Paul Parkman – A Shoe Review
Shoes made out of Turkey has become another population destination for intricate shoe design and construction, as these Turkish factories offer everything under the sun. Paul Parkman was one of the original brands to come out with Turkish made shoes and have done a great job at creating a very sought after brand for those that like shoes on the more bold side of things.
Paul Parkman was kind enough to send me a shoe for review so that I could share my thoughts to the shoe lovers of the world that have been curious about their footwear. Being a relatively classic guy, I picked one of their more traditional looking pairs, a rustic patina’d suede penny loafer that I feel has worldwide appeal and looks good with many types of outfits. Here I will lay out my opinion on the quality, value, comfort and style of the pair presented.
Quality – Construction/Finishing
Paul Parkman runs their company somewhat MTO like where they present their models but can make them in any type of construction you wish, from cemented, to blake, to blake rapid and finally goodyear welted. The pair they sent me was handstitched Blake Rapid, although this model is presented as ‘goodyear welted’ on the website. So if you were to order this and wanted the Handstitched Blake Rapid option, you would need to request that. Now, I won’t actually claim to be an expert of Blake Rapid construction as I normally wear and review welted shoes, but the feel was very reminiscent of the pair of Italigente shoes that I reviewed way back, also being blake rapid.
Blake Rapid shoes tend to have the look of a welted shoe and also usually always feel solid like they will last you a long time. But being blake rapid, and unlike goodyear welted, they are flexible i.e. not really having any break-in time. Putting those two ideas together you get what most want: A strong pair of shoes that won’t break your feet in. And that is what these feel like: Solid yet comfortable. On a quality feel, it is there.
The finishing is what was questionable. But again, my judgment has also taken into account the model. If you look at the model from afar, it is a rustic looking patina’d suede loafer. It is not supposed to be as clean as a G&G shoe, but rather have a smart yet rugged look. Which shows greatly in the finishing as there were many parts that looked done in a rush, as you can see from the pictures. While going for a certain look is one thing, still maintaining cleanliness to the finishing is another. This is one thing that I felt lacked from a shoe of this price point as essentially that is what you are paying past a certain price. Overall, the shoe is good in terms of durability and construction, but a small lack of carefulness in the finishing was obvious and could be worked on.
Paul Parkman has a strange sizing in terms of EU numbers that correlate to US/UK. I am either a UK6.5/UK7 (if narrow) or US7.5/US8. This normally correlates to an EU40/40.5 depending on how large they run. But in these loafers I am a 39 and the fit was spot on. They fit similar to my brand’s loafers in UK7 (in theory 41), so in reality took 2 sizes down from my typical EU size. Therefore when ordering, beware of this as they run very very large. But I have to say that they fit like a glove. They were snug in the right way, cause zero discomfort anywhere and while being an elongated last, did not look ‘long’ by any means.
What I actually loved about this shoe was its rustic look. I don’t often wear suits so most of my attire is geared towards a smart casual look. That being, I wear a lot of jeans and chinos. And this pair suited those needs to a T! Its darker patina on the snuff suede color really appeals to my denim type of style and allows one to wear it more casually but being able to maintain a smart shoe to a relaxed feel. That’s what I love about suede loafers and even more so one that has this deep patina look.
You often cannot go wrong with a loafer like this. Its versatility is unmatched for those that do not require daily oxford wear. The beauty of a good loafer it that it usually transcends most of the rules of style as its ability to be paired with nearly any outfit outside of a black suit is second to none!
At $650 for a welted version of these, I would say that you are getting a solid shoe. As long as the finishing gets stepped up a bit I feel that it would be a good proposition as essentially what they have is a handgrade level of craftmanship, from a beveled waist, to a closed channel sole, nails in the sole and good quality leather/suede etc. I feel that they are geared more towards the Santoni/Ferragamo customer or those that typically find themselves wearing that more Italian style look. And if deciding between a thin-soled blake stitch shoe and a more robust, solid shoe like this, well I would put my money here.
I hope that this helps some of you that have been wondering about this brand, know a bit more about what you can expect.
The link to these loafers is HERE