BonobosBonobos recently launched its first-ever collection of high-end Italian-made dress shoes and boots. The collection includes quintessential men's footwear styles like loafers, wingtips, derby shoes, velvet slippers, Chelsea boots, and cap-toe lace-up boots.I tried the Alpern Chelsea Boots and the Percy Wingtips and was pleased with both pairs. Where minor changes to timeless designs can make or break present-day offerings, Bonobos demonstrates a fine eye for classic details without skimping on comfort technology. At $198 for loafers and slippers, $248 for dress shoes, and $298 for boots, Bonobos' shoes aren't the cheapest on the market, their comfort, quality, and fit make them worth the price.
Bonobos is one of Insider Picks' favorite menswear brands. Beyond our countless stellar recommendations, you have to look to their beginnings to understand how impressive the brand is. The company started in 2007 with the simple goal of making better-fitting pants for men and has since grown to become an all-encompassing menswear brand.
But even after being acquired by retail powerhouse Walmart in 2017 and becoming the largest apparel brand ever to be built online, Bonobos was missing just one thing: shoes.
Now Bonobos is filling the gap with a collection of its own high-end Italian-made dress shoes and boots.
Les Shu/Business Insider
The dress shoes include loafers, derby shoes, wingtips, and even a velvet slipper for formal black-tie events. The boot collection includes Chelsea boots and cap-toe lace-up boots.
I predict that the Chelsea boot will be the most popular style from the release this fall, so Bonobos set me up with a pair to test out.First impressions
The mere mention of Bonobos making shoes was enough to get me excited about this release, but before getting them in-hand (and on-feet) I was concerned about what would separate them from the countless brands that already make premium and luxurious shoes for men. It turns out that Bonobos' distinguishing factors are the overall execution in design and the substantial amount of comfort technology.
I say that the execution in design is at a high level because each silhouette is timeless. We've all seen brands abase quintessential footwear styles by making them too wide, too round, too short, or by adding some uncharacteristic color that throws off the aesthetic.
My impression of the Alpern Chelsea Boots is that they look great — the proportions and colors are just right — and they are loyal to the classic Chelsea design. I also got to check out the Percy Wingtip shoe and was similarly impressed.
The shoes come well-packaged in the box, wrapped in plastic bags and packed with tissue paper. Two dust bags are also included. I personally keep all of my shoes in their original boxes to preserve their condition and value, but if you insist on tossing the box as soon as you get them, at least save the dust bags and store your shoes in them.What they're like to wear
In terms of comfort, the shoes feature some pretty thick memory foam insoles and padded heels, tongues, and ankle collars (all visible in the picture below). I wore the Alpern Chelsea Boots all day long and was reminded of how comfortable they were with each step. I didn't have to go through toe-crushing, heel-blistering agony just to look good.
I've found so many footwear brands over-dedicate themselves to traditional shoemaking techniques (stacked leather or wooden soles, Goodyear Welt construction, etc.), often to the detriment of comfort and wearability. Here, Bonobos marries classic design and modern comfort.
Amir Ismael/Business Insider
It's also worth noting that both the boots and shoes run true to size. Bonobos recommends that you order your true shoe size, and I found this to be sound advice.
In the photo below, I'm wearing a black cashmere sweater from Amazon's brand Button Down, a corduroy sherpa trucker jacket from Gap (mine is a few years old and no longer available, but this is their closest style available now), black jeans that I had tailored to be skinny and stacked, and last but not least, the Bonobos Alpern Chelsea Boots. As you can see, these boots are very easy to style and will be in my shoe rotation all throughout the fall.
Les Shu/Business InsiderThe bottom line
At $198 for loafers and slippers, $248 for dress shoes, and $298 for boots, Bonobos' first shoe collection comes at a price point most of the brand's customers will find affordable. There are without a doubt cheaper offerings from other brands, but in terms of quality, most pale in comparison. Time and time again, Bonobos has proven itself to be a dependable menswear retailer — and this release is no different.
If you're looking for well-made, stylish, and comfortable shoes to complement your wardrobe, then Bonobos' new shoe collection is one to shop. And if the brand's massive apparel selection is any indication of what's to come for footwear, you can expect new styles and colors in the future.
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