Last year at MRket in New York, I was approached by Andrew Lock, a purveyor of shoes and customized suits online. He offered me a pair of shoes for review as part of our ongoing series, and after taking a look at his shoes,I agreed. After a few months of testing, I would like to review this shoe today.
Andrew Lock is a young chap in his early thirties who resides in Brooklyn, New York. Just like me, he graduated from law school only to realize that his true interest was in clothing and shoes, and so he decided to build a business. Currently, he sells customized full canvas suits made in China, shoes made in Spain and ties made in the US.
Black Oxford Review
As you know, the black Oxford is the first proper shoe every man should buy. Not too long ago, we tested the Oxford Paragon Paradis from Pediwear in black, which was an excellent value. While the Pediwear shoe was constructed with traditional English Oxford uppers and a slightly elongated last, the Lock shoe has a slightly more contemporary last paired with a more modern upper. The seams are double stitched and the vamp reminds me more of a wholecut look than a traditional upper. The look is simply a matter of taste but personally, I prefer the classic uppers over the Andrew Lock ones. For some reason it makes them look less timeless and elegant.
Last & Fit
Since I did not know how the shoes fit, Andrew advised me based on my regular shoe size. Based on that he sent me a size 10 UK / 11US shoe which had the right length, but it was too voluminous over my front arch. Obviously, that is just my foot and that does not mean it will be the same for you. Bear in mind that the shoe will likely be too big for someone with flat feet; the last is better suited to someone with higher arches. The toebox is comfortable and the last itself is quite attractive in my opinion. The heel is neither particularly big nor overly slim; it was pretty much en par with what you get from other manufacturers. The width is medium or what I would call a D or F width with other brands. Unlike with Allen Edmonds or Alfred Sargent, the shoe just comes in one width. So either the shoe fits, or it doesn’t. Overall, the fit for my foot was anything but ideal, though again – that’s just my feet. To prevent fit issues, I would recommend discussing the fit with Andrew and either try it on if you are in Brooklyn or test the mail-ordered pair gently on a rug or carpet before making a decision.
In regard to workmanship, this shoe seems to be rather well made. The stitching on the uppers is neat and the 360° welt is functional. The heel looks like a pre-made leather heel with rubber tip, but that is fine, especially considering the low standard price of S250 per pair. Interestingly the upper stitching on one of the heels seemed to be coming apart, which I would not expect from a shoe that is not even a year old. The soles are grooved and then welted, the edge cutting is alright but not at the level of Alfred Sargent, and slightly below the Paragon. Just like any other goodyear welted shoe in this price range, it is made with a tape that is glued to the insole, and the thermo plastic caps in the front and back serve their purpose of providing stability. When you have read our other shoe reviews, you will know that I am an adamant proponent of the balance between the heel and the last, meaning that the sole should touch the floor in the area of the front arch, when the heel stands flat on the ground. Not only does this guarantee a more comfortable walk, but it will also decrease the the wrinkles along the vamp. The Andrew Lock shoe does not have this balance, and the sole is in the air when the heel is flat. In combination with the volume in that area, the Lock shoe produces more wrinkles on the vamp than other shoes. Before I took the pictures, I had the shoes on a shoe tree for two weeks and you can still see them.
The upper leather is black calf. Upon closer inspection, it seems to be a grain corrected leather, which means that the leather is sanded first to remove any blemishes and then embossed so it looks like an unblemished calf skin again. This process is absolutely the standard for shoes in this price range, and generally only shoes that are more expensive (like the Sargent) will use uncorrected leathers. Lock’s leather is aniline and pigment died and at that price point, I am sure they use the entire calf skin for shoe production. While this minimizes leather waste, you will not get the best quality. Bear in mind, that this is not the high shine leather with the plastic feel that you get from cheap shoe brands but much higher quality and most people would not think of it as sanded at all. The practice of sanding is absolutely the standard in the price segment and even above. The inside has a black insole liner and a charcoal suede heel to prevent slippage. The sole leather seems robust and abrasion resistant, so you won’t have to worry about resoling for a while. Overall, it is a good leather quality for the price.
The Andrew Lock online shop has a rather limited portfolio of just a few silk products and 7 shoe styles to choose from. At the same time, the prices are at the low end of what you pay for better shoes. Compared to Shoepassion, which is also made in Spain in the same price range, I would rate Lock a little lower because of the limited selection, though the quality is the same. However, the Northampton boot with brown calf skin and suede looks beautiful. It is made in England by Cheaney and at $450 significantly more expensive than the shoes we tested. All shoes are shipped from within the US, so you won’t have to deal with customs and returns are easier. At the same time, you will have to deal with customs and high shipping costs for returns if you order them from outside of America.
If you live in the US and you or looking for a business shoe that is well made and affordable, then the Andrew Lock is for you if it fits. For more variety, Shoepassion, Pediwear or Scarosso have more to offer for about the same price.