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Shark leather uppers
Full leather lining
We would like to start, by letting you know that this shark leather comes from non-endangered or threatened shark species. These skins are a by-product from fishing villages. Having said that, this is not an ordinary leather, it’s very different from anything we have offered in the past. Way stronger than bovine hides and waterproof.
I've been wearing these for about a month now, pretty much every other day. I ordered the wide size: one shoe fit perfectly, the other was a bit tight, likely because my feet are wider than average. After about a week of wear, both have broken in nicely. Note to future buyers: sharkskin has a rather defined texture, I found applying a cream polish with a brush gave the best results. Overall, I am happy with the shoes and will be buying my next pair of work shoes from John Doe Shoes. I do wish the laces that came with the shoes were long enough to use.
The Good: Beautiful leather and nearly flawless construction from an aesthetic standpoint. Perfect welt join and very good stitching. Absolutely insane to get something with this leather and quality at this price. Very comfortable. The shark leather is incredibly thin, soft and strong. Seriously, they must go through a lot of knives cutting it. The Bad: Strong odor which has yet to fully dissipate after six weeks. Not sure if this is the shark leather or something else. It's not entirely unpleasant but it's apparent. The soles of the shoes are not flat, but rather bowed along the whole length. Presumably with wear they will flatten out but in the meantime it leads to a bit more pressure along the middle of the foot. It's not terribly noticable, but it's there. The blind eyelets were not installed correctly and ripped up the laces. I had to take a Dremel to them. Fit: I sized up from my usual dress shoe or boot size and length is perfect with just a bit of extra room in width (I might have ordered E width, I can't remember). Overall, I highly recommend these but if you're a perfectionist expecting Carmina quality, you might be disappointed. But then you're not spending $700. Overall construction quality is in line with Frye's Mexican-made, while the leathers are as good as you can get.
The shoes have major texture and do stand out, but I suppose that's the point of shark leather. Some minor imperfections in the leather and cut leave some very minor white spots. The leather almost has a plastic feel to it. It is still very early days and I'm just breaking them in.
I ordered the Connor wingtip, in black shark. I've been eyeing this company for a while, because MTM is the gold standard for quality footwear, and JDS seems almost too good to be true. Funny thing about that last part... So first off, there was some sort of communication breakdown. I'll take half the blame because I didn't bother to check on the order for a while. No big deal, but the shoes took a lot longer than expected to get to me. But pulling them out of the box, they looked spectacular. That shark leather is maybe not perfect for day to day shoes (depending on your office or social environment), but if it suits your style, they're a great choice. Likewise, the construction appears solid. The stitching has no visible flaws, and the leather is, like I said, perfect. But when I put them on, things went downhill fast. One of the reasons I've been looking at JDS is I wear a 9.5 extra wide. That limits the options quite a bit. Generally, I can get by with a 10, but I can tell the difference. These are a regular size 10. It's fine, but it's not what I ordered. Then there's the insole. Or half insole. Unlike any other shoes I've ever purchased, there's just a thin leather insole that only covers an area from the heel to mid-arch. You take a few steps and it's obvious there's nothing under the ball of the foot. It's like walking barefoot on concrete. Also, it looks stitched in, but in a day or two that little half insole started peeling off, and in less than a week it was gone. Until I get something to make these shoes a little more comfortable, they only come out if I'm not doing any walking. In the mean time, I'd suggest sticking with Oak Street or one of the other shoe makers. This purchase was just a disappointment.
As soon as I saw they had shark leather, I knew I had to have them! I mean where else can you even buy sharkskin shoes (especially for less than $250)?! That’s amazing! I got the black shark leather Harlow boots with commando soles. They shipped in around a month, which is what is advertised. These are my second pair of John Doe shoes. Value 10/10 Style: 9/10 Wow the sharkskin is cool! (Smell it! It has an exotic sent). The leather is much more textured than shown in the picture but looks great. I get compliments and questions about them all the time. They’ve quickly become my favorite pair of shoes. The sole looks like it has the back heal of a studded sole and the front is commando. Not sure if that was a mistake as I ordered the commando sole. It doesn’t really bother me, but the inconsistency is strange. The color is a deep even black that accents any outfit well. I enjoy the cut of the Harlow. They are the perfect balance of dress and casual. The texture gives them a unique class that I love! You could walk through puddles then wipe them off and wear them to a formal event. Comfort: 10/10 I’d have to say these the most comfortable boots I’ve owned. The leather is malleable and soft (but sturdy). No break-in required here! I got an 11 and they fit perfectly true to size. Width is spot on as well. I don’t notice any heel movement when walking. The leather is wonderful and feels great. I can wear them all day without any discomfort. Quality: 10/10 Shark leather seems tough and high quality, yet it’s flexible and soft. It has a really great feel! I absolutely love it! Great construction! The welts and all the stitching look solid and professional. I did not opt for the Storm welt because the Goodyear welt seems to be plenty waterproof on my other shoes. The soles/heel seem to be attached well. They look like they will last for years to come with proper care. Speaking of, give them some love to keep them nice! Shark skin seems to dry out easily, so I definitely recommend getting some leather sealer or conditioner to keep these soft, supple, and waterproof! Overall: 9.75/10 My new favorite pair of shoes! These boots are pretty much as good as it gets. There were a couple tiny items that didn’t score them a perfect 10, but for the price they’re amazing. Thank you John Doe for continuing to improve, offer new and exciting materials, and provide the best value shoes on the market.