Meermin. It is the upstart shoe company out of Mallorca Spain that has garnered so much attention and discussion on various forums and blogs. Most of which has been praise and talk of ‘too good to be true.’ I had to find out for myself. If you’re too lazy to read all of my thoughts here’s the gist: Meermin a damn good deal for your money, perhaps the best out there.
The good people at Meermin and myself started chatting and Pepe Albaladejo (who is a great customer serviceman and of the same Albaladejo family as Carmina, but the companies themselves are not related), who heads the company, was nice enough to offer me a pair of their Linea Maestro brogued captoes for review. I also wanted to review a pair from the Classic Collection so I purchased the light brown suede whole cuts. Part of the reason for reviewing both was that I have noticed that there is a lot of debate (mostly on StyleForum) as to whether the Linea Maestro shoes are worth the extra money. In short, I would say yes. Both lines of shoes are made in the same factories in Asia and Spain but the raw materials, construction and finishing differ between the two. But anyway, let’s get into the details, begin with the suede wholecut, we shall.
The brown suede wholecut is a beautiful shoe. It hails from Meermin’s Classic Collection, which is the less expensive of the two lines, at 160euro/pair (or roughly $205). The shoe comes on Meermin’s Ama last, which is of a classic and elegant shape. I wear a US10/UK9 and opted for a UK9, on Pepe’s recommendation, and the fit is spot on. The shape is much more elegant than what Allen Edmonds and Alden put out, that is, the toe box is narrower and not so bulbous. Generally the shoe is much less clunky looking, reminding me more of nicer English makers like Crockett & Jones. In short, the shoe has a very classic and flattering shape, I’ll let the pictures do the talking on that point and you can make your own judgements.
The suede leather of the upper is soft in both feel and appearance, the way it should be. The leather comes from Charles F Stead, a renowned tannery in the UK. The texture is consistent across the entire shoe, which is crucial. Thus far, the upper has broken in quite nicely. The sole is Good Year welted, which is rare for a shoe in this price range. As with all Good Year welted shoes the sole started out a bit stiff, however, after a few wears it has begun to soften up and it will continue to do so over time. The stitching around the sole is channeled, meaning that it is hidden as opposed to exposed. I have heard arguments in favor of both types of stitching, personally, I am indifferent as they both have pros and cons. But what is important is that the stitching on the top side of the sole is clean and consistent. One of the beautiful things about a wholecut is is that there is no stitching on the upper. However, this is unfortunate for purposes of this review, as I cannot speak for the stitching quality of the upper. But I have heard largely good things on the subject from other sources and photos.
The Linea Maestro shoes are a step up in both quality and price. The brogue captoe retails for 260euro (or $365 which is right around Allen Edmonds), which is par for the course for the Linea Maestro line. The leather of the shoe in question is from Germany’s Weinheimer Leder tannery, another renowned tannery. The Linea Maestro shoes only come on the New Rey last, which is more pointed than any of the lasts in the Classic Collection. And to be honest, a little more pointed than I typically prefer. But it is not so pointed to the point that it would seriously detract from the aesthetic of the shoe. But again, this is just a personal preference. The entire last is also narrower, on Pepe’s recommendation I acquired a UK9.5 (please note that this is a half size higher than I got for the Classic Line shoe, I recommend you consult with Pepe before deciding on your sizes). The fit is quite snug, and over a few wears is now very comfortable. In contrast to the Classic Collection, the Linea Maestro shoes are hand welted. There are minor differences in the two methods which we will not delve into here. But the quality of a hand welt is no less than that of a Good Year welt. Most importantly, hand welting allows the shoe to be resoled for years to come (the same can be said for Good Year welting). Not present in the Classic Collection but present in the Linea Maestro’s is a slightly beveled waist, which I think ups the level of elegance. The overall shape of the shoe is very clean and streamlined, reminding me of brands like Alfred Sargent and Gaziano & Girling.
The upper of the Linea Maestro shoe is exceptional for the price point. The best I have seen, actually. The stitching is uniform and tight. The brogueing is even and clean as well. The leather is soft and supple, thus far it has broken in well. Aside from the welting, higher quality finishing and leather on the upper serves to differentiate the Linea Maestro shoes from those from the Classic Collection. My only complaint about the upper is that the medallion on both shoes is slightly off center (as can be seen in photos below), namely, it is arranged slightly toward the inside of the foot. A majority of people would not notice this, especially those who are not wearing the shoes and it even slips my mind at times. But I still think that the medallions could be centered on the toe box a little better. Nonetheless, the finishing and aesthetic of the shoe is far beyond shoes of comparable price.
In conclusion, I give a strong ‘buy’ recommendation for Meermin shoes. Quite bullish on the brand I am, in fact. Although there are some minor flaws in the shoes they still present an exceptional value. The construction, leather and finishing on the shoes is something I would expect from shoes well above the price range that Meermin operates in. But really, the true test will come in a few years and the durability of the shoes can adequately be assessed. The shoes (and brand) are off to a strong start, however, so I have faith in the brand. Do they live up to the hype I have been reading about for months? Yes. So, I needn’t really say more than that.
Justin L Jeffers
Ordering Notes: If you are interested in purchasing shoes from Meermin I recommend using the Contact form on their website, as they do not yet have their e-commerce site established. Pepe is very helpful and very responsive. Two other things to take into account when ordering, first, if you are outside the EU the price of the shoes will be reduced by 21%, as you will not have to pay the VAT. However, shipping will cost 35euro ($45) for up to 2 pair.
Note: FYGblog did receive material compensation in the form of free product in the course of conducting this review.
Nice narrow last on these shoes Justin. The last pair of Churches I bought had a similar last but were 2-3 times more expensive. Hopefully these Spanish shoes will last as long and will be as comfortable. Good to see that their moribund economy is still capable of supporting enterprising firms such as this.
The narrowness of the last has really grown on me, to be honest. I hope they stand the test of time as well! At least Spain is in better shape than Greece…
I just heard that the Australian economy has only just overtaken the Spanish economy to now be the 12th largest economy in the world. Our treasurer keeps on telling us how great our economy is compared to Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal & Ireland but if we are only just ahead of Spain then someone is not telling the full story. I definitely think that countries such as Spain have lower costs of production compared to Australia- one only has to look at the success of Zara which has a number of stores in Australia now and are absolutely killing the local stores.
Australian brands produce their goods in china just like zara. they just don’t produce things as fashionable, or to the same scale. Also spain has a larger population than australia, so for us to be ahead of them in terms of GDP is pretty good.
I know this is a very old comment, but Geoff really needs to consider the population of Spain and Australia when making such a comment about economies. Spain has twice as many people as Australia so it’s a pretty good effort by Australia to overtake the Spanish economy in size. That’s the fully story mate.
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Thank you for the nice review!
Could you tell me about quality of wholecuts’ suede? Comparing to Carmina’s or C&J suede.
To be honest, I do not have any of Camina’s or CJ’s suede shoes so I do not feel comfortable accurately saying which is best. But from my memory of their suedes from what I have seen in their stores I think they were a slight bit softer than Meermins, but nothing of significant note. The suede on the Meermin’s is very nice, it wears very well, has a good look and broke in well. In short, I have been exceedingly happy with the shoes and the suede used for them.
I actually read that they use the same suede as Alden, so it should be quite good. (not certain if accurate though)
[…] this be your opportunity to do so. If you have not heard of the brand before feel free to peruse my review of them. But even if that is not the case I highly recommend stopping by the show; Meermin’s shoes […]
Sir which the site of Pepe recommendations to decide the right size in Meermin?
I harbor Loake Mocassin size 6.5 which size should I take Meermin moccasins?
Thanks for the support
To be honest, I do not want to speak for Pepe on the sizing, as he is much more knowledgeable on it that I. But I would reckon that the UK sizing for Loake shoes is the same as Meermin. I would advise you email Pepe at Pepe@Meermin.es
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Excellent review, Justin. I stumbled upon The Fine Young Gentleman while doing research and looking for a solid pair of oxfords for the boyfriend. Meermin’s Classic Collection practically makes me melt. The only thing is I’m deciding between two pairs and could use either your expertise and/or Pepe’s. Should I submit my qualm through the Contact form or email him directly? And as an aside, have you read any good reviews on their shoes for señoras? Maybe I could get a pair for myself while I’m at it..
Too long waiting time for meermin shoes. I ordered 7 weeks ago and still the staff is not able to tell me the delivery date or at least waiting time, which really sucks! Seems to be a 160 eur quality and service!
Sole of the shoes is uncomfortable!! Good alternative are LodinG shoes from Paris, http://www.loding.fr ! Cheers
Unfortunate about the Meermin issues. Loding does make nice shoes for the money, I agree with you on that, certainly with a look.
[…] Shoes: The Meermin Review […]
hOW ARE THE SHOES NOW (2016)? update pls
Great question, they don’t get as much use as they used to, probably about once or twice a month, but they have held up quite well.
they changed something in production or in last shape; I got am MTO norwegian which is pretty awfull – not sleek at all. It seems to have a lot of excess leather where the arch of the foot is, there’s way too much room there and the shoe looks just horrible because of this. Don’t know how to describe this better, but imagine that you can stick two fingers between your foot and the shoe on the inside. I am trying to return them, but they refuse to accept the return and stopped answering my e-mails. I’m sure Pepe or whoever manages this is a very nice guy, but beware. By the way, under EU law they are obliged to accept return, even if their terms when ordering say they don’t.
Those Linea Maestro’s look top notch! Can anyone give me a comparison between the Linea Maestro Line and Crockett and Jones’ Benchmade shoes? Are the construction, materials, and overall quality of Crockett and Jones better than Meermin’s Linea Maestro? The price tag would seem to suggest so, and I’ve learned that you get what you pay for. That being said, I continue to hear how the Linea Maestro’s are truly beautiful shoes, which has lead to my inquiry. Thanks in advance.
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