The market keeps getting better for (relatively) affordable dress shoes. Swedish shoe store Skoaktiebolaget announced today that they’re now carrying Carlos Santos – a little-known Portuguese footwear line of made by a factory that typically produces for other brands (Carlos Santos is their in-house label). With VAT discounts and favorable exchange rates, readers in the US can get a pair for $325. Basically about the same price point as Allen Edmonds, but with a bit more European shaping.
Carlos Santos, from what I can tell, has a huge range of styles – different lasts and construction techniques can make comparison-shopping difficult. Most of their shoes seem to be on the aggressively sleek side, but the Skoak selection nicely balances between contemporary and classic. Perhaps comparable to Carmina’s Rain and Soller lasts, for those familiar.
They also have three construction methods: Blake stitched (their most affordable); Goodyear welted (what Skoak carries); and something they call “handcrafated” (which is their most expensive at $800/ pair). From specs, the Goodyear line sounds pretty solid. The uppers are made from full grain leathers sourced from reputable tanneries such as D’Annonay; the insoles and heels are made from regular leather (not fiberboard); and the soles are slightly beveled (a nice detail typically found on more expensive footwear). Skoak also offers a custom patina service on uncolored crust leathers for those who want to get something in a very specific shade of brown – or, if you’re more daring, a more unusual color.
Note, Skoaktiebolaget is a Swedish shop, but if you’re in the US and buying from their US site, they take care of all the customs and duties.