M.Gemi Shoes Review: True Italian Luxury Without Breaking the Bank?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. We received compensation and courtesy product from M.Gemi in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own.
While both the Sacca and the Volo Due need more effort in maintenance, the reward is in the luxury materials, comfort fit, and true Italian style.
Heads up: M.Gemi are running a $40 Off Your First Order promo right now when using code MOBILE40.
It’s a bit cliche, I know.
But when I was 18, I packed up a months worth of clothes and took a backpack through Europe.
Red patent-leather high tops with Tupac Shakur’s face on the side.
After spending two weeks between Florence and Rome, seeing how effortless Italians looked sipping espressos at the bar, I was ready to throw out every bit of clothing I owned. That trip was my awakening to the world of fashion and style.
What impressed me most, though, was the shoes. Casual, light, neat. Nothing like my red patent-leather Tupac shoes.
Recently, I’ve had a chance to finally make up for the fashion faux-pas made in my youth.
M.Gemi, the Italian-inspired shoe brand, sent me two pairs of their favorite loafers to wear in the dwindling weeks of summer.
Could M.Gemi help me atone for the shoe mistakes I’ve made in the past? Were their loafers enough to erase the memories of my bright red high tops?
Keep reading to find out.
What Is M.Gemi?
M.Gemi, the shoe company, was born in Boston. But the idea was hatched in the south of Italy.
Maria Gangemi, Chief Merchandising Officer at M.Gemi, spent her early years in Sicily, growing up near dozens of shoe factories and artisan cobblers. She immigrated to the US as a child but held on to her love for Italian fashion into her adult years.
After 30 years working in footwear and fashion, it was time to use those early childhood memories and craft a brand of her own.
With the production of so many designer-goods being outsourced from Italy, M.Gemi’s goal is to bring back the good old days of high-quality Italian designer shoes.
The only difference?
Made in the same artisan workshops that used to craft other huge-name brands (rhymes with Flucci, Versquachi), M.Gemi sells direct-to-consumer. That means you get the same artisan quality but without the $400- $1000+ markup retailers charge.
Sounds pretty good, right?
After hearing so much about the brand, I knew it was time to get a pair on my feet and see if M.Gemi really brought the Italian craftsmanship they boasted.
Here’s what I thought of both.
Unboxing & Review
The Sacca is M.Gemi’s most relaxed and casual men’s loafer. Suede, unlined, and with genuine moccasin construction, these are excellent shoes for summer.
Because the Sacca is unlined, they’re incredibly light and flexible.
I opted for the Sacca in navy, but it’s also available in red and tan (M.Gemi calls it luggage). Since summer is coming to a close, I wanted to pick a color I thought could last into the fall. Both the red and tan would work, but I liked navy the best.
The suede upper has a nice, velvety texture. A pet-peeve I have with suede is its inclination to those impossible-to-get-out streaks. It’s something I’ve noticed in cheaper suede shoes in the past, and it’s always the first thing I look for in any new suede shoe.
M.Gemi clearly puts cash behind their materials—I couldn’t find a single blemish on the upper. For the price point, though, this is expected.
The Fit and Feel
I’m a size 10.5 in the US, so I opted for M.Gemi’s 43.5. M.Gemi says their shoes fit true to size, and I have to agree. My toe is a perfect half-inch away from the toe-cap and there’s enough room to fit into the shoe without any extra wiggle. No surprises in the sizing, which is always a good thing.
Unlined shoes are often more comfortable right out of the box. Because the Sacca’s suede has a fine pore reverse, they feel light and airy. My feet don’t stick to the inside leather like they would with lined shoes, so the loafers don’t become little swamp-boxes.
Without a liner, you’re putting your feet against the reverse of the suede upper. Another big indicator that M.Gemi is using quality materials was the creamy-smooth feel of the leather interior.
An important note about the construction, though, is that they’re prone to water damage if you’re ever caught in the rain. Elvis said, “don’t you step on my blue suede shoes.” I say, “don’t you water your lawn or set up an automatic sprinkler near my blue suede shoes.”
Much less catchy.
The leather sole has rubber inserts for added grip and extended life. With how frequent I’ll be wearing these, I can see the sole lasting a year or more before needing a refresh. The heel is hardened rubber, and I have plenty of room to wear them down before I’ll need to have the heel redone.
What Others Have Said
Reading through reviews, many people have had the same general response to The Sacca as myself. These are excellent, stylish, and comfortable shoes. But they aren’t meant for heavy, every-day use.
One of the days I tested them, I ended up along a dirt path studded with plenty of rocks. The Sacca didn’t offer the best cushion or support in that scenario. I can’t count that as a negative because it’s fairly obvious you shouldn’t wear thin suede loafers while crossing treacherous ground, but it’s worth noting.
One review mentioned the shoe stained their foot blue. I can say my feet are still the same pale-peachy color they always were. No staining whatsoever. I didn’t see that same issue mentioned in other reviews, either.
My Thoughts Overall On The Sacca From M.Gemi
The Volo Due
With a smaller, more European profile, these loafers are lighter than their English counterparts.
The Volo Due has all the classic details of the time-tested penny loafer. What drew me to these, however, was the two departures into more modern territory.
First, these loafers are made with Blake stitching rather than Goodyear stitching. Not familiar with the difference?
Let’s take a look:
With Blake stitching, the upper is sewn close to the outsole, making for a slimmer, more compact profile.
With a Goodyear welt, an extra layer of leather or rubber runs around the outsole.
Both have their benefits and drawbacks. If you want the true Italian look, Blake stitching is a must. The smaller profile and extra flexibility give the Volo Due its classic European style.
That being said, the Blake stitch is much harder to repair. Shoe repair shops need to have special machinery to re-sole a Blake stitched shoe.
A Goodyear welt has more material so it’s less flexible, heavier, and has a larger silhouette. They’re a bit sturdier and easy to re-sole when the time comes.
(For a detailed breakdown on the difference between Blake and Goodyear stitching, check out this article from our friends at Primer Magazine.)
I was also drawn to the Volo Due’s extended penny strap. The strong diagonal is a nice modern update, but it’s not over the top. The Volo Due hits a great balance, keeping enough old-world in their design without going too modern.
The Fit and Feel
M.Gemi is two for two when it comes to fit. The Volo Due was harder to put on because of the stiff leather, but I welcome any chance to bust out my trusty shoehorn.
I took a stroll through the city with these on a few different occasions. I’d recently had a rough experience going sockless in the city.
Anyone who saw my feet afterword would have checked me into a leper colony. It was bad.
So I packed some bandaids and went for a walk. There was no discomfort and no bandaids needed. The Volo Due’s didn’t rub on either side of my foot and my heel went unscathed.
My only gripe with the Volo Due is in its maintenance, so it’s not even a problem I’ve come up against yet.
Because of their Blake stitching, I may have to go to a few different shoe repair shops when it’s time to re-sole my penny loafers. Not every shoe repair owns the machinery for the job.
Then again, I might find the right shop on my first try and it won’t be an issue at all.
What Others Have Said
Customer reviews for the Volo Due are mostly positive. Some mention they went a half-size smaller, but I don’t see how they’d fit their foot in.
Maybe they own a special high-tech shoehorn I don’t know about yet. I recommend using M.Gemi’s size conversion chart and going with your true size.
My Thoughts Overall On The Volo Due From M.Gemi