In this review of Marc Nolan, learn more about their unique and often daring shoes and boots and get to know the brand’s founder.
About Marc Nolan
In 2018, Sebastian Malczewski combined his lifelong passion and years of retail experience to found Marc Nolan with a focus on creating show-stopping shoes with bold vibe. Sebastian told me he aims for Marc Nolan to be “a beacon for every man who values style, needs comfort, and desires luxury.”
The company offers an impressively-wide range of colorful footwear, including penny loafers, suede sneakers, whole-cut hybrid dress shoes, and combat boots, and is an outstanding example of a stylish menswear brand helping men dress sharp in the digital age.
The name Marc Nolan is a tribute to the two most important male figures in Sebastian’s life — his mentor, Marc, and son, Nolan.
Review: Marc Nolan’s Bold Shoes
I had a chance to review two pairs of Marc Nolan shoes and catch up with founder Sebastian Malczewski for an interview. (Marc Nolan provided two pairs of shoes at no cost for the purpose of a review.)
After spending several weeks walking around in the Beau Moc Toe Caramel Derby Shoes and Abe Blue Earth Penny Loafers, here is my review of the look, fit and feel of Marc Nolan shoes.
Reviewing the Bold Look of Marc Nolan Shoes
Nobody would ever accuse Marc Nolan’s boots and shoes of being boring.
From multi-hued penny loafers crafted from textured calfskin leather in orange, brown, purple, and navy to burgundy sheepskin suede-on-burgundy leather combat boots, Marc Nolan produces bold and unique footwear.
Scrolling through their extensive online inventory, the first thing that stood out to me is the sheer variety and imagination that underpin Marc Nolan’s collection of shoes.
Marc Nolan is not the place to find simple oxford dress shoes, but it’s an impressive destination for bolder designs that can help you stand out in a variety of business casual and smart casual situations.
They’re a particularly great choice for penny loafers, dressy combat boots, and hybrid dress shoes featuring a dressed-up upper and sneaker bottom (“business on the top, party on the bottom,” says Sebastian).
Founder Sebastian Malczewski thinks his footwear fits well in the post-pandemic new normal for office attire.
“When it comes to style and dress, there has been an undeniable shift towards relaxing standards of dress and leaning more into clothing that is comfortable and casual,” he observed.
Malczewski sees the new normal shift towards a combination of dressy styles that have comfort built into their core.
“Businessmen are ditching full-blown suits for something more business casual, perhaps denim, a suit coat, and a lack of a tie,” he said. “These business casual styles are more versatile and flexible for all that we do in a day.”
Through Marc Nolan, he is building shoes that will fit this new norm, balancing dressy and more traditional styles with textures and features that provide comfort and casual touches. Men need shoes that can “fit this new normal of multi-purpose, work and play.”
As for my shoes, the Beau Moc Toe Caramel Derby Shoes are a great way to add interest to a smart casual or business casual outfit. I like the two-tone suede and canvas look and thick waxed laces. They are part of my regular rotation for casual office attire and going out.
While I love the look of the Beau Moc’s crepe rubber soles out of the box, they are magnets for dirt.
The Abe Blue Earth Penny Loafers are one of the bolder options in Marc Nolan’s lineup. I love the idea of a pair of vintage-looking blue suede shoes, though for me they are more appropriate for backyard barbecues or other relaxed or smart casual situations.
How Comfortable Are Marc Nolan Shoes?
Based on my experience, Marc Nolan’s shoes are exceptionally comfortable and lightweight. Their shoes came installed with latex memory foam padded insoles. Other Marc Nolan shoes and boots add a shock-absorbing stacked rubber sole for additional comfort. Both of my pairs of shoes have fairly flat insoles (which I prefer to high arched insoles).
While Marc Nolan’s shoes run true-to-size, one nit is that Marc Nolan’s shoes are only available in whole sizes. I’m a 9.5 and, while the 10 lace-up derbies fit well, the penny loafers are a hair large. Marc Nolan recommends sizing down if you are in between sizes.
How Much Do Marc Nolan Shoes Cost?
Marc Nolan shoes and boots typically cost between $115 and $160 via their website. You can find some Marc Nolan shoes on final sale for as low as $69.
Where Are Marc Nolan’s Shoes Made?
Marc Nolan’s shoes are designed in Chicago and manufactured in China.
Where to Buy Marc Nolan Shoes
Currently Marc Nolan’s shoes are available directly from the company’s website and via one brick-and-mortar location in Chicago.
Marc Nolan is also looking towards collaborations to help spread the word.
In April 2022, Marc Nolan collaborated with men’s luxury hat and accessories startup Wear Brims on a limited-release penny loafer featuring orange, white, and burgundy calf leather perched on top of slim rubber soles. Sebastian notes that Marc Nolan has a few more collabs in the works.
Get to Know Marc Nolan’s Founder
I asked Marc Nolan’s Founder Sebastian Malczewski to tell me more about the journey that led him to launch the brand:
I immigrated to the United States in 1998 seeking the American Dream of finding myself and paving my own path in the land of opportunity.
As a child in Poland, my mother and grandmother taught me the importance of making a statement through details—a well-made pair of shoes, an elegant watch. I carried this lesson with me on his journey to America.
Unable to speak, read, or write English, I faced an immediate challenge when looking for my first job. Like many immigrants, I was forced to work odd jobs to get by because I could never fit the mold of corporate America, but I never lost my love for fashion.
On a fateful trip to New York City, my mentor and friend, Marc, helped me get a job at a shoe store.
During my time working as a salesclerk, I learned that there was great demand for stylish men’s shoes, but a lack of options.
I quickly realized that I wanted Marc Nolan to offer the shoes that would allow me to express my personality and style: bold, unconventional, and unapologetic.
Marc Nolan was born to be an outlet for rebellious men, men who want to express themselves through clothing and footwear without fear of judgement. Men like me, whose style and personality made me stand out from a crowd of traditional businessmen and inspired me to embrace my style and pave my own way.Marc Nolan Founder Sebastian Malczewski as told to Modern Fellows
This Is The First Shoe You Should Try, According to Marc Nolan’s Founder
The first item Marc Nolan’s founder recommends for someone new to the brand is the Abe Badlands Penny Loafers. Released in Spring of 2022, the Abe Badlands has been the sales leader every month. (They have already sold out twice since their release.)
“It is one of a few of our styles that I think captures and embodies the mission and goals of Marc Nolan to redefine modern men’s footwear,” Sebastian told Modern Fellows.
“With its multi-colored leather upper and memory-foam-padded leather outsole, this style brings Marc Nolan’s ethos of dressy-yet-casual and stylish-yet-comfortable shoes to life,” he added. “It is a perfect representation of what Marc Nolan is as a brand, the products that it offers, and the style and personality of the customers it serves.”
Sebastian added a caveat that, personally, his absolute favorite shoe is the Calum Penny Loafers. He pointed to the versatility they provide to pair across his wardrobe.
Letting Your Shoes “Speak the Loudest”
I asked Sebastian how he helps make sure Marc Nolan shoes stand out from a very crowded landscape for men’s shoes. He told me that:
I am a firm believer that a company’s products speak the loudest and will drive the most organic attention to the brand. A company that makes poor products will spend its entire life marketing to convince customers that they are good.
But when a brand’s products are unique, unlike anything on the market, and are priced perfectly for its customers, then it is the products that market themselves and bring consumers to the brand.
Great products are difficult not to speak about, and when your customers are overwhelmingly pleased with the products you offer, they can’t help but talk about them. This especially true with our shoes: Our customers constantly report that they get stopped and asked where they got their shoes on their daily commute.
Let the products do the talking, you’d be surprised at how many people will listen.Marc Nolan Founder Sebastian Malczewski as told to Modern Fellows
Sebastian added that, “our main outlet for getting our brand in front of customers is social media, primarily Facebook and Instagram.” He noted that social advertisements generate the most traffic to Marc Nolan.” He also leverages email to engage his network of customers and fans.
What Is Next for Marc Nolan?
I asked Sebastian what is up next for Marc Nolan.
He told me that Marc Nolan is readying the launch of a new flagship Chicago retail store, collaborations with new and exciting brands within the men’s fashion sphere, popups in cities where Marc Nolan’s shoes are particularly popular (potentially starting with New York), and a planned expansion into Europe to make the brand more accessible to customers overseas.
Marc Nolan will be focusing more on, and diving deeper into, the world of sneakers.
“Sneakers are one of the most diverse pieces of footwear that have ever existed, as it is a blank canvas for any shoe brand to experiment with different designs, colors, textures, and materials,” said Sebastian. He added, “there have been many forms and variations of sneakers that have existed and there a quite a few that we would like to explore and implement into our design approach.”
“There is a lot on the horizon for Marc Nolan,” Sebastian promised. “We are just getting started!”
Other Favorite Brands from Marc Nolan’s Founder
I asked Sebastian what other interesting menswear brands he admires and where he goes for other wardrobe elements.
There are a few brands that I admire and shop with for my personal wardrobe.
The brand that I admire most is Off-White. Virgil Abloh is one of my main inspirations for creativity and originality. He single-handedly changed the world’s perspective on fashion by bringing something that was often too dressy, exclusive to the upper class, and out of reach to many down to the more affordable, streetwear level for many more to experience and participate in. His legacy lives on in Off-White and it is a brand that I frequent not only for creative inspiration, for wardrobe inspiration as well.
Other brands that I frequent include Fear of God, Aimé Leon Deor, and Kith. Each of these brands exhibit qualities that I want to infuse into Marc Nolan and into my daily wear.
From the casual but edgy looks by Fear of God to the bold styles offered by Aimé Leon Deor to the world-class designs and brand ethos by Kith, these innovative brands continue to wow and inspire me to be a better designer, a better entrepreneur, and better-dressed.Marc Nolan Founder Sebastian Malczewski as told to Modern Fellows
Verdict: Marc Nolan Shoes Are a Bold, Fun, and Comfortable Option for the New Normal
There are only so many ways for guys to express themselves through their attire, and for me it’s challenging to find those essential pieces that allow you to flash a bit of bold without being gaudy or loud.
Marc Nolan’s bold shoes provide a perfect pop of individuality for smart casual or business casual outfits at a price that won’t break the bank. It’s a treat to wear these exceptionally comfortable conversation-starters.
Have You Tried Marc Nolan shoes?
What has your experience been like with Marc Nolan’s shoes or boots? Please leave your review of Marc Nolan shoes in the comments.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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