A Review Of DSW’s New Warfield & Grand Dress Shoe Lineup: The Medley Wingtip Oxford
With the proliferation of online, direct to consumer shoe brands, it’s becoming more and more of a difficult argument to make as to why one would shop at a place like DSW. Now, I have nothing against good, ol’ DSW. But when, for about $200 you can get a shoe that will last many times longer than just about anything out of DSW, the value proposition of DSW just isn’t there in the same way that it used to be anymore. The gap between DSW-level shoes and luxury shoes is closing. For most guys, DSW was a place to get shoes that looked good enough at prices that were pretty reasonable. Why do that, though, when for just a little bit more you can get awesome-looking shoes that are super high quality from any number of the myriad DTC shoe brands online these days? So, if you were DSW, you would likely be looking at ways to pivot to respond to this, and offer some sort of new value proposition to stay competitive and relevant.
Well, to some extent, it looks like DSW has indeed been doing just that. They recently released a pretty impressive line of dress shoes under their new Warfield & Grand line. Some of these new shoes really do look pretty excellent, a certainly much nicer than most of the stuff you might expect to find at DSW. Nice colored leathers, (with some even using very nice textures or pebbling), great styles, and pretty sleek profiles and toe boxes. And all for a price that comes in at a tiny more than half of what most of the DTC companies charge. But are they any good? We took a look at the Medley Wingtip Oxford ($109) to find out.
Packaging & Experience
You know, for an old time company, I have always been impressed with DSW. They ship pretty fast, and offer free shipping if you are a rewards member. Plus, they include a return label in the box. Downside? You have to cover return shipping. $8.50 will be deducted from your return. That ain’t so cool. Also, I am not a big fan of their new website design. Step in the wrong direction, I think. B+
Style & Design
This shoe, like most of the new line, is quite nice to look at. The suede is a perfect shade of lighter brown, though not quite tan. Makes it super versatile, and would look killer with some dark denim or chinos. The wingtip detailing is well designed, and the blucher design keeps things casual, which is how a shoe like this should be. I like the lighter sole, which is a nice, classy touch. The profile of the shoe is also quite sleek, and the toe box is pretty close to perfect also. I think it could benefit from being a tiny bit longer and sleeker, but not by much. It’s pretty good as is. That all being said, there is just something about these shoes that looks a bit off to me. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think it has to do with the somewhat overly bulbous midsection paired with the otherwise sleek toe box profile. Then the rear of the shoe is very low cut as well. The proportions are just a tiny bit off, though it’s hard to exactly nail down why. (Compare to something like this, which just seems to have better proportions.) And then one more style misstep — the brogue-ing is filled with red. It’s hard to tell, but each and every dot is actually red. I don’t like this. It’s too kitchy for my tastes, and the navy version of the shoe is even more garish.
Now, are either of these two negatives a deal-breaker? I don’t think so. While the shoe is not my favorite-looking on the foot, it’s not bad by any means, and I do have to say, is a whole lot better than most shoes in this price range. Do I wish the brogue-ing wasn’t red? Yes, but it’s quite subtle as is, and I could live with it. A-
Quality & Construction
Look, this is a DSW house line, at ~$100. So don’t expect any Blake stitching or Goodyear welting here. The uppers are true suede, and the shoes are lined in leather, too. The sole is rubber, which adds to the casual feel, and also provides traction. But these are not the sort of shoes you will be re-soling in 10 years from now. They will be beaten up by then. Still, at the price, these are well-made. They feel solid, but flexible. They’re pretty comfortable, and the lightly cushioned footbed is very nice. I ordered two sizes, and one of them had a slight imperfection in the suede on one of the shoes, but other than that, there were no issues to be seen. Solidly made, and I could see you getting a few seasons of wear out of these things for sure. If you treat them well, perhaps even quite a few years out of these guys. In short, they’re typical good-but-not-great DSW quality, but just look a whole bunch nicer. Think Banana Republic-level quality. A-
I usually take a size 11.5 in most of my shoes. The 11.5 here pinched a bit on my pinky toes on both feet. The rest of it fit perfectly in an 11.5, though. The size 12 also pinched my pinky toes, though a bit less, but felt a bit too roomy in the rest of the shoe. So, for me, these didn’t work great out of the box. They would likely stretch, but don’t expect a tremendous amount of adapting to your foot on the shoe’s part at this price range. Remember the odd proportions discussed above? I think it’s playing a part here in the ever-so-slightly off fit with these shoes. The middle section of the shoe, around the pinky toe area, seems to be shaped oddly for a comfortable fit. Or it could totally just be me and my weird feet. If you’re going to go for these, though, I would suggest trying two sizes and seeing which works best for you. You might run into a similar problem to me. A-
Value & Conclusion
DSW’s Warfield & Grand Medley Wingtip Oxford ($109): Here is the crazy thing. I don’t know how they pulled it off so fast, but I think DSW’s Warfield & Grand line is now my go-to recommendation for shoes in the $100 price range. They look good, have some great styles, and even some interesting leather choices. Are they in the same league as the new breed of DTC shoes in the $200 price range? No. Would I really push you, if you can at all, to save a bit more, and buy fewer pairs at the $200 price point than more at the $100? Yes. But, if for whatever reason, you just want a solid $100 shoe — or even less during DSW’s sales — I think DSW is an excellent place to go. Other than Banana Republic (when on sale), I think they are doing the best work right now in this space. So, pretty decent shoes at a pretty decent price. That is Warfield & Grand. Nothing to blow your mind, but definitely something to consider for what they are, and from whom they are coming from. Final Grade: A-