Carmina, the small Spanish shoe company that has been making big waves in the menswear world, has risen to prominence in an impressive fashion over the past few years. In a landscape dominated by England and Italy, Carmina has shown that Spain is a major contender in the world of fine footwear, and did so by creating beautiful lasts and using extremely handsome leathers. There was a time that Carmina shoes were described as “undervalued” and “the next big thing,” but that honeymoon period has inevitably passed, as we have seen Carmina prices slowly rise in parallel with their popularity.
The Armoury is quite possibly the most celebrated vendor of Carmina shoes, and their stock is exceptional. Their selection starts at around $550, excluding shipping. Epaulet is the biggest stateside vendor; they have a unique collection of shoes and are known for their made-to-order programs. Their stock starts at around $550 as well, and includes shipping in the US.
There are several other vendors available, but one that is often overlooked is the actual Carmina website. Prices there are generally a bit lower, but the stock is somewhat miscellaneous and the product photos are not nearly as majestic as the other options, and fail to do the shoes justice. Compare the photo above with this one (or this with this) and you’ll see what I mean.
However, it is worth noting that the Carmina e-store is offering free worldwide shipping until December 31st (on orders over 250 euros, which shouldn’t be difficult to meet). This is a savings of about $70 for US customers. Not huge, but definitely noteworthy. Also note that non-EU countries can deduct VAT, which divides the list price by 1.21.
There are a few things to note about this sale. First, the dollar is currently getting dominated by the euro, which takes a bit of the sting out of the discount. Nonetheless, there is still a comfortable net savings. Second, shoe returns are challenging and expensive, so if you don’t know your size then it is important to do your homework and understand that there will be some risk involved. Lastly, it is my understanding that not all available models are shown on the website, and that the free shipping discount will be applied to other available stock as well. All inquiries can be made to Betty (firstname.lastname@example.org), the lovely lady that deals with more menswear nerds than most people face in a lifetime.
Some personal favorites of mine: the celebrated Inca last double monks (~$445), the popular string tassel suede loafers (~$360), and the suede balmoral boot shown above (~$500). There are also lots of great cordovan options as well. None of these are cheap by any means, but the prices are about as low a price as I’ve seen, at least for those of us who don’t live near one of their stores.