Anatomy of a Bexley boot


August 29, 2014 by Ville Raivio

France’s own Bexley manufactures shoes with a singular pricing. All pairs cost 139 euros in the company webstore, and a second pair added to the same order is 89 euros — neither size nor model has effect to the deal. All other apparel from the maker follow the same, continually degressing pricing. Bexley was founded in Lyon in 1985 and has sold online from -95 onwards. The company webstore is among the oldest in France and has gathered closer to half a million customers. The founder Eric Botton has not taken other partners to his company, Bexley has thus remained independent. The newest coup after shoes, polishes, shoe trees and other goodies are clothes, which were added six years ago.

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The greater part of Bexley’s pairs are made in Europe and leathers sourced mainly from the renowned tannery d’Annonay. To put things fancily, Bexley follows the concept of vertical integration: the company designs and develops all goods itself, and sells them in its own stores. When no retailers are bickering among themselves for customers, Bexley is able to keep its price level clear. The lasts as well are developed in-house and new models are drawn on these. The maker offers both glued, Blake-sewn and Goodyear-welted footwear. As I had no previous knowledge of Bexley’s shoes, a company representative sent me a pair for Keikari’s long-winded anatomy series.

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Today’s anatomical topic is an example pair of Bexley’s model Irving, a derby boot with galosh suede shaft, round toe and Dainite-like rubber sole. They are made from a chamelon calf leather that has shades of grey, green and brown all over. They also have Blake-sewn soles as well as leather insole and lining. Both the upper and lining are thickish full-grain cow that clearly shows follicles. A purely cosmetic 360-degree welt runs around the boot, while upper stitching is medium-sized and straight. The model has brass hooks on the shaft, hidden eyelets on the vamp. The design looks like a derby when covered by trousers, but sitting will reveal its true form.

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The last is surprisingly snug all over and the pair quite tight with thick socks. The toe is nice and plump but toe and heel stiffeners are too soft. The sock liner is stuffed and glued, both tongues are crooked. It is difficult to tell how the uppers will age with wear, but an all-leather shoe is always a nice find — in this price range, this isn’t a given. Three things I must give credit for: the shaft is truly snug and looks great when closed, with a girth of just 22 cm in size 42; the rubber sole grips well to hand and ground, so it will hold on ice as well; an all-leather shoe for 139 euros is great.

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I feel Bexley offers a good boot for 139 euros. I don’t know how this price-quality deal is reached but on first inspection it’s mostly commendable. Likely the leather isn’t as high-grade stuff for the price but aging will only show with wear. Despite the shoddy finishing I can recommend Bexley for the student or otherwise frugal man who wants several years of wear from his shoe, and re-crafting for the sole. Quite the devils, these Frenchmen of Bexley.

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