The Shoe Snob Blog

December 13, 2013

Written by , Posted in News

Massimo Ferrari Review

Massimo Ferrari Spectator oxford

It seems that every month a new brand pops up and smacks us all in the face with some cool shoes. Well this month it is Massimo Ferrari and I must say that I am quite impressed overall with what they are capable of doing.  As I wrote a few weeks ago, Massimo Ferrari is yet another brand sprouting-up out of East Asia and is set to show once more that Europe is not the only place that can make well-made benchgrade RTW shoes. Hailing out of Vietnam with a background as a luxury men’s lifestyle brand, encompassing everything from RTW clothes and shoes to bespoke tailoring, it is quite surprising that for a brand that is not necessarily focused on one particular thing that they manage to be at least getting one of those things right. This is not the case for all brands that make everything but specialize in nothing.

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Curious to know more about them (i.e. fit and quality), they were kind enough to send me a shoe to review, and not only just some RTW shoe, but pretty much whatever I wanted (that being, an MTO). Being the semi-dandy that I can be and having covered all of my bases in the shades of black/brown/burgundy, I decided to get something that spoke volumes on my self-proclaimed exuberant character. And what better to represent that than a lovely 2-tone adelaide? Nothing really. So that’s what I went with, combining colors and materials that I have yet to do at any other point in time. And needless to say, I was quite impressed with how they came out and even more in disbelief with how much I liked the color combination of black and brown sitting together in the same shoe.

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Straight out of the box, the shoes looked and felt like a well-made pair of shoes, being supportive, comfortable and elegant without question. The leather and suede was top notch, I imagine being French (the leather) and English (the suede). The stitching of the upper and finishing of the sole was clean and tidy and the presentation of the packaging was that of a £800 shoe, all but missing a shoehorn or something. But for me that is neither here nor there. What was important was the fact that there really was not one detail that was out of place. And all of that for a shoe that ranges between £240-£260 ($395-$425) and a MTO between £288-£312 (20% mark-up). That is quite impressive and that is what these East Asian factories are bringing to the table. And when comparing the shoes quality to that of an English maker, I would honestly put them up there with all the rest of the makers that sell between £300-£350 (at least from what I saw in my pair).

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What I didn’t like in the shoes were 3 things really and were all a matter of preference. First, I was not crazy about the detailing in which they made the sides of the sole, whereby it came to a point instead of being traditionally flush (straight edge). It seemed a bit too Rock N’ Roll for my liking. But hey, that is just an opinion. Secondly, I felt that in the balance something was not completely right. There seemed to be a bit too much toe spring which to me created a sort of seesaw effect under the ball of the foot. I think that this occurred because the sole of the forefoot area was not completely flush and instead had more of a convex shape were the peak of the convex was dead in the center of the forefoot. Spending too much time around bespoke shoes makes you snobby in details like this.

The last thing was the fact that I felt that the mouth of the shoe (where you put your feet in) was too big. This is great for attempting to fit all feet thus allowing people with wide feet to get inside a non-wide shoe. But it is not good for narrow feet whereby the heel then has more chances of popping out.

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Overall, for the price that they sell it is a great value for money shoe and I would buy them all day long. The only downside is that their online website is still under construction and one can only buy the shoes by email or going to Vietnam. But this does not seem too abnormal these days as many of us are attempting to grow our brands and doing a website properly, takes time. That being, if require further information or wish to make a purchase, the person to contact would be Mr. Antonio Torres and his email is: a.torres@massimoferrari.com.vn

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  • I’m not sure about where they go at that price, where they’re directly up against, say, Carmina, Vass, or the traditional beloveds like Alfred Sargeant or entry-level Crockett & Jones. Heck, they’re head to head with Mr J K Fitzpatrick even! For an unknown quantity with no web presence, I suspect they’re going to have to get a lot more marketing out there, and maybe consolidate in a couple of other international outlets at some point.

    But what I definitely like is your choice of shoe. That colour combination is something I’ve been looking for!

    • TheShoeSnob

      yea, they will have a bit of a journey to start competing in the Western Hemi…..but they seem financially sound so it might not be a problem to get a big marketing project together! I know, this color was surprisingly good, just might done one myself!

  • Matteo

    I don’t like this brand. I’m Italian, and their marketing strategy is uncorrect. The name, “Massimo Ferrari”, is Italian, as it is the motto “calzature artigianali” (artisanal shoes). That flower (unfortunately I don’t know its English name) is the symbol of Florence. In my very humble opinion, this is not correct at all. I would not expect something like “Chang Show, Proudly made in Vietnam”, since I know something made in east Asia has not the appeal an Italian made shoe has, but this seems a way to swindle less prepared customers.
    M.

    • Domino

      Not super relevant to a shoe blog, but for further reference, the “English” name for that flower is just the appropriated French “Fleur-de-lis.”

      Or, apparently, when it’s got the stamens like that, the “Florentine Lily.” But still just a variation on the fleur-de-lis.

    • Samuel Faith

      The owner of this brand is an Italian guy named Luis Antonio Torres, not a local Easy Asian. The brand name is not a marketing trickery, even though the shoe factory and Luis himself reside in Saigon, Vietnam.

    • TheShoeSnob

      whether or not it is really trickery, it’s never going to change. There are certain barriers to entry that unfortunately exist in the shoe industry and your name/idea can hurt you. Unfortunately there is a stigma with east asian produced products that on one hand is completely justified but then makes it hard for good brands from there to actually make a name for themselves….

  • Anand

    agree with matteo. if Asian shoemakers are making a good product & want to improve brand reputation why create a false impression of who they are and their origins.
    saying this though its interesting to note that many French luxury brands imitated English names as 100-150 years ago anglophiles looked towards England as the height of style .. JM Weston springs to mind but there are several French clothing businesses ironically now making clothes of a higher quality than their English counterparts (many of whom are out of business anyway) with a similar history of taking English names. who knows in 200 years maybe Vietnam or a Guangdong will be making the best shoes in the world (although they may incorporate hover technology by then 🙂 )