How Good Are Meermin Mallorca Shoes Really?
This question was whirling around in my head for the past 2 years now. For those starting their journey in the Goodyear Welted shoe world, Meermin presents unprecedented value and decent shoes altogether. I finally got my hands on one of their latest models and in today’s Review/Initial Impressions Article I will talk about Meermin Mallorca Shoes, quality and durability.
While I can already say that they are decent shoes, that’s all they are I am afraid. Good, decent shoes that won’t awe you but still offer excellent value for the price. For those of you that prefer video reviews, make sure to scroll to the end of the article and check out the Video!
Who Is Meermin?
First let’s do a very brief introduction. Meermin Mallorca comes from…well Mallorca, Spain. However if you are unaware Meermin makes their shoes in China and from my understanding they machine stitch the soles in Spain. The owner is Pepe Albaladejo who shares the same surname as the owners of Carmina Shoemaker, however there is no association between them other than some form of ancestry it seems.
The fact that Meermin constructs their shoes in China means that the costs are very low and with a direct to consumer online business model they can offer very good prices. One could even call it aggressive pricing but it works as they are the go-to entry level budget brand when talking about Goodyear Welted Shoes.
Meermin offers an extensive amount of leathers, lasts and models including a frequent MTO Program. The base line is regular Goodyear Welted whereas the higher end Linea Maestro Hand-Welted. In fact there is even a small collection of women’s shoes and one of the most affordable Shell Cordovan Range for $450. However don’t expect Horween Shell Cordovan but rather Shinki which seems to be the next best thing.
Base line begins around $195 for Dress Shoes and $240 for Dress Boots. Today’s model costs $245 new but more on that soon.
Given the pricing you can immediately see why Meermin is such good value. In fact I still mention them in my Best Shoes Under $400 Guide.
Tip: Shell Cordowhat? Want to know more about shoe leathers? Check out the in-depth guide!
Today’s Balmoral Boot
I was very skeptical to buy a pair of Meermin because I have so many shoes and I am more strict about quality now. However one of my good friends from Dubai bought a pair of Meermin Mallorca Balmoral from the latest collection that unfortunately didn’t fit him so well. He was very kind to send them to me as they were my size. It’s a Balmoral Boot with a bi-material, bi-color design on the HIRO Last with a lighter burgundy color and cherry grain shaft. If you are not a fan you can order it instead in Dark Brown or Black.
Let’s look at the specs:
- Brand: Meermin
- Model: 114077
- Style: Balmoral Boot
- Last: HIRO
- Details: Punched Cap-Toe
- Construction: Goodyear Welted
- Sole: Dainite
- Uppers: Burgundy Grain/Calf
- Lining: Vegetable Tanned
- Eyelets: 5 Blind & 4 Speed Hooks
- Origin: China
- MSRP: $245 New
Now it is important to disclose that my friend bought these off Ebay and the seller claimed to use them just 4-5 times and use shoe trees. I don’t really believe that but my previous experience with Meermin indicates it could be true. Regardless it was an excellent opportunity to see how they age after some use.
Initial Impressions & Styling
Let’s talk about the looks first. It’s a nice looking Balmoral Boot however I am not sure about the color choice. The burgundy on the bottom is a bit on the lighter side just as on my TLB Artista but the grain part of the shaft is much lighter. It has this brick orange/red tint to it and I think darker suede or grain would be a much better look.
I think the HIRO last works well on these retaining a more classic look and I like the punched toe. The Dainite Sole looks a bit chunky and the pull tabs seem to be large, but there are also nice little details like the swan-neck stitching style on the shaft. There are no aggressive lines however and at times the boot feels a little “rigid”.
The biggest wow factor for me was the shocking creasing of the leather on the vamp for an alleged 5 wears. When I was working at Suitsupply a guy came in with beat up Meermins looking worse than this but exhibited the same pattern. More on that on the next section but be aware that you get what you pay for.
I find it hard to style these in this color and they would see much more use in dark brown. I guess the best way to pair them would be with dark denim and something like olive green chinos. What would you choose?
Leather & Build Quality
Leather creases, there’s no question about it. But different leather from different sources and parts of the animal also ages and behaves differently. In this particular occasion the leather where your foot bends creased shockingly. If these were not from the latest collection I would think they were 1-2 years old at least. It might not look like much on pictures but I encourage you to watch the video at the end.
The leather itself is not so stiff but rather supple especially on the grain part. Meermin’s calf leather seems to be more veiny or grainy at times and it looked to be on par with the CNES Wholecut I Reviewed around the same price point.
As for the rest you can see why the shoes have such a good price since they cut many corners. Stitching is decent overall but there are small details that are average. The laces for example don’t feel like they will last long, while some speed hooks are a bit crooked. Easily fixable with a screwdriver though. The vegetable tanned lining is very flat without that sueded heel cup and is just a buzz work. However I must admit I really like the color they chose for the inner lining. I like dark brown much more than contrasting orange.
One of the things I cannot handle is how uneven the toe looks from the top. The welt/sole is almost not visible from above on the left shoe. Very hard to explain but I hope you get the idea.
In my opinion the scotch grain Meermin uses is better than their calf or at least it ages better.
The Shaft Area
Apart from the color this is probably the area I like the most about these Meermins. I like the small swan-neck mini stitching on the sides of the throat while the eyelets work well with complimentary brass speed hooks.
I did already mention that a few are a bit crooked but no biggie.
The proportions are spot on in my opinion and the distance between eyelets is perfect for the height of the boots. Pull tabs work really nice but what I mentioned earlier is that they are a little large. What that means is that they might get your trousers stuck easier than usual however they are very functional while putting them on.
Rest Of The Uppers
I think I covered most of it earlier. I don’t like how much the shoes creased in such short time and multiple places.
It is a bit more noticeable on the right shoe as you can see here. It feels that it cracked more than it creased. I like the broguing on the toes actually with one line of stitching and discreet jagged edges.
Welt & Sole
These came on a Dainite Sole but I think the model on the website comes with a city sole. It feels a little chunky at times but overall the execution is great. Here’s a shot from the sole with minimal wear and the owner installed a small metal tip. Please avoid installing these as they are mostly useless. Instead opt for a lulu/triumph metal tip for better protection.
While the welt on the top is decent the stitching looks a bit uneven on the bottom and I sure hope the installation of those tips won’t compromise it. The uneven width at the front could be extremely annoying but for a used budget shoe I don’t mind. Then again keep in mind I have OCD and notice these things but for $245 I would definitely care.
The HIRO Last & Sizing
Meermin has a reputation for notoriously hard and lengthy break in periods. Lucky for me I didn’t have to go through that but also can’t comment it. Now however the boots are rather comfortable but a little stiff around the ankle area.
The HIRO Last is a mix of soft almond and round and based on this experience rather true to size. These boots are UK 8 and sizing is consistent with most of my other welted footwear. I will update this section the more I wear them for prolonged periods of time but for now they are comfortable and a good fit for my foot shape.
If you want my advice pick your usual TTS when considering HIRO.
Are They Worth Your Money?
Yes and No. Let me explain.
A pair of Meermin Boots will cost you $245 and then you have to pay shipping which will cost you say $260-270 on average. A pair of Carlos Santos Boots which is much superior will cost you $309 at The Noble Shoe while Yanko offers a competitive Balmoral Boot for the same price. Honestly the quality difference is noticeable and for $40-50 you can get a superior product.
Their boots are not worth it in my opinion if you consider that, however dress shoes are a whole different game. Because those start at $195 which is excellent value. If you remember my CNES Review I said that for the sale price of $193 they are also excellent and the same applies here. Very few can match Meermin when it comes to pricing for regular dress shoes.
For those of you that want to enter the Goodyear Welted shoe world and get their first quality decent shoes Meermin is an excellent choice. You get a good everyday shoe that won’t break the bank that you can resole for years. And then when budget allows and you understand welted footwear, leather and construction better you can move up the ladder.
Boots are harder to recommend and I would do so only if you really like the design, have a really specific budget that you cannot stretch or you are just plain happy with Meermin. If you are an enthusiast I can see you forgetting about them after a while. But please, those of you that buy those horrendous Cole Haan and Stacey Adams Shoes spend a few more $ and get Meermin instead. It’s very affordable and will last you much longer.
Disclaimer: Please note that these are my own personal thoughts as an enthusiast and you might be perfectly happy with Meermin. Especially for a used price they are excellent value.
The Video Review
For those of you that prefer Videos this is the Review I made about the same pair of Meermin Mallorca Shoes! If you like it consider Subscribing or sharing!
A Mixed Experience I’m Glad I Had
If I tried Meermin instead of Loake when I first bought good shoes I would probably have been thrilled at the time. Now that I tasted the higher end in TLB Artista and Paolo Scafora among others however I see things differently. Turning more into a “snob” or way more critical about things I don’t like or find average. Think of it like a car. If you drive a Ferrari or even a BMW every day would you want to go back to driving a Volkswagen Up? Maybe once in a while for nostalgia.
Needless to say this was a great and important experience for me. It showed me how much I grew in the last 2 years and how I begin to notice little details I never saw before. Shoegazing is a bit like wine, an acquired taste. I don’t drink alcohol so it’s a terrible comparison for me but I believe you get the point! And that concludes the Meermin Mallorca Shoes Review of these interesting Balmoral Boots!
So what is your opinion about Meermin? It sparked a nice discussion in the Video and I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you see value in the Boots or just the Dress Shoes? Let us know! I will see you next week with the August Shoe News Article and don’t forget to Subscribe for your weekly article!
Thank you for reading,