Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Vostey Men's Canvas Sneakers (Amazon.com)

Poor lighting and rips aside, these actually look pretty good right out of the box.
NOTE: I purchased these back in January, 2020, when they retailed for $16.99. They've since made the jump to $22.99 (as of April, 2020); this review assumes a purchase price of $16.99. It's up to you to decide if they're worth the jump in price. Hint: They're not.

I never, ever buy myself shoes, instead relying on family to get some for me during Christmas or birthdays (or waiting for my wife to just break down and get me a pair once my current pair has completely fallen apart), but one day I finally relented. I was on Amazon, found some pairs for under $30 (always a good price point for me), and had a few gift cards to burn that I earned from GPT sites and receipt apps. Technically, it wasn't on my dime, but it was on my time, which is close enough; I can't recall the last time I spent money on clothing for myself in a non thrift-store setting

I actually bought two pairs of Vostey shoes - this canvas one, and a pair of leather shoes for work -because they were both highly rated, and because they fit my absurdly cheapskate-ish price point. After all, people seem to equate higher prices with higher quality, but as we have frequently found out on this blog over the years, it doesn't always have to be that way: for me, value comes down to getting more than you pay for. It might not mean that $20 pair of headphones you bought will last forever, or that they compare with similar products costing $200; it just means that those $20 headphones offer you better quality than most $20 headphones, and last longer than you expect them to. And that's kind of the mindset that always drives me when I'm looking for a good deal.

I'm not going to do my usual build-up to my opinion, I'm just going to come right out and say it: these shoes are absolute junk. They are completely worthless shoes that I would say I regret buying if the funds weren't from a gift card that I earned myself. These shoes have no "give" when putting them on, and thus the canvas seam started ripping on both pairs the second time I forced them on. No exaggeration: the second time. And yes, I used the term “forced”, but the odd thing is that the struggle only occurred when getting my feet into the shoe...once inside, my feet had plenty of breathing room inside. It's just really tight around the heel areas. I wore them a handful of times for at least two hours each time, and my feet were never sore or cramped because of being too tightly-packed into the shoe. In fact, despite the light feel, I would actually say they were pretty comfortable. Not the most comfortable pair I've ever owned, but given the price tag, way more wearable than they probably should be.

This happened within the tenth time I put them on.
Then, about the tenth or so time I put them on, one side completely gave way and ripped; almost like a sheet of paper. This, of course, renders them pretty much unusable, and of course, since I purchased them in the winter to prepare for spring and summer months, it was outside of the return window by the time this happened (although, to be fair, I probably wouldn't have bothered anyway considering they were pretty cheap and returning things can be a hassle, but this is neither here nor there). I wouldn't really give these a vote of confidence as far as quality is concerned.

Now, I understand buying apparel online certainly has drawbacks and variables that can actually hold the consumer accountable, so I'm going to try to remove the seeds of doubt as much as possible here: as I stated, I purchased two pairs of shoes from the same company within the same order. Both of them were rated “fits as expected” by at least 80% of the votes, which is all I have to go off of since I can't physically try them on in person. The leather shoes I purchased, in the exact same size (and again, from the exact same company) fit perfectly, with no struggle needed to get them on whatsoever.

Alternate view. The inside is actually pretty comfy and roomy.
I've also never needed to order “wide” shoes, or anything of the sort, from any other vendor, so if you're thinking the issue comes down to my feet being oversized, or oddly-shaped, you can just toss that idea out the window now. I'm a normal man, with normally-sized ugly feet, which shouldn't be a factor here at all. (Also, they don't offer these in wide sizes anyway.) It feels like they put an Asian-sized heel on a U.S. sized shoe...just bizarre, and something I can't say I've ever experienced from a foot holder before.

This is a shame because they look really nice, at a price that you can barely even get used shoes for. They even come in a box (which, of course, I neglected to take pictures of), which is pretty much mind-blowing for a sub-$20 shoe. (I know, I know, I've referenced the price a million times, but it really is amazing to me how companies can make money selling things for so cheaply.) While I'm no connoisseur of canvas shoes (or any shoe in general), the material didn't have any noticeable defects or appearance issues out of the box; I certainly wouldn't have thought they were a pair of $100 shoes, but the material looked decent enough to withstand a season or two of moderate use, which is pretty much all I was looking to get out of them.

But alas, it was not to be. And again, this whole situation is pretty weird because, as tempted as I am to just re-order them in the next size up, the shoe itself had plenty of room once I got my foot in there, meaning I would just have an unnecessarily larger shoe.

Overall: 1.5/10. Long story short: these completely ripped around the tenth time I put them on, which consisted of me having to force them around my heel (even though the rest fit perfectly); this clearly means they suck. However, there are a couple of positives that prevent them from earning a big goose egg: when they were on, they were actually comfortable, and the shoes actually look and feel pretty nice, with none of the glaring manufacturing flaws you'd probably expect from a $16 pair of shoes, from a visual standpoint. Again, I wouldn't have confused them for a $100 pair—the canvas certainly doesn't feel “heavy duty” or anything--but they looked good enough to get me through a year or two of moderate use. Hell, they even come in a box, which is pretty impressive at this price point. Unfortunately, I wouldn't even bother ordering these again, especially now that they've gone up in price, making this a win for the "I hate China!" crowd.


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