Jack Erwin 'Ike' Boot: Review
Jack Erwin is a company that’s generated some significant buzz in the menswear blogosphere in the last couple of months. They’re a New York-based company that sells high quality full-grain leather Blake-stitched dress shoes that are made in Portugal for $190 shipped. Oh, and they offer free returns as well. Blake-stitched shoes can, like the more frequently talked about Goodyear welted kind, be resoled, so these are shoes that ought to last you a long time with proper care.
If this isn’t enough to encourage you to give them a try, perhaps the photos above will be a further inducement. Though I was sent a complimentary pair by the company, I am so impressed with the quality and price of their shoes that I’ve added myself to the wait list to their sold out 'Abe' penny loafers in my size.
The 'Ike' boots I received in the mail were beautifully packaged (they came with a nice box, card, and shoe bag), and incredibly well finished for a shoe at this price point. The leather soles have some nice beveling on the edge (purely aesthetic, pragmatic, or both, I can’t say, but it does look very good), and were cleanly stitched all around the welt. I’m no expert on the ins-and-outs of shoe construction, but it is my understanding (as in, I read it on the internet) that a Blake-stitched shoe allows for a sleeker looking construction, is sometimes more comfortable than a Goodyear welted shoe (though this seems entirely subjective to me), but can be harder to find someone with the competency to resole than a Goodyear welted shoe.
The boots themselves are a rich dark chocolate brown, and came with a fine polish to them. They’re quite comfortable, and I’ve worn them for long work days on my feet without any soreness. I think this particular boot—a sort of ankle-cut jodhpur—works well with the casual look of some dark denim, OCBD, and tweed sport coat. If you want to dress them up a bit more with some flannel trousers and flat madder tie, I think they’d stand up to the task well.
All in all, I think Jack Erwin is a significant move in the right direction for more affordable high quality shoes and boots. They’re priced lower than Allen Edmonds (on sale, or as seconds), and given the fact that they offer free shipping and come without the possibility of a customs duty, they’re strong competition for Meermin as well—the current go-to brand of choice for consumers looking for a solid dress shoe in the ~$200 range. Though the model range is currently limited to 4 shoes and 1 boot (each of which comes in black, and a shade of brown that differs from model to model), I know more designs are on the horizon. If what Jack Erwin currently has on offer fills a hole in your shoe rotation that you’re trying to fill, I see no reason why you shouldn’t give them a try since the quality and value are there, and the shipping is free both ways. I suspect, however, that they’ll be keepers.