I’m very outspoken about my opinion and normally, people would probably be happy if I just shut up. Never the less the stars have aligned and I got asked if I’m interested in trying a shoe of my choice with a healthy discount if I give my feedback about it (yes, I got a discount and no, I got nothing for free nor money). While that’s nothing out of the ordinary for many, I’m not a fashion blogger and I don’t jump on “buy our stuff and post about it, how bow dah?” messages. What peaked my interest though was the brand of the shoe: Velasca Milano.
If you’re now wondering “who from where?”, you’re probably not all that active on Instagram. Velasca Milano is an Italian men’s shoe brand offering classic shoe styles, easily recognizable by really consistent and active social media activities. I think it’s interesting to see how many brands got well known over the last years due to social media word of mouth or successful influencer marketing. Speaking of the latter, you might have heard about Velasca Milano due to the fact that Fabio Attanasio collaborated with them on a line of loafers.
I personally like the fact that the brand image is straight forward about aiming at offering a quality product to an attractive price and not pretending to have 100 years of history (while forgetting to mention being bought by some trust fund and maximizing revenues). I checked the website more thoroughly after getting the offer and really considered it. Young team, great idea, attractive product, bla bla… whatever, let’s get shoes!
Fast forward, Fedex rang my door and here we go. It’s obviously not a big mystery whom the package is from (it says Velasca on it). It’s not a big mystery for you what was in it, if you read the title of the post either.
Box contains the shoe box, shoe box contains happiness. It was a nice touch how the shoes were presented in the box with their rustic looking shoe bags (I’m on the fence if I like them, I could imagine them to be less polish friendly than the wooly ones) and a nice blue ribbon around them. It seems that presentation of packaging is the new big thing, with subjectively felt 25% of YouTube consisting of unboxing videos for any product you can imagine.
Sorry, finally getting to the point: I bought a Belgian loafer. This is obviously rather uninspired, being that this exact shoe (the model is called Ciappacan) is like a signature style for the brand. But I think it is rather beautiful and considering my underwhelming history of getting good fitting loafers, I just had to grab the opportunity. The Belgian loafer fills a nice gap next to penny loafers & tassel loafers and is rather versatile. It’s easy to dress it up with a suit for a slightly flamboyant office outfit or just wear it casually with chinos or some airy summer pieces.
The shoe in question is blake-rapid stitched which somehow seems to get frowns from people who are getting into men’s wear because we tend to fall too easily into the “go good-year welted or go home” camp. Personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with blake-rapid stitching, it’s very common in loafers and it still makes for a durable shoe that can be resoled.
I’m no expert on absolute shoe quality but we’re obviously looking at a shoe that is very affordable to I’d not expect perfection and the highest grade materials. No, I’d just expect a good relation between value and price. On this point the shoe seems to deliver, it’s just nicely looking and feels good. Fit for me was good, even though I probably could have gone another half size (yep, tiny baby feet, that’s me). There was one directly visible imperfection and it was the type I just don’t mind at all: unclean channeling for the stitching on the sole (the other shoe, not the one in the picture below). I know people on the Internet get upset about details like these but I think they’re irrelevant in real life if they don’t impact on the shoes durability and aesthetics (I’m not seeing my soles all that often).
All in all I’m quite happy with the loafer and think it’s a good starting point for someone who just got into better quality classic men’s shoes but it is also an option for someone who looks for a cheaper shoe to go sockless in summer. Just don’t forget to get some shoe trees for it so it stays nicely in shape. I’m not a huge fan of the more rounded shapes of many of their shoes or the frequent use of polished binder leather but I’m quite sure I’ll return for another round of loafers once summer makes a comeback!