Well, it’s another shoe review. That’s what, two in two weeks? Meermin has been making major waves in the menswear scene lately. A few weeks ago I got in touch with Pepe Albaladejo in Mallorca and he was kind enough to send me a pair of double monkstraps and to give me an interview. Here are the results.
First a little about the brand. Albaladejo is adamant that value is the heart of what Meermin is about. “We have been in the shoemaking always. Our family has a long shoemaking tradition. We saw that there is a need in the market of quality shoes, but usually they are very expensive. We started Meermin with the aim of changing the concept of high quality shoes. Find the way of offering high quality shoes at the best value for the customer.” Sounds promising, no?
Prices may seem shocking when you first look. These suede double monks are 150 Euros including VAT, which is low enough to engender a little skepticism. But at first glance, Meermin really does deliver some of the best value I have seen.
The construction is solid all the way around. Good welting, a solid faux-Dainite sole, non-tinny buckles, and top quality suede provide a good foundation. In fact, the suede is from Charles F. Stead, who also supply makers like Alden. “Since we have always been in shoemaking,” says Albaladejo, “we are pretty well connected with the material suppliers/producers and we can get better prices for high volume purchases,” which is how they do it. A very impressive beginning for shoes at this price range.
The toe puff feels sturdy (a place where lesser brands often skimp), the lining leather is smooth and consistent, and overall I’m very happy with the fit. I’m an 8 1/2 US, and sometimes I need a narrow, so when Albaladejo told me to go with a straight up UK 8, I was a little worried. But he knows his product and his customers and did a great job service wide. There were even some FedEx issues and he handled them like a champion.
Like with the Ed Et Al shoes I reviewed last week, I’m going to wear these around the next few weeks and report back on how they wear. Trees are not included, so I’ll have to pick some up, but at this price I really can’t complain. I anticipate good things, but how the soles wear, durability of the straps, and suede durability all take time to fully figure out.
The double monkstraps I chose might be the most popular option right now, but they will do made to order shoes, letting you select “style, last, upper leather, lining leather, sole option, sole finishing, construction…currently the expected production time is about 12-14 weeks.” I’m not wild about all of the lasts, which you can see above, but the Hiro used on my monks, the Ama, and the Olfe are all very appealing. It’s a matter of taste, so I’d rather have more options than too few.
It’s certainly a perk that Meermin offers a few construction and materials grades, so you can really get what you want and put money into the things that matter for you. If you really want hand welting, fine. If you want shell cordovan, go for that. I can’t speak to the quality of each individual option and product line, but it’s admirable that Meermin wants to give customers value without forfeiting control.
Finally, there has been a lot of buzz about Meermin’s relationship with Carmina. Albaladejo assures me that the connection is exclusively familial – different branches of the same family own and operate both, but they share no facilities, staff, or designs. No more ambiguity guys, sorry to the conspiracy theorists.
Also check out the Meermin tumblr for some great shots of the shoes. I also enjoy the updates.