When I was working with Allen Edmonds to develop the ideal chukka boot last year, I was feeling a bit nervous. There was a lot riding on the project’s success and it felt like a pretty big gamble at the time. I hadn’t done any projects of that scale and I wasn’t sure how the product would be received, so there was plenty to be antsy about. In fact, I didn’t even discuss it here (as relevant as it was) because I didn’t want to jinx the project by hyping it up too hard.
Fortunately, the project was very successful and Massdrop has sold well over a thousand pairs so far. It’s received some good press and, most importantly, got some great shoes out into enthusiasts’ hands. Another great outcome of that project was that it opened new doors to other collaborations, one of which is now available – the Carmina x Massdrop semi-brogue oxford.
When I met with Carmina last year at the Proper Kit show, I pitched them on a similar idea (with the advantage of having the Allen Edmonds project to show as proof of concept). After further discussions with them and with members from the menswear community, we came up with a new dress shoe to offer. This shoe is a riff on a classic Carmina model, but with a few key changes:
- We subbed in the Rain last instead of the Simpson, because the Rain is much easier to fit and is more popular in general.
- We upgraded the sole to a J. Redenbach (“JR”) oak-tanned sole. Typically, these soles are reserved for Carmina’s cordovan collection. JR soles are tanned in pits with oak bark and are considered some of the best on the market due to their durability.
- We included branded beechwood shoe trees – a simple way to add a lot of value.
If you were to order this as a custom shoe from Carmina it would cost over $550, before you even factor in the 30% upcharge with ordering a one-off shoe. We were very excited to be able to offer these for $350 shipped. At that price I think it’s one of the best value oxfords on the market.
As I mentioned earlier, I no longer work at Massdrop so I have no longer have any personal stake in this project (or any other Massdrop project), I just think that it’s a great product for the price. They’re currently available in black and mid-brown, and will ship in September. Due to the fact that these are made-to-order, they are sold as final sale. I find the Rain last to fit true-to-size (note that these are being sold in their US size, which I believe is one more than their UK size).