In this review, I dig into two models from Lethato, an Indian company offering interesting designs in men’s dress shoes and boots.
I tell you what works, what doesn’t, and whether they’re worth considering if you favor a bolder look on your feet.
Short on time? Lethato shoes are okay for the money. They are far more worthwhile than Undandy if a more aggressive shoe is for you. However, there are better-styled options for dress shoes (and especially boots) out there for about the same price.
‘Made in Italy’ has long had a reputation for luxury, tradition, and quality in footwear. But, “Made in India” is having a moment.
Companies like Moral Code and now Lethato are leveraging the decades of experienced craftspeople in India — craftspeople who once were making shoes for big-box brands are now being employed to craft a unique, ‘artisanal’ product.
Lethato is a newer player in this space. While I couldn’t find an exact launch date, it appears to have been in the last three years. Unlike many startups in this age of menswear (especially shoes), they didn’t evolve through Kickstarter and look to have a minimal presence on the ‘influencer’ circuit.
Not paying someone to say nice things about your shoe company can be quite a good thing. It seems that the brand has chosen to let the quality and design of their products speak for themselves.
Lethato’s offerings span most of the men’s footwear spectrum, from lace-ups and loafers to various boot styles and some sneaker/dress shoe hybrids. Where they really stand out, though, is the hand-painted patina.
You’ll get intentional variety; no two pairs are the same. Each item is actually made-to-order and will ship in about three weeks. It contributes to a sense of uniqueness, individuality, and freedom of expression.
The uppers are made with full-grain Italian leather, while the outsoles are a combination of Argentinian leather and rubber for additional traction.
The construction is mostly Blake-stitched (which I actually prefer in dress shoes), but you can find Goodyear welting on their lug soled work boot.
Pricing ranges from $170-$180 on a pair of dress shoes to around $250 for some of the more intricate, aggressively-style boots. However, most interesting to me was the pair of Goodyear-welted boots for $180. That puts them at $20 less than internet darling Thursday Boots and $60 less than Beckett Simonon, a favorite of mine.
So, what do you get for your money? I had the opportunity to review a dress shoe and a boot and offer my thoughts on style, build, fit, and comfort. I’ll also include what aspects of Lethato I think works and where they could improve.
First up is the medallion toe oxford. I vastly prefer brown shoes to black ones, and going this route enabled me to check out the patina work.
For someone who tends to be fairly conservative with his footwear, the idea of shoes with deep patina, medallion toe, broguing, and laces with gold brass tips might be a little much. And for me, it is.
Coco Chanel supposedly advised the sartorially inclined to look in the mirror and take one thing off before they left for the day.
I think it’s warranted here. While this is far more subdued than Lethato’s blue triple-monk strapped boot, swapping the gold laces out may be worthwhile.
Materials and Build
Lethato uses full-grain Italian leather on all their dress shoes. It’s not the finest I’ve felt, but it’s okay for $180. There’s nothing that blows me away, but it’s about what I’d expect for this price point.
At first touch, it is a little plastic-y, but I’d actually attribute it more to the patina painting more than anything else.
Build quality remains fantastic, on par with my shoes from Moral Code. The stitching is nice and even, and there appear to be quite a few of them per inch. The perforations are clean and neatly punched through the medallion and the broguing on the upper.
Improvements can be made to the laces. The gold accent makes them look a little tacky; it feels like a bungee cord in your hand and cheapens the overall experience of lacing them up.
I like the slope of the upper and am especially keen on the narrow waist. In theory, it should hug your foot around the arch for a more customized fit than many standard “D” widths could offer.
As someone with a long, narrow foot who routinely has to size down to fit my heel, I definitely appreciate it.
I took a UK 9, which translates to a 9.5/10 in US sizing. The fit on me was “okay.”
I didn’t have any heel slip, which is always a positive. But, the mouth of the shoe still left quite a large gap when I walked. Taking a smaller size may have helped, or they may have been too small. If you’ve got a standard width foot, taking your normal size should be fine.
I may suggest ordering two pairs to get it right, but you’re on the hook for the return shipping, so do take note.
‘Comfort’ is relative and often quite difficult to describe. You might prefer a softer or firmer ride than I do or find different hotspots or pressure points.
Fresh out of the box, these weren’t bad at all. Lethato shoes don’t have cork midsoles that mold to your foot like higher price-tier options do, but they still feel quite nice through the arch and into the heel area.
There’s like a little gel in the heel, which translates to a very comfortable ride.
I find, however, these don’t breathe quite as well as my Beckett Simonons, Thursdays, or (especially) a pair of Ace Marks. Some may find that irritating.
Goodyear Welted Boots
Now let’s get to the Goodyear Welted Boots.
These are Lethato’s take on a classic wingtip boot. The lug sole is kind of a clash of formality with what they’re calling a ‘dress boot,’ but, as the intention appears more function than form, I won’t make too much of it.
This emphasis on practicality could explain the less-than-elegant slope and chunky toe box of this boot, as well as the slightly exaggerated broguing covering considerable surface area.
It’s something I’d reach for on a wet spring day or when there’s a dusting of snow on the ground.
Materials and Build
Lethato uses the same full-grain Italian leather as in their dress shoes. It feels a little cheap. The quality is what I’d expect from boots closer to $150 than $180. My pair of Thursday Captains is head and shoulders above these boots.
The soles are rubber and decent enough. But, when I looked a little closer, a few issues came up.
For starters, the hardware isn’t encouraging. I could quite easily bend the speed hooks with my thumb.
Second, the laces continue to disappoint and detract from the experience. That “cheap bungee cord” feeling is still there.
Third, a few of the holes aren’t cut cleanly, and some of the pinking is more rounded than sharp. This is more aesthetic than anything else, though.
I took a UK 9 in these, and it’s definitely my size. I wore these with both boot socks and thinner, crew-style socks and had no issues with fit. There’s plenty of room in the toe box, and the heel is nice and snug for me.
As with the oxfords, these are surprisingly comfortable. Again, no cork midsole or molding to the unique contours of your foot, but overall it’s a decently comfortable pair of boots.
Overall Experience and Recommendation
It’s a great time for finding menswear online. When it comes to suits, shorts, or shoes — if you can dream it, someone probably has a design for you.
Lethato is looking to make a mark in a deeply saturated space by providing bolder options at a reasonably accessible price point. To some extent, they succeed.
These are, indeed, comfortable shoes. But still, I didn’t find myself gravitating toward wearing either pair.
While I’m no stranger to statement shoes, between the patina, medallion, broguing, and laces, the design of the Lethato oxford is simply too much. Since this is perhaps their most conservative offering, I’d have difficulty with the other models.
However, if statement shoes are really what you’re looking for, these are far superior to Undandy (and, unlike Undandy, you’ll actually receive what you ordered and on time).
The boots, as well, are just “okay.” The leather quality is fine for this price point, but nothing really stands out. The issues I found are purely cosmetic; they aren’t something the average person would notice and don’t affect overall performance. I also appreciate a Goodyear welt.
However, I believe a company like Thursday offers better value for just a little more at $199. And I also think Beckett Simonon is worth both the $60 premium over Lethato and the lead time to receive them.
If you’re going to have these for years, a couple of months’ wait will be well worth it.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!