Bruno Marc offers a wide range of shoe styles. Check out my review of four specific models to see if this affordable brand is for you.
I’ve reviewed budget shoemaker Bruno Marc in the past. Check it out here. After trying out their Oxford and their Chelsea, I concluded that their prices are fair.
You get some cool styles way below market costs. Some shoes even simulate premium characteristics quite well.
Since they have so many different shoe styles on offer, though, I’m back for another round.
This time, I tried a few more fashion-forward pieces on top of the basics. Through my hands-on experience, I’ll share my comprehensive analysis of the following models:
By the end of this, you’ll know, based on your priorities, whether or not Bruno Marc is worth looking into.
About Bruno Marc
As I mentioned in my first round of reviews, Bruno Marc is a New York-based shoe brand. It was founded by Brian Cao, who wanted to offer both basic and stylized models at affordable prices.
Again, judging by my experience with Oxford and Chelsea, this brand promise is achieved. Let’s see if this holds up with these new models I’ve been wearing.
And for more info on the Bruno Marc brand, check out their website as well as my initial review.
Review: Microfiber Tassel Loafers
The Bruno Marc Tassel Loafers are slip-on shoes with a sleek silhouette and moderate dress shoe heels.
I ordered the navy version, which is medium dark, allowing the shoes to have a sense of formality while keeping the blue shade intact.
Right off the bat, these shoes are definitely a bit more chic and fashion-forward for me. I’m a pretty conservative Oxfords and leather loafers guy. However, I’ve found they can be incorporated into my personal style with a little strategy.
For those of you who are interested in Bruno Marc’s less basic designs but don’t know where to even begin styling them, check out their blog. One of the big pros of the brand that I mentioned in the last review is that their blog has posts with styling tips. It’s a great resource.
The shade is definitely navy, but it’s a slightly lighter navy. Elvis may have loved his blue suede shoes, but that’s a bit too lively for me.
However, I found I was able to pair it with a blue suit jacket (not navy) and a dark pair of socks. The dark socks tempered the blue of the shoes, while the blue jacket made the shoes make sense in context.
Part of this is that the design is minimal enough. Between that and the slim silhouette and traditional dress heel, the tassel and microfiber texturing aren’t too much. In fact, they add to it.
In addition to adding visual intrigue, the microfiber makes these shoes breathable and, theoretically, durable. It’s a clever way to use a cheap, performance material to make an interesting-looking dress shoes.
It’s as if they took a wicker-esque, espadrille shoe and reformatted it into dressy footwear with an almost snakeskin leather effect — almost. Not quite.
Comfort and Fit
Strangely, without long socks, my heel slipped out of this shoe quite a bit. I say strangely because all of the other Bruno Marc shoes I’ve ever tried fit perfectly. I ordered my regular size 8s, though I wondered if sizing down a half would’ve made them too tight.
I checked the website, and it turns out 8s are their smallest size for this shoe.
Other than that, they were 90% comfortable right out of the box. The cushioning felt slightly flat and unsupportive when I first wore them during an eight-hour workday. This was gone by the time I wore them again the next day.
This will be a short section because the price, once again, is more than worth it.
If you like the style, go for these shoes. It’s literally $32.99 at the time of this writing.
Pros and Cons
Here are all of the details I mentioned organized into what I liked and didn’t like about these shoes.
It’s a strong, breathable, and unique design with a classic silhouette.
While all Bruno Marc shoes are cheap, these are actually high-value. Again, they do a clever job of using low-cost materials.
They’re also fairly comfortable after the first day.
There’s definitely heel slippage. However, this issue is mostly fixed when you’re wearing dress socks. Also, this shoe doesn’t go smaller than a size 8.
Review: Velvet Tuxedo Shoe
For the Bruno Marc Tuxedo Shoe, I went for the velvet version in blue. This slip-on model features an intricate pattern throughout the surface and a grosgrain keeper.
It also comes in red, black, and black patent leather.
Off the bat, the velvet tuxedo shoe is definitely a much dandier shoe than I’d usually wear. I might incorporate velvet here and there (my tuxedo has velvet lapels). I might also incorporate that sort of Victorian pattern subtly into an outfit.
However, having them together on a tuxedo shoe? Nothing I’ve done before.
All that to say, the grosgrain keeper breaks up the pattern a bit. Meanwhile, the silhouette isn’t actually that sharp. It’s slim, but the taper is moderate, and it isn’t as pointy as an Italian style loafer. I think this tempers the fanciful nature of the design to an extent. I appreciate the attempted balance.
The velvet itself is pretty rich looking, so no complaints there.
I also like the TPR outsole because it provides excellent traction. My place of work has notoriously slippery marble stairs. I felt quite secure going up and down those stairs even after my outsoles got wet in the rain.
Style-wise, I love wearing them as a house slipper when guests are over. Part of that has to do with the comfort factor which I’ll get into in a bit. Their velvet construction just looks great with an indoor smoking jacket — it’s reminiscent of oak walls, whiskey decanters, and leather-bound books.
Outside of that, I haven’t figured out within which context I’d be bold enough to wear these shoes out and about. I think I’ll keep a hold of them, though, because I live in New York, and who knows what theme events might come up!
Comfort and Fit
Like the microfiber loafers, I got these in my regular size 8s. Unlike the microfiber loafers, there was absolutely zero slippage.
The fit in the toe area was a little tight, but I prefer that with a slip-on. Moreover, I prefer it to the overly flat fit of the microfiber loafers.
Even more, the TPU outsole provided both support and litheness. This is why I like wearing it around the house when I need something more structured than my soft-soled moccasins.
At just under $60, this is another fairly-priced shoe. More than fair, in fact. If you like a dandier style, this shoe is a great example of Bruno Marc’s offerings. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a non-classic piece of footwear, nor do you have to go the dollar store costumey route.
Pros and Cons
And once again, here’s a list of my personal pros and cons, this time for the velvet tuxedo shoe.
I like the strong, snug fit and the fact there’s no heel slippage. The sizing is reliable, and the shoe itself is structured yet comfortable.
The style is unique. It’s not for everyone, but I’m glad these are on the market for people who want an aesthetic that’s blatantly trying to look luxurious.
The style itself is both a pro and a con. I don’t think this shoe is for everyone. But at least it’s a functional rendition of something that could’ve been built like a costume shoe.
Review: Chukka Boots
The Bruno Marc Chukka Boots are standard chukkas, seemingly made with two pieces of suede.
I went for the camel version, though it also comes in black, gray, dark brown, and a sand-like colorway called natural.
The suede itself is well-napped, though I wouldn’t call it premium. Still, it’s not something you’d necessarily notice in your day-to-day life. After all, shoes aren’t exactly in people’s direct eye-line.
The rubber outsole looks to be simulating crepe rubber. Crepe rubber itself is such a dirt magnet that I prefer this regular TPR material. It gives the shoe a more casual tone, and it goes perfectly with the suede upper.
Comfort and Fit
That flexible collar is as convenient as it is comfortable. Despite its flexibility, it provides great support and structure as well.
My size 8s fit me like a glove, and these boots were comfortable to walk in right out of the box. That EVA footbed is certainly doing its job in this shoe.
Moreover, the rubber outsole is slightly bouncy, providing an almost athletic shoe user experience.
You get what you pay for with these boots.
The suede isn’t going to last forever, and they of course aren’t resoleable boots. However, even if they last you just a year, they’re literally just around $30 around the time of this writing.
Pros and Cons
Here are some quick pros and cons of these chukka boots.
The standard look is highly versatile. They don’t try to make it distinct in any way, which is great. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
The price is truly unbeatable too. Even more, this shoe is comfortable, lithe, and comes in a decent range of sizes, going down to a 6.5.
This shoe is undeniably a budget shoe. There’s nothing offensive about that at this price point, but the description describes the suede as premium. It’s not.
Review: Leather Wingtip Ankle Boots
Bruno Marc’s Leather Wingtip Boots are highly-brogued ankle-high boots. They feature lugged soles and come in three colors.
In addition to the lighter brown version I ordered, there’s a black and dark brown variation too.
I find the design of these boots to be quite endearing. It’s rugged and fun. The zipper on the side adds to this while also making the boots easy to slip in and out of. It might be my favorite quality of this design.
I think the wood stack on the heel adds a level of sophistication, making the boots work-boot-adjacent versus being a true work boot. However, the lugs are pretty grippy.
Overall, it’s a well-balanced design. I’m not big on brogues, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable wearing them with jeans and a button-down.
Comfort and Fit
Like all of Bruno Marc’s shoes, these were immediately comfortable. The fit is perfect too.
Since they aren’t true work boots, they’re not brawny or heavy. Still, as mentioned, the lugs give them a practicality factor that you don’t find in most fashion boots.
I’m going to make this quick again. The price is fair.
You’re not going to get a full-grain leather shoe at less than $50. You’re paying for the look, and you get comfort on top of that.
Pros and Cons
Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about these boots.
I like the balanced design, particularly the side zipper. It’s one example, of many, of how these boots combine function with form. The lugs are another example.
As with any Bruno Marc shoes, I also like how comfortable they are. Since the boots have a rugged look, the comfort factor is even more impressive.
This leather is definitely not premium. You don’t need to look twice at it up close to know this. I actually think the simulated patination on the toe is pretty synthetic-looking, but I’d rather have it there than not.
Still, it looks fine styled with an outfit and from most people’s vantage point.
Conclusion: You Get What You Pay For
So basically, the new takeaways I get from these new models is that Bruno Marc offers an effectively wide range. Each pair of their shoes is built pretty consistently and is worth the incredibly low price. They’re budget shoes with a budget tag, and they aren’t going to last forever.
I think you can dip into their well if you’re trying something new, but aren’t sure about it. For example, those velvet tuxedo shoes intrigued me despite them being outside of my normal personal style. Not to sound salesy, but at these prices you can’t really go wrong.
Moreover, since they aren’t built to be resoled, they’re comfortable right out of the box so you don’t lose any time on them.
I wish their descriptions weren’t so exaggerated, again the “premium suede upper” being a main example. But hey, after you’ve been around the block enough, you should know that a $40 shoe isn’t going to be sporting full-grain leather.
Have you tried Bruno Marc shoes? Do you have a go-to budget shoe brand? Let me know in the comments!