F/W 11 Raf Derby (Oxford)
* * *
Initial impression when unboxing was that these shoes look to be factory seconds. That or they have been definitely tried on. No creasing, but the left shoe insole where it states "Raf Simon", the 'R' is faded. Further inspection reveal that it may not be worn down, but rather when the handmade pair of shoe were stamped with the label, this specific pair was rushed. Hence, my thought that they maybe factory seconds. These were picked up from GILT sold at a steep discount of $319. I believe someone has mentioned earlier that GILT may be carrying their own stock of the Raf F/W 11 derby. Perhaps they were right. And also GILT's inventory are factory seconds?
Other minor flaws include the right toe box as pictured in first photo. The line is not an indentation but rather an uneven coating of finish I believe. Some shoe cream and proper cleaning should clear it up I think. You cannot see from the photos but the stitching on the right pair at the toe box is also quite uneven where the sole and upper is not as cleanly sewed together.
Leather is very nice. Supple but thick and will have character overtime with wear. I say definitely better than two pairs of Barney's footwear I recently bought. I can already tell that the toe box creasing will be quite different, a gradual process like some creasing on a pair of dry denim that creates honeycomb effect rather than becoming wrinkly after a handful of wear. The shoe is sturdy. The leather and heaviness of the shoe reminds me of a boot more than a traditional oxford as GILT/Raf describes it. The laces are great. Raf did a good job in matching a nice pair of laces with the shoe in terms of thickness and material. Only complaint is the length. I personally prefer my shoe laces on the shorter side for a pair of footwear like these. It just looks cleaner when laced up. Overtime with wear the laces will ease down a bit.
The shoes also fit about one size big. For me a size 41 fit just right when I sized down from a 42. Even as someone with a flat foot, sizing down one and wearing dress socks these shoes felt right on my feet where I knew they would properly stretch and mold to accommodate my every step. I will point out that the vamp and in-step is quite tight so if you have an high arch these shoes may not be for you.
The Raf derby is not a shoe with a slim and low profile last. When looking down you maybe reminded of Ronald McDonald's feet. Slim, tapered trousers may exaggerate these proportions of the footwear even more and make it quite noticeable to the wearer. Photo one illustrates this but even I was surprised that it still looked fairly slim (due to angle possibly). As with not being slim the Raf derby also has quite a bulbous toe. From a side profile view as in photo three the toe box looks to be more rounded and protruding almost like the new iteration of the Rick Owens sneakers.Edited by gettoasty - 7/12/12 at 1:40pm