Grenson Shoes Review: Archie
Sometime last year, I made a Grenson purchase and chose their Fred Brogue Boots. (Grenson Fred Brogue Boot Review) After wearing my Fred boots for a while and giving them a good breaking-in, they are super comfortable as opposed to how stiff they once were.
I decided to purchase the Grenson Archie because I was looking for a pair of shoes that could be dressed up or down without being overly formal, and the Archie Brogue’s were on sale for $219. With that being said, below is my review for the Grenson Archie Shoes.
Before I begin, you may know about the difference in Grenson’s shoe quality. Grenson has three forms of shoes, G Zero, G One, and G Two. In case you don’t, I’ll break it down for you.
G Zero and G One are made in Northampton, England. They are the higher priced shoes. The G Zero sports a closed channel sole and the G One has an open channel sole. The materials and finishings are a bit different as well. For example, the G Zero is usually lined with leather that is the same quality as the upper parts of the shoes, which means it’s higher quality.
G Two shoes, on the other hand, are made in India. While many of the pieces for the shoes are crafted in Northampton and shipped to India, the quality is not as fine as the other two versions, and thus, the cost is significantly lower.
A good way to tell if the shoe is a G Two version is to check the sole for a large G imprinted on it.
Many people feel the quality of the G Two shoes is lacking, but overall, for the price, I believe they’re still really great shoes. The G Two shoes are made by hand so there may be some slight differences in the stitching or nailing of the soles, but as you can see in the photos below, the details are still exquisite.
Grenson also offers G Lab, which is a made to order option. Nearly every pair of the G Lab shoes are made in house in Northampton, save for shoes like moccasins that are sent to Italy.
The Grenson Archie shoes are a G fitting, which means that they are made slightly wider than the standard size. In the case of these leather shoes, the wider fit may actually be beneficial, as leather shoes can easily feel too tight before they’ve been broken in.
I find the extra width to be nice, as I myself wear a US 8/ UK 7 EUR 41 Nike sneakers. Since these are more of a dress shoe than a boot though, some might prefer a tighter fit.
The Grenson Archie shoes are made of waxed calf leather, which seems to be high quality.
The caramel-colored leather is as smooth as butter and lends well to the accents and stitching. There are a few places with spotty coloring, but overall, the shoe is very handsome.
Grenson shoes are Goodyear welted with double leather soles. They are beautifully seamed but can be slippery when walking in the rain. Brand new shoes with leather soles are extremely slippery and shouldn’t be worn out in the rain until you’ve worn them 3 or 4 times.
I once tried wearing mine out in the rain and it felt like I was walking on ice. I have a little trick I use to help deal with the slippery soles, and that is applying an anti-slip tape to the bottoms of my soles. Because it is adhesive, it won’t ruin the soles of my shoes, but it helps me to get a little more grip.
Grenson does provide a commando sole which provides a better grip and has a more rugged look but has a tendency for gravel and small objects to get stuck in it.
In addition, the “rugged” look of the sole makes the shoe more casual, adding difficulty if you want the shoe to function for both casual and dress wear.
There is also the White Vibram sole, but this sole makes the shoes look too much like sneakers, and I personally believe takes away the overall beauty of the shoe.
Grenson stitching and finishing
Grenson always has a beautiful way of stitching their shoes, and the Archie shoes follow in this trend. Tight and consistent, the shoes seem nicely done.
The punched holes in the leather add a lace-like beauty to the leather, giving it an “upper-class” feel which works perfectly with dressing the shoes up with a suit. The same could be said in pairing it with a nice pair of jeans or slacks. It adds a higher class look to even a dressed-down ensemble.
Should you ever have any issues with the soles coming loose from your shoes, repair costs for these soles are around $146 US, 110 pounds UK, which is rather expensive for a shoe that costs only $219 itself.
The rubberized heels are hammered in with brass nails which help alleviate some of the wear and tear of regular use.
Are they comfortable?
Honestly, as with all shoes, they’re very stiff in the beginning. This is especially the case when wearing leather shoes. Should you buy these, you should expect a solid breaking-in period of at least five or six wears.
If you’re having a particularly tough time, consider swiping some Vaseline across the places on your feet that tend to blister.
Grenson shoe care
Considering both the cost of the shoes and the potential cost of sole repair, taking good care of these shoes will really help you to get the most bang for your buck. In those regards, consider these few tips:
Don’t wear shoes out into the rain until they have been worn 3-4 times. They are very slippery at first, and also the moisture could cause the leather to change its shape or wear out more easily.
When preparing for polish, wipe carefully with a dry cloth before applying polish.
Choose a wax polish if you’d like to give your shoes a little shine, or a cream during the winter months when your shoes are looking a little dry.
When polishing, make sure to use plenty, getting into all the cracks of the leather.
Choosing polishes with a black tint gives an appearance of aged leather, which you may enjoy.
Should you get your shoes wet, use a shoe tree to dry them and allow at least 48 hours to pass before wearing them again. Wet-soled shoes will wear out twice as quickly as dry ones.
Grenson is a shoe company that has been around since the 19th century, and the name is iconic in the UK. Some feel that their quality has been declining, but I think it may be more cases of misplaced expectations. Overall, I would rate these shoes an 8 out of 10 which is well above average.
Despite being made in India (as can be seen by the G in the sole, as I mentioned above), these shoes are beautiful and well-made, though, I may change my mind depending on how the shoe ages.
At this price point, nothing beats Grenson. After the discount, you can pick these up for around $200, which is a great price for a pair of Goodyear welted shoes.
Alternatives for these would be Tricker’s or Edward Green, which are also handsome shoes but are overall a lot more expensive.
If you’re looking for a more cost-efficient alternative, consider Beckett Simonon. Their shoes are made of full-grain Argentinian leather and are handcrafted in Portugal, but they do come with some downsides.
They are made-to-order which means you’ll be waiting around 3 months for your shoes, and they are blake welted. Blake welted shoes are less water resistant overall. While they can be resoled, it’s a bit of a pain.
In addition, if you would prefer a sleeker silhouette, Grenson also offers another shoe called the Stanley which may be more your preference.
Overall, I’m happy with my purchase, and I look forward to being able to use them both for casual and dressier occasions. I consider them a worthwhile purchase. I hope this review helped you if you were on the fence about buying these shoes. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a comment below.