Last November I had a long discussion with Ray Kwok, the founder of eponymous brand, his concept is very simple, “men love specifications”, so his products have the highest specifications with lowest price.
Then I noticed he did release a new collection, Weinheimer box calf, Vibram studded rubber sole, Goodyear construction, price? less than 150 USD. Oh my dear, is that a good surprise? Although the models are limited, but that is what I love!
In the conversation, Ray told that he has a big stock of oak tanned leather sole from English tannery J.F.Baker, the future products will be more compelling!
About the last, he imitates John Lobb lasts.
After wearing more than 10 times under quite severe circumstances, such as heavy rain and muddy ground, let us have a look at this pair.
I believe many seasoned shoe aficionados can tell this last is quite similar to John Lobb 7000 last. I see a phenomenon on most Chinese shoemakers, which is the outer of last is very extruded and not harmonious. But this thing does not happen on Ray Kwok shoes. However, I have to say, maybe it is not wide enough for most Chinese customers.
Although John Lobb claims to be an English shoemaker, however 7000 last is quite French, elegant yet slightly aggressive.
Black cap toe oxford can be playful for sure, however this one is boring but so classic.
The only design element is the swan neck decorative thread on the quarter which is clearly copying Edward Green Chelsea.
The cap toe line and quarter line divide the upper into three sections, and the length of each section determines the aesthetics of this pair. As a so classic pattern, if you won’t play too hard and stick to the basic, nothing wrong will happen.
Although the left one is even better than right one, but the quality is superb, even put aside of John Lobb, they won’t lose.
This photo was taken when I wore them the first time, I knew I am lucky.
After more than 10 times heavy wears, I would say this pair will definitely be my workhorse for years.
Stitch density to be honest does not match the exquisite pattern and superb leather quality. As Ray Kwok started as a workboot maker, then learned dress shoes from Barker, the limit was set to a not very high level.
Welt is narrow enough while not refined.
Heel seam also looks rough and the stitches are not going on a elegant way.
At this price point, Vibram sole is definitely a plus. The bevelled waist is also not widely seen on rubber sole, in my mind, only TLB Mallorca does so.
Comfort and Fit
Because of rubber sole, the first wear is very comfortable on the bottom. The upper holds my feet well, break in was needed but not too painful.
Look at this outfit, I am totally in love with myself.
The comfort also attributes to Ortholite sock lining.
Maybe some hawk eyes find stitches on the mid sole, you can check this article for explanation.
I mentioned several times in this post that they were worn under very severe circumstances, and they are my beater shoes for three reasons:
- Affordable. I believe you know what I mean.
- Rubber sole, Goodyear construction. Set for rainy weather.
- Black box calf. This kind of leather does not absorb liquid.
Do you think Ray Kwok realize his words “men love specifications”?