Those who have read my review of Jack Erwin’s Carter wingtip boot remember that I was pleased with the quality of their shoes and the positioning of their company as a disruptor to the overpriced, premium-shoe market.
But despite having a decent collection of oxfords, brogues, and loafers, Jack Erwin hasn’t hasn’t offered any boat shoes until now. I was able to acquire a brand new pair, so read my Jack Erwin Cooper boat shoe review below!
ALSO: Video review added – see below!
About Jack Erwin
Jack Erwin is a shoe startup in New York City that sells high-quality shoes at an affordable price (generally between $100-200, although the materials and construction they use are usually found on shoes that cost double that or more). Most of the shoes are made in Spain, although the Cooper boat shoes are apparently made in Portugal.
What’s in the box
Like the Carter boots, the Coopers also come in a rigid Jack Erwin box, accompanied by a nice thank you card, a cloth dust bag (for packing and traveling), and extra inserts just in case you need to fill the shoes in a little more.
Jack Erwin has always been good at presentation and making the customer feel special.
How they look
I noted in my previous boat shoe reviews that very few people actually wear them on boats anymore. Instead, they’re frequently worn casually or to work (if your workplace has a casual dress code). Jack Erwin seems to have taken this fact to heart and created boat shoes that are meant to be worn about daily life rather than out at sea.
You’ll notice that the materials are much finer than the coarse leather on Sperry Top-Siders or Sebago Docksides (see my comparison here), highlighting the Cooper’s design for the mean streets as opposed to the high seas. The navy colored shoes come in full grain leather, while the caramel (pictured) and slate shoes are nubuck, a sanded-down top-grain leather.
While I wish all the colors were available in full grain leather, the nubuck has a nappy, soft texture that looks and feels nice and cushy. I’m sure full grain navy will have a glossier, more slippery finish.
Also notable is the shape of the Coopers – they are tapered and more elongated than the boxy-round shape seen on traditional boat shoes like Sperry or Sebago. This slim profile gives them a more modern look – preppies and hipsters rejoice!
Other than that, all the boat shoe elements you know and love – the rawhide laces and stitching, the brass eyelets, the white rubber outsole with wavy siping – are still present. The leather welt just above the outsole is also a classy touch.
How they feel
Due to narrow styling of the Coopers, the fit is more close-fitting and tailored than other boat shoes. When I wore them they felt lightweight and flexible – almost moccasin-like.
Regarding sizing: the Jack Erwin Carter boots sized very large for me; I normally wear a 9 or 9.5 US for dress shoes, but had to size down to 8.5 for them to fit. For the Cooper boat shoes, after consulting with Jack Erwin, I requested a size 9, which I figured would probably be roomy like the Carters. However, when I tried them on, they were actually quite snug – almost too small!
The Coopers do not currently come in half sizes, so if you are normally between sizes, you should definitely round up a size for these. You can always put in the inserts if the shoes feel too loose.
Once again I am impressed with Jack Erwin. They do a great job of creating new shoes that compete strongly toe-to-toe with the existing industry giants out there – in this case, Sperry and Sebago. While I love the clunky, beat-em-up hardiness of my old boat shoes, Jack Erwin’s take on the shoe is a cool, modern update that I’m looking forward to wearing around town. The combination of fancy materials and good construction just might make them my new favorite boat shoe. I’m just afraid to mess them up…
Have you tried out the Coopers? If so, let us know what you think – leave a comment below!