Barbanera – The Review
Let me start off by saying that the pictures in this post don’t do the boots justice. It was with my old camera and in a place with terrible lighting. In hindsight, I should have taken them all outside. Nevertheless, here is the review of my first pair of Barbanera boots.
I had taken receipt of these Kerouac boots at the beginning of the this year, having only got to wear them a couple of times (before Spring hit) and therefore missed out on getting up a review in time for people actually thinking about buying boots. So here we are now, the sun is going down more and more each day which leaves us in daily temperature drops and the desire to wear warm, comfy rubber soled shoes/boots. I thought that now would be the right time to share my experience to the world about Barbanera shoes.
At first site, the Barbanera shoes looked a bit bulbous in the last shape for my personal taste (at the time they only had one classically round last). But after having received the boots, looking down at them I was pleasantly surprised to know that my fears were only misconceptions. Don’t get me wrong though, they are a very classic, round last, but not so much so that you would be put off by them. But of course, this is all a matter of personal preference. The shape, as indicated by Sergio Guardi (one of the founders) was made to be comfortable, and shaped like an actual foot. And I must admit that the boots that I have are among the most comfortable pairs of shoes that I own and actually fit very well in a standard UK6.5E (my common size, but fit better than most other uk6.5’s).
The quality of the shoes was evident. Made in Tuscany (Italy – the region that Florence is in) in a factory that specializes in Goodyear welted production, it could be easily mistaken for an English made shoe (as Italian made shoes are usually different in construction/making style). To be honest there really wasn’t anything wrong with them. Of course in most benchgrade shoes you will find little things here and there, but they are things that you should expect as benchgrade shoes will never be perfect. One little bit was a part of the welt not entirely dyed (as shown in one picture in the toe region – above) but this was no big deal. Another was a small mark on the suede, but also something that I knew would go away with wear. Other than that, the shoes were brilliantly made, felt amazing (and durable) and wear very well.
I know that my reviews are getting briefer and briefer and mostly positive but allow me to say the following. If a shoe is made well and feels good, there is no need to break down every aspect of them. The pictures should help you see the details. I am no longer that interested in the small aesthetic details that may or may not always be perfect, not in anything shy of a £1000 shoe because in benchgrade shoes, it is not all about the aesthetic detail (as that is what separates them from handgrade) but more about the quality versus price ration. So what is most important in my opinion, is the question: ‘Is this shoe worth the money it costs?’ And for Barbanera, I can say YES. It is a very well made, comfortable shoe that offers handgrade details at benchgrade prices. And starting from €475 (~£335), you get every penny’s worth!
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And FYI for the natural haters out there that will say that I only do good reviews, it is because what you don’t realize is that I get a million brands asking me for a review of their products and I reject 90% of them as I know that if I won’t like a shoe, then there is no reason for me to waste my time (or their money in sending me a pair) to review one. So please, save the pointless commentary for someone who cares.