useful when putting the shoes on.  You can also see the lining leather here, which is a soft and supple leather.  Lastly, you can see the stitching detail on the heel of the boot, it is solely an aesthetic addition, but a nice one.
cobbler union split toe stitching
This is my first pair of those that have split toe stitching on them.  Historically, it is not a detail that I have fancied.  However, it works and is done so well on these boots.  It is a value adding detail in this case, when I think it is often a value deducting or value neutral detail.  You can also get a good idea of the texture of the pebble grain leather in this photo.  A very nice leather it is.
cobbler union vibram sole
The downfall of many brown shoes that have rubber soles is that the rubber sole is black, and not brown.  Big points to Cobbler Union for keeping the soles brown.
cobbler union pebble grain leather
The stitching pattern is 4 eyelets, 3 hooks and a final eyelet.  I find the hooks a nice touch, as they allow for easier donning and doffing of the boots.  Although I would not prefer it on a dress boot, it works on a less formal boot like this one.

These boots are great.  In fact, they are excellent.  They are one of my favorite items that I have reviewed in the past 3.5 years here on FYG.  The look equally as home with a suit as they do with chinos; which is often hard to pull off.  Admittedly, I will be wearing them more with the latter than the former.  If it was not made clear before, the shoes are made very well.  The construction is very clean and very crisp.  I observed no stray stitches or glue.  But for $475, that is all to be expected.  The materials used are also excellent, again, at a level that one would expect for this price.

The only check against the shoes is the price.  Which although is a very good price for the boots, it is still too high for many men, which I understand.  Even $395 for a pair of dress shoes is a lot for most men.  At the level of Aldens and slightly more expensive than Allen Edmonds.  I think you get much more for your money with Cobbler Union.  Either way, the price leaves Cobbler Union’s shoes out of range of many men.  But for those whom it is either within their budget or a slight stretch I would strongly advise that you take a hard look at what Cobbler Union has to offer.  If you have any questions, comments or experience of your own with Cobbler Union please feel free to sound off in the comments.

cobbler union louis boot quilted jacket

JLJ

 

Note: FYG blog did receive the product reviewed for purposes of review.  The utmost effort has been taken to maintain an unbiased perspective on the brand and product at hand.

17 COMMENTS

  1. You look good in your double-breasted suit. You don’t want to add a touch of another color in the tie or pocket square? Boots are fine quality, too, you’re right: brown soles better.

    What do you think about Kent Wang’s shoes?

    • Critic,
      Have not worn Kent Wang’s but have seen them in person, they are of a nice make. Regarding the tenseness, it is probably just the timing of the photo with the stride.
      -Justin

      • Dear Justin,

        I have no idea if my other two posts succeeded in execution because I cannot find them. I asked which wholecut loafer do you think better: Kent Wang or FitzPatrick?

  2. PS: You look rather tense in your suit – I’m sure it’s your like of movement. Can’t you do some Eurythmy in Philadelphia to make you feel yourself in the space around you smoother?

  3. I reviewed the Cobbler Union website and was disappointed to find that they offer their shoes only in a “standard” width. Since I cannot afford to go bespoke, I’ll have to stick with Alden which offers a selection of widths in their many sturdy (some would say “inelegant”) lasts.

    • Kevin,
      It is not just Cobbler Union that only offers standard width shoes. Most brands only offer standard width. The cost of offering varying widths is substantial and often hard to justify for brands.
      -Justin

  4. I like your review of Cobbler Union and I’ve been searching for more info on the brand. The few reviews that I’ve read has been positive, which is encouraging, but I’m the type of gentleman that likes to see the quality with my own eyes, feel the leather, weight, and fit, before I invest in a unfamiliar brand in that price margin. Wish I could try on a pair.

  5. These shoes look great for the price. We’ve been working on a similar concept but with attention to the detailing of a classic dress shoe and the feel of your most comfortable running shoe. I’d be interested to hear the thoughts viewers have for Wolf & Shepherd shoes too.

  6. I like the look and price point of Cobbler Union. They have a similar concept to Wolf & Shepherd performance shoes. I wonder how viewers would match up their quality with classic styles from W&S?

  7. After reading reviews of Cobbler Union in various style blogs I decided to give them a try. I ordered a pair of double monk strap shoes (Francis III). Unfortunately due to my high instep they did not fit. Customer service was great up until I returned the shoes and needed a refund. Was promised a refund within 48-72 hours. Beyond that now, customer service no longer answers the phone or return messages or emails. I’ve filed a dispute through my credit card company. Buyer beware!

  8. I presently have 2 pair of the Cobbler Union shoes: a pair of the Benjamin chelsea boot in calfskin and the Henry penny loafer. In short, the brand has caused me to completely rethink what is available for the dollar. I have worn Crockett & Jones, JM Weston and John Lobb for many years because the combination of certain models just fitting me very well and the quality of these brands worked for me. I am now a huge fan of the Cobbler Union brand and will be buying more. The other poster whining about his refund and then not bothering to follow up is poor form. I can attest that I have returned to CU more pairs of shoes than I ended up keeping because I would sometimes order 3 pair in order to identify the perfect fit for me in a given model. Never an issue. Highly recommended.

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