Several months ago, we were contacted by Mike Small of Pediwear shoes in Halifax, UK. He told me that they recently started to offer a high quality shoe line under their own name.Since we are always interested in providing you with honest, straightforward reviews of quality brands & products, we accepted a pair. At the same time, Pediwear decided to advertise with us but as always, this does not have any influence on our review.
Pediwear was founded in 1976 in Halifax, UK as a brick and mortar shoe store and remains a family business today. They started their first website in 1998, which was certainly a wise decision in retrospect because it helped them to grow their business.
Pediwear’s core business is not the high end market of shoes such as John Lobb, but much rather they offer quality, goodyear welted leather shoes with a great value. They offer lines ranging from Loake, over to Tricker’s and then to Alfred Sargent.
In 2012, they launched their Paragon line of shoes, which is the best of their three house brands. Today, I will review the Paradis shoe from this collection today – a black business Oxford shoe with captoe brogueing on a slim last in calf leather.
Pediwear Paragon Paradis Shoe Review
Ordering men’s shoes online from a new brand can be a challenge because you do not know their lasts, and width length and proportions may vary greatly within the same size. Before I settled on the Paradis model, Mike asked me a few questions about other shoes I wear, the brand, width, sizes, etc. and I provided him with my shoe and foot measurements. Based on these, Mike suggested this particular model. If you ever buy shoes online that you have never worn before, this procedure will increase the chances you receive a properly fitting shoe, because what good is a fine shoe if it does not fit?
The Last & Fit
One of the first things I noticed about the last was the long slim line and the very elegant round toe. Especially compared to the Alfred Sargent shoe, this last is less edgy and more understated while providing a slightly elongated look. Interestingly, the monk strap shoe from Herring Shoes also had a similarly long last but the Pediwear shoe is less voluminous and has nicer rounded toe.
When I put them on for the first time, I was positively surprised by the snug heel fit since must shoes apart from Alfred Sargent have a wider heel that don’t suit my feet. Moreover, it was snug around my middle foot without being at all uncomfortable. The toes had just enough space so I felt all around comfortable. Generally, I break in shoes slowly, because otherwise my feet hurt. However, these Pediwear Paragon shoes were the exception for me. Overall, the fit is probably the best of all shoes tested so far. Of course, this is only because my feet seem to harmonize well with that last. If you have different feet, the fit may be totally off, which is why you always have to communicate with the seller before buying a new brand of shoes online.
The Paragon Paradis comes just in a F width, which is closer to a D width in other shoe brands and overall, I would recommend this shoe to people with bonier feet and slim heels, but not to men with wide, meaty feet. Unlike other British shoes, its sizing is more old school and the 10.5 UK is smaller than the same size at Loake or Herring shoes. Interestingly it is the same size and width I wear at Alfred Sargent but as mentioned, this one fits even a bit better.
Also, the heel height is designed to work perfectly with the last: when the heel is standing flat on the floor, the sole touches the floors in the area beneath my arch. Most RTW shoes from England will not touch the floor with the sole, which leads to excessive wrinkles in the uppers and a more uncomfortable walk. As such, I was surprised to see that these shoes did not seem to have this problem.
The double welt of the Paradis is similarly fine as the Alfred Sargent. Unlike most other English RTW shoes such as Loake, Herring Shoes, Crockett & Jones etc , the goodyear welt is channeled. This not only looks much neater, but it also prevents the shoe from showing premature wear. Usually channeled soles are only seen on more high end shoes from England, such as Edward Green, Alfred Sargent or Gaziano Girling.
The middle part of the sole is slim and neater than Herring Shoes and Loake, but a bit less refined than Sargent. The heel is all leather with brass nails and matched to the heel to achieve a good stand but I doubt it is made by hand one layer at the time, but that’s something I only expect from bespoke shoes.
The brogueing is overall neat but on my left shoe, it is not entirely straight. Some argue this is the desireable imperfection of handwork, but I think handwork should not be mistaken for crooked brogueing. In addition, the back seam of the upper is slightly crooked on the left shoe. This is nothing that will impact your walking experience, however most people expect their high end cars very closely, so why should we wouldn’t we do that with shoes as well?
The stitching is very neat and straight along the edges, however, the stitch density per inch varies in the sense that every seam is slightly different. Again, this is nothing major but just a fine detail.
Inside, the shoe is leather lined and features a soft padded insert with leather on top. Personally, this always reminds me of cheaper shoes, where bespoke shoes are usually all leather. In addition, there are a few raised bumps on the inside sole and I am not sure why these are present. When wearing them, I can feel them a little bit and I am sure the experience would be better without them. However, it is not as bad as the Alfred Sargent problem that caused blisters.
Finally, the tongue is very comfortable, but I noticed that the ends are cut square and not rounded. Time will tell if this becomes a problem (the ends might fold over), but other than a giving the appearance of being unfinished I can perceive no issues with the squared edges at this point.
The uppers are made from aniline chromium dyed box calf leather. It is softer than many other shoes we have tested, but not too soft so that it will withstand wrinkles. Our samples had no scars and overall the leather seems to be of high quality. Of course, you have to keep in mind that in order to keep prices as low as Pediwear, hides are used to the fullest. Even higher end shoemakers like Sargent do that for their exclusive line, but the hides Pediwear uses seem to be of decent quality; however, there will not bethe same degree of hand burnishings as with other, more expensive brands.
The lining is all leather, with a suede heel to prevent slippage, and it is comfortable without any pressure spots, except from the bottom as mentioned above.
The Pediwear shoe box was sturdy, en par with Sargent but not as nice as Herring shoes.
In regard to the Pediwear website, it has fast loading times but the design looks somewhat dated to me. You can also tell that they do not invest large sums into their product photography, but maybe that’s the reason they can offer their shoes with high quality leather and features for a much lower price. The service I received was great and I can only recommend to work with them on sizing and fit because chances are much higher you will receive a shoe that is not only well made but also one that fits. As a side note, they don’t mention a “made in” location; however, we always believe that quality can be found in production all over the world.
Considering the low price of the Paragon (regular £212 – £177 without VAT , currently £179 - £149 without VAT versus £395-£355 on sale £329 without VAT – 295 on sale for the Alfred Sargent shoes, Pediwear offers comparable features such as the channeled sole and just a slightly inferior workmanship in certain areas but it only costs only at almost half the price! In terms of value, Pediwear is the probably the biggest bang for the buck we have tested so far – it is simply a well made, high quality shoe for a great price with just a few imperfections.
If you are on a budget and want great shoes for business purposes, you should definitely take a very close look at the Pediwear Paragon series.
If you know an interesting manufacturer of high quality products, or in case you would like to have your products tested on the Gentleman’s Gazette, please drop us a line. Thanks.