Over the past few years, the online market for dress shoes has proliferated, but few companies produce anything that can stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Alden, Allen Edmonds, and Crockett and Jones. Paul Evans is one of the few. Frustrated with the limited offering of stylish and affordable shoes from traditional manufactures, Ben Earley and Evan Fript set out to design a well-constructed, stylish shoe for a reasonable price. All of their shoes are hand built in Italy using Italian calfskin and are finished with a sleek Blake construction. But, I’m not here to talk about their shoes. They also provide belts and I have to say, they are pretty slick.
The belt is handmade from thick, fine Italian leather, uses heavy-duty thread for stitching and is finished with a solid brass buckle. Everything about the construction screams durability and style, but the craziest part is that the belt is cut-to-fit. When I heard this, I immediately had images of the dual sided belts from the discount store come to mind, but once I realized how it worked, I was pleasantly surprised.
What Paul Evans does is very tasteful. The buckle is a separate assembly that connects to the rest of the belt with a hefty Chicago screw. The part that is cut off is hidden between the buckle assembly, which gives the belt a seamless unity. Of course, this means that the owner must cut his new belt and then punch a hole for the screw or take it to a shoe shop to have them fit it for you. Even though the build quality is top notch and the materials are excellent, for the price, I would like the belt to fit me before it comes to my door. The design is ingenious and definitely allows Paul Evans to provide customers with more selection, but having measured or made-to-order belts available instead would definitely increase the value.
The belt from Paul Evans held up my trousers with style. Outside of doing exactly what a belt is supposed to do, its surprising thickness gave me confidence that I will be wearing it for many years to come without much worry of the leather breaking down.
Paul Evans did a great job with this belt. The color is rich and deep and the look can be dressed up or down with relative ease making it incredibly versatile. On mine, the Chicago screw is exposed and the stitching is very noticeable making it a little bit harder to wear in extremely formal settings, but adds class to an otherwise casual look. The only part of the belt that looks rough is on the backside where some dye has bled through the stitching. Both of these issues are minor and probably have been remedied since their newer offerings have covered the screws and down played the stitching for a sleeker look.
Paul Evans makes one mean belt. By putting together great styling with quality materials, this is one is tempting, but for the price, I would like to have it ready to wear as soon as I got it. If you do not mind the extra work and your are looking for dress belt that stands out, check out the selection on their site. While you are at it, spend some time drooling over their shoes.