Men's Fashion

Oliver Cabell Review: Is the Low 1 Your Next Go-to Sneaker?

Editors Rating

What do you get when you mix minimalism, affordability, and luxury into one leather sneaker? If you answered “Oliver Cabell,” you must be some kind of sneaker connoisseur

Started in 2016 by Scott Gabrielson, Oliver Cabell has since managed to explode in popularity, thanks in large part to its dedication to craftsmanship and transparency. 

Focusing primarily on its “Low 1” leather lineup, Oliver Cabell offers a variety of derivative styles, all crafted from full-grain, calfskin leather and made in Marche, Italy. 

In this Oliver Cabell review, we take an in-depth look at Oliver Cabell shoes—specifically, the Low 1 sneaker—and give our thoughts on the design, comfortability, pricing, and durability.

Oliver Cabell low 1 close up against all white background

As we mentioned above, Oliver Cabell was launched in 2016 with the intention of creating a transparent, low mark-up luxury shoe brand. Not only has it done so with admirable momentum, but Oliver Cabell has also stayed true to its vision, going as far as sharing information that most brands would never dream of exposing, such as:

  • Source of each individual material
  • Cost of manufacturing, including shipping, packaging, and miscellaneous expenses
  • Cost of each individual material
  • True mark-up costs

This transparent approach, coupled with quality materials and craftsmanship, has won over a number of shoe connoisseurs, all while helping shift the status-quo when it comes to what we expect from luxury apparel brands.

Watch Our Review

Oliver Cabell Low 1

Construction: Stitched and lasted in Marche, Italy | Upper: 3oz full grain calfskin leather from Marche, Italy | Outsole: Margom Italian outsoles — renowned for their durable, lightweight rubber | Footbed: Italian calf-skin over removable molded in-sole | Lining:  Italian calfskin leather | Counters: 3oz full grain calfskin leather from Marche, Italy | Laces: Italian cotton

Oliver Cabell’s most iconic shoe, the Low 1, is a nod to minimalist design in its purest form. Competing with popular alternatives such as the similarly inspired Common Projects, the Low 1 is a perfect balance between simplicity and quality.

And on that note, let’s dive a bit deeper into what makes the Oliver Cabell shoes so special and some reasons why you might want to consider this up-and-coming luxury shoe brand.

Unboxing

The first thing you’ll notice with your new Oliver Cabell Low 1’s is both the quality of leather materials and build. The packaging itself is relatively straightforward, although it does come with an Oliver Cabell branded cloth carrying bag, perfect for some added protection either when traveling or storing them away.

Oliver Cabell Low 1s on top of an opened shoe box

The Design

The beauty of Oliver Cabell’s Low 1 design goes beyond just its sophisticated silhouette, as the dedication to craftsmanship is something to behold in and of itself. Handmade from Italian calfskin leather and fitted with Margom outsoles, you can feel the quality in each stitch and within every crevice.

A truly versatile design, whether you opt for the all-white original or something with a bit more flair, you’ll have no problem wearing these shoes with a variety of different outfits, and on a variety of different occasions.

Speaking of versatility, Oliver Cabell continues to expand its color selection for the Low 1, with a respectable amount of variants currently available, by our count up to 11 options you can mix and match with your own unique style.

Not only do you have color options, but you also have the option of a sub-line of Low 1’s, featuring a more rugged, “scuffed” finish to its leather.

Sizing and Fit

Similar to other brands (such as Common Projects, Koio, and more), the Low 1 is a low profile, slim-fitting sneaker with enough sizing options to satisfy most any buyer. That said, these shoes don’t come in half sizes as it stands; however, Oliver Cabell does have a helpful sizing tool on its website if you’re unsure what will fit.

We should also mention that while the Low 1’s are relatively narrow, the term “narrow” should be given some context. Shoes within this realm of design tend to cater towards a very sleek, highly-fitted (read: narrow) construction, and while the Low 1’s do fall into this category, they are a bit more “loose” fitting when compared to something like the iconically narrow Common Projects.

Man standing on a bridge highlighting Oliver Cabell Low 1s

Comfort

Like most quality leather shoes, the Low 1s can take a bit of time to break in. A few wears (maybe 3 or 4 if you’re doing a decent amount of walking) should get you headed in the right direction, and unsurprisingly, these shoes seem to increase in comfort over time due to the initial stiffness of the leather.

As for the footbed (or insole) on these shoes, they are made from both foam and recycled rubber and are said to compress only about 5% over time. This means the level of comfort for the bottom of your feet should feel similar throughout the lifecycle of the shoe.

Remember that shoe comfort has a lot to do with both the size and shape of your foot—what works for us may not necessarily work for you. Generally speaking, though, these are very comfy shoes overall.

The Price

We touched on pricing a bit earlier in this article, and the uniqueness of Oliver Cabell is that you will not only know the cost of the shoes, but how much it costs to make them as well. 

The general cost breakdown can be seen in the “price breakdown” drop-down on the Oliver Cabell website, and often resembles something similar to the following:

Leather: $26.04 | Lining: $8.12 | Outsoles: $6.60 | In-soles: $3.80 | Cutting/ Manufacturing/Quality Control: $34.88 | Packaging: $3.96 | Transit: $12.43 | Duties: $5.36 | Shipping: $11.50

This is a somewhat shocking level of transparency from the folks at Oliver Cabell and is undoubtedly a welcome sight. As far as earning consumer trust, Oliver Cabell gets a nod from our perspective.

Low 1’s typically run around $249 (at the time of writing), which is considerably lower in price when compared to some of its competitors. Additionally, it’s always nice to view the mark-up on your purchases, and Oliver Cabell shoes make that a simple task in this case. I’ve also noticed that the site offers fairly competitive sales at anywhere between 25 to 50 percent off throughout the year. 

man standing on the back of a concrete bench highlighting Oliver Cabell Low 1s

Care and Maintenance

Oliver Cabell’s Low 1’s are pretty solid sneakers in terms of durability, but taking care of and maintaining leather shoes can help to prolong their lifespan in addition. 

Standard maintenance rules apply here, but regardless, here are a few tips for keeping your Low 1s looking new.

Use shoe trees to help maintain the shape and form

You may not usually consider shoe trees for these seemingly casual shoes, but it‘s beyond beneficial to do so because of the construction and materials. 

Not only will a good shoe tree increase the longevity of your Low 1’s (particularly something like cedar for moisture absorption), they can help decrease leather wrinkles, creases and overall keep your sneakers looking newer for longer.

Periodically spot-clean and deep-clean your Oliver Cabell sneakers

It goes without saying that your Low 1s will pick up some dirt, grime, and scuffs over time. But as opposed to letting these imperfections pile up, it does a lot of good to do both regular spot cleaning, as well as the occasional deep clean from time to time. 

Oliver Cabell makes it easy to find the correct cleaning solutions for your Low 1s with a dedicated “Shoe Care” section on its website. 

If you don’t already have your own emergency kit for things like spot cleaning and maintenance, these products from Oliver Cabell are certainly worth looking into, if not investing in.

Shoe shot of Oliver Cabell Low 1s outside

Alternate between shoes from time to time

As much as you may love your new Oliver Cabell Low 1s, it isn’t advisable to wear the same shoes every day for extended periods of time.

Giving your shoes some downtime to air out/dry will lessen issues you may experience with excessive moisture, leading to material degradation over time.

Our Experience With the Low 1s: Pros and Cons

Overall, Oliver Cabell lives up to its name in the affordable luxury footwear department—specifically, the Low 1s. Here are some of our main takeaways.

What We Like

  • Great affordability, especially when compared to competitors 
  • A variety of color schemes and leather finishes to pick from 
  • Solid design, stitching, durability—you’re truly getting your money’s worth 
  • Versatile and works well with most wardrobes and on a variety of occasions
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers

  • No half sizes
  • Run a bit on the large size
  • Some (very) minor quality issues with stitching over time
  • May squeak a bit when brand new (seems to be more of a problem with older batches)

Final Verdict: Are Oliver Cabell Shoes Worth It?

All in all, Oliver Cabell is a great brand that is moving the needle when it comes to transparency and honesty—particularly in the luxury footwear industry. Between disclosing all of its costs, all the way from materials to shipping, and favoring price-conscious mark-ups, the trust factor is beyond present in this regard.

Furthermore, Oliver Cabell makes high-quality footwear at a reasonable price, not to mention many different styles and designs to choose from.

So, are Oliver Cabell shoes worth it? It depends on what you’re looking for specifically. Other brands can cost 2-3 times the price of a quality leather shoe like the Low 1s. That said, the most expensive shoe is not always the most desirable, as some brands artificially hike the price of their shoes with things like insane mark-up percentages.

You may not have bragging rights to the most expensive shoe on the market, but you’ll more than make up for it in comfort, manufacturer transparency, and thoughtful craftsmanship. 

Ultimately, we would absolutely recommend you check out Oliver Cabell and its variety of shoes, both from a design and overall value standpoint.

Man leaning against a bridge railing highlighting Oliver Cabell Low 1s

Alternative Options 

Hopefully, if you’ve gotten to this point you’ve discovered our love and praise for Oliver Cabell Low 1’s, as well as the company’s practices. However, we think like you, there is always something else out there that might catch our eye. If you’re looking for a few other options to compare, we have you covered. Check out our top three alternatives below.

2. Common Projects

A great alternative if you’re looking for a sneaker similar to the Low 1 but with a different color pop. These shoes would equally well with jeans or a casually tailored outfit – making them a great wardrobe stable.

View The White Retro Low Sneaker

3. Clae

Similar and yet entirely different. This hemp sneaker is a great blend of tennis show and structured sneaker, if you’re looking for a more casual option this is the one.

View the August