Two months ago I met with an old friend who had just returned from Madrid. As he knew my passion for shoes, he asked me if I had ever heard about Berwick. He had bought two pairs from Corte Ingles and was pleased. Honestly, I had to confess that I had never heard about it, but being intrigued by the contentment shown by my friend and also by the questions of some readers, I decided to find more about it and, why not, to try a pair.
Berwick comes from an area of Spain with a strong tradition in shoemaking, which is Almansa (Albacete). Having many competitors on the same market segment, the real difficulty is to obtain an affordable price while maintaining the quality at an acceptable standard. And Berwick does a great job in this matter. Their suppliers are among the best in the industry, like Dupuy or Annonay tanneries from France, or Charles Stead from England. The rubber soles are provided by Harboro (Dainite soles) and Vibram from Italy. John Rendenbach from Germany provides them his oak tanned leather sole, used for an exclusive number of brands (Laszlo Vass for example). The average price of a pair of shoes in Spain is of 150 Euros for regular range and 185 Euros for Premium Grade. (Rendenbach soles and hand finished leather crusts).
Given the information above, a question must be asked: why buy Berwick and not Loake, for example? What generates the satisfaction of the Berwick client? Even from the start we must say that, as Rafael Lozano confessed, their efforts head towards consolidating the brand in the price segment of 200 Euros, and by no means do they want to be a competitor for Carmina, for instance. Nevertheless, Berwick is not an easy to forget shoe.
The model that I chose and that I recommend is their flagship product – Premium Grade. The Regular Range doesn’t attract me, although it has some interesting models. Premium Grade however comes with two considerable pluses: Leather Crust and Rendenbach sole, which is, I have to admit, surprising for this range of prices.
The leather seems to be good, it flexes easily and is very soft at touch. As for the way it will age, time will be its best judge.
I have to admit that the Rendenbach double sole charmed me, contributing in a decisive way to the solid aspect of the shoe. Although it is pretty thick, it doesn’t give the impression of wood, the sole flexing very easily and offering a very good support.
Berwick presents itself in a unitary way, the minuses relating more to the external aspect, like the aspect of the stitching (where a little more attention would bring a considerable plus to the brand) but it has a very good feeling given by the 180 shoe last (inspired by Italian lasts) and by the Rendenbach sole. A fact to be noted is that for other models are also available other lasts, for instance 177, inspired by the Rain last from Carmina. Also a fact to be noted is the multitude of available models and the very good customer service.
If I had to compare it to a weapon, I would compare it to a Kalashnikov. Well structured, with a solid build, with a design that could be better but with a very good Return on Investment. Maybe the main reason for which Berwick didn’t come out on the market in a stronger manner is the fact that aesthetic details started to count more and more even on the market segment of shoes costing no more than 200 Euros. But for people at Berwick, what was the most difficult to obtain – the invisible part – and that is, the quality of the construction proper of the shoe, was obtained. Now they only have to refine their details, to maintain the low cost and to promote themselves more efficiently. Therefore, I do believe that we will be hearing again about Berwick.
berwick shoes review