The Shoe Snob Blog

November 5, 2012

Written by , Posted in News

Meermin Mallorca – A Review & Appreciation

For some time now, I have been hearing and reading about this brand called Meermin Mallorca. It would have appeared that not long ago they had just popped onto the scene and had been making major headway, with lots of talk about them through the forums and blogs of the shoe industry. This obviously had piqued my interest, but not so much to really do something about it. But then, a few of you indicated  that you wanted to know more about them, and clearly looked at me for that information. As I write this blog for all of you, I decided to try and do something about it and get a shoe so that I could review the quality and details of it. Now, I am not usually in the habit of asking for stuff for free, but as my days get closer and closer to launching my own line, I simply cannot justify spending money that I need (for rent and my business) on other brand’s shoes. I therefore wrote up Mr. Pepe Albaladejo, explained to him my situation and he kindly agreed to send me a pair (of Linea Maestro’s) so that I could review for all of you, which I found to be very nice of him.

Upon receiving my shoes, I can tell you that I was already pleased with the box that they provided with the shoes. One might not think about it, but subconsciously a box and it’s presentation is quite important and I must say that they packaged it in a way that was nothing short of elegant. The shoes came nicely shined, which indicates good attention to detail and handwork…..and yet another good sign. The only thing that I found strange was that there was one shoe bag instead of two. Maybe it was an oversight? Nevertheless, I was happy with the presentation of it all. I then went on to review the shoe and all of the little details of it. Upon first sight, it looked like a brilliant shoe of good quality and decent attention to detail and in reality it was, only that there were a few minor things that could have been improved. The stitching everywhere, from the welt/sole to the upper was good and free from crooked errors. The finishing on the waist, sole and heel was good, somewhere between a C&J benchgrade and handgrade. Everything big and easily noticeable was good.

Now, the things that could have been improved on were the fact that on both shoes the welt clearly showed where it started and ended (see below), which means that they did not do a great job of gluing it. In theory this should not affect anything as it has been stitched down, but it’s not that nice to look at. Another thing was that the right shoe was quite off balance. This for me, is again something that is not that important (not at this price at least) unless it makes the shoes uncomfortable, but I do know that some people hold this to a high standard. Other than these two aesthetic flaws, the shoe was great and definitely looked as if it was worth more than it’s €260 (£210, $335) price tag. I then wore the shoe for a day and found it to be extremely comfortable. There was no discomfort in breaking them in and the leather seemed to be of tip top quality, as I got the shoes soaked in London showers and after they dried it was as if nothing happened! In reality, there was nothing bad about this shoe, nothing that would make me want to warn any of you. In fact, for the price that the shoe retails at, it was WELL worth every penny and a whole lot more.

Now for those that don’t really know much about Meermin, allow me to explain a little bit. You may have noticed that the owner, Mr. Pepe Albaladejo shares the same surname as the owners of Carmina. This leads most people to believe that they are somehow associated, when in fact the only association between them is ancestry. They have nothing to do with each other and go about things in very different ways. While both brands seemed to have wanted to create the best shoe at the best possible price, Meermin took an approach that was quite different and more risky. What he did was find a workshop/factory in China, went to train them up in order for them to hand-last and hand-welt every shoe in his production. Then once the soles are ready to be put on, they send the shoes back to Spain to have it done on the machines. So in theory, half of the shoe is constructed by hand, but done so in China. This might throw some people off, but if the quality of the work is good, it should not really matter where it was done, so long as it is done right. And because the labor in China is much lower than anywhere else, this allows for Meermin to control his prices and offer something much lower than most, for a shoe that is handgrade and even more. Good business? I think so…..

So, the verdict is that Meermin Mallorca Linea Maestro shoes are very good and definitely worth the price and so much more. I wish them all the best and hope that for all of you that were pondering a pair, that this post has given you what you need to now pull the trigger!

  • Alex B

    At the risk of sounding ignorant, what do you mean by “off balance” in this case?

    Also, as you are always commenting about how narrow and “low volume” your feet are, should the fact that these fit you comfortably be a cause of concern to non-elves?

  • Quick editor comment. Piqued my interest. Not peaked.

  • Hi Justin

    On the subject of reviewing shoes, what is your take on Cheaney’s imperial collection? in terms of materials, quality of construction etc.?

    To an untrained naked eye, some of their attributes like the fiddleback waits and tacked heels appear to be better than higher end models like EG and Lobb. They also appear to have an other layer of leather between the upper and the lining. Your informed opinion would be highly welcome.

  • Anonymous

    Regarding the issue of the ‘ugly’ welt ending issue: The G&G shoes have a very clear-while much neater- separation between the sole and the heel. Does that separation corresponds to where the welt ends?

    EGs and Lobbs have a much more seamless transition between sole and heel, which looks better to me

  • Heard there were a few ‘sole splittings’ in the last few batches; tell us after some wear if this is true thanks 🙂
    P.S.
    Good luck with your line will be sure to buy a pair sometime in future!

  • Alex B

    FunnyBunny – you sure that’s not just the channel opening over the stitching? That’s normal I think.

  • Nice review Justin.

    I’m in the market for a pair of Meermin whole cuts at the moment, but am finding it difficult contacting them. I’ve filled out the contact form on their website a couple of times now, but still no response – any suggestions on the best way to contact them for a purchase?

    Cheers

  • Anonymous

    Danu,
    I filled in the form last Sunday and was contacted the same day by Luisa and the day after by their accountant (Sandro if I remember correctly) and got the invoice. My comunication was really excelent also when I had questions about size.

  • Phillip

    I have a pair of the Rapello suede double-monks and like them a great deal. I’m certainly no expert but in terms of comfort they compare well to my Allen E’s and Church benchgrades (and more comfortable than my Calzados Correa). Less so than my lovely Edward G’s.

    For the money, I think Meermin is an absolute steal. Oh, I also got one shoe bag – it’s odd.

  • Alex B – Not level when sitting on the ground. The point at which the heel and the ball of the feet meet the ground is not balanced which causes the shoe to not be flat when touching the ground, as is the case with the right shoe in the pics of the heels.

    Yes the New Ray last is considered to be narrow, so for big fat feet, they mostly won’t work!

    Eugene – Thanks for that sir!

    Omar – Love the last shapes and finishing, but not crazy about the quality of the leather. It shines nicely, but it also wrinkles very easily…. Definitely don’t think that their fiddleback is nicer than G&G’s….no one’s is…. If you look carefully, the Cheaney fiddleback almost has a drop off to it at the point in which it comes to the heel, where as G&G’s is a steady declination to the heel….there is much more handwork done in G&G’s. I like the imperial line, but I would not rate it even close to the likes of EG, JL or G&G.

    Anon – in theory yes, but the welt might just extend slightly further back…it just depends really. I have not studied G&G’s factory made shoes enough to make an exact answer on this…but I would assume that the little notch that they put is indicating where the welt ends.

    FunnyBunny – Will let you know how they get on. Glad to hear that you are looking forward to the line!

    Danu – I emailed you….hopefully my recommendation helped.

    Anon – Thanks for that info!

    Phillip – Thanks for sharing!

    -Justin

  • Anonymous

    Bought a pair of the black calf monk strap. Very comfortable and sturdy. Looking to buy another pair of shoes from Meermin. Haven’t decided which ones yet. Customer service is great! Sandro is a gentleman and a real class act.

  • Anon – Thanks for sharing…great shoes indeed!

    -Justin

  • Anonymous

    Man panders a shoe company for free shoes. Posts positive review. How surprising.

    • Man goes onto blog of which he does not like the author. Clearly does not read the post, but leaves a smart-ass remark anyway in attempt to undermine author. Fails miserably….typical.

    • steve19999

      Why waste your time writing nonsense on a good, useful blog.

  • David

    Hey Justin,
    What is the fit like? True to size?

    • TheShoeSnob

      David, can only speak for the New Ray last, which is quite narrow….see the Meermin thread on Style Forum for more fit info…

  • Max

    I bought these very shoes along with an other and I am rather happy with them.

    Why I chose Meermin: Decent price for the best they can offer combined with many positive reviews on the net, most importantly on the Shoe Snob.

    Ordering: While ordering I spoke with José and Sandro who are both charming and helpful. I told José I wore 6.5 Loake shoes and he recommended I take 7 for the 102346 monks Justin reviewed above (E- last) and 6.5 for the 102470 burgundy Oxfords (E last). Because the monks were available in stock I received them first. I felt I would fit better in half a size above and asked Sandro to change my order for the Oxfords to a 7 but decided to keep the monks. Sandro also kindly agreed to have a burgundy belt made for me (not available on their site). VAT was automatically deduced before shipping which is nice but unfortunately handling fees by FedEx almost cost as much since the shoes were sent in two separate shipments.

    Reception monks: Packing was absolutely fine and to my pleasant surprise there was a pair of shoe trees for which I was not billed. As mentioned above the shoes were rather tight.

    Reception oxfords: Packing was fine but no shoe trees this time. The belt was in there as expected.

    Experience monks: With regular care they have maintained very well over the past month. The shoes have taken the shape of my foot and don’t feel as tight as they did in the beginning. I feel the heels are taller than those of any other shoe I have which is nice. The only flaw worth mentioning here is the fact that the shoe trees do not fit the shoes’ shape very well which is a bit of a shame. However bizarre this may sound I would really not recommend buying Meermin’s shoe trees for their shoes even though the quality of the product is fine.

    Experience oxfords: These shoes have also kept very well over time keeping in mind I have had them for slightly less time than the monks. The leather is much less supple than that of the monks and the oxfords also feel lighter then the monks. The burgundy is definitely not as red as it appear on the site and is in fact much closer to a dark brown which is a bit of a shame. I have been shining them with burgundy polish hoping to make up for the missing red tint I was looking for. The marks you see on the oxfords come from using Swimms galoshes. I don’t know if this means that the dye is poor, that the galoshes are badly made or a combination of both.

    Experience belt: As requested it is the same leather (colour at least) as the shoe which is good. However, the belt feels a bit cheap. The inside of the belt cracks and becomes white every time a try to slip it into one of the loops.

    Overall: I am extremely happy with these shoes and have already recommended to many of my friends. Except to those who cannot afford not to try the shoes before buying. My father settled for a pair of Lodings (similar pricing) which are quite nice though I don’t think as good as the Meermins. I will definitely stick to Meermin for one or two more pairs.

    Room to improve:

    – I would like to have an easier way to get the shoe size exactly right with 100% certainty.

    – The quality of the accessories should be on par with the shoes which is currently not the case (shoe trees don’t fit and belt feels cheap).

    – I would also like a more user friendly site and ordering process that retains the wonderful personal contact with Sandro or José. I can’t see my father ordering shoes on there on his own. I don’t think the early 2000s look of the site inspires a huge amount of confidence from potential new buyers.

    – It would also be nice to see an evolving collection with new models and perhaps even special editions in both the 160 € range as well as the 240 € range.

    • TheShoeSnob

      Thanks for sharing Max. I am sure that it was very useful for those out there looking to purchase Meermin

  • steve19999

    Hello Justin, what about the quality of the leather uppers? How does it compare to English shoes. Just for example say C+J bench grade. Price wise, they seem cheap, are you getting something that compares with C+J, or are you just getting a pair of shoes similar to what you can buy in a high street store like Jones?

    • TheShoeSnob

      The quality was quite good on these ones. They are Freudenberg leather which is a very reputable tannery for black calfskin so I can say that it was comparable to what I have seen in English makes like C&J. But I cannot speak for the rest of the leather. But from their descriptions on the site for what leathers they use, it all seams to be good stuff, definitely not like a Jones shoe, that is just rubbish leather, if it even is…….in reality, we all share the same stuff, it just differs on who uses what parts of it and who gets the highest grades… See this post here: http://www.theshoesnobblog.com/2013/06/leather-quality-how-it-varies.html

  • Al

    I bought a pair of Meermin’s DARK BROWN CALF shoes. They are as pretty as uncomfortable. After having wearing them for half a day I had to leave the office because my heels were literally bleeding. I then went to a shoe shop to soften the shoe’s back heel. They were surprised of how stiff the leather was. I wrote to Meermin´s customer service to share my experience, sent them a picture, and kindly asked them to get a refund or replacement. They answered me with a template email refusing to refund. If you want quality shoes and want to avoid feet injuries, I would recommend to look elsewhere.

  • rhone04

    How are the shoes now as of 2016?

    • kenny johnson

      hope the reply above helps

  • kenny johnson

    ive just bought two pairs from there stock shoes and have a mto pair on order imo as good as barker herring and church that i have
    size wise in my british shoes 8.5 fits perfect in meermin i have a nine and there tight at first but the leather quicky gives to a perfect fit

  • kenny johnson

    My two recent pairs

  • s

    This is a HORRIBLE company. They sent me defective shoes and I sent them the pictures of defects and asked for replacement. They said they would arrange for pickup and replacement. Its been more than a week and they neither arrange for pickup nor reply my email. I have also communicated via facebook with no luck. I don’t know what to do with the defective shoes. BEWARE OF MEERMIN!

  • Ian Brindley

    Awful company – if you have any sort of problem their customer service doesn’t give a damn. Their shoes are made in china and it shows – rock hard leather, very small sizes, very uncomfortable much lower quality than the Indian made Loakes. Save your money and go elsewhere. GARBAGE