Unboxing Strap Loafer from CIE

Cie, the pioneer of online sale of handmade (its main product line is Blake construction) shoes in China. Is this title too exaggerated? No. If someone looks at the market data, Thom Wills is the king today, but Cie started selling shoes on Taobao ten years earlier than Thom Wills.

Cie is also the pioneer of Chinese dress shoes brands selling oversea.

If Cie is so great as I claim, why have not I discussed of it a lot? Is it because it is too cheap? Definitely not, it is because its aesthetics.

The owner of Cie, Mr. Huang Dong is a veteran of this industry and his insights are second to none, but his business mode is more understated.

When I use the word aesthetics, I mean its market positioning, or targeted customers. His concept is to introduce new feeling with the same price of mainstream shoe brands in mall. So what is the solution? Bold design and patina, copying some prestigious brands with strong design, such as Berluti.

I am not even a fan of Berluti, not to mention who copies Berluti.

After participating the first China Trunk Show, Mr. Huang felt that his customer base may want to upgrade his shoe collection with more refined and conservative yet innovative products.

Cie gradually releases more and more Goodyear welted shoes to its original Blake construction lineups.

Let us have a review of this pair sent me for review which I returned.


The delivery box even has its logo which is good, and this outer box fits the real shoe box inside, so the shoe box is well protected.

Mr. Huang is very proud his shoes are made in Shanghai, so the subtitle Handmade can be updated to “Handmade in Shanghai”.

On the side of this post box, there is a website in Chinese, I was not sure it worked, so I tried.

Press Enter.

Holly crab, it really went to its webshop in TMALL.

This is how the shoe box looks like. Gold logo on the purple shoe box, the position of the logo is unique.

There is a hole on the side of the box, the function is easily pulling off when stacked.

There is no information about the shoes inside. I feel a sticker is a good solution as it is easy to add and remove at a low cost.

Never estimate the information about shoes, every time it shows to viewer, the chance to be remembered increases.

Remove the cover, there is a layer of transparent plastic paper, which is remote from others, this feeling is much delicate. But what feeling?

Open it up, then a windmill shape paperboard made the feeling even stronger.

Fully opened, it finally came to me, yes, when you unboxing a box of birthday cake!

This is the first time I see how a pair of shoes is present, really impressive and beams happy.

A wooden shoe horn in a plastic bag, and there are some stickers on the bag, if you read, you can find much useful information.

Except the wooden shoe horn, there is a certificate on which what national standard they meet and the address of company are stated.

I really prefer wooden shoe horn than metal and even ox horns, and this one’s quaint touch is a plus, only to add its logo for better.

The shoe bag is also strange and new to me, what is the shape? How it opens?

It is more like a coat than bag, and it suits the shoe tightly! The zipper closely snug the shoe and this protection is superb.


A penny loafer? Penny?

Well, to be precise, they should be called strap loafer other than penny loafer, but more important, the penny area is formed by too straps, and one is going down to the waist of the sole, the other runs to the heel in parallel with the opening.

The design is marvelous and some well informed reader told me this one was introduced by Japanese bespoke shoemaker TYE.

The back seam is a lovely design that the middle seam goes from the bottom to the top then covered by a small round patch.

The pattern is not perfect at least in my eyes that the stitch density of the pond is significantly lower than on the strap which add too strong contrast between the exquisite strap and the rough apron. Contrast itself is not a bad idea, but execution needs more thought.


Elongated small square toe. The line from toe to the widest area is in harmony, which is the biggest problem I have seen on many Chinese brands as they tend to suit the wide feet while forget to refine the extruded outline.

Profile view, it is a hard chisel toe, I personally doubt whether it works fine with a loafer.


Cie used to use local leather, and with the product upgrade, European leather is coming up. This suede is from the English tannery Charles F. Stead.

Why the left foot is darker than the right one? Because the hair leans to different directions.

Swipe the hair of left foot, the colour is light too. So buying one pair of Suede shoes equals two pairs with two colour tones?


Classic dress shoes, you just cannot ignore the welt fineness as this is the most important process of making a good pair of shoes.

The stitch density and alignment are both very good, the edge is fudged as well. Telling from the fudge shape, it is very the same as Mattina, however Mattina angled the welt edge while Cie does not. If we want to be too critical, the fudge can be pushed inside (closer to the upper) even more.

Out Sole

Narrow fiddelback waist, the burgundy colour of the waist is new and not bad choice, however the thickness of the paint seems inadequate. Small cuban heel is OK.

Looking from the side, the leather sole at waist is super thin, why is that? Because the construction is Blake here, so you can say the shoes are 180 degree Goodyear welted plus Blake waist. The purpose of this mixed construction is to pursue narrow blind waist.

I rejected this idea before with Mr. Huang as aesthetically the very thin leather says tender and easy to break, but proportionally does not tell beauty for the whole pair.

Heel also has rooms to improve.

Although there is fudge on the heel block, it is too perfunctory, I think every details, no matter exist or excluded, serve for beauty and exquisite feeling.

The other thing is the gap between upper and heel is too wide due the lasting is not finely worked.


The logo on sock lining is black, as the logo is gold in the box, why not use the same colour?

There are handwritten words on the lining, “Exclusively Handmade”, the feeling is very good. then it is the size information with EU sizing and width. 2.5 is the default width in Chinese shoes.


Eh, I am speechless. EU38 is so big? I have no clue.


Great design, good leather, fine construction.

I always use the same criteria reviewing shoes, not to consider its price, never be biased. Whether it worth the price goes to your hand.

I see the potential of Cie.