Meermin was founded in 2001 by José and Sandro Albaladejo. The Albaladejos had been a famous cordwaining family for many decades. The brothers were previously part of Spanish shoemaker Yanko, which was the family’s main shoemaking business that was set up in 1961. Yanko itself can trace its roots back to 1866, when Matias Pujadas began shoemaking on the island of Majorca. Meermin was named after a classic sailing boat from the 50s owned by the family. For those of you who know Dutch, this should answer any questions about why a shoe company would be named after a mermaid. The brand initially sold shoes primarily through high-end Japanese department stores a few years before opening their own retail spaces in Tokyo and Spain.
Meermin offer a range of footwear options on the dressier end of the spectrum. These include a range of close-laced oxfords, open-laced bluchers, loafers, and monkstraps. They also have an array of boots—both casual and dress—ranging from balmoral boots to chelseas in a range of leathers. While they do offer ready-to-wear options, they became popular for their very attractive made-to-order service, which has since been replaced with a crowd-funded group MTO service. For their RTW options prices start at €160 for the Classic Line and €260 for the higher-end Linea Maestro. The former use Goodyear Welt construction, while the latter are handwelted and typically use higher-quality or more exotic leathers. These prices also include 20% VAT, which can be taken off if you are outside the EU.
Meermin are supposedly made in Spain, but this is only half the story. The uppers are, in fact, stitched and lasted in China—these uppers are then shipped to Spain and then attached to the soles. While for most shoemakers this would signal a downturn in quality, Meermin actually trained the Chinese shoemakers up to Spanish standards. This allows them to offer the low prices they do. Plus, they look gorgeous, and have options for both men and women.
Meermin are probably the best value option out there right now if you’re just starting to get into quality leather shoes. The only possible issue is actually getting them! They’re usually difficult to purchase for customers outside of Europe in terms of shipping and customs charges. That’s why MSB offers a European shipping address just for these kinds of situations—simply have your items sent to your EU address and wait for our notification when it’s arrived and is ready to be shipped straight to your door.