It’s nice to see that new interesting manufacturers are constantly appearing in the entry-level segments of classic quality shoes, and one of them is the online shop Herrstil’s own brand Myrqvist. Goodyear welted shoes with good specifications for €210. Shoegazing has tested them.
Color: Dark brown
Size: UK10.5 standard width
Sula: Single leather sole
Price: €210 (the shoes are a review pair from Herrstil)
Herrstil started their shoe initiative in spring 2016 with a campaign on Kickstarter (which I wrote about in this post). It was extremely successful, a total of over €70 000 was gained in the campaign and over 400 pairs of shoes were pre-ordered. The problem with this was, however, that the small factory in Vietnam, their partner, was struggling to make up for all the shoes ordered, plus all the pairs Herrstil would have for their site, which the Kickstarter campaign would be the starting point for. Therefore, they switched to a larger factory in India, and all the shoes sold through the site have come from here.
They have a close cooperation with the Indian factory and regularly visit it, the same with a tannery in the vicinity where they buy the leather. Apparently, both factories are good both in terms of environmental work and the work environment, which makes them more expensive than many other shoe factories in India, but still cheap compared to Europe. This, in combination with the fact that you do not have the retailer step, enables them to offer affordable shoes.
Herrstil and Myrqvist will as you might know exhibit during the Shoegazing Super Trunk Show in Stockholm on Saturday, the review is written now since I received many questions about my experience of them before this, but note that we organizing the event don’t get anything from exhibitors’ sales.
Myrqvist is only sold through Herrstil and their online store, which offers free shipping on shoes in Sweden, and also ship to many other countries around the world. The homepage is available in both Swedish and English, the information about the shoes is relatively limited and although the pictures are good, you would have liked to see the shoes from more angles. The range of models has been slowly expanded since its launch, but it is basically only classic models in different leather choices: plain cap toe oxfords, semi brogues, adelaides, chukkas, chelseas, penny loafers and so on. Zero originality in other words, but on the other hand, what is most often requested, especially in the budget segment it’s the classics that sell by far best for most Goodyear welted manufacturers. Many of the models have single leather soles, some with a so-called half rubber sole (rubber on the sole and heel, the waist in leather), and some a variant of the Dainite rubber sole. All models are made on the same last, 1, with a soft square toe. The price for shoes is € 210, boots €250.
General info about the shoes
Skytteholm is a Goodyear welted adelaide, clearly inspired by Carmina’s version with a brogue pattern that bends of a bit earlier along the upper of the facing. This version of the model is made of a dark brown baby calf leather on a sinlge leather sole with open channel and slight bevel at the waist. They are delivered in a brown shoe box with black shoe bags.
Construction and materials
As mentioned, the shoes are Goodyear welted and quite good specifications for the price, such as a heel stiffener in leather board and baby calf leather. The babycalf is very soft and nice with dense pores that make them super easy to polish, and the crease is relatively discreet at least on this pair, but it is clear that it is cheap version of the leather and that they use much of the relatively small hides, they have a lot of glitches such as stretch marks and other irregularities. I know that Myrqvist has chosen to stop using babycalf because of this and now use a regular calf leather on all newly manufactured shoes.
The level of the making is Myrqvist’s biggest shortcoming. Now it’s relatively cheap shoes and you can hardly expect perfection, and it varies how sensitive people are about this. It’s things like sloppy cutting of the upper, uneven sole edges, and marks from machines. Nothing dramatic and nothing that affect durability or so, primarily cosmetics, but it affects the impression of the shoes a bit. I know that Herrstil is working on improve the level of craftsmanship of the shoes, and if they do that and dare to be harder in the quality control, hopefully, the shoes sold today (mine from the first batch at the big drop) are better in this aspect.
The shoes have been used around ten times and seem to be aging well, both in terms of outerwear and sole.
Herrstil has had a bit of challenge in order to fix the sizes, as the first Vietnam-made shoes were bigger than the first batch from India, which has now been corrected to return to the same grading as the first round. This means I have size UK11 here, which, however, corresponds to UK10.5 in the newly released shoes. It appears on the website if there are shoes from the smaller or larger size batches, and eventually everything will be “correct” and the hassle will disappear. If we think that my equivalent to UK10.5, they are fairly normal in size, possibly slightly on the small side, with a slightly higher instep. UK10.5 is approximately in line with the reference shoe Loake Aldwych on Capital in UK10, but with slightly higher instep and narrower heel.
So we are at Myrqvist’s most positive aspect, and that is: they are really comfortable. The shoes are easy to break in and have a relatively good arch support, to be RTW. Those who, for example, tried Meermin’s Classic range, which is very hard to break in, will love Myrqvist, it’s like night and day. For those who are new to classic quality shoes, it’s definitely preferable to choose a manufacturer like Myrqvist, which quickly gives a more enjoyable experience.
Herrstil has been courageous to create an own brand of shoes produced in Asia. It has meant some challenges along the way, but resulted in affordable shoes that’s definitely an interesting option in the lower price range. If they manage to improve the build quality a bit, then it’s a really good competitor, not least thanks to the high comfort.