Dan is a budget-savvy young professional looking for quality picks at good prices.
This is a review of the Bruno Marc Snipe Toe line of dress shoes commonly sold on Amazon. They are, in a word, the basement floor of dress shoes ranging from $18–$30. While in some respects, the Bruno Marc dress shoe is a great way to get a decent looking shoe for something far less than the top brand, there are a few drawbacks. As a young professional (on a budget), I've been on the lookout for a great look without breaking the bank. These shoes come close but may not tick all the right boxes for you. In many respects, the look is there, the style is there, but it doesn't quite feel like a good shoe should.
Bruno Marc "Gordon"
The shoe is a leather upper with rather stiff traditional dress laces and a rubber heel and sole. Out of the box, the shoe looks great with the seams all meeting nicely, and rather uncomplicated and clean lines. Unfortunately, the finish is not as robust as other black leather shoes I’ve had before. The polish has chipped or worn off along some of the toe seams. Even with reapplication of polish and some buffing, it serves as a decent cover-up job at best.
The leather itself as held up well and has not lost its shape at all over the last year and a half, even after shoving the shoes on without a shoehorn, which is great considering how much I have worn them. One positive about the “cheap” construction—the soles are rubber rather than leather. While this will most certainly cause some scoffing amongst the traditionalists, the truth is, traction is worth it, especially on damp days. It will also last much longer than a leather sole and may even be easier to replace (although, it would probably be cheaper to buy a new pair altogether). I have noticed that the heels have ground down a bit faster than my other dress shoes (which I rotate regularly).
The Fit & Feel
Here’s where the shoes don’t do as well. While most Amazon buyers agree (over 70 percent) that the shoe fits true to size, that's where the "fit" ended for me.
The heel is unreasonably tall. So tall in fact, that I’ve begun to wonder whether it’s contributing to some of my lower-back pain. I often find myself kicking them off at work when standing, as the hard, platformed feeling becomes a nuisance. It feels like I'm constantly about slide downhill. While they otherwise fit true to size for me, anyone with wide feet may run into trouble as the toe-box narrows very quickly. Like most leather shoes, they started out rather stiff, but the more time I spent in them, the more they molded to my foot shape. In this respect, I can’t tell much of a difference between these $20 shoes and something three or four times more expensive.
Apart from how high the rise is on the back, my other major complaint is that if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, make sure they’re cinched tight. Otherwise, the stiff, rather sharp edges around your ankle will rub aggressively against the back of your heel and cause chaffing. While leather shoes are not known for their breathability, these are especially bad; my feet feel like they’re trapped in a sauna if it’s at all warm outside, or I’m doing a lot of moving in them. The final oddity, and one that may not mean anything to most people as the laces make a strange slapping noise against the shoe, I believe in part because of how high the heel is (and thus how far your front foot has to travel to reach the ground).
For a budget pair of shoes, these hold up alright and are moderately comfortable. But in this instance, you do get what you pay for. While the rubber soles and overall look are high points, ultimately, the elevated heel and less than hardy finish bring this shoe down. You’re probably better off finding a broken-in pair of quality dress shoes at a thrift store or going and head and spending the extra dough for some higher shelf stuff.
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