My attempts at loving the Cole Haan LunarGrand were devastatingly futile. I poured over image after image of the uniquely manufactured offering from Cole Haan. I scoured the Internet, perusing press releases and reviews. I even went to a store to evaluate the shoe in person. And when presented with the opportunity to receive 30% off an already reduced price, with another 50% chopped off that total, I still could not summon the courage to relinquish my credit card to procure the goods. The issue: The LunarGrand was just far too aggressive, even for my liberal sartorial leanings. So now, newly launched globally on July 7th, Cole Haan has bestowed upon the masses their latest sneaker/dress shoe hybrid known as the ZeroGrand. Can the ZeroGrand capture my adoration in such a way where the wildly popular LunarGrand failed? Let’s see.
Before I launch into how I feel on the matter, first, let’s grant some blog space to Cole Haan to explain their newest innovation. The pitch: Weighing in at less than 290 grams each, ZeroGrand is the lightest and most flexible shoe Cole Haan has ever created. Marrying centuries-old broguing details with biomechanics, modern materials and today’s manufacturing methods, Cole Haan has considered every detail in make, mass and motion.
- ZeroGrand features Grand.OS, a proprietary new engineering and design platform which brings unparalleled style and comfort to Cole Haan products.
- The flexibility of Grand.OS comes through the engineered insoles, outsoles, liners and uppers that move with each step.
- Grand.OS replaces the heavy steel shanks that have traditionally been used for support with an engineered cushioning compound that is stronger, more flexible and longer lasting; reducing the overall weight and slimming down the shoe’s outsole.
- Each shoes weighs less than 290 grams.
To state that the preceding assertions, courtesy of Cole Haan, were not impressive would be dishonest. The extensive resume warrants an honest examination. Now, the ZeroGrand arrives in two distinct options: one manufactured with ripstop nylon as the upper, the other reverse full-grain suede. The ripstop nylon upper pieces are bonded to each other using high frequency welding, thus reducing the number of components on the overall shoe. The suede alternative is laser treated to add pinking and add decorative stitch details. A Strobel stitch construction (the upper has been stitched to the insole) offers more strength and flexibility than other techniques. Both are detailed with a functional brogue that is laser cut for ventilation, flexibility, and lightness. Available colors for purchase right now: Flint grey, black, berkshire, and blazer blue. Expect to pay $248.00 retail for the no-stitch nylon version and $268.00 retail for the reverse full-grain suede version. So, how do they look in person?
Fortunately, I was able to get out and examine a pair up close and personal. For my tastes, although I fancy this shoe more than the LunarGrand, it just doesn’t marry well with my personality. Progressing towards the tender age of 40 more swiftly than I expected, this shoe is perhaps better suited for a gentleman younger than myself. Or, maybe a gentleman that works in a creative environment that encourages fashion-forward thinking. I’m just not there at this junction in my life. However, if you think this is the shoe for you, take a gander at my findings and judge for yourself.
- Impossibly lightweight design with the appearance of a heavy brogue, yet the lightness of a boat shoe.
- Extremely flexible sole. Seriously, you can bend this bad boy in half and it will spring back into form. Great for individuals that may spend a lot of time on their feet or have underlying foot ailments.
- And you never know when you will have to make a run – literally. The soles are definitely sneaker inspired.
- As the ZeroGrand is not too stuffy, yet not too whimsical, it is a perfect compromise for the gentleman that navigates a creative, business-casual environment.
- The suede is remarkably supple and smooth – probably the winner of both versions here.
- The cost may frighten some gentlemen – at nearly $300 for a pair of shoes that is neither a sneaker or dress shoe, this business-casual hybrid is pretty steep for a shoe to be worn most likely in a casual setting.
- The aggressive fashion-forward design may limit its longevity; investing in a shoe that may enjoy 2-3 years of popularity is very risky, as your look may become dated sooner rather than later.
- To achieve its lightweight stature, there are some sacrifices with the construction. While the rubber sole is solid, some gentlemen may be off-put by the delicate feel of the nylon upper. The suede may be a better option if the nylon proves too flimsy.
- The functional brogue is a nice touch; just ensure you check the weather channel before venturing out. The functional holes probably won’t play nice with rain.
Interested yet? If you are, head over to Cole Haan HERE to check it out yourself, or head to your nearest Cole Haan location.