There are shoes that cannot be the topic of a review. When you begin to write with a critical eye about John Lobb or Cleverley, for instance, you risk becoming hilarious. I am not saying that there aren’t also failed models (after all the client is the king), but for some reason, the shoemakers of tradition manage to save even the nuttiest combinations. So, when I read extensive reviews about this kind of shoes, I feel like smiling. If the article was for GQ, I would understand, but when the aimed public is not one of beginners, to describe a perfect shoe would be similar to describing the beauty of a Victoria’s Secret model. Words are redundant, images say it all.
Therefore, I will only say a few words about this pair of Maftei. After several pairs I discovered that to my last from Maftei best fits the plain derby model. Maftei manages to say everything through his simple lines. The simpler the model, the easier to see the skill of the shoemaker. Maftei made a very beautiful pair, and I hope you can see this in the photos. The next model though will be a loafer that captured my heart more than 3 years ago. I saw and wore many loafers since, but that tassel loafer remained in my heart. So pretty soon you will have the opportunity to see this tassel made on my last by Alexandru Maftei.
About Maftei I can say that it has one strong point and one weak point. The strong point is the construction and a very well executed last (I’d say it comes close to Lobb, but I have no Lobb shoes unfortunately). The weak points are actually two points. Sometimes some pairs are not highly finished. It’s a pity, because with a little extra effort, the shoes could be exceptional. Some pairs have to lose from a visual point of view if they are compared to Saint Crispin’s, for example. Although I prefer Maftei to Saint Crispin’s anytime.
The pair in the image is flawless, no matter how hard I’d try to find any flaws to it. Lately though I noticed that they pay much more attention to finishing, so things are improving. The second weakness is the presence on the internet. Cleverley has, for instance, a good PR and a well-built image. The same goes for certain Japanese shoemakers. It is false to consider that image doesn’t matter for a bespoke shoemaker. I realize that the Maftei‘s clientele is quite of a niche, but a better presence online could be the beginning for future successful MTO line.