This article is taken from a Thomas Bird Review on Reddit. The photo was also provided by the customer.
Customer/Location: Curtis, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Product: Thomas Bird Benson Wholecut Tan
I have been excited to write a review a review of my Thomas Bird shoes for a while.
For those looking for a quick synopsis: these shoes are the real deal. Incredibly high quality leather, unique part leather/part rubber sole design, classically stylish, fully Italian made shoe from a small UK company at almost half the price of similiarly top of the line brands like Paul Evans and Magnanni. I cannot recommend these enough! Since wearing them significantly, I have some extremely minor quips I will detail below but these are likely due to my foot rather than the shoes themselves.
Small backstory: I am originally American and own several pairs of Allen Edmonds shoes (the defacto high-end American made dress shoe) and have for many years. I moved over to the Netherlands about 1 year ago and was looking to streamline my shoe collection in a few ways. While I love my Allen Edmonds, I was looking to shift into more of an Italian style shoe now that I lived in Europe. I also recently upgraded my suit collection to be much more slim and stylish and wanted shoes to match. Second, my Allen Edmonds had been beat back and forth as I am a traveling consultant and was on the road every week of the year. This included ice, snow, rain, dirty streets, puddles, airport runs, you name it. No amount of leather protector could have protected the wear and tear I put on my trusty Allens. Finally, most of my Allen Edmonds were leather sole and did not provide very good grip on European brick streets, especially in the rain.
After coming to terms with wanting new dress shoes, I searched many nights online for what I thought was the non-existent shoe. I didn’t want typical rubber soles because they didn’t look very stylish, but didn’t want leather as they don’t provide much grip, especially in places like Eastern Europe where the roads can be very rough and uneven. I also felt like €500ish was too much to pay for what I was looking for. After doing significant research, I discovered Thomas Bird via reddit and started to do more investigation. The shoe appeared to have everything I wanted and more. The unique sole, fantastic price, high quality leather…I was intrigued. However I am over 2m/6ft 6in with oddly shaped feet so I was not entirely sure what size to get. I emailed Thomas Bird and this is when my interest grew from beyond a high quality shoe to the company overall.
One of the owners, Adam, invited me to meet in person on an upcoming trip to London to view the shoes at a time and place of my choosing in public. We met overlooking the Thames river with the London Eye in the background on a cloudy Saturday where he had 4 styles and 2 different sizes for me to try. He also bought me a coffee which was a nice gesture. Originally thinking I was a size 46 shoe, he brought both 46 and 45s and I am grateful he did. I actually turned out to be better fitted in a size 45. We spent the next 2 hours together discussing shoes, the company and his aspirations. In my generation of expeidency and scouring online for the best deals, it was a pleasure to sit and chat about the shoes first.
To the shoes: Wow. I was amazed. The quality of the leather was unparalled to any shoe I have ever owned, even my Allen Edmonds. It was simply gorgeous. I was also a huge fan of the unique rubber/leather sole design that would provide me grip on European streets while providing the stylish look of a leather sole. The shoe design was unequiovocally Italian and just what I was looking for to upgrade my European look. I can absolutely verify these shoes are a fantastic ratio of price to quality. That day with Adam, I decided to purchase two paris, one Benson Wholecut in Black and one Benson Wholecut in Tan. I am incredibly happy with my shoe purchase overall and wear them almost on a daily basis when I go into the office.
The minor quip I mentioned above is due to the leather insole inside the shoe, starting at the mid foot. Unfortunately, the glue holding the insole has started to come undone after only a few weeks of wear, resulting in the insole starting to flip up at the midpart. This is really only noticeable when I take my foot out of the shoe after wearing them, and does not impact wearing the shoes (as my foot is pressing down on the insole). I am not sure if a stronger glue could be used to hold the insole down. All-in-all, this is a very minor issue and will not prevent me from wearing the shoes going forward.
Pros: • Extremely high end wholecut Italian style shoe • High quality leather • Price (£195.00 per shoe) • Personalized attention from owner to help with sizing and colors • Quick shipping to Netherlands
Cons: • Minor insole issue • Not the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn
Overall – Extremely highly recommended.
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Thomas Bird fits fairly true to size. If in doubt, go half a size smaller. This size guide shows how EU sizes compare to US and UK sizing. Please ask our advice and tell us what you normally wear and we'll be happy to help.