I am told I have too many shoes. Perhaps I, too, find this to be true; they are double-stacked in my closet and entryway, and spilling out from the underbelly of my desk at work. So when M.Gemi asked me to take one of their pairs for a test run, I hesitated.
I'd heard of M.Gemi, a prime example of the new breed of luxury brand - see also: Sarah Flint and Margaux - one that works with small, artisanal workshops to create impeccably crafted shoes, and then sells them direct-to-consumer for an impeccably low price. Hand-sewn kicks at a ridiculously low markup? The intrigue! So, yes, I went for it. I ignored my better judgment to try out M.Gemi's most promising pair: one of the brand's longtime best-selling styles, the made-in-Tuscany Felize moccasin.
I am far from the first traveler to be tempted by the mythical comforts of this pebble-soled suede driver. Since its launch in March 2015, my new friend Felize has been waitlisted more than 36,000 times - in fact, it was the brand's most waitlisted style for the entire year of 2018. They're continually re-releasing the style in new colors and patterns (I chose this soft sage green), but the style has accumulated more than 1,000 glowing reviews cumulatively.
When I opened the box, the loafers did not look like a shoe that belonged to me. They'd be much better suited to a woman who ties her neck scarf sans YouTube tutorial and doesn't bat a lash when maneuvering her manual convertible along a Positano road clearly sized for ants. I tried them on anyway, just to see, and the fit - which was recently improved to feel more true to size - is indeed perfect. I usually wear a size 8 and opted for a 39. The leather lining is soft and the sole feels nice and sturdy. While they probably will stretch and mold to my slightly inward-tilting foot shape a bit more with each wear, they were immediately and unquestionably comfortable.
The one tiny gripe I do have with them is that the upper doesn't come pre-treated for water or stain resistance. Yes, I understand that this would compromise the buttery softness of the suede, but I'd personally find that to be a worthy trade-off for the anxiety I feel when I wear them outside and happen to spy a foreboding cumulonimbus on the horizon. Also, I have, while drinking water, dripped a bit onto my pair - more evidence I shouldn't have nice things - but it quickly dried and left no trace.
And now for the best part: you can score these fancy feet huggers in seven colors for $50 off while M.Gemi's Before They Go sale section is an extra 25 percent off through Monday, May 27. More popular styles are included in the sale, too, and I've highlighted my favorite picks to round out your travel shoe arsenal below.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a scarf-tying tutorial to mimic.
The Felize Suede Moccasin
To buy: mgemi.com, $148 (originally $198)
The Cerchio Slip-on Sneaker
To buy: mgemi.com, $131 (originally $248)
The Stretto Flat
To buy: mgemi.com, $146 (originally $228)
The Vollare 55M Block Heel
To buy: mgemi.com, $208 (originally $278)
The Stellato Sacchetto Flat
To buy: mgemi.com, $131 (originally $228)