Unboxing Wholecut Shell Cordovan Oxford from Meermin

Meermin has great popularity globally as a Spanish brand made in China, everyone recognizes Meermin as one of the best value brands in the market.

The shoes are actually made in Shanghai, China, the “HANDCRAFTED IN SHANGHAI” can be found on lining of tongue.

In recent two years, Meermin have not been satisfied with being the price killer but also a pioneer which led the massive introduction of kinds of shell cordovan. Such as Waxed Shell, Museum Shell, and it made people know that there is not only Horween who can produce shell cordovan, but Rocado from Italy and Shinki from Japan.

Without stopping there, Meermin released a collection called Heritage shell cordovan. There are a lot of rumours about the mysterious tannery, some of them is so confident. When I asked the manager of Meermin, he said, first it is American, but no one specified South American, second, don’t be too sure. OK, I took his advice and not to talk the rumoured name, but use Heritage Shell Cordovan to call it.

Let us have a look at this pair.

Unboxing

The shoe box of Meermin is very appreciated by me as it is so simplistic and neutral tone beams harmony to customers.

The box looks like to be made of recycled paper (my subjective feeling), so sustainability is clearly a winning point of Meermin.

The box is quite sturdy and it was in perfect condition when delivered.

Shoebags are in the same colour as the box, and the logo is simple and understated.

Remove the shoe bag, I found something strange. The shoes are covered by paper which is normal, however there is another bunch at the right side, what is inside? Nothing? Then why? Because the shoe box is too big. Why the shoe box is bigger than needed? Because Meermin only use one size of shoe box which fits the boots. When a pair of shoes are inside, putting some cushion paper can solve the unfit problem.

The consideration is complex of inventory, with only one size, there are much fewer hustles, as long as the shipping cost is the same, it is a perfect solution for shoe factories.

Pattern

Unwrap the paper, the bloody as sunset shoes pop out in front of eyes.

The special one feature on this model is that it only has four eyelets, not the most seen 5. Why did I choose this pair? Because I have a pair of 910 from Carmina, same burgundy shell cordovan, and I want a head to head.

Last

I already own a pair of Meermin on last Rois, and the fit is very good, so I chose the same last.

Rois is also a round toe last like the most famous last from Meermin, Hiro. I was told the rois is slightly wider than Hiro.

The toe shape is beautiful and contemporary, round yet elongated. I know it is appreciated well but too sharp for me.

Out Sole

Except TLB tries very hard to narrow a rubber sole’s waist, most brands wade casually on rubber sole, so the only differentiation is unique textures of the sole. Meermin has its own.

Craftsmanship

The welt of Meermin is so recognized, the fudge is very fine and almost the same as Carmina. The stitch density is also very good, I feel it is better than Crockett & Jones. But does it mean Meermin’s welt is as good as Carmina?

The answer is no, just look inside to the upper direction. See how distant the stitches are to the upper. That is the characteristic of Meermin, or poor craftsmanship frankly.

Where the welt meets in circle also does not say careful execution.

Both pair has the same issue that there is a gap while good ones are so hard to find or notice the meet.

Leather

As leather is the reason I have this one, it is depicted in the end.

Shock just came at the first beginning, what the hell? Different colours? Left is very red but the right is almost purple! The burgundy shell on my 910 from Carmina is close to the right one. It is awkward that a pair of shoes have two colours if not intentional.

Maybe that is just some area or uneven colours? Comparing the arch area, the same.

How come? My guess is the leather was cut from two hides which shouldn’t be surprising in mass production of shoe factory with the volume like Meermin. However, the quality control of the tannery is put in question, and also the incoming inspection of Meermin.

Except the discolouration, I found something else on the right pair. There are many small white pits on vamp, looking closely, they are the small holes without dye, in another word, dying process was not done to perfection.

On the outside of the instep, some scratches are visible. My first thought is that these are damaged in the making process, then I came to realize that Meermin has shared shell cordovan knowledge with me. The surface of shell is actually its flesh side, so these scratches may be the grinding isn’t enough to flatten out all the texture.

Can I do something to improve the presentation of the shoes?

Carmina released a video about how to care shell cordovan shoes, the most important thing is to brush extensively.

I brushed almost ten minutes!

For those undyed pits and scratches, can I use shoe cream to repair or cover?

This is my care kit for shell, Venetian Imperial shoe cream in colour 8, a cloth of worn out t-shirt and the big brush.

Applied 3 layers of the shoe cream, buffed so long. To be honest, the pits are very hard to tackle. But in my experience of leather care, time is always the best friend if you continuously do the right thing and leather only ages better.

To cover the scratches, I only applied one layer, and the outcome is not bad.

Check its crease. Although this aspect is more justifiable after wear, we can have a initial feeling now.

Left.

Relive, see the spring back.

Do the same thing to the right pair.

Great spring back.

Conclusion

I am not so interested in shell cordovan, but when glanced some vintage shoes on the net, the longevity is truly amazing. A good pair of calf shoes are still good after thirty years wear, however the leather is tired no matter how well it is cared. Shell is different, you cannot easily tell the shoes have been worn for 2 years or 20 years, that is one of the reasons why shell is so sought after.

Meermin pull the price of good shell cordovan shoes to a price point most can afford which is a great thing. But Meermin still needs to put more efforts on quality control.

Some readers showed me how good the leather is of some pair Meermin shoes on par with John Lobb, others complained its awful customer service.

My take? If you love its last, just buy.