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Cheaply made, to be polite about it.
on February 3, 2012
Some relevant background - I've been wearing a pair of black leather Sambas for the last 3 years. They are also the kids version, and they were due for replacement. Thought I'd try something close in suede. My plan for these was as a basic 'short walks' walking sneaker; needed good looks, but I wasn't expecting much for support. However, I do expect that the quality be decent, i.e., at the same level as my Sambas.
My expectations were not met. The footbed is flat (not a surprise) with the scantest layer of padding. The rubber/plastic sole also lacks cush, but is at least bendy. The laces are long enough to lace the shoes with, and there is a slight bit of padding at the back of the heel. That's the good bits. The suede is listed as being made from cows, but I have my doubts - it's thin, with the merest micrometers of felting - basically it looks and feels just like the plastic version. The tongue is definitely plastic, not long enough to rise up, completely unpadded, and cuts into the front of my ankle with every step. Now, my feet are a little funny, but this is a fundamental design flaw. And a painful one.
If I wasn't so cynical about how willing companies are to lower quality, I'd swear they were knock-offs. Guess the Sambas will be getting a nice pair of insoles and some TLC.