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Orban's - Cheap, affordable European made Goodyear Welted shoes

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was quite surprised to see that not a single post had been written about the new French brand Orban's here on SF, hence this thread. I just had a pair delivered, and was very impressed with what you get for just €150 (€125/$140 excl. VAT for non-EU customers).


Background: Behind Orban’s is Marcos Fernandez Cabezas, who has a background as a designer and in the management of Bowen and Emling, and has started both Markowski and Septieme Largeur, which makes it likely that this is a player to be reckoned with in the future. The brand started in the fall 2015, so been around for almost a year now.

About the shoes: They are Goodyear Welted in Spain with leathers from the well known French tanneries Du Puy and Annonay. They have a large selection of models on four different lasts, two loafers lasts, and two for shoes and boots, the soft square 944 last, and the classic round 544 last. Below a last overview:

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90



My initial impressions: I just got home a pair of the model Oxford Soho Dark Brown on last 944. The last is a bit elongated and looks quite sleek, and the quite low toe spring makes it look better than many other cheaper brands IMO. The leather seem really nice for shoes at this price. One can see that they have kept the price down by doing the making and finish without any excesses, but what's done is made in a good way in general.

I have size UK10,5 in these, which is my standard size, and they fit well, quite true to size. I've just worn them for a couple of hours, but they felt quite comfortable straight from the start, again something that isn't too common for Goodyear welted shoes that are this cheap. One thing I noticed is that the toe stiffener is quite short, shorter than the quite long toe cap, which makes them crease inside the cap. This is nothing wrong (it's if the internal stiffener crease that you've got a problem), but know that some people for some reason are very sensitive about creases on the cap. 

Of course, one can't expect miracles out of shoes for €150, but for the price I'm very impressed with the initial impression of Orban's. I will write a review of them on my blog later on once they've been worn a bit, will have more substantial input of them then.

There's some info to be found about other's experience of the brand on other sites, for example here's a review on Reddit, and here's a post on the French blog Le Barboteur.


Below a bunch of pics of my shoes:

















  MORE PICTURES HERE! (Click to show)































Please note: I have been given these shoes free to make a review on my blog. I often do reviews of pairs I've been given, and do them as objectively as I can with in some cases much criticism, the brand's have no input on the reviews. I have been e-mailing a bit with Orban's ahead of receiving the review pair, but a part from this is not involved with them at all. If anything I should be more biased towards their main competitors Meermin (which have been exhibiting at a large shoe event I host three years in a row) or Bexley (which have been advertising on my blog).
Edited by j ingevaldsson - 9/25/16 at 11:42pm
post #2 of 22
They seem to be made by Carlos Santos. Their outsole has a similar look as CS.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vmss View Post

They seem to be made by Carlos Santos. Their outsole has a similar look as CS.

Could be, but I don't think so, for several reasons. I have my guess of factory, but since it seems like Orban's prefer to keep this disclosed I respect that.

Edit: I read the review on the second link I posted above again, and there it's mentioned that they are made in Spain, so means it's not Santos then.
Edited by j ingevaldsson - 9/25/16 at 11:42pm
post #4 of 22
Shoes look great. Shoes on their website look very good, too, especially considering the price. Nice to see a new, cheaper alternative out there.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWraith View Post

Shoes look great. Shoes on their website look very good, too, especially considering the price. Nice to see a new, cheaper alternative out there.

Yeah, and then I think the pics on their website don't do the shoes real justice in many cases, they look better IRL. Agree, more good budget brands are good for the whole industry, they drive people in to the classic shoe market.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

Background: Behind Orban’s is Marcos Fernandez Cabezas,

He's been involved in much more than Markowski and Septieme Largeur (which was a Markowski offshoot - I own some SL shoes from when it was the upper range of Markowski's offering, and I met the man in his Paris shop years ago).

 

He seems to start a shoe brand every few years selling pretty much the same product: Meermin-style cheap but good Goodyear welted shoes. Then after a while the prices start creeping up and he moves on and creates a new brand.

 

Does anybody have any information on why? It mystifies me. It costs a fortune to start a business and it makes so much more sense to just stick around and keep at it once you have traction... it's not like his products are going down in quality either. Is it because he relies on hype and the fickle nature of brand-switching fashion early adopters for high enough sales? 

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crdb View Post
 

He's been involved in much more than Markowski and Septieme Largeur (which was a Markowski offshoot - I own some SL shoes from when it was the upper range of Markowski's offering, and I met the man in his Paris shop years ago).

 

He seems to start a shoe brand every few years selling pretty much the same product: Meermin-style cheap but good Goodyear welted shoes. Then after a while the prices start creeping up and he moves on and creates a new brand.

 

Does anybody have any information on why? It mystifies me. It costs a fortune to start a business and it makes so much more sense to just stick around and keep at it once you have traction... it's not like his products are going down in quality either. Is it because he relies on hype and the fickle nature of brand-switching fashion early adopters for high enough sales? 

 

Yup, and I mention a couple of them.

 

I don't think it's that weird. He started Markowski in the sort of middle of the range of budget classic shoes, and then made Septieme Largeur as a sister brand to that with shoes in the higher area of the budget segment. He then left Markowski completely, and worked with only Septieme Largeur for a while. Now he wants to battle it out in the lower budget segment, with brands like Bexley (who are huge) and Meermin and to not "drag down" image on SL with a new budget shoe line started a new brand with Orban's. 


Edited by j ingevaldsson - 9/27/16 at 8:12am
post #8 of 22

Fair enough, I guess it makes sense to separate the brands rather than run them as lines of the same company. 

 

In case it wasn't clear, I'm a big fan, own much of the output (although I lost a few to mould in a humid garage) and might well give Orban a shot. In fact the timing is perfect as Meermin just released an amazing looking cognac antiqued leather MTO which I was about to pull the trigger on.

 

The photos you took show a much better shoe than what is shown on the website...

post #9 of 22
Yes, I agree, the shoes clearly look better IRL (or with better photos) than they do on the Orban website. But even there you can see they're pretty decent looking shoes.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crdb View Post
 

Fair enough, I guess it makes sense to separate the brands rather than run them as lines of the same company. 

 

In case it wasn't clear, I'm a big fan, own much of the output (although I lost a few to mould in a humid garage) and might well give Orban a shot. In fact the timing is perfect as Meermin just released an amazing looking cognac antiqued leather MTO which I was about to pull the trigger on.

 

The photos you took show a much better shoe than what is shown on the website...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWraith View Post

Yes, I agree, the shoes clearly look better IRL (or with better photos) than they do on the Orban website. But even there you can see they're pretty decent looking shoes.

 

Yeah, the shoes look ok on their site, but don't make them real justice. This is something they could improve, nice product photos means a lot for online sales.

post #11 of 22
They should hire you as their photographer wink.gif
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWraith View Post

They should hire you as their photographer wink.gif

 

Hehe well it's really hard to take good product photos (I know, it's part of my job as e-commerce manager) even for professional photographers sometimes, so don't blame them. The pics above taken outdoor would probably look a bit odd if one removed the background and put them against white as is the common.

post #13 of 22
I know what you mean. Try as I might, I can never seem to take a decent shot of any of my shoes.
post #14 of 22

Talking of which, since I'm now considering giving Orban a go, to replace my "Harvard" pair lost to a mouldy garage...

 

How do the sizes compare with Meermin, specifically the Hiro last? Orban is suggesting that a UK 9.5 goes to a EU 44, I'm used to it being closer to 43. 

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

^^^ A shame with the mould incident. It's always complicated to translate between UK/US and EU sizing, since they overlap, so to speak. For me, I wear size 10,5 in Hiro, and also size 10,5 in Orban's 944. The latter has a more elongated toe hence looks longer, but it's supposed to.

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