Today, we will share our in-depth review of Tod’s driving mocs; features of the shoes, the pros and cons and if I think they’re worth $495 or not.
History Of Tod’s
What is today known as Tod’s was founded in Italy in the 1920s by Filippo Della Valle as a small shoemaking
It was a moccasin style construction shoe with rubber pebble nub sole. The leather wasn’t that high-quality so he decided to bring it back to Italy, refine the design, and make it part of their shoe line. It quickly became their signature model, Il Gommino. Shortly after the shoe was in production, Diego Della Valle smartly gifted a pair to Gianni Agnelli which was recognized as a style icon; he liked the shoe and he wore it on TV which really boosted the sales.
In 1984, Diego Della Valle decided to change the name to make it more Anglo-American sounding and so it became JP Tod’s. The company once again changed their name to just Tod’s, dropping the JP in 1997. In the 80s and 90s, Tod’s is particularly getting a reputation for casual driving mocs, it was their shoe. Iconic superstars such as Princess Diana helped
Today, unlike many other luxury brands, Tod’s owns and maintains all of their manufacturing facilities that enabled them to withstand going offshore to lower production countries and it’s their way of keeping up the parent promise of made in Italy and quality. If you look at it from a brand name perspective, they did an excellent job. The Tod’s umbrella includes brands like Hogan, Fay, or Roger Vivier. Of course, all of their companies produce more than 2 million pairs of shoes a year and they actually grew throughout the last recession in 2009. Today, it’s a billion dollar company.
A Closer Look At The Shoe…
The model we have here is called Laccetto Gommino and it retails for $495 in the US. It is of course made in Italy but other than the fact that it has some laces, leathers, and rubber nub sole, there’s really not much more information on their website. Considering, it’s almost $500 expensive, I find that quite disappointing personally because they don’t say anything about the construction, the leather used, whether it’s cowhide or calf hide, and as a consumer who’s educated, I would like to know that information.
From the outside, it is not a true 100% moccasin construction. The shoe has the characteristic rubber pebble nubs that allow the shoe the same flexibility as it would be with an all leather sole. At the same time, it lasts longer than a just leather sole moccasin. Of course, the lifespan is still shorter compared to a regular men’s dress shoe with a leather sole or rubber sole. It’s a very unstructured shoe, it has no heel cap and no toe cap and is thus very comfortable to wear. You can see it’s made for driving because the rubber pebbles go up all the way to the heel because when you drive, that’s where you need the grip.
Because $495 is quite a bit of money for just a driving shoe, a lot of men also wear them as casual shoes, especially during the summer. The problem is without the structured heel cap and toe cap, they’re not ideal for walking. They get bigger and the leather sole wears out a lot faster.
The one we ordered comes in a nice blue and I think it’s made of a shrunken calf leather or cowhide, again, nothing’s mentioned on the website but if you take a closer look, you can see it has somewhat of a scotch grain texture but it’s not achieved by embossing it but simply by shrinking the leather. I find it’s quite nice and it’s also a little more durable than suede leather which is also something they offer.
The moc seam in the front of the shoe is supposedly done by hand, whenever you do that, taking the leather and sewing it into something three-dimensional, you get vertical lines. Because we have a shrunken leather, you see even more pronounced lines that are vertical. The shoe is also leather lined seemingly with an undyed leather that doesn’t color off especially when you wear it bare feet during the summer.
It’s really nothing special on the inside and for the price, I would have hoped for a bit more contrast or something interesting. The insole is covered with one piece of leather lining and underneath, you can find a rubber wedge that is a little
Each pair of Tod’s mocs is made out of 35 pieces in a hundred steps and while that sounds like a lot, if you compare to a Goodyear welted or Blake stitched men’s dress shoe, that is actually quite little because Goodyear welt is a lot more complex, requires more parts and time.
In terms of sizing, I usually wear a size 11 US or 10.5 UK in a medium width last. For the Tod’s, I had to size down and go with a 10 so keep in mind it’s a large shoe and it’s one that will stretch out over time so you always want to go rather with a more snugly fitting shoe than with something that is too wide.
Are Tod’s Mocs Worth It?
- To me, one of the biggest cons is that it’s not a shoe that will last me 15 or 20 years if I regularly wear it because it has this leather sole with the rubber pebbles which is super flexible but it also wears out very quickly and can’t be repaired once there’s a hole in your sole. Essentially, it makes it a disposable shoe and if you just use it as a driving shoe, it’s quite expensive on its own.
- It’s not a shoe you want to wear when it’s wet outside because the water will go right through the leather up onto your socks and feet which is quite uncomfortable. Frankly, if you live in a cooler climate with lots of snow and rain, this is not a shoe I would ever invest in. Maybe if you’re in Italy or in a warmer climate and you like casual summer shoes, it’s something to think about.
- At the end of the day, buying Tod’s driving mocs is still mostly a brand buy. Fortunately, Tod’s branding is not obnoxious. They have a little Tod’s logo at the bottom sole as well as at the top right corner of the shoe, it’s very subtle, tone in tone yet most people will recognize it as a Tod’s simply because they have very vibrant colors and a very unique style. Looking at the shoe, the construction method, the materials that go into it, I think it should retail more at a 200 to 250 dollar price range and not at a 500 dollar price range. But of course, when it comes to pricing, branding is everything and Tod’s does a fantastic job in positioning their brand and maintaining high prices.
- Even though the shoe can wear out pretty quickly, the style itself is rather timeless and you’ll be able to wear it in 10 or 20 years down the line. Even though you would assume other brands can simply replicate the style, I still think Tod’s has an edge when it comes to their styling versus other brands in the market.
- One of the biggest pros of Tod’s mocs is probably that they come in a large number of colors in different leathers including suede and exotic skins such as crocodile. To my knowledge, there is no other brand that offers such a wide range. If you are just interested in black or brown mocs, that’s not that big of a deal but if you want something maybe in blue, in red, in yellow, in green, Tod’s definitely has the widest selection.
- On top of that, they have various additions that change throughout the seasons; sometimes with fabric or velvet, you name it! Probably there’s a Tod’s moc out there that has the material that you’re looking for.
Ultimately, Are They Worth It To Me?
I have to say no, they’re not because if I just want a driving shoe and that’s what the Tod’s mocs are, I can just buy a regular boat shoe, maybe a pair of Sperrys and it costs me $100 or less and they essentially do the same job. On top of that, I can wear them in a casual setting and they will last a lot longer because they have a solid rubber sole.
If I wear Tod’s mocs, otherwise, they wear out quickly and become a disposable item. Also, I think you find better value with other brands.
A less-Expensive Alternative – Rancourt
Let’s look at Rancourt which are handmade in Maine in the US; they offer their driving mocs with a pebble grain sole for $295. Again, they have a more limited color spectrum off the rack but they have different styles such as a penny style or maybe a regular leather lace style.
Now if you really want a colorful shoe, Rancourt who offers a made-to-order program where you can pick the exact sole configuration the style, as well as the leather, and you can even mix and match so you can create spectators and to truly create a unique shoe for you for $395 which is twenty percent less than the Tod’s.