The 9-to-5 gig shouldn’t strip you of all your outdoorsy-ness should it? In spite of working in cubicle land, you’re still a granola-eating, Spandex-wearing, multi-tool-totin’ kind of guy. For when you need to kick it up a notch, Patagonia steps in with the Loulu, deemed “a packable, wool-lined walking shoe with a dressy side.” That about sums it up.
Patagonia Loulu Features:
- Durable full-grain leather upper
- Natural wool lining provides temperature and moisture control
- Dri-Lex® merino wool footbed lining provides temperature and moisture control
- 20% recycled EVA midsole provides cushioning and comfort
- Rubber outsole (20% recycled) with honeycomb pattern for grip
- Durable, Opanka-stitched outsole construction uses less solvents and adhesives
- Last characteristics: medium width, full toe box, medium arch/instep
- 283 g (10 oz)
- MSRP: $140
Kickin’ it up a notch in the Patagonia Loulu
Patagonia’s shoes have been consistent performers for many years. And, the Loulu dressy/casual shoes share that same pedigree. With full-grain leather uppers stained to a classic walnut brown, the Loulu is at home around town, in the office or even for more formal events.
The heart of the Loulu is the bathtub-style outsole that is stylishly stitched to the uppers. With honeycomb pattern for grip, the Loulu’s walk well with a smooth stride not found on shoes with a more traditional outsole design. It’s great to walk in the LouLu’s with every step being cushioned and smooth. Further enhancing the comfort is the natural wool lining that cradles the feet and aids in breathability. Yes, these are full-grain leather uppers, so don’t expect them to breathe like a pair of running shoes, but the moisture management is fantastic — all things considered.
I must mention that while the honecomb-style outsole does walk well in dry weather, traction pretty much disappears when walking in the snow. Luckily, winter is on the way out, but do take care when walking in the white stuff.
The beautiful leather uppers offer a simple and muted style that’s compatible with a full-spectrum of attire from jeans to slacks — all while keeping your outdoorsy roots grounded firmly in place. The stitched rim around the perimeter of the shoes actually acts as an excellent shelf to keep pant cuffs from dragging on the ground. The leather has worn well and any minor scuffs don’t distract from the overall look of the shoes. Even more, some of the small scratches seem to “self-heal” over time.
With a wide forefoot, my toes can spread out comfortably. Yeah, they do look a little more stubby than a typical pair of dress shoes, but that wiggle room is awesome. I’m not the kind of guy who wants to suffer in pain all for the sake of fashion. To me, function takes priority and the Loulu’s are a great example of that. After a full day of wear, my feet feel fresh and comfortable.
Initial break-in did take a few days of wear, but never resulted in any hot spots at all. This is most certainly due to the awesome wool lining that eliminates any chance for discomfort.
I’d say that my biggest wish are a pair of classier laces. The frumpy laces included with the shoes just feel out of place. A tighter, perhaps waxed lace might be a better look here. With Patagonia running shoes, I’m a solid size 11 for a comfortable fit. I tested the Loulu’s in a 10.5 and really could have gone with a size 10 since I’m not hauling up/down mountain trails. So, keep that in mind when sizing yourself up in these.
- Bathtub-style outsole offers awesome comfort
- Lining wicks moisture away and keeps things chaff-free
- Stitched “shelf” keeps pant cuffs off the ground
- Tons of forefoot wiggle room
- “Self-healing” uppers when scratched
- Frumpy laces detract from the overall style
- Traction deteriorates on snow-covered walks
The Bottom Line
Patagonia’s casual shoe line offers classic style and comfort with an outdoorsy flare. The Loulu’s style is compatible with a variety of looks and has worn well with all-day comfort.
Buy Now: Available at REI.com