Yeossal Shoes – The Review
There is a new shoe brand in town and I am here to write about them as they are most certainly worth being written about. Their name is Yeossal and they are a Singaporean shoe brand (and multi-brand shop too) created by 6 friends who were all shoe customers until they decided to become shoe brand owners. Their vision was to create a Handmade shoe but at a super affordable price. And to be honest, they did just that and don’t ask me how! When you see the pictures below and hear the prices, no doubt you will be blown away and probably be on Yeossal’s site picking up your first pair. But allow me to finish my post before you go.
They sent me a few shoes to review so here is my first post on them. The first pair is your standard black oxford shoe. Nothing fancy in terms of style, but certainly fancy in terms of making. As you can see there is a lot of shape to this shoe, as one would expect in a handmade shoe. So here are different areas that I would like to break down:
-As this was your standard punched cap oxford the pattern is hard to go wrong on. One thing that I did notice and I am unsure if they were going for this look or was by accident is that it had a very small facing (this is the lace region for those unfamiliar with the term). Even it though it has your standard 5 eyelets, they are very close together leaving a small facing and little room for error. A high instep might have a problem with this. Other than that, all other proportions and seam placings were spot on with good closing all around (the stitching of the upper)
The sole detailing was very nice with what many shoe lovers expect to see which is a nice deep fiddleback waist colored in the classic black on the waist to make this feature stand out. And it was a deep fiddleback which means handwork had to be done there. Definitely a great feature on this shoe. But and this is personal taste, with a deep fiddleback comes a high heel. For me, the heel was a touch too tall. I am personally not a fan of this Japanese bespoke look, and prefer my heels to be between 1 inch (your standard maker) to 1 and 1/8 inch (more handgrade makers like G&G). This heel is labeled as Cuban on their site and measures at “1 ‘5/16 . But again this is a personal preference. The shape of the heel was beautiful, with a pitched edge, reminiscent of a dress Cuban style and very on point with the quality of making you see in shoes that costs upwards of $1500-$4000. And those are handstacked layers, done piece by piece and not created on a heel block. Very impressive for this price.
The shoe was very clean all around. The sole stitching was perfect. They do a ¾ sole stich by machine (from joint to joint) and then hand stitching in the waist (that’s how they get that tight fiddleback waist). This is certainly most impressive for the price, the amount of handwork they are getting in there. The workers must be fast. The beveled waists are flawless for not being bespoke. And of course, as mentioned above, the heels are spot on. I could not see any real noticeable flaws anywhere so a huge thumbs up on the finishing all around. (any scuffs on the shoe were from shipping)
The fit was what one would expect from a handmade/handgrade shoe: i.e. very fitting with no room for error. I told them that I took a UK6.5 and they sent me a 39. I asked about this and one of the owners stated that they have their own sizing system so do take note on that one. But it was my size and the shoe fit very well. I have shallow toes and it felt great in that region with no excess space. The one area that might have caused me trouble would have been the heel cup. It is very shaped and thus very hugging. In a handmade shoe, this usually equates some hardcore breaking in and blistering. But to be honest, this is to be expected as they will have a solid piece of real leather in that heel cup helping to create that beautiful shape. So overall fit was good. Nothing out of the ordinary and fitting well in all of the right places. The only thing you want to watch out for is their sizing which is somewhat different but I am sure that if you are confused you can always email them up and get help.
They told me that the leather was Weinheimer. Now, I use Weinheimer for my shoes as does G&G so I have some experience with it. It seemed quite porous whereas most experiences that I have had with it show me that it is quite the opposite of porous. As I did not keep the shoes to wear them it is hard to understand how this leather would age over time. It didn’t look bad but not sure if it came from the 1st grade hide.
The only real issue and maybe this was because they were just sending me a pair to review, was how the shoes came in the box with hardly any protection at all. And the problem with that is that when you have heavy lasted shoe trees in the shoes, these shoes are going to hit each other during shipment and can potentially do damage to the leather. I shared this feedback with them as I feel that it is super important to a client receiving his shoes and could be a make or break for the customer making a return purchase. Other than that, the shoes were tip top!
For a shoe that costs around $600 USD (priced at $800 SGD ), I must say that this is thoroughly impressive. I mean you can buy Santoni and Ferragamo for that price for thin-soled, Blake stitched and you are getting half the shoe that you are here. They are made in China but as the world has changed drastically this shouldn’t deter anyone as it doesn’t matter where a shoemaker is from anymore as long as the maker has skills and the leather is of the same quality as the European make. And people can go on and on about how much the makers are paid but let me tell you that I worked in Italy and know that the actual makers get paid peanuts there too!! I can say without a shred of doubt, that at $600 this is the best looking shoes that I have EVER seen at that price point (in terms of craftsmanship).