A New Exciting Bespoke Shoemaker Review
It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the first time you hear about Petru & Claymoor Shoes. But you should definitely sit down and take notice!
In today’s Review Article we will discuss in-depth their Carol Split-Toe Derby in Black Hatchgrain.
With a competitive price, fully handmade shoes and a personalized process, it’s time to see if Petru & Claymoor lives up to the hype.
Let me grab my cup of tea and let’s begin!
Petru & Claymoor Shoes
It’s quite a coincidence that my latest Reviews were about Romanian Brands but not surprising at all.
Romania – and more specifically Transylvania – has a legendary reputation when it comes to shoemaking.
Petru & Claymoor is no different with their small workshop located in Transylvania with a rather interesting history. The two founders are Mircea Cioponea and Petru Coca.
The keen eyed menswear enthusiast might recognize Mircea behind the hugely successful blog “Claymoor’s List”. Petru on the other hand has a humble background but a wealth of experience when it comes to shoes.
Good friendships last long and this story is no different. It began in 2000 and culminated in 2018-2019 when they decided it was time to focus their efforts into making a genuinely handmade bespoke service.
An unfortunately casualty of this business venture was the demise of the Claymoor’s List Blog. But as someone who keeps writing non stop for the past 2 years I can certainly feel the toll it can take on someone.
However this means that they can focus their efforts solely on growing and improving Petru & Claymoor Shoes.
As a small workshop the goal was rather clear.
To focus on small batch, Bespoke and Made to Order handmade shoes. Both start at about 1250 Euros (~$1500) while you can spend an extra 250 Euros (~$300) to create a custom last.
So you could say that your first Bespoke pair of shoes would cost you 1500 Euros (~$1800) but each subsequent pair only €1250. Since boots require more materials you should add an extra €250.
This is very fair price for what you get at least on paper. There are no shortcuts here. Petru & Claymoor will use the best leathers, hand-welt, hand-last and hand-sew your shoes from scratch.
Due to the global pandemic at the time of writing, personalized measurements are difficult but technology allows for alternatives such as video meetings and corrections.
To sum up:
- Custom Last (1 Time Cost): €250 ($300)
- MTO/Bespoke Shoes: €1250 ($1500)
- MTO/Bespoke Boots: €1500 ($1800)
- Belt: €300 ($360)
When you look at today’s pair you might think that they have an uncanny resemblance to Saint Crispin’s.
In certain aspects it is totally true, but it’s not exactly easy to be unique in the shoemaking world in 2021. Each shoemaking school has its own influence and style. Can you really look at most of the English Shoe Brands and readily distinguish between them?
Nonetheless, this pair in today’s Review looks almost like a copy of the Saint Crispin’s Mod 508 (Review Here). As you delve into the review however you will notice that there are differences especially in the construction.
One very important one is that Petru & Claymoor Shoes are fully handmade. Not 95% or 99% but 100%.
In other words, open your mind and embrace the unique elements you will identify during this review.
Specifications | Petru & Claymoor Carol Split-Toe Derby
In Misiu Academy I strive to be transparent and honest about each item I review as well as their origin.
This particular model was sent to me by the same reader that sent me the Passus & Saint Crispin’s pairs. I have no affiliation with Petru & Claymoor, him nor I receive any monetary compensation whatsoever.
In other words I received this pair straight from the factory to make a genuine review before I forward it to the owner.
- Brand: Petru & Claymoor Bespoke
- Model: Carol
- Style: Split-Toe Derby
- Construction: Hand-welted
- Lasting: Hand-lasted
- Sole: Hand-sewn Closed Channel
- Leather: Hatch Grain
- Tannery: Horween
- Color: Black
- Eyelets: 5
- Apron: Hand-sewn
- Insole: Full leather
- Lining: Leather
- Last: VD2 (?)
- Size: UK 8 (US 9D/EU 42)
- Shoe Trees: Lasted
- Additional Features: Metal Toe Tips & Hammered Initials, Wooden Box
- Price: €1250 (~$1500)
- Origin: Romania
Great specifications and a very exciting looking pair of shoes. I should also mention here that delivery times can vary between 4-8 weeks depending on the leather availability.
Not only that but you also get a mind-boggling (they must be insane!) 20 years warranty for your shoes. Of course under the condition that you properly care for them.
When I went to the post office to pick up the parcel I gasped at the sheer size of it.
It was massive but understandable when you think what’s inside of it. Each Petru & Claymoor pair of shoes comes with a luxurious wooden box with a sliding panel.
What makes it even more interesting is that it’s actually a wine box. Petru & Claymoor seems to collaborate with local wineries which means you also receive a bottle of wine in the package.
The inside was both great and a little underwhelming at the same time. To begin with you get this beautiful grey herringbone blanket that covers the items and acts as protective material.
If you also choose a belt you get a cream/beige heavier linen-like traditional pouch.
The “underwhelming” part was the lack of shoe bags. Instead they wrapped the bottle and shoes with bubble wrap. Understandable for the wine but if you go through their website, it says shoes come with English Tweed Shoe Bags.
I am not aware if there was an issue with production at the time due to Covid, but I will reach out for clarification. Since they go for such a luxurious and expensive package I feel they should not neglect this.
As soon as I get an answer I will make sure to update this section. Of course the wine bottle seems to be optional but every new client gets one.
I would like to talk about the model itself first.
It bears the name “Carol” and is an homage to the first King of Romania Carol I. A little nice trivia and a way to show you are proud of your heritage with the world.
Looking at the shoes I got a bigger wow factor than when I unboxed the Saint Crispin’s Mod 508.
Immediately I felt that this is a well-balanced shoe with better proportions and a more aesthetically pleasing last. I spent a lot of time looking at the apron, the eyelet distance and the sole.
At the same time I identified a few certain areas that required further examination such as the split toe.
If you look at the shoe as a style, it’s a simple Split-Toe Derby. If you are not familiar with the style, I suggest you read my Ultimate Types of Dress Shoes Guide.
For the uninitiated, it’s a Derby Shoe with a U shaped apron at the front and a stitch that splits the front in two.
Another thing I immediately noticed was how the sole tightens sharply towards the waist but also the thickness.
My initial impression was that this is a great shoe with good construction, lovely leather and certainly great to look at.
As always I will be discussing each individual component in the following sections.
During the past few months I read a lot about leather quality.
Everybody will use the word “Full Grain” as a buzzword, when the same full grain leather can come from the worst cut of the animal. Therefore speaking about leather quality without using the shoes for a longer period of time is often pointless.
Nonetheless when we discuss Bespoke or shoes that cost $1000-$1500 or more you would expect that the leather quality will be indeed top notch.
Generally I found that the Horween Chicago Tannery is the most consistent of them all. Petru & Claymoor sources their Hatch Grain from Horween and after spending a couple of weeks with the shoes it looks superb.
The finishing seemed a little better than on the Passus and 3 light years from Saint Crispin’s. Handling them they feel robust, supple and I expect the leather to age well.
In the end, it’s Hatch Grain leather and with it’s subtle mini-grid pattern the creasing tends to show less than calf.
Personally, I find Hatch Grain to fit better shoes such as Chukkas and Boots however it looks phenomenal in Black Derbies.
Thinking about the 20 year warranty these shoes have, it would be counterintuitive – and stupid – to use low quality leather. I also know that they can source pretty much anything you desire, so there’s that.
From now on I will be more cautious when discussing leather quality with my initial thoughts, but make sure to follow up with new findings.
For Petru & Claymoor however and specifically the leather on this pair I would put my hand in the fire.
When it comes to the construction things are rather straightforward.
To begin with, Petru & Claymoor treats MTO shoes like a Bespoke pair. This means that they are at least Handwelted, hand-lasted and have a handsewn sole.
The owner also tells me that they do the clicking by hand too and of course handstitch the apron. As you will see in the follow up section, this looks to be the case since the split is uneven.
It’s rare and frankly inefficient to stitch the uppers by hand, but the mark of a truly handmade shoe.
Holding the shoes one can realize it’s a very sturdy pair with good balance on each area. The smallest details such as the apron, split, facing and backseam are very solid.
The sole is also superb and it’s just a joy to hold and inspect these shoes.
Without cutting them, it’s impossible to say what’s exactly inside, but I would expect things such as a leather heel and toe stiffener. I will reach out to the owners for a quote and correct this otherwise.
Like many Eastern European brands from the same region, it does seem to be a little stiffer with more support under the middle and back of your foot.
It might not cater to everyone’s taste, but after breaking in seems to give a nice proportional balance and comfort.
Stitching & Welt
As mentioned in the previous section Petru & Claymoor does the stitching by hand.
There’s no reason to dwell and speak too much about the stitching on the usual parts of the uppers. It’s superb, consistent, straight and high density.
It is also very clean and discreet without any contrast stitching barring the apron. And when it comes to the apron they did a great job.
One day I would like to take a magnifying glass and look at the work behind a good handsewn apron.
Then your eyes go to the split. At first glance it looks sloppy and disappointing because it’s not straight or even. It almost reminds me of a snake crawling.
Take a breather and a step back however. First of all it’s not that bad but most importantly I think it adds to the handmade charm.
You have to be very precise to do all this especially when it’s stitched backwards. In the end it was a great reminder that actual hands – not machinery – worked on this.
The welt is as good as you would expect at this price level. Excellent fudging and even width while if you look closely you can see the individual stitching on each ridge.
Lastly, gently push the leather above the waist and you will also see the stitching. This is a high quality shoe no doubt about it.
Petru & Claymoor Sole
The sole is truly a marvel.
While aesthetically the Passus one or Paolo Scafora looks better to my eye, these are special.
it’s handsewn with a stitched waist and freshly installed flush metal toe tips. The beveling is sharp right after the widest part of the last and narrows down to a very nice fiddleback.
The finishing was superb even though it might not be visible here. Which is because I wore them briefly and took them outside for this photoshoot.
Petru & Claymoor also used J. Rendenbach soles which are some of the best in the business. There are some nails here and there and a ribbed rubber insert otherwise the sole is very clean.
As always, you can choose to “engrave” your initials or a design with nails which they hammer down the waist. In this case “B.M.” are the initials of the kind enthusiast that sent me the shoes for the review!
The more you look at the sole, the more you can spot little details such as the ellipsoid heel stack.
As far as the channel goes, for a fully handsewn sole the work is quite impressive. In fact the only cuts you spot around the waist is a good reminder of the manual labor that goes into each pair.
Edge dressing was also very good and the finishing looked more consistent than Saint Crispin’s.
Lining & Insole
The interior of the shoe is quite important but also often unexciting.
Petru & Claymoor uses a nice full leather insole with a smooth leather lining and no suede heel.
There is minimal detail with only the discreet branding at the back and no handwriting inside.
The tongue is nice and simple and the overall trimming of the lining fine. There are a few spots here and there where the uppers meet the lining at the top where it’s a little more grainy.
Certain areas seem to also be thicker but I am not entirely sure. Nothing that affects the quality of the shoe however or the looks.
In other words, it’s good and ignore my OCD!
I am not sure if I should be dedicating a section to shoe trees but why not.
Due diligence shows that Spring Line (a respected shoe tree maker) in the UK makes these. They certainly look nice and have a very nice polished appearance.
Very smooth to the touch and with a lasted shape to fit your shoes perfectly. I really like the laser engraved logo on the base and the handle is easy to grab.
Two metal bars connect the pieces and while a slight step down aesthetically from the Saint Crispin’s hinges, it’s functional and looks nice.
Lastly, they fit snug but are still easy to put in and out.
I highly recommend getting lasted shoe trees with your high end shoes, however here the price includes them of course.
Petru & Claymoor Belt
As a person that doesn’t wear belts, I wouldn’t get one but it’s still interesting to analyze.
You can make them Made to Order or Bespoke for €300 ($360) in the same material as your shoes.
The leather quality is the same as your shoes and the trimming is also excellent. The inside has this nice looking wine red grain texture (I wonder if it has anything to do with the vineyard).
It’s the buckle however that is a bit more unique with this solid brass, rhomboid hollowed ending.
While it looks great and the quality is there, I cannot justify spending that kind of money on a belt. I struggle to see what’s so special about it.
Unless money is not an issue at this point, it’s not something I will ever recommend personally.
Petru & Claymoor | Last & Sizing
Petru & Claymoor currently have 3 Lasts to choose from outside of Bespoke:
- VD1: A soft square last
- VD2: A chiseled last
- Vienna: A broader last for a more Viennese look
All three lasts are original lasts created exclusively for Petru & Claymoor. Bespoke doesn’t count since you create your own individual shape for your foot.
This Carol Split-Toe comes on the VD2 (currently confirming this) which is a last with nice proportions all around the shoe. It has a gentle nice almond shape with a similar sharp drop from the lacing to the toe area like Antonio Meccariello.
It has a nice curvature at the toe area and a rather reinforced side panel. For whatever reason I feel this is a better, more refined version of the Saint Crispin’s Classic last.
It just looks better to me from every angle. Could it be that the better finishing and color further accentuates that?
When it comes to sizing and comfort though Petru & Claymoor nails it for me. It gets boring to repeat this all the time but my average size is UK 8 (US 9D) with half a size fluctuations for wide or narrow lasts.
For obvious reasons I could not walk around and discuss the comfort over time, but I will tell you my thoughts in detail.
The instep is perfectly snug but not uncomfortable. It pushes down my instep without extra space in-between however it’s gentle and not forceful.
My feet get just the right amount of toe space but the most important area is the widest point. While the VD2 is a sharp last there’s a good amount of space for my little foot and the 5th metatarsal.
Unlike the Passus 2000, this one lets my foot rest on the side without pressure or folding. It gives me the sense of freedom the Crockett & Jones 348 has for my feet.
The most significant improvement between this and the StC Classic however is the heel cup. Both lasts shared the same previous elements, but the Petru & Claymoor has a far superior heel cup for my feet.
It hugs my heel perfectly. I am not exaggerating, perfectly. No slip, no half a finger space, no pressure or foot sliding.
Sizing Advice | VD2 Last
First of all, these are as True To Size as it gets for shoes. UK 8 fits me once more perfectly and I cannot believe how idiotic I was to wear UK 7 in 2018.
My recommendation to you is to take your average regular UK size or size down 1 Full Size from your US Size.
For reference here’s my sizing in various brands and lasts:
- Carmina Rain/Forest: UK 8
- Saint Crispin’s Classic: UK 8
- TLB Mallorca Artista: UK 8
- Carlos Santos 401/445/234/316: UK 7.5
- Carlos Santos 387/389: UK 8
- Antonio Meccariello Chisel 2: UK 8.5
- Gaziano & Girling Deco/TG73: UK 8.5
- Edward Green 82: UK 8.5
- Meermin Hiro: UK 8
- CNES: UK 8.5
- Passus 2000: UK 8.5
- Crockett & Jones 373/348/341/337: UK 8
- Paolo Scafora DOOR/VOLA/R: UK 7.5
- Paolo Scafora Q: UK 8
I believe that this should give you an idea and a good start. As always, make sure to discuss with the owners of Petru & Claymoor the details of your sizing.
What About The Permanent Style Review?
I had a few people ask me about the review Simon Crompton did on his blog about his bespoke pair from Petru & Claymoor.
There are many areas where I disagree with Simon including his obsession with English Shoes being above all. He mentioned that Saint Crispin’s are incredibly stiff, yet they felt nice to me.
Likewise here, while I could certainly feel more structure on this Split-Toe it was by no means stiff. If anything, for a person like me needing more arch support it was great.
You should also remember that his bespoke pair was not done the traditional way due to the pandemic.
In other words, take everything people say in blogs (including this one) about fit with a grain of salt. Each person experiences fit differently and has their own expectations.
Personally I read only his clothing reviews since I dislike his tonality when it comes to us “mortals” and our “lower tiered shoes”.
One of the reasons I will study under Stefano Bemer is to further understand shoes and each component, which will improve my article writing.
While not an expert by any means, I have enough experience with many brands to form my own opinion about them.
If you prefer watching instead of reading, here’s the Review in Video Format on my YouTube Channel (Subscribe)!
Before finishing the article I should probably sum up my thoughts about Petru & Claymoor Shoes.
Over the past few years I saw Eastern European shoemaking as more classic and “rigid” for a lack of better word. They have some unique styles such as the Budapester which are certainly not my style.
Then you have the evergreen classic Saint Crispin’s, which are amazing shoes but don’t excite me. These days you have companies like Passus and Petru & Claymoor that try to modernize and refine the formula.
Comparing essentially the same model from Saint Crispin’s and Petru & Claymoor I reached my own conclusion. I can unequivocally say that there is no chance I would pick Saint Crispin’s over them at this stage of my shoemaking journey.
A better waist and far superior leather, more refined last and shape and a perfect fit. What else is there to ask?
All for an amazing price point for high end shoes even for Bespoke.
Now, I am not telling you to stop buying Saint Crispin’s or just buy Petru & Claymoor. What I am saying however is that if you are on the hunt for truly great handmade shoes you should definitely give the latter a chance.
Support a local small workshop trying their best during this tough times to give you a genuinely amazing product. I would totally make shoes with them in the future.
Time to wrap up this Review of the Carol Split-Toe Derby in Black Hatchgrain by Petru & Claymoor.
Can you believe we are already halfway through March 2021? The past few months have been hard with so much content and trying to balance work, hobbies and privacy.
It takes time and effort to write in-depth long reviews about anything. While I still more than love doing this, I will need to think if I can keep up the weekly article content.
If you have a passion and knowledge for shoes and tailoring, send me a mail at [email protected]! Who knows, maybe we can write together and educate men around the world!
In the meantime, don’t forget to comment with your thoughts and Subscribe to the Newsletter at Misiu Academy!
Thank you for reading,