Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing a couple of shoes from local shoe label, Gaius Walks.
I’ve reviewed a couple of shoes from Gaius Walks previously – if you haven’t already done so, do read my initial review article on Gaius Walks here. After that review was published, I’ve gotten comments from readers asking me to review some of their more formal styles, and thus I reached back out to the brand. Gaius Walks kindly sent me two pairs of shoes for review – let’s see if they are any good!
For those looking for their first pair of dress shoes, you will never go wrong with a pair of nice Oxfords!
Firstly, the Romeo Cap Toe is fashioned out of full grain calf leather. For those uninitiated with leather, leather generally comes in 3 different grades – genuine leather, top-grain leather, and full-grain leather, in ascending order of quality. Full grain leather essentially means that the leather used is taken from the upper most portion of the hide, which also happens to be the most durable and supple. Unlike the cheap, genuine leather dress shoes one find in Bata or even Aldo, full grain leather shoes will patina over time, developing a rustic look with age. For me, I always strive to look for full grain leather in all of my leather products.
A cap-toe Oxford is perhaps the classic dress shoe silhouette – it’s incredibly versatile, and should pair well with almost any outfit. On the Romeo, the toe cap is slightly burnished for a more sophisticated look. Furthermore, I quite like the last (the way the shoe is shaped) of the Romeo. I have slim feet, and I found the slender shape of the Romeo to work for me quite well. If you have wider feet, you may want to look at the Luca instead, which uses a wider last. I think the last of a shoe, or how a shoe is shaped, is often overlooked by customers. Just like clothing, always make sure that the shoes fit right on your feet.
As per the norm for $100+ dress shoes, the Romeo Cap Toe features a cemented construction. For those uninitiated with shoe construction, a cemented shoe basically means that the sole of the shoe is glued together to the uppers, making it less durable than blake-stitched or goodyear welted shoes as the glue may come apart over time and use. However, blake-stitched and goodyear welted shoes generally cost at least $200+ – if you’re on a budget, a cemented dress shoe should last you just fine. In addition. the sole is rubberized, though there are some attempts to make it resemble leather for a more refined look. I like the huge rubber swathe at the top of the sole, as it helps aid traction.
The Romeo Cap Toe features a full calfskin insole and lining, and is comfortable and breathable as a result. Here’s a tip: when buying a pair of dress shoes, look for those with natural linings, such as calfskin or goatskin. Often, companies will use synthetic materials such as polyester as the lining of the shoes to save cost. This results in less breathability, and gives the sensation of our foot being “hot” in the shoes. Always look for natural linings in your dress shoes, especially if you’re planning on wearing them for a prolonged period!
There’s a lot to like about the Romeo Cap Toe. Firstly, I like the slender, elegant silhouette of the shoe – it looks great on people with slim feet like me. Secondly, the design is classic and minimalist, ensuring that the shoes would pair well with almost any outfit. It’s also comfortable on the feet due to the calf leather lining, and I like the burnishing present on the toe cap. I should also mention that the Romeo Cap Toe comes in a variety of intriguing colourways – Espresso (as shown above), Ebony, Rust, and even Indigo! Of the lot, I found the Espresso variant to be the most versatile, but it’s always nice to see that there are multiple options to choose from.
For those who want to step the formality up a notch, a wholecut is one of the best ways to do so.
The wholecut is probably one of the most formal styles of shoes out there. A wholecut is fashioned out of a single piece of leather, giving the shoe an air of refined sophistication. It is often hard to construct – many shoe brands (such as Earnest & Collective) do not carry a wholecut – as the leather used needs to be of consistent texture and unblemished.
Like the Romeo Cap Toe, the Andres Wholecut is also fashioned out of Italian full-grain leather. As such, the shoe will patina beautifully over time. This is especially important for wholecuts – there’s literally nowhere for sub-par leather to hide. Here, the beauty of the Italian full-grain leather that Gaius Walks uses is highlighted and displayed for all to see. If the Romeo Cap Toe is meant to complement outfits, the Andres Wholecut is designed to stand out in any outfit!
Like the Romeo Cap Toe, the Andres Wholecut comes in a variety of colours, such as Rust (pictured above), Sangria, and Ebony. Amongst the three, I think the Rust colourway is not only the most versatile, but also the colourway best suited to the wholecut design. The resplendent colour of the leather really shines here! In addition, there’s also some burnishing present at the toe cap for an extra dose of sophistication.
Calfskin lining is again used on the Andres Wholecut for the insole and lining, making it breathable and comfortable on the feet.
The rubber sole of the Andres Wholecut is near identical to the one found on the Romeo Cap Toe, and most other Gaius Walks shoes. It also features the same cemented construction. In my experience with the loafers, there is sufficient grip and traction and I never really had any issues with slipping or the such.
Overall, I really like the Gaius Walks Andres Wholecut. It’s not as versatile stylistically as the Romeo Cap Toe, but when worn it makes a statement on the feet. Just look at it! The wholecut silhouette is simply beautiful.
Conclusion – so Gaius Walks shoes “shiok” or not?
Definitely! I can imagine the Romeo Cap Toe to be perfect for the office, while the Andres Wholecut will certainly make a statement at weddings/events/red carpets/etc. The leather quality that Gaius Walks uses is pretty good, and the shoes are all comfortable on the feet. I love that Gaius Walks offers their designs in a wide variety of colours as well. At $133.20 (after promo code below), I think the Gaius Walks shoes are great value for money. As compared to similarly priced offerings from brands like Earnest & Collective, I find Gaius Walks shoes to look better aesthetically. Comparing the Romeo Cap Toe to E&C’s Carnegie III, I prefer the clean lines of the Romeo Cap Toe over the stitching found on the uppers of the Carnegie III. If you’re looking for good looking affordable dress shoes, I think that Gaius Walks shoes are hard to beat!
For those interested, Gaius Walks has kindly provided my readers with a 10% discount, as well as a free horsehair brush (worth $12)! Simply use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy the discount off all products on their online store. Gaius Walks currently has a $20 off promo code available as well, but in my opinion getting the horsehair brush thrown in is a better deal. After the promo code, both the Romeo Cap Toe and the Andres Wholecut can be had for just $133.20. For those who like to try their shoes before purchase, Gaius Walks – unlike most online shoe labels – actually have a permanent showroom, though prior appointment is required.
View Gaius Walks’ full range of products here.
Gaius Walks Showroom Location:
1093 Lower Delta Rd, #03-07, Singapore 169204
Book an appointment at 87921068 beforehand!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!