UPDATE: Beckett Simonon’s new line of shoes are in! Check out my new review here!
I recently picked up a pair of kicks from Beckett Simonon in my quest to find higher quality dress shoes at a price that didn’t make me want to cry myself to sleep at night on an empty stomach. I settled on the Caine oxford cap-toes. This is my experience so far.
Also, keep reading to get our exclusive promo code to take $15 off your order!
EDIT: Beckett Simonon is launching a somewhat new, pre-order based business model, so the Caine oxfords are no longer available. You can read about the relaunched business here, or visit here to see Beckett Simonon’s current lineup of products.
Beckett Simonon is a startup from Colombia that aims to provide high quality shoes at a somewhat affordable price point. The shoes carry high-end characteristics — Goodyear welting, full grain leather uppers, and leather soles — that are normally found only on shoes in the $300+ price range (more on why these are important in an upcoming post). The company supposedly achieves lower prices by having no “middleman” — they sell the shoes directly from their website as opposed to through brick-and-mortar retail outlets. Consumers obviously also save some money by forgoing a designer brand name.
Although I’ve read some negative reports on their customer service, my personal experience with Beckett Simonon was quite impressive. After placing my order, I decided that I wanted to go with a smaller size than the one I had ordered. So I contacted support and Santiago replied to me shortly afterward saying that since they had recently redone their sizing, he would send me two different sizes (shipping is free both ways) along with a return label to send back the one I didn’t want to keep.
A few days later I had a box in front of me. I could tell that the company wanted to make a good impression on their customers. In addition to the shoes, the package came with extra laces, individual dust bags, and a shoe horn.
Beckett Simonon states that all their shoes are made with full grain leather, which is the highest grade, and most expensive, of leathers. Cheaper, corrected-grain leather (also called “top-grain leather” to fool the uninformed), which is used by the vast majority of dress shoes, even many supposedly “high-end” expensive brands, is more liable to crease, crack, and wear out than full grain leather, which will instead develop an attractive “patina” when properly cared for. Beckett Simonon’s shoes also feature “Goodyear welting,” which is the most durable (and also most expensive) type of shoe construction. This essentially means that the upper and soles are attached to a “welt” using old-school stitching rather than a crappy gluing or cementing process. Welted soles are also replaceable, unlike cemented ones, which further extends the life and usage of a good shoe.
That said, I found the leather on the Caine oxfords to be a bit thinner than some of the other high-end shoes I’ve seen. That’s not a serious issue, and I still think the quality of the leather is good, and expect to get lasting performance from it, but it is noticeable nevertheless. On the other hand, the shoes are very comfortable and flexible right away upon trying them on, and lack the stiffness and discomfort that many dress shoes have before they are broken in.
The sizing was a little confusing: other reviews suggested ordering a half to full size down; as I normally wear US size 10 or 10.5, I asked for a 9. Santiago emailed me back and told me he would send me a 10 and a 10.5 since they had updated their sizing recently. When the shoes arrived, the packing slips indeed said 10 and 10.5, but the shoes themselves had 9 and 9.5 imprinted on the soles. I assumed that these were the UK sizes. In any case, the pair that ended up fitting me best was the smaller of the two.
The leather looks great, and the design is classic oxford. I might have liked the shape to be just a little narrower, as is the slim-look trend right now (and since I have relatively narrow feet). Still, it’s hard to go wrong with a timeless black cap-toe lace-up.
With closer inspection, I did notice a few small details that were rough or missing. For example, the dressing along the outsole, while nice, is a little inconsistent; on a $400 shoe, I’d bet that black lines along the edges would be smooth and even. And the heel is missing the “notch,” the small inside corner of the heel that is cut off to prevent it from snagging on the wearer’s pant cuff. These are more cosmetic than functional issues, but it’s attention to small details like these that differentiate these shoes from more expensive ones.
Although the shoes don’t quite compete toe-to-toe with well known high-end designer shoes, the comparison is a little unfair as those brands can cost upwards of double what these do — all the offerings on Beckett Simonon’s site are priced well under $200. At that price point, these seem to be a really good deal, especially considering that they feature full grain leather and Goodyear welting. While a bit rough around the edges, in all honestly no one will notice unless they yank the shoes off your feet and hold them up to their face for close scrutiny. If you’re tired of dealing with janky shoes that wear out and/or look like crap after a season, like I am, these are definitely worth a shot. I’m certainly curious to try some of Beckett Simonon’s other designs on, like their brown monk straps (which are currently sold out in my size).
As an exclusive bonus for our readers, use promo code PRAKTICALA15 when checking out at Beckett Simonon and get an additional $15 off your order! (EDIT: Unfortunately, our promo code is no longer valid. However, you can still get the same discount by following our link here!)
I’ve got a few more shoes to review, so stay tuned. In the meantime, does anyone else have any experience with Beckett Simonon? What are your thoughts?
UPDATE (04/14/2016): My review for the new premium shoes is in! Check out my Beckett Simonon premium oxford brogue review here!