It’s not every day that great new footwear brands pop up, but sometimes the universe is on your side and makes it happen.
As you may know from previous articles, I am a shoe fanatic with years of experience in the footwear industry. I dare say that for someone who isn’t a cordwainer or cobbler, I know my stuff.
That’s why I was so excited when we got the opportunity to review the Leo shoe from Grant Stone. Though my footwear collection is well over sixty pairs at this point, I’ve never owned a pair of longwings. It’s a box I’d been meaning to check off for a few years now, and I’m happy to have done so.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the shoe. Though the fit on my foot isn’t quite what the company described it would be, I found the shoes to be well-constructed, good-looking, and comfortable. See my full review below.
Grant Stone “Leo” Longwing Review
When I first saw these shoes, I was disappointed. As you can see, the toe shape is quite round, almost bulbous. As a guy who’s 5’4″ on a tall day, I’ve always been hesitant to wear such shoes for fear that they’d make me look like a dwarf in clown shoes.
Note to self: Should I ever pen an autobiography, name it A Dwarf In Clown Shoes: The Michael Oxman Story.
I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong, but I was wrong. They looked good!
As was the case with my J.Fitzpatrick boots, this was a high-quality box. The cardboard was thick and heavy-duty, well-equipped to house the substantial shoes inside it.
I was immediately impressed with the contents of the box, which were:
- The shoes themselves, wrapped in plastic for protection.
- Branded tissue paper.
- Branded flannel shoe bags with a wooden toggle closure. Nice touch, fellas.
- An extra set of laces.
- A travel-sized metal shoe horn inside its own cloth bag. The shoe horn not only fits on a keychain, but it doubles as a bottle opener. This is the perfect solution for the guy who needs a beer so badly that it can’t wait until after he gets his shoes on.
- A hand-signed thank-you note.
Furthermore, the shoes only took a day to arrive. This is to be expected as they were only shipped from Connecticut to the Philadelphia area, but the point is that the process was handled exactly as it should have been. As we move into an economy in which brands forgo brick-and-mortar locations and become online-only, this kind of thing matters a lot.
The company’s customer service is on point and you can tell that they’re committed not just to quality, but to value as well.
The crimson is a lovely reddish-brown, and the dune is an incredibly versatile shade of brown that’s going to go with nearly every casual or dress casual trouser I own.
Horween Chromexcel Leather
The uppers are made from Horween Chromexcel leather. As the “Made In America” movement has gained traction, lots of makers have been looking to source their raw material from companies that make them in America.
A full history of the Horween tannery is well beyond the scope of this article, but just know they’ve been making leather in their facility in Chicago since 1905. They’re deep in the game.
You’ll also notice that the soles and heels are thick. I will say that this shoe feels substantial in terms of weight. That may make it a bit cumbersome in the warmer months, but it’s a quick indicator that these things are about as far from flimsy as it gets.
The soles are high-quality leather, and the heels are leather with a rubber cap for traction. They’re also tacked onto the upper, another sign of a well-made shoe.
For those who don’t know, “last” in the footwear world has a couple of different meanings. It refers to both the wooden form on which the upper of a shoe is shaped and the silhouette of the shoe. The company currently uses a last they call “Leo” for its bluchers, which is described on Grant Stone’s website as having a “snug heel fit with a slightly wider forepart.” They advise ordering a half size down from your normal size, which is a 7D in my case. Since they don’t make a 6.5D (and very few shoemakers do), I ordered the 7D.
Surprisingly, they fit better than I was expecting. I planned for them to run a bit big and actually got some insoles to take up space, but it turns out I didn’t need them. For my foot, the expected fit was reversed. Despite it being a half size too big in the first place, the forepart fit well, but the heel was a bit big.
To be clear, this is understandable. Human feet are really complex, and there’s a good chance that my foot has changed in the five or so years that I used a Brannock device to measure it. If I were really picky, I could pick up a product called a heel gripper and throw it in the back of the shoe to take up the tiny bit of extra space that’s there, but it’s not a big enough deal for me to do that.
Goodyear Welt Construction
The Leo longwing is made using a technique called Goodyear welt construction. As with Horween, a full explanation and history of this construction technique is beyond the scope of this article, but the gist is as follows:
Think of the shoe having three components, from top to bottom: an upper, a welt, and a sole. With Goodyear welt construction, the upper is sewn to the welt, not to the sole. This is beneficial because when uppers are sewn to soles, resoling can weaken the upper from being stitched and restitched over and over again. The presence of a welt allows a shoe to be resoled many times without disturbing the upper.
As these shoes retail for $350, I think this is the biggest benefit. I’d much rather resole a pair of shoes I love and only spend $80 or so doing it instead of having to buy new shoes every couple of years.
How Do They Look?
I wore them with dark, slim denim and a casual button-down shirt on a walk with my wife and infant son. It was a lovely time to try out a lovely new pair of shoes.
Note how father and son share an affinity for loud socks and dark jeans, as pictured above.
It’s nice to enjoy the finer things with people you love. Even when one of those people is being a little fussy because it’s past his nap time.
Final Review: 5 Out Of 5 Stars
Again, we were very impressed with Grant Stone’s Leo longwing. The construction is solid, the leather is high-quality, and the customer service was everything you could want from an online retailer.
Even if the box included just the shoes themselves, they would be reasonable at $350. With everything else that’s included in the box, it’s decidedly an excellent value.
You can feel confident about picking yourself up a pair today.
"This is a great shoe by a great brand! Grant Stone's collection of footwear offers great value for money."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★