When it comes to shoes, you know you'll have to pay for quality. But just how much? This was a question the two 26-year-old founders of up-and-coming brand Beckett Simonon were forced to ask themselves a few years ago. While running a men's accessories brand from their native Bogotá, Colombia, they decided to put the local artisans and leather to good use and add shoes to the line. They came to the New York trade shows and got a great response from buyers, but were put off by the middlemen costs of wholesaling. Instead of raising prices or lowering the quality of the materials, the two decided to launch their own shoe brand and sell directly to customers. This allows them to offer affordable prices while maintaining their quality standards for materials and manufacturing. "All of the shoes are designed and made in Colombia using the best leathers from South America," says co-founder Andres Niño. "Many people don't know but there is a huge leather and textile heritage over here."
And while you save money on the shortened supply chain, the company is putting the cash they save towards quality craftsmanship—working only with family-owned suppliers and factories that pay a fair wage with benefits. "The goal is to become a brand where stylish yet price-conscious men can find it all, from quality made belts and briefcases to socks and shoes, etc.," he says. Right now, they're offering 15 timeless styles of derbies, wing tips and chukka boots.
We ordered up a pair of the Bailey chukkas in brown suede and were immediately impressed with the quality of the stitching and silky soft glove leather lining. And unlike most sub-$100 shoes, they came with a travel shoe bag. The understated styling gives them a more refined feel than your average crepe-soled desert boots. And thanks to the generously cushioned footbed and featherweight rubber sole, they're more comfortable too. Easily paired with everything from jeans and chinos to a suit, this is a wallet-friendly pair of shoes you can feel good about buying.