Top critical review
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Lower quality, higher price (compared to last year)
on November 7, 2014
[EDIT: I thought I'd move this part to the top as it may be helpful to some, although it was added more as an afterthought.]
Since I've owned the other pair of 5050s for a year, here are some tips from personal experience for new 5050 lovers who can still find a good quality pair (you may have better luck with leather than with suede) but find it difficult to get in and out of this style:
1. The easiest way to put on the 5050 boots, as conterintuitive as it may seem, is to remain in standing position when you do so. Your body weight will be working for you as you step down into the boot, and you wouldn't have to pull like crazy the way you would if you were sitting.
2. The easiest way to take off the 5050 boots is to roll down the top (turning it inside out from the top and peel half way down) before pulling out your foot.
[And here's the main review.]
Last year (late 2013) I splurged on my first pair of 5050 boots, a gorgeous pair in softest black nappa leather. When I tried them on at the store, I also lusted over the cola (brown) suede version which felt like caressing butter in my hand - but of course, at this price I couldn't get two pairs in a row and decided on just the black ones (see, I was being "sensible" lol).
I couldn't put them out of my mind though, and kept checking back - the cola suede ones became unavailable for months on end in my size, and when I saw them return this fall (2014), I was overjoyed and could no longer resist ordering them.
When I finally got them though... WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! While the cut/style remains the same 5050, this year's suede material is thicker and much more stiff, nowhere near as luxurious as before (which was how it should be considering the price tag). Even the box they come in is shorter this year, with the boot shaft folded in half to fit inside, as opposed to the extra-long box of last year that accommodated the full length of the OTK 5050s. I feel that they have skimped on the quality while raising the already sky-high list price by another forty dollars.
Sorry Stuart W, it's just unacceptable and these are going back. To be fair, the quality is not bad and the style is fabulous as always. But for a luxury product at this price point, I expect nothing less than exceptional quality - else we could just go for the Franco Sarto or other boots of similar style at less than a quarter of the price.