I’ve got this pair of Paul Evans in December last year, and after almost a year of wearing it, I can share my opinions.
The shoes were sent to me free of charge for the review, and as per my editorial policy will be donated for charity purposes afterwards. The contents of this review were not consulted with Paul Evans before publishing.
Here in Poland, Paul Evans New York isn’t a very well-known brand, so a few words about them: they’re a US brand selling shoes made in Naples. They write about themselves they’re aiming to disrupt the traditional footwear market, offering a product directly to customer, cutting the excessive retail markup.
That’s all and well, but how does their product fare in comparison to other brands available here in Europe?
Let’s start with some basics. The leather sole is attached to the upper with a Blake stitch; the upper features hand-painted patina. Looking at the pictures in their store, their lasts seem to be somewhat flat, but I find it much less pronounced in real life, which I tried to show with my photos. My Brando semi-brogues are in a classic shape, with rounded toe.
I told the Paul Evans staff I ususally wear shoes in UK size 8 – and they sent me a 7,5. They’re therefore a little snug and I would prefer to have the extra room, but they’re comfortable still. The Blake construction is soft, requires very little break-in, and wearing those shoes is simply pleasant.
I like the hand-painted patina, the irregularities in the colour on the upper. That’s a lovely thing, gives each pair of shoes an individual touch, and looks simply gorgeous.
The stitching is also clean and neat, nothing’s out of place or skewed. They are very competently made shoes.
And I would be really happy to recommend them, if not for the price. At $399 (or about 1500 PLN) and even less, there are shoes available in Europe and Poland that are simply… much better.
With brands like Yanko, Carlos Santos, and Loake below that price, Löf & Tung costing roughly the same, and Carmina not that much more, there’s little reason to buy Paul Evans, unless they happen to fit exactly into your aesthetic tastes.
Why do I think so? First of all, all the brands above use Goodyear Welted construction, while Paul Evans doesn’t. It’s less important than you might think, but genereally GYW is a more expensive and complex process of attaching the sole to the upper, and typically a more durable one.
Second, the leather. Compared to my Yanko and Carlos Santos, the leather on Paul Evans shoes is thin and wrinkles easily, not in a particularly elegant way either. While I like the hand-painted aspect, Carlos Santos offers the same thing in their regular price, and their leather is thicker, more supple and ages better. The closest Paul Evans leather feels to is a pair of shoes I bought ages ago in a shopping centre for a fraction of this price.
The broguing is lacking – no serrated edges, and the perforations lack complexity – there’s typically a pattern of two small holes between the big ones (see this photo), which is not present here.
This one is subjective, but I don’t like the last shape of Paul Evans shoes too much. I prefer my Yankos, which are sleeker and more angular; I like, say, Loake’s lasts better too, as they appear more proportional. But this is a matter of personal taste, mostly. Another personal thing: I really don’t like the loud sound the heels of those shoes make while walking.
I don’t know the US market well. Maybe it is a fair price for this product there, among US competitors offering their products for more still, at a comparable quality level. However here, with a plethora of great European brands, they look overpriced. I still like them – but would not pay $400 for them.