Taft who? As in William Howard?
Probably not. President Bathtub was more of a Doc Martens silhouette. These are anything but.
Turns out Taft has been around since 2013 and is one of the many, many direct to consumer brands claiming they’ll save you lots of cash by avoiding the traditional retail system. No markups, no fancy marketing, bla bla !!bar graph!! bla bla bla. But unlike many direct to consumer brands, Taft might just be a legit place to shop. Here’s why…
While many of their designs are funky (or, unique if you prefer), the materials and construction really are quite impressive. Made in Spain with a Blake stitched sole, all of their shoes use full grain leathers, they have slim leather soles with rubber patches for traction, and their shoes are lined in calfskin. And, perhaps most importantly, everything ships and returns for free in the US.
We took the “Bennet” whole cut for a spin (on sale for $180 through Huckberry) and honestly? It was much more impressive than what had been anticipated.
The leather is soft. Impressively soft. Break in time? Notta. Nothing. Maybe it’s different on other models, but the uppers on the Bennet are very nice. The leather has an almost glove like feel (glove like in terms of pliability). And the slight pebbled texture, which graduates into a smoother, almond shaped toe is a terrific touch. Sure, whole-cuts aren’t for everyone, but these would look dynamite with a light grey suit, white shirt, and navy tie. Or, soaring out of Aaron Rodger’s hand and into the awaiting arms of Randall Cobb. (I kid, they really do make for great looking shoes.)
Again, Blake stitched so they’re quite flexible right out of the box. The subtle rubber inserts in the sole are well appreciated, since usually with this kind of sleek, European made shoe, you risk a broken neck if you step out onto carpet or a wet sidewalk on first wear. Not here. Sizing seems true. Maybe a little trim. A Euro 43 fit my normally 10.5 D feet just fine. A 43 is supposed to be 10-10.5, and I wouldn’t size up. If anything, think about going down a half size if you’re in between on the EU measurements. No pinching or crushing of the toes. Again, they’re a little snug in terms of width, so, if you’re a wide foot, you’re out of luck.
Sadly, Huckberry is just about out of the Bennet, but you can enter below to win any of the four models that they currently have on hand from Taft (two woven wingtips, a wingtip boot, and these wholecuts if they have them in your size). You can find more stock, albeit at full price, over at the Taft website.