In this review, I’ll share my thoughts on whether Taft’s hand-made leather dress shoes, boots and
If you’re interested in men’s style, you’ve probably heard of Taft. Maybe you’ve scrolled past a few Taft posts on Instagram or saw their ads come up on your Facebook feed. If you have, you might be wondering if footwear with such unique designs are right for you.
When it comes down to brass tacks, you have a decision to make between dress shoes with classic, “safe” designs and a pair that stands out.
Note: This is not a sponsored review. Taft hasn’t paid me to write this review and I am under no obligation to publish it. I’m creating this review as someone who has purchased multiple pairs of Taft shoes on his own.
Okay, let’s dive right in…
Short on time? These are my overall thoughts on the shoes and boots:
Taft does unique shoes, boots, loafers, and
Taft shoes give you the premium feel of a $500+ shoe with a totally reimagined look at a fraction of the price. This business model is possible because they are a direct-to-consumer brand.
While most of Taft’s models have little or no break-in period, one gripe I have is that their sizing can be a bit tricky. If you’re a half size, or have a foot that is more narrow / wide than average, it will likely take some trial and error to find a size that will fit you perfectly.
Luckily, if you do have issues with sizing Taft’s customer service is speedy in helping with exchanges.
Overall, I’m personally a fan of Taft’s stand-out, attention-grabbing shoes. If you’re looking for a pair of “loud” shoes to mix up your options, I say get a pair of Tafts.
Kory and Mallory Stevens started Taft, in 2013 out of their tiny apartment in Provo, UT. Taft initially started as a sock brand.
In the process of building out their social media and marketing to grow the sock business, they would buy all kinds of dress shoes as props to model with the socks.
As the brand continued to grow through social media channels (especially Reddit) they started to get more and more inquiries on where their “model” dress shoes were from and how they could be purchased.
They decided to take the risk and create their own shoes. They learned about the process, sourced manufacturers and materials, and released their first few pairs of shoes and boots.
Taft’s mission was to create “boots for the bold,” to allow everyone to express themselves with a bit of vulnerability.
Now, Taft is surrounded by a community of super fans that seek to continually expand their bold shoe collections.
Crafting Taft Shoes
The Taft team sources high-quality leather and materials for all their styles and works closely with their manufacturers to bring their designs to life via his vision. Kory still personally designs Taft’s shoe and boot releases.
The Taft Shoes and Boots I’ve Tried
I purchased my first pair of Taft shoes in 2015. I needed new dress shoes and the unique cross-stitching of the leather upper caught my attention.
As a preface, Taft rotates through a lot of designs, leathers, fabrics, etc. They keep popular options available year-round and bring new options in and out of rotation. I’ve tried both popular models and ones that were making their way through the cycle.
Taft Dress Shoes
Taft dress shoes run true to size. As a reference, I have a standard width foot and am probably a true 9.5 US but can go up to a 10. When purchasing Taft dress shoes I order size 9 US.
Taft hasn’t created width options and they generally recommend sizing down in their shoes for the best fit. I’ve found that Taft’s dress shoes can feel a bit more narrow than the average dress shoe.
My recommendation is to know whether you want your shoe to fit snugly, or leave you some extra room if you’re a half size. Focus on personal comfort.
I’ve tried their dress shoes in sizes 10 and 9 and ultimately preferred the snug fit. That’s to say that the snug is comfortable and not too tight. If you size down, consider opting for thin socks.
The Gladiator Shoe
Currently, my favorite pair of Taft dress shoes is The Gladiator Shoe. Gladiator is a good example of what Taft does best: take a familiar style and do something unexpected.
These shoes were comfortable right out of the box with no real break-in period. If you plan on using them for daily wear (and cover some good mileage), your foot will probably get tired after a full day.
That said, they’ve been great for events where I’m on my feet.
It took a few years before Taft released loafers, despite the fact that many of their early adopters were calling for them from the get-go.
I haven’t had an issue keeping the same sizing, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re caught between sizes and are trying to decide to round up or down.
Initially, I tried an older design that sported leather tassels and a print called London, which has since been discontinued and then reiterated.
With several material options ranging from suede to jacquard, The Russell Loafer is another style that they’ve taken and turned on its head .
I‘ve mainly used these loafers as an unexpected style choice for business casual attire in warmer weather. Let me tell you, they definitely make a statement.
Taft has the largest variety in its designs when it comes to boots. It seems like they do most of their experimenting with materials, leathers, and construction with their lines of boots.
You’ll notice variation in their soles (everything from leather to rubber), the upper materials, and even their height. They’ve created boots for mild weather and boots for wet weather.
Though, I would definitely call the majority of their designs “fashion boots,” as opposed to your “snowy” or “rainy day go-to” boots.
As far as Taft boo sizing goes, the width depends on the model you choose. I usually keep a size 9, but I’ve tried a pair of the Jack Boots in both 9 and 10, and enjoyed having a little extra room for thicker socks.
Taft lasts (the silhouette / construction of the boots) vary between a few lace-up styles and chelsea boots. That’s why sizing and comfort could change between each pair.
The Jack Boot was one of Taft’s first designs. As the company has grown and improved, they’ve continued to modify it to keep it current.
However, I’ve noticed that the fancier and more intricate the material, the less likely I am to wear them in any sort of inclement weather. The Jack Boot in Eden was not made for rain. You’ll want to keep an eye on the material and fabric of the pair you choose.
Taft sneakers have gone through several design iterations as well. When they first introduced
At the moment, Taft’s sneaker selection all sport a white rubber sole with most of the variation in the upper materials.
The Klay Sneaker in Red/White
I wished that I’d sized up on these. While a size 9 got me that snug fit, I was hurting by the end of an all-day walk through downtown Denver.
Personally, I can let dress shoes slide with a bit of a narrower fit, but I always look for comfort in my
Taft vs. Thursdays
Taft most often gets compared to Thursday Boot Company. While both brands offer sturdy, well-made shoes direct to the consumer, it’s hard to give a definitive answer as to which one is better. Both companies sell great products, but they’re different.
Thursday Boots offer a lower price point than most other traditionally styled boots, so you can get a great pair of boots with a little less wallet guilt. They’ve stuck to designs they know work and offer subtle variations. Overall, Thursday sells great, albeit somewhat conservative, boots and shoes.
However, Thursday’s doesn’t give you the wide variety and bold selection that Taft does.Taft gives you options with more personality.
Is one better than the other? No. In my opinion, they meet different needs in your closet.
Pros and Cons
Here are some simple pros and cons about Taft.
Here are some positive things about Taft…
Design and Uniqueness: You won’t find boots like these anywhere else. For me, that’s a great thing. They don’t feel mass-produced.
Quality: What you gain in design and uniqueness, you don’t lose in quality. Taft shoes feel like the high-quality options you’d find at other mid-top tier shoe brands.
Price: If we’re comparing similar qualities, you’re going to be spending a lot more somewhere like Allen Edmonds.
Fit: A lot of their styles fit right out of the box with no break-in period. They’re easy to wear.
Community: This might not be something that you’re looking for in a shoe but once you buy your first pair, you’re immediately invited into the Taft community. You’ll notice them on the street and you’ll strike up conversations about which pairs you own and which ones you have your eye on next.
No brand is without it’s cons…
Price: I’m fully aware that $200-$300 for shoes is still quite a bit of money. If you’re just looking for another utilitarian pair of shoes or boots, then these probably aren’t high on your list.
However, if price is a concern, check their Last Chance/Seconds pages for additional discounts. They also have sales twice a year- in April and again around Black Friday.
Fit: Their sizing can be tough. If you have wide feet, you may struggle with some of their shoes since they skew narrower. Half sizes are also tricky if you’re not sure how you want your Taft shoes to fit. Luckily, their customer service is pretty helpful with exchanges.
Design Over Time: You’ll want to be very sure that you’re not going to have “buyer’s remorse.” Don’t buy Taft shoes on a whim. You should be almost certain that you’ll continue to wear the Taft shoes you bought even after “the honeymoon period.”
Since their designs are more unique, if you’re not careful you may find yourself uninterested in some of the first pairs you bought.
Granted, this could happen with any pair of shoes, but I have found myself reselling some older pairs of Tafts because I got caught up in the initial hype or because Taft released a better version of them.
Questions About Taft
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Taft:
Where are Taft Shoes Made?
They are handmade in Spain and Portugal. Leather and other materials are sourced from Europe.
Who Owns Taft Boots?
How Long Do Taft Shoes Last?
This is highly dependent on how frequently you wear your shoes and on how well you take care of them. Personally, I still have my first pair from 2015.
Does Taft Have Sales?
You can check out their “Last Chance” page for current deals. Otherwise, Taft has biannual sales, usually around Black Friday and another in or around April of each year.
Are Taft Shoes for You?
Taft’s is for anyone who’s ready to branch out from what they’re used to (and with Taft, you can branch out a little, or a lot). They do a good job of offering both “subtly bold” designs as well as over-the-top designs.
If you’re someone who wants traditionally crafted footwear with daring designs made with high-quality materials Taft is probably for you. With their incredibly competitive prices, Taft is definitely worth trying out.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!