When I visited Italy a few years ago, I picked up a really nice looking pair of shoes.
They were sleek, stylish, and made with incredible leather.
And they also crippled my feet so that, after a long day of walking, I couldn’t take them off without screaming.
But, man, I looked good.
Since those troubled walks around Rome, I’ve learned that fashionable footwear doesn’t need to give you blisters and summon you to crawl into restaurants on your hands and knees.
The search for stylish shoes that I can easily put in 10+ miles of walking led me to Wolf & Shepherd—a brand with the ethos of a performance company, and with styling that can go toe to toe in a boardroom.
So what’s it really like walking in Wolf & Shepherd’s shoes?
What Is Wolf & Shepherd?
Wolf & Shepherd makes dress shoes and casual shoes fit for the office, but puts a modern athletic-wear twist on them.
Through the insole and midsole, there are several layers of cutting edge performance materials designed for better shock absorption, comfort, and breathability.
So while it looks like you’re wearing a classic pair of Italian leather Oxfords, Wolf & Shepherd’s goal is that you feel like you’re wearing a pair of comfortable sneakers.
As someone who regularly struts out for a 5+ mile walk about town, but still wants to maintain a classic style, I’ve had enough uncomfortable shoe experiences to get behind this mission.
Things to Consider Before Buying Shoes from Wolf & Shepherd
Some of Wolf & Shepherd’s shoes, like the SwiftKnit Derby, aren’t at all like the classic derby shoes worn around offices ten years ago.
With modern office dress-codes steering toward more relaxed styles, I see office workers in the city dressing in what I call “golf-ready” clothes. That’s how I’d define Wolf & Shepherd’s newest lines of shoes—they’re a blend between sleek and performance oriented. They’re not nearly as chunky as the tennis shoes of yore, but they’re a far cry from what you’d imagine a stock trader in the 1990’s wearing.
Still, Wolf & Shepherd does offer a few “classic” styles, like their Closer Cap Toe Oxford or Senna Wing Tip, though they’re phasing these out (so if you like these styles, jump on them while you still can).
Wolf & Shepherd Shoes Review
Wolf & Shepherd calls this shoe a derby, though it’s vastly different from derby’s of the past. It’s the kind of “dress” shoe you’d imagine the Jetson’s wearing.
While the world of office footwear has always been dominated by leather, the SwiftKnit Derby hardly has any leather on it at all, save for the pull tabs, footbed, and lacing bridge.
I like the idea behind the shoe—a totally reimagined office icon. Though it’s definitely a sneaker more than a derby. And it’s a comfortable sneaker, too.
The upper is made with recycled polyester and is knitted in “zones” that allow greater breathability in certain areas, and more flexibility in others.
While the SwiftKnit does feature laces, I was pleasantly surprised that you don’t really even need to use them. The sneaker slips on and off quite easily, though you can pull the laces tight for a more snug fit.
My biggest concern with the SwiftKnit Derby was with the opening you slip your foot into (and that rests around your ankle). Was it going to be too difficult to slip my foot in? Would there be too much room and make it look floppy and uncouth around my ankles?
It hits the perfect balance: easy to pop on and off, while still staying secure around my ankle so I don’t look like I’m wearing a raggedy old sock.
The heat has been rising here in North Carolina as spring gives way to summer, and I’ve been loving the breathability of the SwiftKnit fabric. I typically walk from my home to the office (about 20 minutes), office to gym (another 20 minutes), and then gym to home (a final 20 minutes).
With at least an hour of walking a day, you can imagine that the southern heat and humidity can make a man’s feet a tad sweaty. While the SwiftKnit fabric can’t stop my feet from heating up, there is a decent amount of airflow (certainly way more than my all leather boots), and it make the experience so much more comfortable.
And that’s not even taking into account the sole combination.
The SwiftKnit Derby features Wolf & Shepherd’s proprietary FloatFoam memory foam footbed, which offers extra padding in the heel and contours nicely around the sides of my foot. The midsole is made with a high density TPU foam, and it’s quite thick at about an inch and a half at the arch of your foot. With that, there’s hardly any shock at all when you take a step.
And on the outsole, W & S has added an abrasion-resistant thermal plastic insert, which should help a lot with durability.
The heel shape is unique in Wolf & Shepherd’s newest lines, and I’m curious to see how well angular design holds up over a year or two of wear.
Usually, after so many miles, a foam outsole will wear down considerably. Though in the first 20 miles I’ve worn my SwiftKnit Derby’s, I’m confident the hardened thermal plastic outsole is a boost in the durability department.
The SwiftKnit Derby features Wolf & Shepherd’s proprietary FloatFoam memory foam footbed, which offers extra padding in the heel and contours nicely around the sides of my foot. They're futuristic looking and super comfortable.
The name is totally fitting—this loafer has such a relaxed vibe, so it makes sense that it’s named after a country that doesn’t even care if you know it’s a country.
Made with unlined Italian suede, these are super breathable and ideal for warm spring and summer days. The lack of a lining does rule these loafers out for the cooler months, though I’ve never been a fan of loafers in winter anyway. That’s boot season.
The shape is very sleek and leaves a lot of room at the toe. This definitely helps elongate your feet and works to your advantage if you’re wearing trousers with a tailored fit.
I was initially a bit confused about the heel of the Monaco Loafer—it’s loose and unshaped. But that’s because you can actually wear these loafers as slippers, too. Just fold the heel down and now you’ve got a fancy pair of suede slippers.
The Monaco Loafer features the same FloatForm insole and footbed as the SwiftKnit Derby, which is a bit shocking because it still keeps such a low profile.
In the intro, I mentioned getting a pair of Italian shoes that absolutely destroyed my feet. But I was glad to wear them because they looked good. The Monaco Loafer is the shoes I wish I had then, because it looks classy and stylish, and is way more comfortable.
What do Other Reviewers Say About Wolf & Shepherd?
With over 4,000 reviews on the Wolf & Shepherd site, I had a lot of data to pore over. Comfort came up in nearly every review. Some folks say these are the most comfortable shoes they’ve ever worn, even when compared to regular sneakers.
One downside I saw multiple times was on sizing: many reviewers said their Wolf & Shepherd’s fit a bit on the large side. Some models don’t come in half-sizes either, so in certain cases it was impossible to get the perfect fit.
I ordered my true size for both models I got and I found the fit to be on-point.
My Thoughts Overall On Wolf & Shepherd
What I Like
Comfort is king with Wolf & Shepherd. Even with the thin Monaco Loafer, it’s easy to put in miles while wearing them.
The SwiftKnit Derby shoes are very breathable and make for a great summer walking companion.
I love the fold down back on the Monaco Loafers as it really communicates a casual, laid-back vibe.
Free shipping and returns, plus W & S has a 365-day quality guarantee, so shopping with the brand is pretty risk free.
What I Don’t Like
If you’re working in an office with a formal dress-code, neither of the models I tried would cut it (and it seems Wolf & Shepherd is moving away from the formal styles).
Who is Wolf & Shepherd for?
Wolf & Shepherd is an excellent choice for working professionals who want to balance style and comfort, but crank both up as high as they can. It used to be you had to get those brick shoes or wear Crocs if you wanted comfort, but Wolf & Shepherd’s feel like athletic sneakers.
Wolf & Shepherd delivers on their promise to make super comfortable shoes—there’s no doubt about that.
Between the two models I tried (SwiftKnit Derby and Monaco Loafer), I prefer the Monaco Loafer.
Why? Well, I like a more classic style. And the Monaco Loafer is sleek, narrow, but is really easy to walk 5+ miles in. That’s a new experience for me.
The SwiftKnit Derby is also just as comfortable, but I’m less enthusiastic about the style. Of course, that’s a subjective thing. As far as quality goes, it’s a fantastic shoe. I love how breathable it is, and that’s been coming in handy a lot in North Carolina as things heat up.
Wolf & Shepherd is steering more toward the technical side of footwear, with really interesting new models that share a lot in common with the SwiftKnit Derby. They have an entire Crossover line that blends the sneaker sole with more traditional dress shoes, and it’s a really interesting contrast.
I’ll be sad to see their more traditional models go by the wayside, but I’ll certainly keep up with the brand because they’ve delivered on their promise of high-quality, comfortable footwear.
Where are Wolf & Shepherd shoes made?
Most Wolf & Shepherd shoes are made in Portugal and designed in Los Angeles.
Who owns Wolf & Shepherd?
Wolf & Shepherd is owned by Hope and Justin Schneider, both with previous experience in the footwear industry.
Are Wolf & Shepherd shoes Goodyear welted?
No, Wolf & Shepherd shoes are mostly cemented construction, though some models do feature a Blake Stitch welt.