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HomeFashionIn-Depth Beckett Simonon Shoes Review (2024 Update)

In-Depth Beckett Simonon Shoes Review (2024 Update)

Is Beckett Simonon Superior to Allen Edmonds?

In the landscape of contemporary menswear, phrases like ‘direct-to-consumer’ and ‘quality’ reign supreme, often accompanied by descriptors such as ‘ethical’, ‘sustainable’, and ‘made in small batches’. These terms serve as distinguishing factors in an era where heritage brands face increasing scrutiny. Beckett Simonon is among the brands capitalizing on this trend.

Originating in the early 2010s, this boutique leather goods manufacturer has matured to offer a comprehensive selection of affordably priced dress shoes, loafers, boots, sneakers, and bags.

In this thorough evaluation, we delve into the narrative behind Beckett Simonon, dissect their ordering and manufacturing procedures, and scrutinize some of their most sought-after styles. We aim to provide insights into what sets them apart, what areas they may fall short in, and ultimately, how they measure up against the iconic presence of Allen Edmonds.

An Overview Of Beckett Simonon

Nicholas Hurtado and Andrés Niño, longtime friends and former proprietors of a small leather goods venture named “Hasso,” encountered the intricacies of the retail industry firsthand. Despite Hasso’s success, the duo witnessed the less savory aspects of retail operations.

Their products, sold through third-party vendors, often incurred exorbitant markups, reaching up to six, eight, or even ten times the manufacturing cost. These inflated prices were largely driven by the necessity to cover expenses related to storing unsold inventory. This predatory pricing model not only exploited consumers but also resulted in wastage across the production and supply chain. Moreover, the culture of instant gratification fostered by the ‘need-it-now’ mentality led to a devaluation of the products themselves.

Recognizing the flaws within the traditional retail paradigm, Hurtado and Niño envisioned a more equitable and sustainable approach. Thus, Beckett Simonon was born, driven by a commitment to transparency, fairness, and quality craftsmanship.

The Importance of Sustainable Fashion

Beckett Simonon’s inception was rooted in a profound reverence for our planet, ethical supply chains, and the skilled artisans behind every product. However, its name draws inspiration from an eclectic fusion of literature and punk rock. “Beckett” pays homage to the eminent Irish poet, playwright, and Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett, while “Simonon” tips its hat to Paul, the acclaimed bassist of The Clash.

In 2012, when the company embarked on its journey, founders Hurtado and Niño boldly priced their shoes at a mere $79. Their approach lacked the spectacle of Kickstarter campaigns or flashy launch videos, relying instead on serendipitous networking and word-of-mouth referrals. Yet, propelled by a stroke of luck and strategic connections, the inaugural production run of 1,000 pairs of shoes swiftly sold out within a month. While initial reviews touted the shoes’ commendable quality given their sub-$100 price tag, they were not deemed extraordinary.

As demand surged and acclaim spread, Beckett Simonon reinvested in its products, procured superior materials, and continuously honed its designs, expanding its range in the process.

Today, the brand stands as a beacon of niche craftsmanship, boasting a devoted following among discerning menswear aficionados who seek meticulously crafted footwear without the exorbitant price tags typically associated with luxury brands.

Where Are Beckett Simonon Shoes Made?

In an era of intense competition where “Made in Italy” or “Made in Spain” still hold particular esteem, Beckett Simonon manufactures their shoes in Bogota, Colombia. While the country flies somewhat under the radar, it has a rich heritage in fine leatherwork.

By vertically-integrating the supply chain, the company is able to avoid many of the costs associated with third-party manufacture and storage of goods. More importantly, they believe they’re able to have more complete oversight of the process and quality assurance.

Are Beckett Simonon Shoes Goodyear Welted?

In an industry where labels like “Made in Italy” or “Made in Spain” still carry significant prestige, Beckett Simonon diverges by crafting its shoes in Bogota, Colombia. Despite flying somewhat under the radar, Colombia boasts a rich heritage in exquisite leather craftsmanship.

By vertically integrating their supply chain, the company circumvents the expenses linked to third-party manufacturing and warehousing. Moreover, this approach affords them comprehensive oversight over the entire production process, ensuring meticulous quality control every step of the way.

The Process: How Long Does It Take?

Beckett Simonon shoes are meticulously crafted predominantly by hand or with the assistance of hand-operated precision machinery. Skilled artisans trace and delicately cut the upper outlines before affixing them to the last. While stitching is facilitated by the McKay machine, the placement of nails is a manual endeavor. Following assembly, the uppers are left on the last for a duration of 72 hours, allowing them to air-dry naturally rather than expediting the process with artificial means. With each shoe undergoing approximately 150 intricate steps, witnessing the production process is oddly gratifying.

Until as recently as 2019, the turnaround time from order to delivery stood at a brisk 60 days. However, the persistent disruptions caused by COVID-related supply chain challenges, coupled with the company’s expanded scale of production, have elongated the timeline. At present, it typically takes around 120 days from order placement to receipt of the finished product.

Yet, such extended timelines are inherent to many made-to-order operations. This deliberate pace serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it aligns with the ethos of sustainable fashion, mitigating the environmental toll of garment production. Secondly, it encourages consumers to invest in pieces for their wardrobe that transcend fleeting trends, fostering a more enduring relationship with their clothing. Lastly, from a business perspective, the made-to-order model minimizes excess inventory, thereby reducing overhead costs associated with storage, expenses that would otherwise be passed on to the consumer.

Beckett Simonon Oxfords

Quality & Construction

Having been fortunate to sample and wear a number of the company’s Oxfords over the last three or so years, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on the materials and build. Let’s cover them here.

beckett simonon dean oxford in black leather

While Hurtado and Niño used Argentinian leather in the early days, they’ve moved away from it  because it just didn’t live up to either customer expectations or their own. Today, Beckett Simonon uppers are made using full-grain calfskin from Gruppo Mastrotto, a tannery based in Arzignano, Italy.

The leather is, from my armchair quarterback perspective, excellent for a $200 shoe. It’s supple and pliable, and there are no visible blemishes, pockmarks, or signs of sanding or grinding to remove imperfections.

The midsoles are fully lined in full-grain Vachetta leather. There is some natural cushioning, but there’s no cork midsole conforming to your foot the way, say, a pair of Allen Edmonds would.

Tony Gorga wearing Beckett Simonon Oxford shoes

The outsoles are leather as well. They’re made from what is, essentially, a blend of bovine leathers compressed together using natural binders of mimosa, quebracho wood, and chestnut.

With that said, these are still $200 shoes and, despite cutting out middlemen and running a lean operation, manufactured to hit that mark. So, compared with a shoe retailing for around $400, the leather will likely not be as thick or as supple.

Construction is, frankly, excellent. The stitching is just as tight and even as some of my far more expensive pairs. I’ve experienced stitched shoes where shoddy workmanship has resulted in excess stitching poking the balls of my feet when walking. This isn’t the case here. And, each pair of Oxfords I’ve had has held up beautifully over the nearly three years I’ve had some of them.

Heel cup of the Beckett Simonon Dean Oxford

However, I would resist the temptation to polish too frequently. Each of my smooth leather Oxfords have arrived beautifully polished and coated with carnauba wax. But, in an attempt to take one pair’s shine to the next level, I found quite a bit of the polish came off! A clear coat restored most of the luster, though.

Comfort & Fit

“Comfort” is always a difficult topic to discuss, especially around shoes. Some guys like their shoes like a pair of raw denim — something  broken in over a few wearings to conform to the contours of their feet. Others want a soft, squishy kind of ride right out of the box. Me? I’m somewhat in-between. I recognize truly high-quality leather may take a little to break in. But, I’m not willing to sit through a week of blisters on my heels.

Beckett Simonon has built in a nifty detail to counter this common problem in dress shoes. The inside of the heel has a little patch of roughout leather stitched into it. This creates a surface for your socks to catch and stop sliding around as you walk. No slipping, no rubbing, and no blisters.

I found Beckett Simonon Oxfords to be pretty comfortable out of the box. It was quite tight on the vamp for the first couple of hours and left quite a big gap in the facing. But, with little time, the leather began to stretch and mold to my foot. By the third or fourth wearing things had loosened up quite nicely and the upper had begun to mold around my foot. Six wearings in, they began to feel like an old friend.

That is, of course, when I found the right fit for me. I’m a 10B on a Brannock device, which means I need a narrow shoe. While I do appreciate the narrow waist on Beckett Simonon’s Oxfords, they only come in standard “D” widths and are loosely based on Allen Edmonds’ 65 last (what the classic Allen Edmonds Park Avenue sits on.)

Wearing the Durant Oxford Shoes

A standard 10 in these shoes is okay for me lengthwise, but leaves quite a bit of gapping around the mouth. If you’ve got an average width foot, you should be just fine with your normal size. But, my narrow foot means I need to take a full size down to a 9. Even with that, I’ve got plenty of room to wiggle my toes around — and no gapping at the sides. If you’re a fella with a wider foot, try going half a size up on the lace-ups.

Style & Design

Beckett Simonon’s Oxford selection has seemingly doubled even in the last three years. What was once just captoes and wingtips is up to, at the time of writing, 12 styles to include austerity Oxfords, two kinds of Adelaides, and wholecuts. They’re offered in five different colorways, from a classic black to not-quite-brown-not-quite-tan “oak” finish.

Beckett Simonon seems to be able to roll out so many varieties because they use a similar last for many of the models. Look at the tip of the toe box and you’ll see a slightly raised ‘bump’ on nearly all of them. It would appear both easy and cost-effective to spin up a new variant.

This isn’t to say these are cookie-cutter shoes, though. While at first glance, these look to be classic Oxfords in a kind of hybrid between English and American styles, each one of the Oxfords has its subtleties.

Consider the most conservative of these- the “Dean” in black. The toe cap extends much further up the vamp than Allen Edmonds’ Park Avenue model. This gives the impression of a longer, more elegant shape to the foot.

Beckett Simonon Loafers

Quality & Construction

The loafers from Beckett Simonon are made with the same Italian leather as the Oxfords. I’ve found the materials to be of similar quality, if not better. The upper on my current pair is actually quite soft, and feels marginally thicker than my Oxfords. The sole is the same leather mixture as the Oxfords. And, the lining is the same as well. The stitching is the same consistent, even spacing all the way through. The heel is nicely secured.

The only issue with the loafers comes from the horsebit itself. The hardware feels a little cheap and can jingle annoyingly when I walk up steps. That’s a minor quibble if anything, though.

Comfort & Fit

I took the same size (9) in the loafers as I did in the lace-ups. As a guy with feet that are not only narrow but quite flat, loafers are usually the most difficult to find the right fit in many standard/D width shoes. If I find the right length, it’s usually too wide and gaps at the side when I walk. Sizing down can solve that problem, but can also pinch my toes.

Beckett Simonon Loafers

This last, in a 9, is definitely shorter than my dress shoes in the same size. As a result, my toes come a little closer to the end than I’d prefer. But, wearing thin dress socks or even going sockless has largely dealt with the issue. If you’ve got an average foot, though, taking your normal loafer size will be just fine.

Style & Design

Beckett Simonon offers two very different styles of loafers. The “Beaumont” is a classic penny loafer shape with a horsebit detail, and the “Bernard” tassel loafer and  “Cohen” penny loafers have elongated toe boxes.

Horsebit detail on Beckett Simonon loafers

The Beaumont’s shape and detailing is reminiscent of the iconic Gucci 1953 loafer. A slightly shorter toe box and smaller vamp means it isn’t quite as streamlined as the original, but the homage is definitely clear. True menswear nerds may be able to spot the differences, but the general public will consider them an interesting pair of shoes.

That’s especially true if you get them in “pull-up” leather. Also called waxed leather and similar to the name-brand ChromExcel, this is a finishing technique where hot oils and waxes are applied to the hide during the tanning process, which can take as long as six weeks to do. What results is a unique effect where you can see the oils move around in the leather when it is pulled or stretched- hence the name. It’s usually applied to work boots and bags, but could make for an interesting finish on some loafers.

The Bernard and Cohen models are slightly more unusual, and I must admit I’m not a fan. They look nice in the product photos, but just don’t sit right with me when I put them on. The toe box is too long and makes my foot look boat-like. The tassel on the Bernards look out of place, as if the styling is trying too hard to be ‘classic’ and ‘modern’ at the same time. And, the heel is far too clunky for a refined shoe.

Scaling each of these features down — a shorter toe box, less-dandy tassel, and a more elegant shape on the heel would make for a far better shoe. In short, the Allen Edmonds Grayson model.

Beckett Simonon Boots

Quality & Construction

A good quality boot should be in every man’s wardrobe. Ideally, they should be welted, with a full-grain leather upper, stacked leather heel, brass or other metal eyelets and speed hooks, and durable rubber outsole. Of course, these can come in at quite the cost, with many retailing for north of $400 or,  in some cases, $500 or more. How does Beckett Simonon stack up?

Beckett Simonon suede boots

Beckett Simonon’s boots are not welted, but instead Blake stitched like their dress shoes. On one hand, this may lack some of the branding and shelf appeal that a Goodyear welted boot would have. On the other, the stitching may actually help the boots break in more quickly. In my experience, it hasn’t really made a great deal of difference. I’ve worn a pair of the Dowler boots for nearly a year now and the construction has held up beautifully.

Though it seems somewhat contradictory, I’d always wanted to try a pair of suede boots. The boot, of course, is designed to be functional and take quite the beating. How would a more delicate material like suede hold up, particularly in adverse weather conditions?

I’m pleased to report this has been successful. The suede on my pair is an excellent blend of being soft while maintaining its shape. It isn’t as nappy as some of my suede dress shoes (including my pair of Beckett Simonon suede Oxfords), but I suppose that’s a trade-off for weatherproofing the uppers.

The hardware is also a place where brands can cut corners, and it doesn’t look like Beckett Simonon did that here. The brass backing on the eyelets are securely in place, and I couldn’t bend the speed hooks even if I tried.

Two minor gripes on construction: First, while the SBR rubber sole is fine enough and has performed well, I have felt soles of better quality and slightly better traction at similar price points. Secondly, the pull tab at the back also feels thin and kind of cheap. But, as I’ve been able to pull the boots on without it, it’s far from a dealbreaker for me.

Comfort & Fit

As with the dress shoes, I’ve found Beckett Simonon’s boots to be quite comfortable. Like the shoes, there’s no cork midsole or foam layer on the inside. But, the leather lining is more than soft enough, and there’s plenty of padding to cushion the ride.

This lack of a foam layer on the inside has actually been a good thing. For instance, I’ve had a pair of Thursday Boots with a ‘comfort strip’ of EVA foam layered underneath a leather lining. While, in theory, it’s a great idea (and results in a supremely comfortable boot at first), after about six to eight months of wear, that strip compresses and results in a pretty firm ride in the end.

I also found the fit on my boots to be a little different than the lace-ups and loafers. In most cases, taking a half-size smaller on boots is usually a good rule to follow. While a 9 is definitely my size in Oxfords and probably my best size in the loafers, I was mistakenly sent a 9.5 in the boot. I tried them on and, to my delight, they fit wonderfully with a pair of boot socks. I suspect the reason is the higher shaft on the boot mitigates any potential gapping issues. However, if you have standard ‘D’ width fit, taking your normal boot size should be just fine.

Style & Design

Like their Oxford selection, Beckett Simonon offers quite the range of boots in smooth leather, pull-up leather, and suede. There’s my Dowler, which is a slightly refined combat-style boot. Then, there are wingtips, derby-style boots, Chelseas, dress boots, and one appearing to be a more refined version of Alden’s iconic “Indy” boot.

All this choice can be kind of overwhelming — but, from my outside view, it looks like bootmaking is where the company has really invested their R&D. It’s safe to say, then, Beckett Simonon will likely have a boot to suit your style.

Colorways are offered in mostly the same names and finishes as their dress shoes. I found my ‘chesnut’ colorway on the Dowler to have a slightly orangish undertone. While that’s something I wouldn’t seek out in my dress shoes or loafers, I think it lends a rugged appeal.

Beckett Simonon Vs. Allen Edmonds

Now, let’s consider Beckett Simonon against the perennial powerhouse of Allen Edmonds in the same categories of Quality, Construction, Fit, and Design.

A favorite of US Presidents and business executives, Allen Edmonds is a heritage brand long-regarded for its quality materials and attention to detail. As the primary supplier of boots and shoes to the US Army during the Second World War, the company gained a loyal following that continued well into the 1980s and 1990s. However, with increasingly relaxed workplace dress codes and the retirement of much of their customer base, the brand had to reinvent itself to target a younger audience as it approached its 100th anniversary in business.

Such change hasn’t come easy. Allen Edmonds  was bought by a private equity firm in 2013 and then sold in 2016 to Caleres, the parent shoe company of brands like Sam Edelman, Famous Footwear, and Naturalizer. But, quality control issues had been looming since before the sales, and many longtime fans began to take notice.

Today, the brand is doubling down on “Made in America” and relying on their heritage as an iconic American company. The vast majority of the shoes are still produced in Port Washington, Wisconsin, though a small number of them are at least partially constructed in the Dominican Republic.

While they aren’t as transparent as Beckett Simonon on where they source their calfskin from (the website just says “ultra-refined, premium European calfskin uppers…whatever that means), they are at least full-grain. AE does say, however, where their other materials come from: the suede is from England’s CF Stead and the shell cordovan from Chicago’s Horween tannery.

In my experience, Allen Edmonds still does produce quality footwear with good materials. While I no longer have any of their Oxfords in my collection, I do have two pairs of Grayson loafers. The leather upper is noticeably thicker than Beckett Simonon, and the colorways  a little richer. The upper takes and holds polish better, too, producing an attractive shine.

As for construction, the 48 pairs of hands and 212 steps have done a good job on both of my current pairs. The stitch density is tight and even, the Goodyear welt is well done, and the stacked heel is securely nailed in. Each pair has held up well through a few years of wear, and I have the feeling they’ll last for quite a few more.

I’ve also found my Allen Edmonds pairs to be quite comfortable, but not measurably more than my Beckett Simonon ones. Brand loyalists rave about the cork midsole, but I consider it more a ‘nice-to-have’ than a necessity. But, at the end of a long day on your feet walking a tradeshow floor, it is really, really nice to have!

Fit is an area where Allen Edmonds has a clear advantage over Beckett Simonon. They offer anything from a 5AAAA (extra narrow) to 16EEE (extra wide). Beckett Simonon isn’t able to compete with that as they only offer standard D width. As mentioned earlier, I’ve not had any issues taking a smaller size to accommodate my narrow foot- but it is nice to be able to order a 10B from Allen Edmonds and know it will fit.

Allen Edmonds offers Oxfords, Derbies, Loafers, Sneakers, and Boots in a wide range. They are quite conservative in their style and design, though, and the lasts are definitely less elegant across the board than Beckett Simonon’s. But, they’re classic for a reason, and will look just as stylish 10 years from now.

I prefer the styling on Beckett Simonon’s Dean Oxford to Allen Edmonds’ Park Avenue. For me, the toe cap is oddly short, leading to a kind of squat and stubby look. However, I’d choose the Allen Edmonds Grayson for a pair of tassel loafers and the Dalton for a pair of wingtip dress boots.

Bottom Line: Are Beckett Simonon Shoes Worth It?

Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and your style. Is a pair of Beckett Simonon shoes, at roughly half the retail price of Allen Edmonds, worth the wait?  If you have standard D width feet, probably.

Allen Edmonds still does make a very good shoe with excellent materials. But, given recent quality control issues, $395 for a pair of Oxfords is pretty steep. However, during one of their spring and fall sales events, you can snag a pair of dress shoes for around $250.

With Beckett Simonon, you’re going to get a shoe with excellent materials and construction. The designs are fresh and modern, but still versatile with a full range of Oxfords, Loafers, and a wide variety of boot styles even many global brands don’t offer. And, like most brands these days, the MSRP isn’t the end price. The company will send you a code for 20% off for simply entering your email, which takes you well south of $200.

It is also worth considering the lead time. Allen Edmonds has many retail locations around the United States, and it’s easy to go in, get sized, and walk out with your new pair. If they don’t have your width in store or available online, one can be made and shipped to you in under a month. Beckett Simonon takes between three and four months to arrive. While some may balk at this prospect, I’m actually in agreement with the rationale.

Waiting for your purchase encourages one to be more intentional with what they buy. If you’re buying from Beckett Simonon, you’ve likely taken the time and effort to browse the site and come up with a variety of ways to wear your shoes. Versatile shoes get worn instead of taking up space on your shelf and, ultimately, ending up in a donation pile or in landfill.

But, good materials, great design, a great message, and accessible price point don’t mean much if the shoe doesn’t fit. If you have quite narrow or quite wide feet, Beckett Simonon isn’t a realistic option for you yet. I’ve found I can get a good fit and accommodate my narrow feet by taking a whole size down — but you may have issues. If that’s the case, Allen Edmonds truly is one of the companies still able to adequately size such a broad range of men, and will be your go-to.

For me, though, this upstart company with a good message gives the stalwart brand quite a run — and is well worth it.

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