Jack Erwin—A Look at the Affordable Shoe Brand
If you’ve ever had trouble finding shoes that fulfill the shoe holy trinity—stylish, affordable, and comfortable—you’re not alone. Dress shoes can be stiff. Sneakers inappropriate. Orthopedic shoes, ugly. A lot of guys just throw in the towel; looks be damned and go for what’s comfortable. But, Jack Erwin claims they can do it all.
The brand sets out to provide high-quality, well-made shoes at an affordable price. It started as a company that wanted to produce thoughtfully designed products that were not accessible anywhere and is now one of the most well-known shoe brands.
A Bit of Background
Jack Erwin isn’t really about staying abreast of the latest trends. In fact, Jack Erwin is more of a backlash against the current state of menswear.
Founders Ariel Nelson and Lane Gerson created this brand back in 2013, as the two men felt the shoes they wanted to buy didn’t exist. They were either ridiculously expensive or ridiculously over-designed. The brand was created as a way to deliver affordable, high-quality basics to the customer—predictable offerings that lean more toward the minimal than anything.
The brand keeps its designs classic and straightforward, creating a British-meets-Italian aesthetic. Jack Erwin does fill a gap in the market, bridging the gap between pricey, high-end products from major designers and brands and low-quality shoes offered at a lower price point.
How Much Does a Pair of Jack Erwins Cost?
Okay—Jack Erwin shoes are touted as being a low-cost alternative to other dress shoes, but they aren’t exactly $40 in the bargain bin kind of shoes. You can expect to pay about $200 per pair. Not the cheapest, but in the realm of other leather dress shoes, drivers, and mocs, $200 is pretty good.
The company’s direct-to-consumer model allows them to make shoes for $100 and sell them for $200. As a point of reference, a traditional retail model would potentially mark Jack Erwin-esque shoes up to $500 or $600.
What Do They Have?
From lace-ups to loafers to boat shoes and boots, Jack Erwin offers a wide range of men’s footwear for every occasion. These shoes are made of fine-quality materials and crafted with precision and care. But, part of this commitment to caring is adherence to the idea of only doing a few things really well.
Whether you are looking for a pair of formal shoes for a wedding or boat shoes for walks at the park, there’s a shoe for the occasion—but the styles are fairly limited in their scope. For example, shoppers can expect to find chukka boots, Chelsea boots, driving shoes, and dress shoes. It’s enough to round out any man’s wardrobe, but there’s little variation in color or design.
The brand is all about timeless designs that will work with whatever you’ve got on. That said, if you buy all of your shoes from Jack Erwin, you may feel a little bored after a while—there aren’t any unique details on the shoes. No out-of-the-box brogueing, no interesting color combinations, and so on. But, you can’t beat $220 for a pair of leather, lace-up boots or full-grain penny loafers for $195.
Is Jack Erwin Making a High-Quality Shoe?
The makers of Jack Erwin give us some insight into their process through a vintage-y video montage set to “Tip-Toe Through the Tulips.” It’s all very twee and appealing—with a Spanish, old world quality.
But, the question is—does the branding accurately represent the quality? focuses on offering its customers products that they can rely on to make the style statement they want and stylish, timeless designs that will never go out of fashion.
Based on some of the reviews we’ve looked at, it seems that Jack Erwin is generally considered to be good quality. People have the same reaction to the brand as they do others within this price range—those used to high-end, $1,000 oxfords may be disappointed with the way the leather feels. But—plenty of men thought the shoes felt nice, looked great, and wore well—it’s all relative.
Who is Jack Erwin For?
If you are looking for decent-quality shoes at relatively affordable prices, you can trust Jack Erwin to fit the bill. We see this as a go-to brand for a guy that wants some quality basics he doesn’t have to think about too much.
However, this isn’t the brand for the trend chaser—you won’t find fabulous street sneakers or any shoes that fall outside of the brown, tan, black spectrum. Essentially, Jack Erwin is kind of an Everlane or Uniqlo for shoes—timeless, but subtly on trend.