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TAFT Shoes Review: I Tried Two Popular Styles

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Joe Niehaus Writer & Photographer   Updated: 
TAFT Shoes Review- Fitz Loafer and Jack Shoe

Nothing makes (or breaks) a formal outfit like a pair of dress shoes. But let’s be honest, they’re often stuffy or uninspiring.

But what if formal footwear could be more than solid-colored leather? If you think loafers and oxfords aren’t a canvas for self-expression, TAFT’s energetic footwear might shatter your assumptions.

Anything but boring
The Adult Man Image/Icon
TAFT

Bottom line: With the Jack Shoe and Fitz Loafer now in my wardrobe, I don't really have an excuse for looking mundane at the next event I'd prefer to bring a little flair to. While you may want to size down on the loafers, I’ve paid more for other shoes with generic style, subpar leather, and non-repairable soles. TAFT has the uniqueness element covered, but the craftsmanship is really what impressed me.

Ratings: The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service
Pros:
  • Striking designs on high-quality materials
  • Dust bags and a shoe horn are included with each pair of shoes
  • Various types of stitched soles make them easy to repair or replace
Cons:
  • Fitz Loafer could be too snug for men with wide feet
  • They may run big depending on the model, make sure to check their sizing guide
(Get 10% off with code TAM10)

I’m never the guy who tries to blend into the crowd. Life’s too short to be known as the guy with boring style.

I used to settle for graphic tees and colorful sneakers to show off my taste. I couldn’t find any brands challenging the jeans, blazer, and formalwear norms.

Once I knew where to look, elevated classics like Japanese selvedge denim and vintage sport coats seeped into my wardrobe.

But my assortment of dress shoes remained unchanged. I thought finding more vibrant options would be impossible when the whole point of dress wear is to make you look like a straight-edged conformist.

I ate my words when I found TAFT.

Finally, it seemed possible for my dress shoes to have a little flair without compromising sophistication. But style is nothing without substance, so I had to put them to the test.

Stay put for my deep dive into the Jack Shoe and Fitz Loafers from TAFT. In this review, we’ll take a look at the quality, material, fit, and comfort to see if they can do more than add spice to your monkey suit.

What Is TAFT?

TAFT footwear box

Among popular dress shoe brands, TAFT is a peacock that stumbled into a henhouse.

Founded in 2013 by married couple Kory and Mallory Stevens, TAFT was built on the proclamation that boldness is for everyone.

Without the help of common business boosts like corporate experience, venture capital, or even a workforce, the two hoisted their footwear company by the bootstraps into what it is today.

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Their approach to customer experience is as memorable as their designs. The husband-and-wife execs send hand-written thank-you notes and engage with their audience on Reddit.

They make sartorial statements for feet, but does their “boots for the bold” mantra serve as a vehicle for my creative flair, or will a pair of TAFT shoes make me stand out in the wrong way?

Let’s tie our boots and march into it.

Things to Consider Before Buying

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue close up side

Taft’s flashy footwear is tempting, but you should consider a couple of things before adding them to your footwear lineup.

First, ask yourself where you plan to strut your new shoes. The eye-catching designs are ideal to jazz up your celebratory attire, but I’d have a stroke if my lawyer entered the courtroom in red velvet oxfords.

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Furthermore, TAFT shoes aren’t entry-level men’s shoes. Premium leather shoes that are hand-made in Europe are priced accordingly, so they aren’t the best option if you see yourself only wearing them 1-5 times per year.

Exclusive Discount Available
TAFT Shoes
(Get 10% off with code TAM10)

TAFT was born out of a mutual love for uniquely designed and well-made products. Offering offbeat, bold designs with quality craftsmanship to back it up, TAFT's footwear is like nothing I've ever worn before! Finally, it's possible for dress shoes to have a little flair, without compromising sophistication.

Shop Taft

My Hands-On Review

Unboxing

TAFT footwear outside packaging

TAFT shoes didn’t disappoint my giddy anticipation of finally seeing their designs in person.

Shipping was quick (within one business day of placing an order), and they offer it free for orders over $150, along with returns and exchanges. After swiping the cardboard box from my doorstep, a mysterious black shoebox greeted my eyes.

TAFT footwear unboxing top

Both shoes come with their own branded dust bag, and I owe props to TAFT for that. I’ve paid more for dress shoes without dust bags, so having a protective cover during my travels is a welcome bonus.

I’m a sucker for freebies. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten a free shoehorn with a pair of shoes, but TAFT generously throws one in.

By the unboxing alone, I’d say TAFT knows a thing or two about first impressions.

The Jack Shoe

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden walking

First Impressions

I can’t be the only guy who smells his new shoes. If they don’t pass the smell test, it’s all downhill from there.

The Jack Shoe gave off that unforgettable aroma of fresh leather.

These shoes are based on the traditional cap-toe oxford, but I can’t say I’ve had a pair like these before.

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden overview

Whether they were my first dress shoes for freshman homecoming or my daily office steppers, my oxfords were always solid-colored leather. TAFT designed these with leather heel and toe caps against a cotton-jacquard upper.

While this makes them pretty light, I don’t mind. If anything, they’re comfier than other chunky shoes I’ve owned. Heavier isn’t always better.

What really drew me to the Eden colorway was the floral print. The metallic embroidery adds a beautiful luster to the shoe, and the yellow-on-black coloring is electric.

Leather Quality and Care

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden side closeup

It doesn’t take a fourth-generation leather farmer to identify shoddy leather. Even if it looks good on day one, fraudulent leather is quickly exposed.

The Jack Shoe only has a sole, toe, and heel cap made of leather, and is also fully leather lined. Certainly not as much as my other dress shoes, but the color-blocked appearance makes them more exciting than other dress shoes in my closet.

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden heel

I wouldn’t let leather quality fly under my radar just because they’re unique. Also, the floral pattern is so beautiful.

We’re dealing with high-quality Italian full-grain calfskin, not the “genuine” leather junk my first wallet was made of.

The leather’s texture competes with any of the luxury cowhide pieces I own. It has that buttery softness that makes me smile, and since it’s only on the end caps, I don’t have to worry about creases.

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden toe

These bad boys are almost $300, which means I’ll be picking up brown leather polish and a boar hair brush once they show some wear.

Sole

The Jack Shoe differs from full-leather dress shoes that make my feet sore after a lengthy stroll. Living in a big city, my feet are my primary source of transportation, so I don’t take the flexible wool upper for granted.

With all of that walking, the soles are going to take a beating. I’m a guy who repairs before he replaces, so TAFT’s re-soleable design speaks to my values.

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden bottom

Cap-toe oxfords aren’t known for having grippy soles, but TAFT slapped some circular treads on these. While they look unfamiliar on a dress shoe, they’re hardly visible and, most of all, they’re effective.

I slipped and fell on prom night after shimmying over an icy walkway in a pair of oxfords, so I’ll take peculiar treads if it means my dignity remains intact.

I could see dyed leather bleeding if it gets wet. Should that happen, I’d do anything to keep away from materials that can soak up the dye, like carpet.

Fit and Sizing

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden on foot

Wouldn’t it be nice if sizing a dress shoe could be as easy as picking out flip-flops? Between the material, width, and fastening style, there’s a lot at play regarding fit.

The wool upper makes this far more forgiving than an all-leather alternative. If you’ve gotten burnt going true-to-size with a traditional oxford, the Jack Shoe has enough give to nestle a slightly larger foot. The brand recommends ordering a ½ size down.

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden laces

My normal size is a 10.5, which is what I ordered. The upper had solid contact with my foot, but it wasn’t rigid enough to keep me from wearing thick socks.

Considering these are a D width shoe (standard shoe width for men), the flexible upper didn’t bind my slightly wide feet. So, TAFT gets extra points in the comfort department.

Break-in Period

If long-awaited comfort signals the end of a break-in period, then let’s face it, some leather dress shoes never break in.

TAFT footwear The Jack Shoe in Eden side

When leather reacts to motion and moisture from daily wear, it softens with time. The Jack Shoe’s wool upper is soft and flexible by nature, which kept me from performing my painful break-in ritual of pacing around my apartment in an exaggerated walking motion.

After a few nights, the Jack Shoe feels like a familiar pair of shoes.

TAFT The Jack Shoe
(Get 10% off with code TAM10)

TAFT designed these with leather heel and toe caps against a cotton-jacquard upper. They're based on the traditional cap-toe oxford, but I can’t say I’ve had a pair like these before, they look and feel totally unique. They’re comfier than some of the chunky shoes I’ve owned, and the metallic embroidery adds a beautiful luster to the shoe; the yellow-on-black coloring is electric.

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The Fitz Loafer

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue front on feet

First Impressions

Loafers don’t frequent my feet outside of elegant gatherings, but every time I step into a pair, I feel like a regal ol’ chap.

A gander at the product page reveals the Fitz loafer in some eccentric patterns. I like to think of myself as someone who can make anything look good, but I’m unsure I can pull off dragonfly-printed loafers.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue overview

The blue check version is the update my shoe rack needed. They add some spice and elevate many of my outfits, but without looking like a sleazy Vegas club promoter.

The checkerboard-printed canvas with leather accents is timeless. And in this classy shade of navy? I’m already planning my formal outfits through next summer.

Hey TAFT, have you ever considered making a leather duffel with this material? You’d have one guaranteed customer in me.

Leather Quality and Care

Just like the Jack Shoe, the Fitz Loafer doesn’t have as much leather as the silhouettes they’re inspired from.

Besides the sole, only the opening’s lining, heel, and penny slot are made of leather. While the real estate they take up is minimal, it’s just as supple as the leather found on the Jack Shoe.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue cuffing pants

The rest of the upper is made from a jacquard material that’s supportive, but less so than leather. For almost $300, a shoe made of mostly fabric isn’t a steal, but I doubt the pattern I’m so in love with is available at many other brands, so I think the price tag is worth it.

I already own a pair of horsebit and tassel loafers. Despite their affluent look, they’re a little lacklustre in the comfort department.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue front on feet 1

Although I complained about minimal leather, the jacquard material makes them a foot haven. Sure, it’s not world-class animal textile, but for a notoriously stiff shoe, the fabric adapted to my foot from the jump.

My other loafers give me trouble with socks, too. The Fitz is the first loafer I’ve tested that didn’t drive me crazy trying to jam my socked-up feet into the opening.

I’ll gladly complete my loafer holy trinity with these.

Sole

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue sole

With the Fitz Shoe costing almost $300, I’m glad TAFT’s Spanish artisans put these together with a blake-stitch sole. Should the soles ever wear down, I can bring them to the cobbler instead of the dump.

Unless they have a lug sole, loafers typically don’t come fashioned with treads.

TAFT’s Fitz loafer has flat rubber inserts on the heel and foot pad. The rubber is grippier than hard leather, but I’d prefer a sole like the Jack Shoe’s discreet, treaded design.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue not on foot side

Both the Jack Shoe and Fitz Loafer come with cushioned insoles. I’ve tested brands specializing in uber-cozy footwear, but they lacked TAFT’s special sauce that demands attention.

The insoles were comfortable enough. I didn’t feel weightless, but they’re worlds better than my comically awful G.H. BASS Weejun loafers.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue back heel

Fit and Sizing

I have a love-hate relationship with loafers. Too small, and they make my feet feel like a python’s lunch, too big, and I’m left with constant heel slip.

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I went a half size down as TAFT recommends. I’d recommend even going a full size down.

Though the 10 provided an unrestricted fit, but I experienced heel slip. Because it’s rare to find well-fitting loafers with this kind of flair, TAFT offers the Fitz in a made-to-order tool, which offers normal and wide widths.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue close up side 1

I’m left with a roomy heel unless I insert adhesive heel pads. I’ll pass on that.

Break-in Period

I didn’t endure a laborious break-in period with the Fitz Loafer. Unlike my full-leather loafers, I didn’t have to negotiate with any stiffness between the flexible upper and roomier fit.

TAFT footwear Fitz Loafer in blue front

If you order a pair that fits perfectly right out of the box, expect a snug fit. But not enough to earn your feet a purple heart from numerous blisters.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

TAFT shoes fitz loafer jack shoe

Customers who buy shoes from TAFT never fail to mention how they’re drawn to their tastefully striking aesthetic.

From reviews left on TAFT’s website, the Fitz loafer has a 4.8/5 star rating based on 81 reviews at the time of writing.

Reviewers say that the colorful prints garner endless compliments, and the craftsmanship of the shoes can’t be understated.

A pain point some buyers had was the Fitz loafer running big, which made them require heel inserts to keep them in place. This was my experience too, but some might prefer a proper fit right out of the box instead of toughing out a break-in.

So far, the Jack Shoe has amassed a whopping 1,000+ reviews with a 4.9/5 star rating. It doesn’t take long to find someone raving over how nice the leather is.

A few customers said the upkeep can be a pain, though, especially if they’re not used to maintaining leather shoes.

TAFT The Fitz Loafer
(Get 10% off with code TAM10)

Featuring bold colors and striking patterns, the Fitz is more than just style over substance. TAFT’s Spanish artisans put the Fitz loafer together with a blake-stitch sole, and the blue check version is the update my shoe rack needed. They add some spice and elevate many of my outfits.

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My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • The designs are elevated, unique, and detailed.
  • Both the Fitz Loafer and Jack Shoe have soft upper materials that don’t need a long break-in period.
  • All of TAFT’s shoes come with two dust bags and a shoehorn.
  • The blake-stitch construction makes the soles replaceable.
  • Their cushioned insoles are more comfortable than other dress shoes I own.
  • The European craftsmanship is evident in the stitching, leather dye, and overall feel of the shoes.

What I Don’t Like

  • The Fitz Loafer could be more secure on wet surfaces if it had the same tread as the Jack Shoe.
  • The dyed leather soles could bleed onto other surfaces when wet.
  • Sizing the Fitz Loafer can be tricky if you have wide feet.

Who Are Taft Shoes For?

TAFT Shoes are perfect for men who are ready to invest in high-quality, comfortable formal footwear that boasts a more radical design than typical dress shoes.

They make unique designs, and if you’re reading this, chances are you like to stand out of the herd, so they’re probably for you.

The Verdict

Life’s too short to venture outside of my fashion comfort zone. I’ve bought extravagant jackets, shirts, and jewelry throughout the years, but my TAFT shoes are a first when it comes to dress shoes.

Here’s my game plan: My Jack Shoes will be my default for lighthearted gatherings and weddings without a strict dress code. I needed a statement piece to brighten my darker fall and wintertime suiting, so they fit the bill perfectly. Plus the added treads will hopefully save me from any weather-induced wipeouts.

I see my Fitz Loafers as a more subtle accoutrement to any outfit that I deem subtle yet snazzy.

The designer-esque look of the blue check colorway makes them a knockout. They’ve invited plenty of attention already. And I’m talking compliments, not backhanded remarks like the snarky “I could never pull those off, but they look great on you!”

A flexible upper and cushioned insole make them easy to wear, too. My other loafers might be jealous, but they haven’t been as kind to my feet.

If you want to out-dazzle your remarkably average dress shoes, I’m confident you’ll find something suitably different from TAFT. Just be sure to double-check your sizing when you order.

Exclusive Discount Available
TAFT Shoes
(Get 10% off with code TAM10)

TAFT was born out of a mutual love for uniquely designed and well-made products. Offering offbeat, bold designs with quality craftsmanship to back it up, TAFT's footwear is like nothing I've ever worn before! Finally, it's possible for dress shoes to have a little flair, without compromising sophistication.

Shop Taft

FAQs

Does TAFT make good quality shoes?

Yes, their shoes deliver premium craftsmanship and high-quality materials. Many of their footwear styles use Italian leather, and most pairs handcrafted in Spain.

Do TAFT shoes run small?

Some of them might feel narrow if you have wide feet. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to look at what the upper is made of, as wool or jacquard will adapt better than leather. If anything, TAFT’s shoes run a little big.

Who is the owner of TAFT?

The brand was founded by married couple Kory and Mallory Stevens. The husband and wife started the company in 2013 and are currently headquartered in Provo, Utah.

Where are TAFT boots and shoes made?

They’re made by hand by artisans in Spain and Portugal.