I recently received a pair of “The Owen” oxford dress shoes from a newly-launched company, Owen Edward.
The business model and approach behind the company are just the kind of thing we like at PRAKTICALA, so I was happy to take a closer look. Read our Owen Edward oxford dress shoe review below!
Like many existing apparel startups, Owen Edward eschews middlemen and costly distribution networks. Instead, they sell directly to customers online.
Owen Edward uses good materials and processes that I keep harping on about. Full-grain leather, stitched soles, etc – I’ve already detailed their merits many times before. And although there is certainly no dearth of “Men’s Fashion Startup Named After Some Random Guy” brands out there, Owen Edward offers a few unique value propositions.
First, their shoes are made in Italy, in contrast with other shoes I’ve reviewed from Mexico, Portugal, or Spain. Also noteworthy is their single product offering (“The Owen”), another effort to simplify and economize. While this is an increasingly popular business model for products like mattresses, it’s not nearly as common among apparel brands. Not yet, at least.
Interestingly, Owen Edward claims transparency with their costs vs pricing. The current real costs (currently $175 per unit) are broken down in detail on their website, and is worth checking out.
Returns and exchanges are free for 45 days. I’ve seen longer return windows out there, but 45 days should be sufficient for you to make a decision.
Owen Edward oxford dress shoe review
Owen Edward chose the black, plain-toe oxford as their lone product to streamline the buying process and “eliminate excess choice.” I can’t argue with them on their selection (although I have a well-known penchant for the infinitely versatile brown brogue). The black oxford is basically like a blank slate. If you manage the rest of your outfit properly, you can wear them almost anywhere.
The product’s presentation is quite minimalist: a plain orange box, with shoes inside. No goodies or trinkets like extra laces, dust bags, or shoe horns.
The Owen shoes are Blake-stitched, with full-grain leather uppers, leather outsoles, and a stacked heel, making the shoes resoleable and repairable. So far, so good!
The workmanship appears first-rate. The stitching and seams are clean, and I noticed no flaws in the paint and detail work. Overall fit and finish looks excellent.
In terms of the last, the Owen oxfords are among the sleekest I’ve reviewed. The Italian influence is evident, with a skinnier, more pointed toe box compared to those with heavier, rounder toes. Both shapes have their place, but this narrower style will look especially slick for those with a slim build.
Comfort, fit, and wearabilty
The Owen oxfords appear deceptively small, probably on account of the narrow last. In fact, upon opening the box, my first thought was they weren’t going to fit. These are size 42 EU; I normally wear sneakers in 10-10.5 US or 43-44 EU (9 or 9.5 US in dress shoes). Yet these fit perfectly. There is even plenty of room for my toes! Follow the website’s guide and order at least a half size (US) down from your normal dress shoe size.
I’ve worn these shoes all day now, and they feel surprisingly good out of the box. (The website itself states shoes will be stiff when first worn.) I’m sure they will just get more comfortable as they break in. Nice.
I also enjoyed the Owen oxfords’ light weight. I assume this is due to the Blake construction, which creates a lower profile and lighter shoe than the heavier (but more durable) Goodyear welt.
My full-day verdict: I like ’em a lot!
PROS: Great-looking shoes. Sleek, modern design will make you look pimp. Made in Italy! Pretty comfortable.
CONS: Rather bare presentation (nothing else included in box). “One style, zero thinking” philosophy is a double-edged sword – it eliminates the burden of choosing, but also limits interesting-ness (i.e., may get “boring”).
I’m pleasantly surprised by this new brand. I definitely dig the shoes, and can’t wait to bust them out at my next meeting or formal event.
The “cons” I mentioned are actually quite minor – not deal-breakers by any means, and more related to the brand than the product itself. The market for fairly-priced, high-quality shoes is saturating rapidly. Owen Edward produces a fantastic product, but it’s right about on par with its startup competition, and maybe just slightly above in terms of price. In other words, there is a growing list of great, affordable shoes out there.
Consequently, it’s critical for them to be memorable, whether through the product or the purchasing experience. The brand’s name is kind of generic, so there’s that. We’ll have to see how the single-product business model pans out (I’m extremely curious). This is where even little things like a thank you card or some included dust bags can go a long way (nudge nudge).
All that said, I feel confident recommending the Owen shoes on their own merit, and anyone with an eye for quality and style will undoubtedly appreciate them. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, sweet pair of shoes from a cool, up-and-coming brand, you won’t be disappointed by Owen Edward.
You can get your own Owen oxford dress shoes from Owen Edward here.
What do you think of our Owen Edward oxford dress shoe review? Leave a comment below!