Unboxing Penny Loafer from Bridlen

Bridlen is a stitched shoe brand from India. I know English shoemaker Loake has a product line that is made in India, but overall, India is not a big shoe country, let alone stitched shoes.

Theoretically, products from places with lower labor cost should offer higher value-cost ratio, but my observation (not actual experience) is not so, that the price is indeed very cheap, but the quality is also very poor. Bridlen obviously does not take this route, because their price is set at around 300 USD. Let’s take a look at the dress shoes made in India.


Safety card, navy blue shoe box can never be wrong. And the saturation is very high.

Underneath the brand, it says 1986. The shoe factory Affan was indeed established in 1986, but the Bridlen brand is only a few years old.

There is a label paper in the bottom corner of the side of the shoe box. The model is called Folded Penny Loafer. Because I knew what shoes looked like, I saw the word Folded and thought it might not be accurate. Because Folded makes people think one side is folded in another.

The color is black, size UK5. Goodyear construction. Last Rufer and Rubber sole. The information should be pretty complete. It can be better with what leather from which tannery, but it only makes sense to enthusiasts.

Open the lid and there is a small card on it.

The signature at the bottom is the owner of Bridlen, Affan.

Uncover a layer of print paper, there is another layer, and a filled lump of paper. I can understand its functionality, but there is obviously a problem with the product presentation. For good protection, thicker shoe bags should be enough. Maybe the cost increases, but the customer’s perception will improve too.

When they were all uncovered, we saw two shoe bags, and the small leather tags of the brand were sewn on the bags. This should have been learned from Japanese bespoke shoemakers.

The material of the shoe bag looks like hemp and the texture is very loose. The shoe bags are too thin in my opinion.


I struggled for a long time about which last to choose because basically each one is elongated, and then some are more pointed. Rufer is the roundest in his family. I don’t know much about the aesthetics of Indians, although I have been to India three times where the most people wear sandals, and I have seen too few dress shoes.

The first thing I felt when I got the Rufer last was that it was unique. I could tell it was elongated and with a big round toe, and both elements are what many Italian shoes have. But the transition from the round head to the forefoot is extremely slow, making the overall look slender, but not delicate.

I think on one hand I have developed a more fixed personal taste, and on the other hand I am very open, I don’t necessarily like it, but I appreciate brands that have their own unique things. If everyone is the same, it can only fight for price, which is not the most important thing that clothing should bear as an aesthetic carrier.

Opening circumference of the heel provides a good grip.


The pattern of this pair is remarkable, but there are also obvious areas for improvement.

Two design elements, the first is the grooved shape inside the penny strip. A simple rectangle. It’s not that this design is Bridlen’s original or exclusive, for example, John Lobb has a lot of straight vacances. On loafer these gentle shoes, the straight lines bring a certain degree of sharpness and sharpness.

Another design element is the Apron area, which is why it is named Folded.

The method is putting the upper piece on the edge of the leather below, and then sewn through the double threads. The feel is as if the apron area is directly covered and quite exquisite. I think this way is more suitable for delicate lasts.

What is the problem with the pattern design?

Note the distance between strap and welt on the inner side.

On outer side, the distance is almost the same, good thing, right?

But the vacancy is not in the middle, and when it is on the foot, it is more obvious.

Why? Because this piece of leather is symmetrical in itself, when it is fitted to the last of the shoe, in three dimensions, the inner arch is high and the outer side is gentle, so the inner distance becomes closer.

This is where this shoe factory is not mature enough, and of course, it should be said that such mistakes should not be made.


Bridlen mainly uses Goodyear construction and there is a founder collection with handwelted construction. At first glance, the welt gave me the impression of improved Meermin. Fudge on edge is very fine. But there was some rough feeling on stitches. The welt is very narrow as a good thing.

Bridlen does a good job of tightening welt at toe. It’s something I’ve always emphasized seeing in Edward Green’s shoes. It is also a point for Zhao Zhun’s handmade shoes. At the end of the day, one word, proportion. The overall line of the side is long, even if welt is wide, it is not a big problem, but the area of the toe itself is short, and when welt is wide, the feeling is immediately very abrupt.


The rubber sole is studded but not the iconic Dainite, the waist says “genuine rubber sole. The waist is bevelled.


The words written on the insole, I don’t understand very well, 360 degree channeling insole welt Goodyear. It means that the welt is stitched 360 degrees on the midsole? So other brands are only sewn 270 degrees? Are there any advantages to 360 degrees?

Allen Edmonds likes to emphasize his 360-degree Goodyear, but that’s referring to the outsole rather than welt.

The lining, including the sole, has no logo, the tongue has only limited information of size 5 and made in India.

The feeling of lining leather is not particularly high-grade, and I mean it is not similar to calf leather with this grade of upper.

Although the heel looks like it is stacked, the middle piece felt like plastic.


The outer opening wears my ankle bone very much!


The 300 USD price point, good Goodyear construction, and the use of two mainstream French tanneries should have a market internationally. Let us see whether unique lasts can harvest a wave of audiences.