Austen Heller Shoe Review

Austen Heller Shoe Review

Austen Heller Driving Loafer

Austen Heller Shoes

I seem to have chronic difficulty finding reasonably priced casual shoes.  There are nice looking options, but they are $300-400; but nothing that aesthetically pleasing in the $150-200 range.  As a result, I find myself wearing Top Siders almost exclusively. Enter Austen Heller.  A company that is only a few months old but is showing some promise.  The company is based here in the States but has its production in Portugal, which to my knowledge has a decently well established shoe production industry.

austen heller shoes

Austen Heller came out with a line up of 10 shoes.  All of them are loafers, some with ties, but most without.  The shoes are somewhat of a mix between my beloved Top Siders and a driving moc.  The sole resembles a Top Sider and the upper a driver.  The benefit of having a more substantial rubber sole than the normal driver is an increase in durability and wearability.  Although I have not worn the shoes very hard yet, they have already held up better then the more classic drivers I have owned.  The construction also seems to be quite solid, both on the upper and in affixing the sole to the upper.  As you can see in the photos below the stitching on the sole is functional and is sewn through the bottom of the upper, and not just glued.  But one should expect this level of construction for a $175 pair of shoes.  As an added bonus the shoes came with a pair of shoe trees.

austen heller sole

austen heller shoes

The inside of the shoe is lined with some type of leather, however, I am not sure what type.  But it is very soft on the foot, which is crucial because these shoes will be worn almost exclusively without socks.  And thus far I have not had the problems with the lining like I have had with my Scarosso loafers.

At first I was not the biggest fan of the shoes.  I still think the ones with laces look considerably better than those that do not have any ornamentation.  Some of the color schemes are also not for me.  But the colorway I selected I do love.  Regardless of my initial hesitations, the people at Austen Heller felt confident in their design and decided to send me a pair of shoes anyway. Now the primary critique I have of the shoes I have is the stamped AH logo on the inside of the foot on each shoe (see photo below).  I dislike large scale logos like this and I think they could’ve kept this more discreet.  But then again, these are all just matters of personal taste and I encourage you to make your own judgements here.

In conclusion, the styling has grown on me a great deal, especially after seeing the quality of construction and materials of the shoes.  The website is not great, and the writing on it has received criticism when discussed with my friends.  But it is easy to navigate and shop, which I greatly appreciate.  When it comes down to it, the product is very solid and I now certainly endorse it.  I am beginning to incorporate them into my wardrobe more and they have garnered some compliments, which is always a plus.  So if you like the styling these are certainly shoes for you.  And if you do not, then perhaps you will be like me and come to like them.  As always, if you have questions of comments, sound off below.


Justin L Jeffers

austen heller driving loafer

driving loafer shoe


Note: FYGblog did receive free product in the course of this review.  However, as always the greatest effort is taken to maintain an objective point of view.  For another review on Austen Heller shoes please refer to The Shoe Snob.


  1. Hi Justin, these shoes look ok although a bit conservative. If you are looking for driving mocs with a more substantial sole how about Herrings Maranello? Made in Italy for Herring UK , good range of suede colours and contrasting soles ( the black suede with pink on the sole is my favorite) and the best part £75! Cheers, Geoff.

    • Geoff,
      Great to hear from you as always and thanks for the rec! I’m familiar with the Herring ones. I actually purchased some for my dad last year. He likes them for pre/post golf. However, on the first pair they sent the stitching started coming apart almost immediately. But they were great about handling it and sent another pair free of charge and those have held up better. The Austen Hellers are pretty conservative and also pretty American, I think. As they resemble the beloved boat shoe, which us preps love oh so much.

  2. Hi Justin, interesting to hear about the stitching on the Herring Maranellos as the stitching on one of my 3 pairs did come apart not long after I received them. I just took them to my local shoe repair guy who repaired them for $10 – holding up ok since then. The other 2 pairs have been fine. Regards, Geoff.

  3. Hi Justin,
    I’m wondering if you can comment on the comfort level/cushioning of these loafers. Boat shoes can be a bit rough on my feet as they provide essentially no comfort being that it’s just a rubber slab beneath the foot, and standard driving mocs with the rubber nubs are very flimsy. How do these loafers compare to boat shoes and driving mocs?

    • K,
      The sole is more akin to a boat shoe than a driver. They have a little more cushion than a boat shoe, so for longer days out and about they have proven to be a little more comfortable than a boat shoe. But still, it is pretty much a rubber sole so there is only so much give. In comparison to drivers, the comfort depends largely on the insole, some have great insoles and others have just solid plastic or rubber which are not as comfortable so the AHs vary in this comparison. I should also note that the AHs have grown on me more since I wrote this review, would certainly recommend them. Let me know if you have any other queries on the topic.