Alternatives to the iconic Edward Green Galway
In my review of the Edwards Green Galway I ended on a list of alternative models from other makers - in this post I will give some more information on each, and explain what compromises or differences you might expect compared to the Galway. Listed from most to least affordable (with one alternative that's actually more expensive than the original!)
What makes a Galway a Galway?
A couple of distinguishing features to watch out for:
1) Plain toecap design - no broguing or wingtip
2) Arrowhead seam connecting the shaft and quarters sections
3) Often a mixed material makeup (I happen to think suede for the shaft and calf for the body looks best, but this is preference)
4) Speed-hooks for laces
5) Pull tab at the back
Meermin are perhaps the best entry-price, decent quality GYW shoes out there. Sadly these boots appear to have been discontinued, although they may reappear as a Made to Order option in future. Provided you go into the purchase with the right expectations they are always worth considering - you may get imperfect leather or messy finishing, but keep in mind they retail for about 1/6th of a pair of EG Galways.
As "the Noble Shoe" site has it, the Carlos Santos field boot is "a lot of boot, for not a whole lot of money". Indeed, Carlos Santos is a bit of a hidden gem for those who don't want to spend a fortune.
Lof & Tung are the house brand of Skoaktiebolaget. They always seem to have their finger on the pulse in terms of new and interesting designs, and the Kingsley has been a popular model since the brand's launch. You can expect a step up from Meermin in terms of make.
The Sullivan Street appears to be discontinued now, but keep an eye out for it on eBay if the style appeals. Allen Edmonds reputation as a maker is pretty much at an all-time low now, but the Sullivan Street got positive reviews on its release and at the very least it's interesting to see an American maker's take on a distinctly British design.
Antonio Meccariello is a highly regarded Italian maker. He runs a relatively small operation and is very popular with the iGent crowd - this means long lead times and a pretty eccentric ordering system if you can navigate the pretty messy website. I can't get any reviews of the Evocatus in particular, but you can see from the images that it's a sleeker and more dramatic looking interpretation of the Galway aesthetic.
Vass offer hand-welted footwear at an overall very competitive price. Their interpretation of the Galway is an elegant one, although anyone ordering from the company should set their expectations that the end result, while solid, may not be perfect. This is euphemistically called the "Vass Charm", though it could just as easily be called poor Quality Control and inconsistent customer service. This particular model doesn't seem to be available to order any more, though may be available as a Made to Order option.
Another Italian maker, Enzo Bonafe shoes are available through a range of online retailers including Skoaktiebolaget and ShopMehra. This is at the upper end of pricing for the brand, as these "Balway" boots are Made to Order only in shell cordovan.
We're moving into options that are actually more expensive than the Edward Green model now, but Saint Crispin's are worth the extra if you can afford it. They have an incredibly wide selection of material options available, and can even provide an adjusted last to tweak the sizing for a perfect fit.
There are currently 14 options of the Galway available on Edward Green's site, as well as a new, shorter boot with similar styling called the Connemura. Pictured is the most extravagant model available - the £1,750 Cognac Cordovan and Snuff Suede - though the calf and suede models are available for £1,265.