Hey, guys! I’d like to show you another shoe pick-up I got. This time, it isn’t a regular sneaker, but a dress shoe for formal use. Yep, the breaking out the black shoes. It’s for a wedding. And potentially what I’m going to be rocking at work. Meh. But they are comfortable, and the shoes have some interesting technology. Check it out, these are the Rockport Venetians.
Now, these might just look like your regular black school/work leather shoes, but they also have some interesting features and tech inside of them which we will be getting into! But first, check out the box and packaging.
Here’s the box. Rockport with the R logo encircled on top, and it has the Walkability logo as well.
Size tag is US 8.5 Mens. I usually wear a size US 10, but for leather/dress shoes you always usually go down a size or two. The tag says WS Venetian Black in Black & Noir.
Opening up the shoe, we’ve got the tissue paper designed with R’s that circle each other, which is a nice touch. It also comes with a tag card.
This is what the tag reads. So, basically, it’s explaining the phenomenon of ‘blooming’ which is the white film strips that appear on the shoe due to natural movement of the oils and wax, and how it can easily be wiped and cleaned. This is all part of the premium handcrafted leather process.
We’ve got additional packaging and tissue paper, as well as shoe trees and shoe horns made out of cardboard. A little nice touch to keep the shoe in form, since it is leather after all.
Here’s how the shoe looks up out of the box. Looking pretty good. Let’s take some close-ups to see the materials and construction.
Starting with the outsole, we’ve got this smooth type of rubber base in brown and black sections. As you can see, the traction pattern in the front is a series of lines in sections, with the Rockport branding on the arch area of the shoe.
Along the misole, we’ve got this PU (Polyurethane) midsole in a typical dress shoe. It elevates about 1 inch in the heel area, and is softer than the usual cushioning used in other leather shoes, as you can press on it and it has a bit of give. Also note the compression grooves in the midsole that act as both a design and also has functionality.
Starting with the toebox, we’ve got a black premium leather. It’s tumbled leather, as you can see the texture. This stuff is buttery smooth, really high-class. You can really tell in both the feel and the smell of the shoe. The leather on this stuff is premium, nothing less than the best materials used.
It’s handcrafted with a moccasin construction, with black stitching. This has a loafer feel to it aside from just a formal dress shoe. Really nice construction and there are no design flaws with the toebox.
So you can see that it’s an all black leather upper, from the toebox all the way up to the back heel. Aside from being tumbled leather, it is also a matte finish. So it isn’t glossy like the other shoes there, and even if you wax it up, it’ll still end up in a matte finish. I think the matte finish looks real clean, but there are times when the glossy finish looks good too.
There is a harder section of leather in the back heel, which forms to sculpt and provide a secure fit for your heel. There is also that Rockport branding in all caps.
Now, the most interesting part of the shoe is its insole. Just like Nike owns Cole Haan, on the flip side, Rockport is actually owned by Adidas, so this is basically their entry into the formal dress shoes line. It’s interesting too since Nike uses the Nike Air technology as cushioning in their dress hoes as well. Adidas has used its patented AdiPRENE technology in the insole of the Rockport Venetian shoe to provide impact protection along the heel and forefoot. You can check the diagram above to see how AdiPRENE works along the shoe. According to SHOESFAQ:
AdiPRENE is a technological development of Adidas: AdiPRENE is located in the footbed/midsole of footwear, with the purpose of providing cushioning for the heel and forefoot. While adiPRENE has applications for sneakers, it is also found in casual footwear – such as Rockport’s boots and shoes. To provide cushioning adiPRENE has a high degree of impact absorption – with claims it can absorb impacts of over 5 times a person’s body weight. The majority of adiPRENE’s impact protection is located in the heel, with a smaller amount in the forefoot. AdiPRENE claim the material found in the forefoot is more responsive, due to the need of providing an energised push off.
So, you’ve got a real cushioned step-in feel with these shoes. It’s plush and a bit bouncy, and it is definitely the most comfortable dress shoe that I’ve ever owned. You can feel the padding in the heel and a bit along the forefoot, so it really is nice to wear.
All in all, that soft buttery leather used along the upper feels real nice and has literally no break-in time, and the step-in and padded comfort and impact protection provided in the heel and forefoot by the AdiPRENE technology really makes this a gem of a shoe. It’s comfy, light, and has a good fit to boot. I might daresay it’s more comfortable than my other sneakers.
You should definitely check out Rockport as they have some nice offerings with their formal shoes, and the added tech for cushioning really makes it into a class of its own. I’m actually kind of excited to wear these to the wedding and the subsequent working days where we need to dress up a bit.
If you have any questions, comments or reactions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Until next time, Cheers!