52 Weeks – 52 Posts
Today is a very special day. It marks the 1 year anniversary of Misiu Academy. A simple idea conceived during some normal, everyday talks about empowering men and investing in quality items. Thus, such an important occasion demands a special article. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Heinrich Dinkelacker Review of a very unique pair of shoes.
More specifically, the Buda Full-Brogue C in luxurious Blue Shell Cordovan. An iconic modern interpretation of the classic Budapester variant from Central Europe. Handmade using the best available materials, this wonderful demonstration of craftsmanship commands a very high price tag. Join me in this in-depth adventure to explore the mythos behind the tales of comfort and quality.
Should you invest your hard-earned money? Grab some coffee and let’s find out!
Heinrich Dinkelacker – A Short History Lesson
Back in 1879, a man by the name of Heinrich Dinkelacker opened the Apollo shoe factory in the little town of Sindelfingen. However this was not just a random choice. Quite the contrary since it was a hub for some of the best shoemakers in the world.
Time went by and after a big decision in 1960 the family moved the factory to the capital of Central European shoemaking. This was in part due to a lack of new recruits in Germany. A good decision nonetheless combining the best of both worlds.
Up to this day, the factory remains in Budapest producing limited quantities of shoes fully by hand. The main style is classic, round shoes like the Budapester. These Austro-Hungarian styles remain the core essence of the Heinrich Dinkelacker Brand.
The Shoepassion Acquisition
In 2005 Burkhard Dinkelacker (Grandson of Heinrich) retired leaving the company without a family heir. Three men stepped into the rescue due to their love for the brand:
- Norbert Lehmann (IBM)
- Wendelin Wiedeking (Porsche)
- Anton Hunger (Porsche)
All three led Heinrich Dinkelacker into the new century, paving the way for a successful future. This culminated in 2016 when a historic merger happened. Shoepassion, one of the largest shoe brands in Europe acquired the brand to merge the old and the new.
Shoepassion produces their own Goodyear Welted shoes and currently offers a Bespoke program as well as a revolutionary foot scanning method with an iPad.
For more details please refer to the official history.
The Budapester – A Shoe, A Last Or A Lifestyle?
From what I understand, the Budapester is not just a type of men’s shoes. It is a specific last and style with recognizable characteristics. The name of course comes from the capital of Hungary.
Generally speaking, it is a double-stitched derby shoe with broguing, a heel cap and a wing cap. It also often features a double sole, a high toe cap and a large heel. Here, it has a very round shape to ensure comfort and versatility for both business and casual scenarios.
Tip: If you are unfamiliar with the terms broguing or derby, please refer to this guide.
The Buda C – Specifications
My first real contact with Heinrich Dinkelacker was in the Shoegazing London Trunk Show. I met their representative (Rezso), a very friendly intelligent man. After a few discussions and exchanges of emails they were kind to provide me with a sample to review. Here are the specifications:
- Brand: Heinrich Dinkelacker
- Model: Buda Full-Brogue C
- Style: Boot
- Made In: Hungary
- Construction: Goodyear Welt System
- Last: Buda
- Size: UK 6.5 (US 7.5/EU 40)
- Width: G Fitting
- Eyelets: 4 Blind and 2 Speed Hooks
- Upper Material: Horween Blue Shell Cordovan
- Sole: Double Leather
- Welt: Braided with Double Stitching
- Price: $1,195.00 including VAT (SEK 11350/€1070/£950)
Their website is fantastic and modern by the way. I do wish there was a section for the 15 different lasts though. This model also comes in black and oxblood colors.
The box arrived in white strong packaging with burgundy tape and a clear Heinrich Dinkelacker marking. Inside, there is a black box with a smooth glossy look.
On the top you see the Brand logo and some markings, while one the sides there is a vent for airflow and a handwritten white sticker with information. The latter is a very nice touch as it truly adds to the handmade approach. It even has my name on it!
The box is definitely high quality as you would expect, but on this occasion there is something that could be better. On one side the box was torn to the bottom. It potentially means that the package was compromised during transport but luckily there was no damage to the shoes.
To their defense, they offered to send me a new box as soon as possible. They are very responsive and helpful, which is a big plus.
First Impressions & Feelings
It is a whole different feeling seeing an item online and actually handling it physically in your own privacy. Kinda like that unconscious first impression when you meet a new person or a date. You know within the first few seconds if you like them or not right?
The same applies here. You buy a 1200$ pair of shoes and you want it to be perfect. Honestly, I had a bit of a mixed impression initially. While the “awe” factor was absolutely there, there was no “oh my god moment”. Let me explain better.
Looking at the shoes, they are fantastic. It is unique and remarkable to witness a new style for the first time. A beautiful welt, stitching and an amazing sole to name a few of the features. However, the website hypes you up SO much with its pictures. Glossy, shiny and extremely vibrant.
Mine were how to put it..slightly duller at times. Still immaculate and beautiful but just a little less glamorous than most pictures in real life.
One thing I noticed immediately were the laces. Absolutely wonderful for some reason and a perfect match for these boots. To my (pleasant) surprise the package comes with an additional set of 95 cm laces along with a return/service leaflet. It is in German though!
Lastly, two very high quality dust bags accompany the shoes. Really top notch and with a very rich cordovan smell. Same with the boots themselves. Each brand I try has a slightly different finish and most importantly, smell. I can smell the vegano leather from TLB Mallorca or the Aniline finish of Carlos Santos now.
Heinrich Dinkelacker Review – Close Inspection
Finally time to move to the main course after the appetizers. I will go through every part of the shoe individually to inspect them and present my findings.
An Overview Of The Uppers
Overall, I am very satisfied with the uppers. It looks and feels like a very robust well-made pair. The Shell Cordovan comes from the world famous Horween Tannery in Chicago after all.
There are a couple of areas that I had my concerns about. Most notably on the back of the right shoe. You can see there are some dents which should not be there. Additionally, some of the broguing in that area demands a closer look.
It is worth pointing out however that handmade items are more prone to errors and slight variations. I think it is a topic we will discuss later.
Not sure what Shell Cordovan is? Read this fantastic guide!
Laces & Eyelets
A good place to start is the shaft and facing section. The Buda C is a boot, which means it extends above your ankle. This model is very interesting since the total height is smaller than my usual boots. The facing has 4 blind eyelets (with brass rings on the inside) and two silver speed hooks.
Overall I think this is great for the aesthetics of the Buda as a longer shaft would potentially make it looks bulkier than it already is.
I already mentioned the laces are fantastic. Flat, quality laces with a caramel, orange tint that are premium to the touch. The tongue is also very easy to manipulate and quite soft to the touch.
I am extremely happy with this section.
Looking At The Toe Area
Another brilliant show of quality is the toe part. Spot on everywhere, from each individual perforation to the overall design. A very strong medallion pattern and the blue shell really shines here. Very rich with a lot of depth.
Broguing – Perforations Everywhere!
Full Brogue on display! It is my first experience owning a full brogue shoe but I think it works very well on this one. The front resembles a wingtip, where the W shape extends to the waist.
Another pattern starts there and ends on the top of the shaft, while the rest follows the stitching towards the back of your Achilles.
Generally speaking, the broguing on this Buda is consistent. On the back of the right shoe though it looks a bit sub-par or rushed. I have a very high attention to detail and can spot patterns and irregularities. It is both a blessing and a curse.
Broguing is something traditionally done by hand. The shoemaker needs to be very careful because one wrong move can ruin the leather part. The way to do a perforation is to hammer a special type of “nail”. I think it is called the brogue punch tool.
Here, we are talking about the endgame. If a shoe costs you so much, you should demand perfection especially in the price range of Gaziano & Girling and Edward Green. Rezso fully agreed with me that the holes on the back of the right shoe were not up to the usual standards.
Now, this is not something that you will notice during wear or have an impact on your shoe. It just has to do with quality and expectations.
How Is The Stitching?
The stitching of the uppers is excellent. It has a double row of stitches surrounding the perforations. The threads have a similar color to the laces and the welt/sole to keep a very uniform charming look.
Excellent really! A nice matching contrast to the Blue Shell Cordovan.
For those who like numbers, the Buda has approximately 11 SPI (Stitches Per Inch). Very impressive.
A Truly Unique Welt
Now, what is a Heinrich Dinkelacker Budapester without a special welt and stitching. Last week, we talked about the different types of shoe construction. One of the most special ones is the Norvegese, where there is a double (even triple or quadruple) line of stitching very often in a braided format.
I have honestly never seen something like this before. Absolutely superb. Spotless, complicated yet somehow forms the perfect match for such a shoe. I think pictures speak for themselves!
A Sole To Set The Standard
Turning the shoes upside down reveals a whole new experience for me. I am more used to narrow lasts with tight waists. This could not be more different. A double leather sole from the Rendenbach tannery that sports a massive 14 clusters of 6 brass nails each.
Nails not only add to the aesthetics but also strength and support to the sole. The actual sole is magnificent. It resembles a very clean close channel sole with very discreet stitch markings towards the middle. A signature and stamp of authenticity complete the look.
The heel has a half rubber part to increase grip. If I am honest with you, the sole was super smooth and quite slippery on marble-like pavements. I do expect it to improve with use but would be rather careful during winter walks.
Peaking Inside – Lining & Insole
Both the lining and insole are genuine leather and the Heinrich Dinkelacker logo is embossed where your heel sits. They have an excellent natural color that I like very much.
A very nice touch is the date of production and signature from the craftsman that made the shoes. It feels very personal and premium.
Let’s Discuss Fit
Fit is a very important aspect when you choose a shoe. Some have wider feed while others narrower and it is often hard to find certain sizes. Luckily, this model has an abundance to choose from.
Specifically, you can choose from UK 5.5 (EU 38/US 6) up to UK 14 (EU 50/US 15)!
Generally, you should size down for wide lasts and up for narrow ones. I am a UK 7 for most of my shoes and the recommendation was to size down half a size. As you will see a UK 6.5 fits me perfectly so kudos to the Dinkelacker team.
You should always consult with them, but my advice is to size down from your usual Carmina Rain, Carlos Santos or Cheaney sizes.
But Tell Me, Are They Comfortable?
No need to sugar coat this, the fit and comfort is excellent from the get go. And it should be as it is a selling point for Heinrich Dinkelacker.
The Buda is very easy to put on and lace and you have some nice cushion on the back of your foot. It fits very well and I can adjust how snug I want them to by adjusting the laces. Very good arch support and comfort on both the ball and my heel.
As expected they are also very comfortable on the toes with enough space to maneuver and not feel constricted. Width is just right for my normal foot. The usual problematic area for me is the back of my heel initially blistering. However, I am happy to report that I put them on for 8-10 hours without any discomfort.
Definitely top grade here for Heinrich Dinkelacker and a confirmation of their claims.
Who Is It For & How Do I Style Them?
Choosing the Buda Full Brogue was a rather bold choice for me. I usually like formal, sleek and tight shoes. Not as bulky and chunky as the Rio or classic as the Luzern, the Buda is the best of both worlds for me.
I think that it clearly aims at shoes like Alden that are known for comfort and quality. If you are familiar, Alden has some very round lasts. Alden though are notoriously expensive and hard to find in Europe, so that should be a good market. They are however cheaper than this model.
Initially I was skeptical about how to style these boots or how often I would use them. But to my surprise they are not only comfortable but rather easy to match as well. A more casual shoe by definition, you will not pair them with full suits. Separates on the other hand, chinos and jeans are a fantastic choice.
The Shell Cordovan is incredible and very durable. Very water and crease resistant, it will last for a very long time so the Buda can be your go-to boot during Winter times.
As you noticed though these cost a big amount of money. If you are a starter, a student or have a low budget in general they are out of the question. Look here instead. Who is it for then?
The Heinrich Dinkelacker Cordovan collection is for the refined gentleman. For those that love round, comfortable everyday shoes and are fans of the Hungarian and English country styles. A very specific taste but definitely a choice that will make others take notice.
I know I will be wearing them for years to come.
Is It Worth My Money?
This is always a very hard question to answer. If you are looking for this type of style in these prices Alden is the only real alternative. And with good availability in Europe and even Asia, Shoepassion has created a very strong network.
You are investing in quality and despite a few nudges here and there if you belong in this category of people above I can wholeheartedly recommend them. I think you will be very satisfied if you shell out that much money.
Then again think. Are you the sleek Gaziano Girling guy, or the suave everyday comfort person? The choice is yours.
A Long Journey
We are approaching the end of the Heinrich Dinkelacker Review of the Buda Full Brogues in Shell Cordovan. I want to thank them for providing me with such a unique pair of shoes. I would also like to thank you all for your constant support in this sartorial journey. A year has passed! Here’s to another year full of excitement, reviews and quality content.
Look forward to a review of the premium Carlos Santos Handgrade Line next week. They are a treat. Until then, subscribe to not miss a thing and leave a comment with your thoughts down below.
Thank you for reading,