Shakespeare once observed that “the apparel oft proclaims the man.” Mezlan, the Spanish maker of designer shoes for men, would undoubtedly agree. We think you will too, once you’ve digested our Mezlan shoe review.
Mezlan makes and markets three high-quality brands for men that cover all your footwear needs, from elegant dress shoes to slip-on, sandals, athletic/leisure shoes, and boots.
We’re not kidding around about the quality. The highest-priced pair of Mezlan shoes will cost you more than a mortgage payment.
They aren’t exactly the kinds of shoes you wear to splash through puddles or while coaching your son’s little league games.
No, if there is one takeaway from our Mezlan shoe review, it's that these are the shoes that make the man.
They’re the ones you will wear to the black-tie affair or at the presentation to the board or even to impress the in-laws.
There’s a lot to learn in this Mezlan shoe review about this revered company.
If clothes make the man, do shoes really matter? And are these worth the money?
Let’s find out.
From Spain to Las Vegas
Mezlan is a privately owned company that traces its origins to Almansa, Spain, a small city not far from the country’s eastern coast.
It’s an area perhaps best known for the 14th-century castle of Almansa, which draws tourists to the area.
But it’s also known for making great shoes. Mezlan proudly describes Almansa as “Spain’s shoemaking capital.”
Owner and president, Antonio Sanchez, founded the company at the age of 18. According to the Mezlan, Sanchez was seeking an alternative pathway for his life other than farming.
The company’s principal factory remains in Almansa, but the Mezlan name is gradually gaining a foothold (excuse the pun) across the United States. The company launched a retail division in 2008 with a store in Las Vegas.
Since that time, Sanchez and his team have also opened stores in Atlanta, Chicago, Arlington, Virginia., Houston, Santa Clara, California, and, most recently, in New York City.
Mezlan also sells shoes via its website, and its shoes are available online through Amazon and other retailers.
In addition to shoes, the company has also developed lines of clothing accessories, including belts, jackets, shirts, and socks. But we digress, as this is a Mezlan shoe review.
Mezlan Shoe Review
In addition to its flagship Mezlan line, the company markets shoes under two additional brands: Bacco Bucci and Impronta.
But no matter which name you choose, you’ll be dressing for success. The company promises handmade quality across the board.
The most interesting element distinguishing one brand from the next may be the choice of leathers. Mezlan makes its shoes with a variety of leathers, including exotic options such as genuine alligator or ostrich.
Bacco Bucci is an Italian brand that the company describes as the more casual “younger brother” to Mezlan. Consider this line if you’re looking for the Mezlan craftsmanship in sandals or even sneakers.
To make this a complete Mezlan shoe review, let’s learn a little more about each brand, and what customers have to say.
The flagship brand of Mezlan offers the most extensive variety of prices and styles. Perhaps most interestingly, it also offers some of the most interesting leathers.
Mezlan has shoes made from everything, including standard leather to deerskin, snake, crocodile, fabric, and lizard.
You can acquire them to cover your needs for a casual shoe (even including high-top sneakers with padded collars and cushioned insoles) up to shoes for the most formal affairs.
One pair that well showcases what Mezlan shoes offer is the Men's Senator slip-on loaferslip-on loaferThis shoe offers two panels of leather in the upper and tightens down with a Monk strap and buckle. The lining is made of leather, as is the outsole.
The Senator slip-on loafer is rated at 4.1 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon. Positive reviews almost universally cite the shoe as both comfortable and good looking. One reviewer even reports that his wife commented that his shoes were nicer looking than hers.
Negative reviewers had less to say, though some customers found the fit to be a bit off for their feet.
Our Mezlan shoe review has room to talk about other parts of Europe -- not just Spain.
Mezlan says it took inspiration from the LeMarche region of Italy, another center of excellence for designer shoes, to create the fun and casual Bacco Bucci line.
The company gears this collection toward less formal occasions. In fact, the company says the shoes target “denim-friendly, street-rugged, and resort-leisure lifestyles.”
Bacco Bucci includes boots, moccasins, sandals, and slip-ons. But Mezlan promises shoes made with similar unique materials and against the same exacting standards.
One example of the uniqueness of Bacco Bucci is the Men's Ribery sneaker.
Made from 100 percent imported leather, the Ribery seems like a cross between a sneaker and a bowling shoe (only much better looking.)
The Ribery comes with a removable cushioned insole in case you want to replace it with your own custom orthotics.
Bacco Bucci shoes have not been widely reviewed on Amazon. The Ribery gets a perfect score of 5.0 stars out of 5.0, however, from two customer posts.
Reviewers praised the shoe both for its unique look, as well as the comfort it provides. A customer on Zappos expressed a similar sentiment.
The final brand in our Mezlan shoe review is Impronta, a line of shoes that are made with the highest craftsmanship for very exacting customers.
You can both lace-up Impronta shoes and buy them as slip-ons. The materials used are narrower, including alligator, traditional leather, and ostrich.
Impronta might fit the definition of a “smart shoe” -- the cork insole will form around your foot to provide the highest levels of comfort.
Mezlan says the craftsmanship in the shoes will keep them in shape for years due to durability.
An example of the quality available on Amazon is the Impronta Mezlan men's penny loafer.
Available in both cognac and black, this penny loafer is handmade in Spain with calfskin leather uppers and a leather sole.
One thing though: To date, the Impronta shoes have not been reviewed by customers on Amazon. Reviewers on Facebook give the shoes 4.8 stars out of 5.0, with some reviews written in Italian.
How We Reviewed Mezlan
Men’s designer shoes are growing in popularity. To gain an understanding of the phenomenon for our Mezlan shoe review, we dug deeply into various aspects of the Mezlan web site.
We looked closely at the descriptions of the company’s various brands, as well as details about individual shoes.
To supplement our research, we also looked closely at reviews of the shoes on Amazon, Zappos, and other shoe retail sites.
Finally, to top off our Mezlan shoe review, we sought similarly featured shoes from specialist sites such as the Robb Report, as well as higher-end department stores such as Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Pros and Cons of Mezlan
To summarize the best and worst of this brand in our Mezlan shoe review, we've separated the pros from the cons.
The Designer Market
One question might be top of mind as we move along in our Mezlan shoe review: Are designer shoes for men worth the price?
After all, if you're a man of average means, it simply feels painful to think about laying out several hundred dollars for shoes when less expensive alternatives are available.
Women have been struggling with this question for a lot longer than men. So maybe there’s something we can learn from their experiences.
Adrielle, the editor of Style Assisted, a female clothing blog, recently put four separate pairs of women shoes through some tests for fit, quality, and appearances. Her goal: To see if they measure up to her $63 pair of non-designer shoes.
Her conclusion: Inconclusive. Some of the shoes, she writes, are more comfortable than others, and more stylish too.
Noting that her heels continued to hurt, she favors designer shoes for longevity, she writes:
“If you want something that will last for years as a wardrobe staple (or just want the name), buy designer.”
Jenna, the creator of the Visions of Vogue blog, also cited the durability of designer shoes, as well as the quality, comfort, and look. But she advises that name brands won't necessarily solve all your footwear woes. She writes:
“Don’t feel obligated to have a closet full of big names.”
Deciding which designer shoes to gravitate toward can be a challenge. You naturally want to pick a pair with the best quality leather. But you also want to consider heel lifts, stitching, and other factors, according to the Apparel Illustrated blog.
More than anything, the experts advise not to get locked into one brand name. To that end, as part of our Mezlan shoe review, we examined alternatives.
Allen Edmonds Men's Strand cap-toe Oxford
For a shoe made in the United States, consider the Allen Edmonds brand. This model, an Oxford style, is available in 12 different colors.
The shoes' upper is made of premium calfskin leather and includes a leather sole -- classier, but also harder to take care of properly. Allen Edmonds, founded in 1922, also builds its shoes around cork footpads for comfort.
Amazon reviewers give the Cap-Toe Oxford a ranking of 4.0 stars out of 5.0. Positive reviewers say the shoes provide a right balance between casual and dressy. Many of the 5-star reviewers also cite the shoe as comfortable and good looking.
Less-pleased reviewers cite experiences where they received knock-offs and problems in finding the right fit.
Bruno Magli men's Maioco lace-up dress shoe
Made in Italy, Bruno Magli shoes became a household name during the O.J. Simpson trials back in the 1990s.
As an example of what the company offers, let’s look at the Maioco lace-up dress shoe.
These shoes are made of 100 percent leather. They include a leather sole and six eyelets for lacing. You’ll also appreciate the rubber heel for its extra grip.
Amazon reviewers give the Maioco a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.0. Many of the 5-star reviewers described this shoe as the most comfortable they had ever owned. “Simply the BEST,” one reviewer wrote.
One less-enthusiastic reviewer wrote that she experienced problems with the shoe falling apart after only a few months.
Magnanni Men's Colo lace-up Oxford shoes
- Hand finished leather lace up derby with plain toe
- Leather sole with stacked leather heel
- Leather lined Bologna construction offers an all leather cushioned footbed and unrivaled flexibility
Finally, as part of our Mezlan shoe review, consider a neighboring company from Almansa: the Magnanni brand.
The Colo lace-up Oxford is made of 100 percent leather and includes a leather sole with a stacked heel. The shoes come in either black or brown.
Reviews are positive on Amazon -- the Colo lace-up Oxford scores a ranking of 4.0 stars out of 5.0. Positive reviewers had good things to say about the price and fit.
Less enthusiastic reviewers expressed problems with color fade and the shoes fitting to size.
The Sole of the Matter
Mezlan shoes are definitely making inroads into men’s fashion in the United States. The company most recently opened a showcase store in Manhattan.
As with any choice in life, a little goes a long way. Having a quality pair of shoes at this time of casual dress can be extremely useful when important events come up out of nowhere.
Keep in mind that with purchasing genuine leather shoes comes greater responsibility. You have to work to keep the shoe conditioned and out of the rain and snow pile.
If you're a straight-ahead, no-nonsense, get up and go kind of guy, the Mezlan shoes might not be for you.
Do you own Mezlans? Want some? Have something else you prefer? Sound off in the comments below.
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