After years of wearing ill-fitting sandals that never lasted more than one season, I’ve come to realise that it’s well worth investing in a pair of well-made sandals that are sure to last year-after-year.
I also believe that if you are spending a decent amount of money on a pair, then they should be a style that aren’t going out of fashion anytime soon.
I’m a big fan of The Drifter Leather, especially after getting a pair of their Chelsea Boots last year and I’d been coveting a pair of sandals for a while. I decided to go for the Cut Here style as I wanted something that would be smart enough, and versatile enough, to wear to an office or out for a nice lunch and felt that these were such a classic design that they’re not going out of fashion anytime soon.
On The Drifter Leather site, the Cut Here sandals are shown in Tobacco Brown and in Black and I particularly loved the tobacco brown and how well it goes paired with blue denim or a floral summer print.
As with all The Drifter Leather shoes, the Cut Here sandals are made-to-order and I would highly recommend having them customised to your size – especially as this costs no extra. (Did I mention that I love The Drifter Leather team?)
If you have the option, I think it’s especially useful to do this with sandals because with so little material you need to ensure they fit well.
At 5’4” I’m certainly not the tallest of people and I’m often wary of shoes that might give the impression of shortening my legs. I was therefore super happy to find that the ankle strap on the Cut Here sandals is actually very flattering and rather than feeling like they shorten my legs the strap actually emphasises the smallest part of my legs and therefore gives them impression of elongating them.
This being said, I would avoid wearing them with a capri length to avoid having two horizontal lines on the lower part of the leg. Otherwise, paired with a maxi or mini length they look fantastic.
Other than skirts or dresses I also love to wear these with cuffed blue jeans which shows off that ankle strap and the tobacco brown and denim just go so well together.
As mentioned above, I would highly recommend having these made to fit rather than just following your usual standard shoe size.
After selecting custom size when you order you just need to send a tracing of your feet and measurements around the ankle and across the ball of your foot to the team who will then get them made up for you to the correct size (see full directions here). If possible, I’d recommend asking someone to do your tracing for you while you are standing upright as bending down and twisting will affect the shape of your foot.
I can report that the size of mine are just right, both in terms of the length and width. They have a few mm in front of my toes, I would say just the perfect amount so I neither trip or risk stubbing my toe if I’m not concentrating where I’m going 😉
One thing to note is that if you’re used to wearing huaraches you’ll certainly notice that your foot isn’t held in place as securely with the Cut Here style. Having the ankle strap means I haven’t had to worry about them coming off (and I’ve certainly never felt like I need to grip my toes to hold them in place) but, I tend to wear these only on flat surfaces. Therefore, if you were planning on wearing them on terrain more treacherous than a hard floor or pavement then it’s worth bearing this in mind.
In terms of comfort, they rubbed a tiny bit on the top of my foot on one side on the first couple of outings but this is without me breaking them in indoors (I couldn’t help but wear them straight away). I was actually surprised that they didn’t really need breaking in at all, as although the leather is quite sturdy, (which means they are good quality and will last) they are also very soft at the same time.
Inner sole – I have a bit of a love hate relationship going on with the insole of the Cut Here sandals at the moment. I love that they have a very small 1mm cushion which gives some well needed comfort if you’re doing a lot of pavement pounding in them, however, there have been a couple of occasions recently where I’ve felt my foot slip forwards and I think this is caused by the smoothness of the leather here. This is something I’ve only really noticed the last few weeks (I’ve now been wearing them for two months) and I think that over time the leather has become smoother (and therefore more slippery) now that they’re truly worn in. I’m wondering if having a textured suede or another material here instead could solve this issue, or maybe it’s something only I’ve experienced.
Buckle – my only real criticism on these sandals is that the buckle on the sandal tends to twist round as I walk, which means they move from the outer ankle round to the inner part (if you look closely you can see this has happened in the above pic). This isn’t a problem in terms of how they feel (it doesn’t make them rub) but they do look better when they’re where they are supposed to be on the outside. It may be that this is just something I’ve experienced but if you find the same I would try tucking in the end of the strap under the nearest loop if there is enough extra as this certainly helps.
Just a reminder that the pointers by which I judge a barefoot shoe are how flat they are (ideally zero drop), how thin and flexible the sole is (and how much ground feel they give you), how the toe box is shaped to allow your toes to move and how well they are attached to your feet (so you don’t slip and have to grip your toes or walk in an unnatural way to hold them in place).
So here’s how the Cut Here sandals shape up against these markers…
Heel – 5/5 all of The Drifter Leather sandals come with a zero drop as standard
Sole – 5/5 although the Cut Here sole is a 4mm Vibram, which isn’t the thinnest I’ve come across, I’m still giving them full marks as it is still extremely flexible in all directions and, in my opinion, is just the right thickness (along with the 1mm cushion) for walking on a lot of flat, hard ground. However, if you’re someone who likes as thin as possible then you might find these a bit thick for your liking. Another point to note on the sole is that I’ve found it incredibly hard wearing – after being in them most days over the past two months I can’t see any sign of wear.
Toe – 4/5 with the customisation option the toe strap shouldn’t be restrictive on your toes but it’s position doesn’t allow for a full toe spread if that is what you are used to. However, as the majority of the toe strap is across the ball of the foot, and because the leather is very supple, it does mean your toes can wiggle up-and-down quite freely.
Upper – 3/5 as I mentioned above, in comparison to a huarache style barefoot sandal these don’t attach to your feet so well as they really only have the ankle and toe straps to hold them in place (which you don’t want too tight). As these are designed for urban settings (rather than as a performance style sandal) I don’t have an issue with this, because most surfaces are flat so there’s not quite the same need for them to be able to move in all the different directions your foot does when you’re walking over uneven surfaces. That being said, it’s still important you don’t feel you need to do anything unnatural in order to make sure they stay on your feet. And this is why I really recommend to go for customisation as there is so little material to a sandal that there’s not much room for error in terms of how they hold onto your foot.
The Drifter Leather ship worldwide from their studio in Greece.
And in case you happen to be in Pilea in Greece anytime, it is possible to stop by for an appointment at their studio (arranged in advance). Although they do not have stock available to try (as all shoes are made to order) they can help you with measuring and getting accurate outlines of your feet as well as advice on what styles might be best to suit your needs.
Back when I was researching for my pick of the best barefoot sandals this season it occurred to me that I hadn’t found anything under £50, which I realise is a lot for a pair of summer sandals. However, I also believe that a pair of hand-made, well-made and customised sandals for 100 EUR is really very reasonable and that choosing a pair that you can wear year-after-year is well worth the investment.
I can also vouch for the fact that you will get an awful lot of compliments on a pair that are so versatile and so good looking!
Thanks to The Drifter Leather for providing a pair of Cut Here sandals for this review