Carets returns with a new Wingtip based on the FER with a classy and intricate design, brogue details, and some smart upgrades from last year’s FER!

Carets sent over a pair of these FALCON Wingtips to review. Read on after the jump!

Overview

Here’s what Carets says about the Falcon Wingtip:

Wingtips are perfect for dressy-casual situations like a night out with your friends or a date night. They’re also great for office environments that are more relaxed, such as in tech companies. You can match wingtips with anything from jeans/chinos and a collared shirt to a grey suit. Black wingtips are also generally considered a bit more dressy than its brown cousins.

Weight

10.6 oz (Mens 9 Wide)

Total Stack Height

Roughly 8mm

Barefot Scale

Strong for traditional dress shoe, but below average for a minimalist shoe.

Ideal Uses

Fancy pants, regular pants, office, dates, giving your feet a little freedom

Sizing

The FALCON wingtip provides a relatively wide shape, despite a narrow appearance with a more traditional dress shoe design. For me, my pinky toe rubs a tiny bit inside the shoe in the beginning, but the shoe broke in over time and I no longer notice the pinky hot spot anymore. Folks with narrow and wider feet should be happy, but the widest among us should be aware that while the FALCON wingtips are meant to be more anatomically correct than traditional dress shoes, they a re not the absolute widest on the market.

Currently, Carets provides a sizing chart on their website to assist in sizing. In the future, I would love to see Carets provide sizing guides on their website for customers to print out templates and “try” their feet with outlines of the exact shape of their shoes to give as accurate representation of sizing as possible.

Price

$350.00

Pros

  • Full grain leather
  • Resoleable
  • Caret hollow heel
  • New cushioned heel cowl
  • Elastic laces are fantastic
  • Beautiful broguing

Cons

  • Minimal treading
  • Toe spring
  • Less flexible than other minimalist shoes
  • Relatively heavy
  • Brogue sections can trap dust

Take a spin around the FALCON via these photos:

Sole

Carets returns this year with an even fancier shoe than their popular FER V4!

In my previous review, I said that the FER V4 was a breath of fresh air; a true minimalist wolf wearing traditional sheep’s wool. With the FALCON Wingtip, Carets has really taken their now fifth iteration of primal professional shoes to a new level of class and design.

Much like their previous shoes, the sole features design a hidden heel, which gives all of Carets’ shoes a classic look, while still allowing for a zero-drop, minimal shape inside. You can think of this hidden heel as triangular cuts in the sole on either side of where traditional dress hoes would have their heel but they taper off towards the center, which is perfectly flat against the ground. In the end, you have a shoe that has the look of a traditional dress shoe, but with minimalist ethos.

 The hidden heel of the Carets Falcon gives this zero drop shoe a traditional dress shoe appearance
The hidden heel of the Carets Falcon gives this zero drop shoe a traditional dress shoe appearance

The hidden heel really does make the side profile of the FALCON look like a traditional dress shoe. In terms of minimalist dress shoes, there is nothing else on the market that truly gets away with looking invisible in terms of being a secret barefoot shoe.

The sole used in the FALCON wingtip is the same polyurethane sole as the FER V4. It is relatively flexible, especially compared to traditional dress shoes, but not quite as flexible as other dressy minimalist shoes. It features small bumps to prevent scuffing and while the sole is minimal in terms of treads, it is more than adequate for daily use. Thin horizontal lines are isolated in the heel and ball area while the center of the shoe has some branding and is basically bald. Since the threads are so thin, they do wear out sooner than I would like, but since the shoe is made for professional settings, aggressive lugs are not something that would work for this classy shoe. I think I would prefer wider-spaced lines and slightly deeper treads

One thing to note is that while this is a zero drop sole, there is still toe spring in the front of the shoe. When placed on a flat surface, the toes float up ever so slightly. While this may be a standard look for dress shoes, I believe that the FALCON Wingtip should have been made completely flat and straight to be truly minimalist.

Like the FER V4, the FALCON Wingtip was made to be last you a long time, even if the sole wears out. Made with cobblers in mind, the sole is resoleable; this vastly expands the life of their shoes. For many dress shoes, the soles are the limiting factor in terms of how long one can keep them. Laces can be replaced very easily and uppers can last a long time, provided you exercise care. However, once the sole comes undone, water can leak in, or the sole wears unevenly, that’s the end of the line. With a resolable design, that is less of an issue.

In my experience with minimalist dress shoes, only the Hawthorn from Softstar Shoes has a resolable design. Being resolable is an important feature to many users and I am glad Carets embraced it.

Fit and Materials

The uppers of the FALCON Wingtip are made very nice full-grain calfskin leather.

Full grain refers to hides that have not been sanded or buffed, giving the leather some natural character and extra durability. The leather comes stiff out of the box, but breaks in easily. At first steps, you may notice some pinching just below you toes, where the shoe will flex the most. After a day, that section will soften up and be much more comfortable. Compared to the full grain leathers of other minimalist shoes, this leather is treated a bit more to be on the stiffer side, which is in line with other high end dress shoes.

In testing the leather of the FALCON Wingtip with my favorite leather oil, the uppers absorbed the oil overnight and softened up quite a bit. Another benefit is that a good leather oil will give you a deeper and more complex color.

I was asked in a previous comment section for my recommendations for leather oils and in my own independent testing, I highly recommend Obenauf’s Leather Oil. I found this oil on amazon and it has been really good at giving life back into worn leather camera bags and shoes.

Inside, the leather continues throughout the interior of the shoe with some suede textures around the heel. Carets made some updates based upon my suggestions and added a nice, cushioned leather wing on the interior of the heel cowl to provide a bit of adherence to the foot and some protection for the skin around the achilles tendon. It is a great addition and really helps with comfort and sizing. This cushioned section will customize itself to the foot and never gets in the way of the minimalist nature of the FALCON Wingtip.

 Falcon Wingtop with the FER V4
Falcon Wingtop with the FER V4

The FER V4 was already a beautiful shoe, perhaps the best looking dress shoe that I have ever owned, but the FALCON Wingtip adds so much more craftmanship and class to its brother shoe. The brogue details are extensive throughout the shoe, from the cowl, to the lacing area and even a subtle Carets “V” logo on the front of the shoe. These notches and holes are perfectly cut and are completely clean. Around every curve, there is a ripple cut that is a very nice touch and adds to the already excellent good looks of the shoe. The FALCON has a eye-catching appearance and one can expect many compliments on their good looks. Carets truly outdid themselves with this new shoe.

Just like the FER V4, Carets opted for elastic laces for the FALCON Wingtip. While I was apprehensive at first, elastic laces are excellent for professional use. Simply set a double-knot and forget about them! When you find a sweet spot, you can simply slip your foot in for daily use. Since you do not have to tie them each time you wear them, they should last a long time.

The FALCON Wingtip is a midweight shoe. Of course, it is lighter than any traditional dress shoe, but compared to other minimalist shoes, it is on the more substantial side. It is still a featherweight compared to your old dress shoes at around 10 oz for a mens size 9.

The new interior heel strip provides extra comfort and better fit for a larger diversity of heel shapes
The new interior heel strip provides extra comfort and better fit for a larger diversity of heel shapes

Future Improvements

I was so happy to chat with Carets for my suggestions for upgrades to the FER V4 and am even more happy to find that they incorporated a lot of them! For a version 2 of the FALCON Wingtip, I would love to see some revisions to the sole to give the shoe a bit more traction and durability. I would also like to see softer, thicker leather options, but that is a personal choice. A slightly wider toe area would also be appreciated as my feet fit merely adequately. I think that a wider toebox would give them a wider audience without sacrificing its traditional dressy looks.

Summary

The FALCON Wingtip wears its dress shoe chops in such a stylish way that it is easy to forget that it is also a minimalist shoe. The amount of details and thought that were put into these shoes really demonstrates what a scrappy upstart the folks at Carets are. While other dress shoes are content to release the same shoes over and over again, you can see a true progression of design from one iteration to another and passion for design as Carets continue to refine their shoes. The FALCON Wingtip is the pinnacle of a dress shoes in the minimalist side of the industry. It does not sacrifice anything in terms of looks and materials to be minimalist while providing many minimalist benefits. If you are tired of other minimalist lifestyle or dress shoes that are too clownshoe-like, have poor seams, or stand out too much, the FALCON Wingtip fits in with the dressiest of dress shoes, all the while your feet will enjoy zero drop goodness and wider toebox.

They are truly one of the nicest shoes I have tested and while they may not be appropriate for every day use in my life, I can wear them with pride in any dressy setting.

You’ll find the FALCON Wingtip at Carets.com.