A Review of the Beautiful & Rare Black Suede Loafer from ‘To Boot New York’ That You Can Get For A Steal
We have recently been making the case around here for a good pair of black dress loafers. We found a great pair from Allen Edmonds, as well as M.Gemi. Recently, though, I came across a truly beautiful pair of suede loafers from To Boot New York called the “James” loafer. If you’ve been convinced of the real style value in owning a great pair of black loafers, but want something a bit more modern, sleek, and unique than our other suggestions, but still high quality, these are for you. These are some truly beautiful shoes, and will class up any suit you pair it with.
Quality & Construction
To Boot New York is known to make some great pairs of shoes. I think they might best be said to be about one small step below Allen Edmonds. Which is to say, these are quality shoes that will last a long time, but are probably usually a bit overpriced for what you are getting. If you can find a pair of them on sale, though, like I did here, these can be excellent shoes at a steal of a price. (More on that later, though.)
These shoes are, as far as I can tell, Blake stitched. They also have a nice leather stacked heel, but a rubber front half of the heel, a detail I appreciate on some shoes like this, as it adds traction and the slightest casual feel to the shoe.
The leather has a very nice, thick, and rich feel to it. The suede has a low nap, and is slightly rough and sturdy to the touch. This is not the super soft, or supple leather some are accustomed to on loafers. This is not buttery smooth by any means. Quite the opposite. This is a stiff leather that will need to be broken in over time. These shoes come across more as “tanks” than as the super sleek, super thin dress loafers I usually love (more on this in the style and design section below). These shoes are very well made, and feel like they will last a very long time. Often, loafers can feel somewhat flimsy. Not these. These are stuff, and sturdy, and constructed with a good weight to them. These things will last a long time.
Style & Design
When it comes to finding a super nice dress loafer, it’s pretty hard. There are many loafers out there, but many are clunky, and ugly, or poorly made. There are also a whole slew of modern loafers that might be sleek, but have strange design details, like studs, odd buckles, weird textures, or worse. Finding a classic, super-sleek, black dress loafer for less than a couple hundred dollars is next to impossible. Go ahead, try it. Finding a suede black dress loafer is truly the elusive unicorn of the modern men’s shoe market. Yet, here one is, from To Boot New York. Available on Amazon.
I really love the design of this shoe overall, and absolutely commend TBNY for making not only a black dress loafer, but a suede one at that. Black loafers are super underrated in general, as is black suede. It adds an air of sophistication and class to any outfit, and I think could and should be something worn far more often than it is. While black suede is often seen for tuxedo loafers — because we all know, deep down, just how incredible black suede looks — which some tweaks and changes to the design, much like TBNY has done here, you can end up with an incredibly classy, good looking loafer to wear with any suit or dress outfit at all.
So, yes, I am a big fan of the design of these loafers overall. They are black, suede, and relatively sleek. My one quibble is with that “relatively” part. While the toe box comes to the absolute perfect rounded, and ever-so-slight point, the rest of the shoe could be a bit trimmer. Since this shoe is made to be a bit beefier than my ideal dress loafer, it is overall just a touch more clunky than I would like ideally. The heel is a bit taller than I would prefer, and the shoe overall wears just slightly bigger than I would prefer. In short, overall, it’s a very, very nice shoe that is rare to find for many reasons. Still, it could be sleeker/slimmer in its overall profile and look.
The review on Amazon suggested going half a size down with these shoes, and that is for sure accurate. I considered — and tried — a full size down, but that made things just a bit too tight. Half a size down is the sweet spot.
Because these shoes are built so sturdily, they are going to take some breaking in, and will feel a bit heavier on the foot — almost as if they are trying to come off at points — than you might be used to. This just takes a while to get used to, and break in, and then you should be fine. Because these shoes come to a nice sleek toe box, you might find your small toe gets a tiny bit squeezed. If you have very wide feet, these are not the shoes for you. Otherwise, size down half a size, and you should be good to go.
Price, Value & Conclusion
These shoes retail for $395, which is a very typical price for TBNY shoes. I was able to get these shoes on Amazon for just $199! And some sizes and color options (they are available also in a nice suede brown, and a beautiful pebbled brown as well) are as low as $75!! If you can get these shoes for anything below $200, and you like how they look in whatever color you prefer, these are beyond a steal. At their regular, full retail price, I am not sure I would recommend them. At what you can get them for on Amazon, these are, like I said, an absolute steal.