Finding truly affordable, well-made shoes isn’t the simplest thing in the world, but a recent spate of new brands are espousing fresh approaches and business models to make that quest easier. Everyone give a warm welcome to the newest: Amblier, a Swedish brand that’s selling Goodyear welted oxfords and loafers right around $300.
Amblier was born from the minds of Erik Gederberg and Olle Boman—founders of The Sabot, an upscale shoe retailer based in Gothenburg, Sweden that exclusively peddles some of the world’s most beautiful and well-constructed shoes, including from Japanese masters Yohei Fukuda and Joe Works.
Following two years of development, the brand was just birthed with three models: the Carver penny loafer, which sports a prominently stitched apron, and two five eyelet oxfords: the Walton full brogue, and the Ashton cap toe. All could be defined as distinctly classic and usable shoes, and it’s hard not to term them elegant in terms of design, with some quiet European flair. To call them “safe” can be read a lot of ways, but I mean it positively—they’re certainly not daring, or bold, or…hazardous to your health (I imagine).
“We wanted to launch the brand with models that we feel are timeless classic pieces, models that we can’t live without,” Gederberg and Boman told Stitchdown. “We wanted to create something for ourselves, shoes that we like and want to wear. Also we really wanted to offer tremendous value for money, [something] a bit more accessible compared to our other offerings on The Sabot.”
While a few sport leather outsoles, most of the shoes sit on a proprietary slim rubber sole. Leathers—including brown and snuff suede, plus black, espresso, and burgundy calf—are sourced from top European tanneries including France’s Annonay and Du Puy, Germany’s Weinheimer, and England’s famed Charles F. Stead. All of Amblier’s shoes are constructed in Spain, where many of today’s more affordable brands are manufacturing.
“We managed to keep the costs down by cutting out middle hands and keeping the overhead costs to a minimum,” said Gederberg and Boman. (And I must say, I absolutely love their use of “middle hands” instead of “middleman,” especially in terms of shoemaking. I’m stealing it, fellas.)
More value: Amblier includes a pair of lasted shoe trees with each pair. As for sizing, they recommend you take your normal Crockett & Jones or Carmina size—which is generally .5 to a full size down from Alden, for instance.
So how’s the quality? I unfortunately don’t have an answer on that yet, as the shoes have just begun shipping. But I’ll certainly let you know when I do.
In the meantime, right around $300 ex VAT with free shipping and those lasted shoe trees isn’t too terrifying a plunge to take for what appear to be some beautifully designed shoes with leathers from lauded tanneries—and two creators who know fine footwear cold.