Swedish Minimalism By Myrqvist
Not so long ago I published an article about the Best Brands Under 400$. The competition is fierce with good quality companies popping left and right. One of them is Myrqvist, which is also a part of that article. Today, I am finally glad to bring you a full Review of the Myrqvist Smögen Penny Loafer in Dark Brown Calf.
With brands like Meermin and Myrqvist, you can buy a Goodyear Welted Shoe for less than 200$. In fact, this loafer was a pick up from a sample sale for just 75$! A welcome addition to the wardrobe for the rest of the summer or more casual weekend days.
But does it really live up to the hype? Can you really get a good shoe for that price that will last and age well?
Let’s find out in this in-depth Review where we put the shoes under the microscope!
Who Is Myrqvist?
Myrqvist is a Swedish, small lean business that sells directly to the consumer. Sebastian Öhrn (the owner) studied Business in Scotland and as a curious mind proceeded to become an entrepreneur. The first step was to find Herrstil, a small shop that focuses on shoe care and accessories such as shoe trees in 2011.
In 2016 he initiated project Myrqvist with the goal to make an affordable, quality Goodyear Welted range of shoes. The crowdfunding campaign was a tremendous success with the goal of 100000 SEK (about 10500$) reached within just 17 hours. In the end Sebastian gathered almost 7 times the amount which is pretty impressive!
The collection is slowly growing, with classic models and nice lasts that include Adelaide Oxfords, Derbies, Chelsea Boots and Loafers. Recently, you can also purchase sneakers from them. As for the leather and colors, the current models are more discreet and business looking in variations of calf, suede and grain.
I can really connect with people like Sebastian. After all I now have The Noble Shoe which is my first foray into entrepreneurship and a passion project. Lastly, he pays homage to his family and native Sweden. He used to walk with his grandmother around cloudberry forests in the Swedish province of Närke which inspired the name. A lovely little detail.
Trivia: Herrstil means “Men’s Style” in Swedish.
The 21st Century Business Model
With the rapid development of e-commerce, Brick & Mortar shops are very difficult to sustain. Companies like Suitsupply have a Vertical Integration Model where they buy directly from the suppliers and own the factories. A booming new model is the Direct-to-Consumer idea which cuts the middle man and retailers while keeping costs down.
This allows companies like Myrqvist to sell at lower prices and that benefits you as a customer!
Initially, the shoes were made in India but due to slow production and taxation Myrqvist moved to Portugal instead. You already know how I feel about Portugal huh?!
If you are in Stockholm, head out to the physical store at Grev Turegatan 46 and say hi!
Myrqvist Penny Loafer Review – Specifications
This model is the Smögen Penny Loafer in Dark Brown Calf. It also comes in Black Calf, Brown Suede and Navy Suede. The latter is quite nice actually. Many of Myrqvist’s models have a city rubber sole to deal with Scandinavian weather but the Smögen has a single leather sole to conform to a more business look.
- Brand: Myrqvist
- Model: Smögen
- Style: Penny Loafer
- Uppers: Dark Brown Calf
- Last: M02
- Sole: Single Leather Open Channel
- Width: Regular
- Construction: 270° Goodyear Welt
- Made In: Portugal
- Size: UK 7 (US 8/EU 41)
- Price: 1999 SEK ($210/£175/€187) New
I am not 100% sure but this particular model I own could be from the older India Factory days since it was a sample sale. I cannot confirm though. As you see it has some pretty nice specs and a very competitive price. The leather comes from respectable French tanneries Du Puy and Annonay.
Styling & First Impressions
Being a sample sale, I just put the shoes in a bag and left. So unfortunately I cannot do a proper unboxing experience. Searching tells me that they come with dust bags and a brown/blue box.
Onto the actual shoes now. It is a penny loafer alright! I do enjoy the style and it feels very sleek to look at. Minimalist in nature it blends well with the ethos of the company. On the front it has a classic apron and a pretty tight welt.
It is not visually stunning but the proportions and the composition create a very well balanced shoe. I will enjoy wearing them as much as I can and I think you will too if you don’t prefer extravagant shoes.
A Deeper Look At Each Area
Here is where we begin to delve deep and start nitpicking and discussing everything we can about each section.
Uppers & Leather Quality
The color is Dark Brown, although it has a red tint to it and in certain light looks a little burgundy. I am pretty satisfied with the quality and after a few wears there is a very gentle crease around the vamp.
The finish of the uppers is nice and vibrant although some spots are uneven. Of course this is an older sample and nothing a tad of polish can’t fix.
The leather itself is rather smooth to the touch and pliable. I would say much better than my Loake 1880. This is great since the average price of the Myrqvist loafers is 2/3 of that price.
Toe & Backseam
The loafers have a nice slightly chiseled toe shape with an apron on top. It is not a very elongated last but instead a very compact shoe. Looking around the toes reveals no problem and the same applies to the back.
The backseam is a simple single stitch that goes to the top of the shoe and meets with another piece of leather creating a T-shape.
Overall Stitching & Welt
I don’t really have anything bad to say about the stitching. Overall it is pretty good without any major issues. If you choose to examine it very closely you will see some stitches that appear to have a double thread instead of one. The the open channel sole also varies a bit on the right shoe. On the right part of the shoe the channel is big enough to show the stitching from the Rapid machine but on the left part it is very tight and invisible. However this is not a thing that will impact the functionality or aesthetics of your shoes.
The welt is actually quite tight and slim! It creates a very elegant, uniform silhouette. No threads are loose and it is a very good job considering the price point once more.
The Single Leather Sole
Now, I already talked a bit about the channel of the sole. It does the job very well and has Myrqvist’s cute logo in the middle. After using it these days I checked the sole to see how my walking impacts the sole and was pretty impressed.
The middle part is quite intact with decent arch support and the heel is also undamaged. Speaking about the heel, it has a half rubber part for grip. Myrqvist usually has rubber city soles for places with more “Scandinavian” weather but this is not the case with the Smögen.
I can see a bit of slightly lesser quality around the outsole and the heel part. There are a few dents here and there and the welt strip is not even in some spots. Nothing major but remember what price segment you are at.
That sounded like a new IKEA catalog! This loafer is fully lined with leather with a nice orange color and the Myrqvist logo where your foot rests. It extends to the middle of the shoe and it is an area where I noticed one inconsistency on the left shoe.
Take a closer look at the picture and you will see the leather flapping around where they two meet. It is probably the only part of the shoe that did not get a great attention to detail, with the back of the tongue also a tad messy.
Choosing Your Fit
A few months back I went to Myrqvist and tried a tassel loafer to find my fit. The best one was the UK 7.5 which is half a size up than my shoes. The UK 7 felt tight for a relaxed shoe such as a loafer. My general advice therefore is to size half a size up than your regular.
Heel slip is something you don’t want but you can fix that with some tongue pads. A too tight shoe however can be the source of discomfort and blisters. I would rather have the extra space in this occasion.
How Comfortable Are They For You?
Being a sample sale and all, it all depended on the stock. The model was not available on UK 7.5 so my only option was the UK 7. While not uncomfortable during the next year I must admit it is quite tight around the widest part of the foot. I would absolutely choose the larger size but the price was also too good to pass on.
Overall, I wore them for a few hours around the house without an issue. With the tight shoe trees and after the break in period I believe they will loosen up a bit.
The instep is rather normal but I sometimes can see a small bump on the left shoe from my foot. After a walk to the store my left heel was itching a bit and the toes were very close to the front but not at the point where I could not walk.
Can You Suggest Some Improvements?
If I have only one thing I could improve is the customer service, or rather the communication. In multiple occasions my attempts to reach them on Instagram or even through Facebook comments were futile.
I wanted to ask about the sizing and get some advice you see! Luckily, a really nice person working there called Massar actually sent me a message to help me with my sizing needs through his personal account.
Of course that might have been an isolated incident and by no means representative of the whole experience. However I should still mention it!
No Excuse To Not Buy Welted Shoes Anymore
This brings us to the end of the “Myrqvist Penny Loafers Review“. As you can guess from the article and the heading, I have very good things to say. A very interesting story for sure and a passionate young entrepreneur creating a lean solid business in a very competitive segment.
The quality is great for the price but I would not go as far as to say they much Carlos Santos or Carmina. I am confident however that the leather is superior to Loake 1880 which looks very dry after 1.5 years of use. Myrqvist’s moto is minimalism and they achieve that, staying true to their beliefs.
I feel good emotions when I look at this loafer. It might not excite me like Antonio Meccariello does, but it also doesn’t bore me. I look forward to testing them more in the future.
So, what did you think? Goodyear Welted Shoes for less 200$ these days means there is no excuse for you to buy cheap, cemented Ecco Shoes. Check out Myrqvist along with the other value brands! In the meantime, don’t forget to Subscribe for more awesome content. Your support and comments mean a lot to me.
Thank you for reading,
Myrqvist are the worst. Don’t waste your money. The breaking in takes forever (I have yet to walk in the shoes without plasters, since the legs get blisters fast), the insole was made badly, I still feel uncomfortable and will have to take the shoes to a cobbler, finally, the tip of on shoe is starting to peel off due to the fact, that the rubber is to soft and easily wears out. Considering the price (about 200 euros) it is one of the biggest disappoinments I have ever had whil buying shoes. Avoid at all costs.
Sorry for some typos, I’m a bit agitated still 🙂
Don’t worry! Let it all out!
Thank you for sharing! Good timing actually because I am thinking to update this article. They are just too small for my feet and I plan to sell the loafers. I don’t think they are absolutely terrible, there are not so many options under 200 and meermin also has a horrendous break in and questionable customer support.
I would recommend a bit more Skolyx maybe or spending a little extra to get on Carlos Santos, Yanko territory.
A big problem for me is that they can’t do repairs for you and they were a bit slow with replacing a simple defect of a friend’s shoe.
Before I update I will make sure to check the areas you said. Remember the price point and that they need to cut some corners to lower the price!
I appreciate your understanding and suggestions. Yes, I’m looking forward to try on some Carlos Santos or even Carmina (just to feel the difference) 🙂 The reason I shared my sad experience is that there are lots of cheaper shoes that I feel much more comfortable in without any need of going through pain or despair. That is what truly baffles me. I realise the price point, but…. there should be at least some quality in there 🙂
Thanks for the site, by the way, we need more of these.
I have stumbled on this review and site tonight while I was considering a new pair of GYW shoes. I am a recent graduate, and as much as I’d like to pay much more, the price range the Myrqvist and Loake etc. lie in is probably my target for now. My only quality shoes to this point are a Loake 1880 Aldwych and RM Williams craftsman. I was hoping you might be able to touch on any info you might have regarding sizing, fit and last. I know the Loafer Last will be different to the Oxford/derby last I’m looking for but hoped you had more info than I can find. I’m considering a suede oxford style though what style and colour be it the Stromso or Appelviken I cant decide. They would be worn regularly as work/business casual type shoes for a range of occasions. (My loake are a UK9.5 and RM’s a 10 both standard width fittings.)
Thank you in advance,
thank you for reaching out and taking the time to write a big comment! It is always scary and exciting when you need to buy new things online. After a recent comment by a Myrqvist user, I am a bit more skeptical about how they hold on. They do have some nice classic designs however.
I would take your regular Loake Aldwych size on their oxfords. In these Loafers I definitely needed to size up half but I would go for the 7.5 which is my regular size. I also have an Aldwych in UK 8 (my first ever dress shoe) and while it fits great now, I could probably have sized down half there too. My advice is to go for that. I would possibly also ask Myrqvist directly but they tend to be unresponsive.
Have you considered Meermin or Skolyx? The former has great value, albeit is made in China while the latter is also Swedish and I feel they are a tiny bit better.
Another good option is Herring from England. Check out this (filtered for UK 9.5) and they are on clearance.
Edit: Sorry if you are in the UK don’t forget that Sweden (including me!) have 25% VAT. Make sure to check things before checking out!
Ah… so you and others might have questions of the material and build quality of the Myrqvist? I really like my black Aldwych and, for the price, think the quality is up to standard. The simple more ‘standard’ shape on there shoes definitely draws me to myrqvist… I like to think of my taste as being sartorial and the beautiful shapely continental styles don’t quite fit into the rest of my wardrobe sadly. Do you know anything about the Meermin sizing, again compared to Loake?
A meermin style I’d be looking at: (https://www.meermin.es/en/10150914170000he-17-101509-brown-suede-e-marron.html )
Going back to my comment above My loakes are a 9.5, but I intentionally bought a fitted feel to prevent excess room as the shoes breaks in. With my black oxfords the socks I’d tend to want to wear would be very thin, and didn’t want to feel any major sliding or excess room particularly in the midfoot. Would this at all change your sizing advice.
Thanks for repsonding so quickly!
you are welcome. If you like the style, go for the Myrqvist ones. They are pretty fine in my book but after the last comment of a reader I had to take that into consideration. Then again, think about the price point you wouldn’t expect perfection around the 220$ mark.
Sizing wise I would pick the same then if you plan to wear them like this. I always recommend sending them a quick message or giving them a call to double check for advice.
Meermin is pretty ok for the price but if you have to return something or reach out to customer support they are dreadful. They have notoriously bad break in period too. Sizing varies, most nice styles are on the HIRO last which i consider true to size.
Remember that a tongue/heel pad or an insole/half sole can help you get the fit you want afterwards.
Thanks again, I really appreciate the engagement! I’ve been looking deeper still – Löf & Tung…? They are a little more but also have some great suede shoes. Know anything of them?
Tom, I will be honest with you, the owners of that brand tried to threaten me verbally and give me to change my business due to my affiliation with Carlos Santos. Their shoes seem ok but I will not comment more on that.
No problem at all, I’m sorry I asked. I will take what you’ve said away with me… Terrible. Thanks again. I’ll be keeping an eye on your reviews and store!
No worries Tom! Of course you can ask I just don’t want to give them a reason to attack me again 🙂
Check out some google reviews or Reddit and you will see they are pretty ok. For that price level I would look at Carmina though!