Often I am ‘set up’ with a brand by a friend who thinks it would be a good fit. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. Fortunately, the set up with Paul Evans was of the former. Evan (who is one half of the company) and I first met up out in Vegas during market week. Stetson is the other co-founder, however, I have not met him yet. The two gents met at Tulane, where they graduated from a few years ago. Since then they have been pursuing their respective careers but have had an inkling for men’s style, which in short, has brought about Paul Evans, which launched a few months ago.
The company ethos, as far as I have been able to discern seems to be to keep things simple, elegant, tasteful and reasonable (my words, not theirs). I refer to the styling in the former three and price in the latter. The aesthetic of the shoes is an attractive mix between English and Italian. One could argue the best of both worlds.
But $350 for a pair of shoes is not reasonable, you may say. And to that I say you should start spending more money and buying better shoes. True, there are similarly priced shoes available (Allen Edmonds and Meermin Linea Maestro), but Paul Evans delivers a much more attractive shoe than Allen Edmonds and a more Italian looking shoe than Meermin.
Currently, the brand has only three models; The Cagney, The Brando and The Grant; unfortunately, they also only offer each shoe in three sizes. I choose to review The Grant. However, I find all of the shoes good looking.
The Grant is Blake welted and made in Italy (and no, just because a shoe is Blake welted (also known as a McKay stitch) does not mean it is lower quality than a Good Year welted shoe, it is just a different aesthetic and feel for the shoe). The Grant is essentially Paul Evans’ take on the classic cap toe. They change things up by adding concealed stitching on the vamp and having the cap be the same piece of leather that extends, whereas most cap toes have a separate piece of leather stitching on over the toe. I think what Paul Evans has is a much cleaner and sleeker look. So far the shoe has been quite comfortable to wear, even when running in them on the treadmill (more on that in a bit). The last shape is classic and the leather used is of a good quality.
But in my experience no shoe is perfect, nor should one expect it to be for $350. There are two critiques I have for Paul Evans’ shoes. First, on some places at the base of the upper there seems to be welt paint/stain on the leather (see photo below). Second, on the heel of the sole the shiny welt finish is chipping/deterioration at what I believe to be a premature rate (see photo below); however with some stain and wax the issue is concealed. I should note that I do not expect either of these things to effect the longevity of the shoes and to most untrained eyes, neither present any problem. That said, they are certainly not reason enough to deter one from buying the shoes.
Some of you may have read a brief review by Derek Guy over at Put This On in which he expresses a fear that the leather of Paul Evans shoes will crease easily (in particular compared to Meermin’s Linea Maestros), I thus far do not find this to be the case. I have even taken the shoes on a brisk run on the treadmill at the gym and the creasing seemed normal. That said, I don’t expect the leather to be problematic, as I think quality leather was used. And yes, I did get some very perplexed looks from the middle-aged moms in Lululemon, which I am totally okay with.
As far as I am concerned the shoes can be worn in any situation where you would otherwise wear a brown dress shoe (for more on what to pair your brown shoes with check here). Equally at home below a suit as with jeans, if you wear them. But anyway, I have dragged on long enough, here are some more photos of The Grant.
In conclusion, I really do like these shoes from Paul Evans. Although there are a few shortcomings, I think partly these come with being a very young brand. However, as I have said before, none of this should be reason to not buy the shoes. I also expect that all of this will change for the better in the coming months and years. Anyway, for the money these are certainly some of the best shoes out there both in terms of quality and style. That said, I certainly recommend them to all of you. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts of your own, please sound off in the comments.
Note: FYGblog did receive a pair of shoes from Paul Evans for the purpose of review of Paul Evans shoes. However, the utmost care was taken in providing an unbiased and objective review. If you think this is not the case, please say so.