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How This Footwear Startup Creates Premium Handmade Shoes Under $200

Whether you’re dressing to impress in the boardroom or turning heads among your peers, every man should have access to quality footwear. Milwaukee-based Moral Code has built its foundation on this principle, providing men with premium craftsmanship at a value that can’t be beaten.

Though it’s only three years old, the Moral Code co-founders brought their past experiences from legacy shoe brands like Allen Edmonds, Florsheim, and Clark’s to its resume. The secret to producing affordable dress shoes, sneakers, and accessories?

moral code shoes lifestyle
Moral Code

“Moral Code is able to keep our pricing so low because we are the factory,” co-founder Mark Kohlenberg tells The Manual. “While most direct-to-consumer brands work with anonymous third party factories, we are literally the factory that owns the Moral Code brand. We are vertically integrated and own our own high-grade leather tannery … There are no markups or middlemen involved.”

Considering the time and artistry that goes into making leather goods by hand, the price tag on premium handmade sneakers can run up faster than a dwindling supply of aged Japanese whiskey. However, the creative minds at Moral Code realized that crafting everything in-house, applying the traditional handcrafted techniques of yesteryear, and ethically sourcing the best materials from its tannery allows the brand to offer premium goods without the premium costs. The proof? Most of its shoes retail under $170.

When it comes to footwear, your top priorities should always be comfort, durability, and practicality. Moral Code also prioritizes these specifications. Most of its shoes boast Goodyear welting construction that you can easily resole, and a soft-yet sturdy cork inlay for cushion.

Below are some of our favorite picks from the Moral Code assembly.

Moral Code Lawry Chelsea Boot

Lawry Shoe Moral Code
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A Chelsea boot is an essential in every man’s shoe collection thanks to its suave and versatile style, perfect for the office or the club. Moral Code’s Lawry Chelsea boot is offered in a variety of colors and materials to fit every personality and need. We love the look of its new ice-blue leather finish, which boasts a rubber outsole for all-season durability.

Moral Code Daxton Single Monk Strap Shoe

Moral Code Daxton Strap Shoe
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Daxton might very well be your next everyday work shoe. While it’s tasteful enough for professional and formal settings, this shoe stands out for its supreme comfort, featuring a one-strap buckle that you can easily slip on and off and a calfskin leather exterior that’s as soft as butter.

Moral Code Adam Leather Sneaker

Image used with permission by copyright holder

As office attire has continued to skew more casual over the past decade, leather sneakers have become a wardrobe must-have. Enter Moral Code’s Adam sneaker, which is decked out with a low top silhouette and a padded leather lining and rubber outsole for extra comfort to help your feet get through the day.

Bryan Holt
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Bryan Holt is a writer, editor, designer, and multimedia storyteller based in Portland, Oregon. He is a graduate from the…
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