Greats Royale Review: The Return of the Brown Sneaker
For the lifetime of this blog, I have posted my passion for brown shoes. I love their versatility and the breadth of shades, from caramel to chestnut to chocolate.
So when the Greats line of sneakers launched a few years ago, I kept an eye out for any brown sneakers they might offer. Their flagship Royale sneaker was initially offered in a colorway called “Cuoio” that was more of a butterscotch. A bit too light for my taste. Thankfully, last year they finally released the Chocolate Brown colorway which was exactly what I had been looking for.
So this past January I bought a pair. I have to say, I am thrilled with the shoes. Sometimes when you come across companies that make claims of “cutting out the middle-man” by selling a designer-quality good direct to the consumer, usually that means you’ll get a cheap imitation of something already existing in the market. And while the Royales share a classic sneaker silhouette similar to Common Projects or Buttero, they are no pale imitations. The outer leather is full-grain and beautifully soft, the lining is vachetta calf leather, a cushioned in-sole and tongue, and a cup-sole. They’re made in Italy and as of this writing retail for $159, but I signed up for their mailing list and got 15% off, bringing it around $130. The construction on my pair is solid–no loose threads or flaws in the leather. They took a few wears for the insoles to mold to my feet, but they were comfortable from the get go. I did follow Greats advice about Royales running a little large and sized down from my normal 8.5 and bought an 8.
I’ve had them for almost 2 months now, wearing them mainly on the weekends and casual Fridays at work. Overall, I’m please with my purchase and would definitely purchase another Royale in the future. I think the price is fair, especially considering your average Made-in-China NBA-player sneaker model goes for the same if not higher. I do think their current practice of listing a “Traditional Retail $450” on their website is a bit misleading. I know they are referring to the designer sneakers I mentioned earlier, but the way it is written on the website makes it seem like the Royales were originally $450 and are now $159. I don’t think there’s a need to be deceptive when you have a quality product. Aside from that, I think the Royale lives up to the Greats name.