Review: Cole Haan Air Samuel

I recently purchased a pair of Cole Haan Air Samuel Plain Oxford shoes. I’d heard good things about the use of Nike Air cushioning in a formal dress shoe. My biggest problem with dress shoes has been that the soles just aren’t forgiving for extended wear.


Cole Haan heels

Cole Haan, falling apart after 1 day

It turns out that these are probably the worst made shoe I’ve ever bought. Within about 10 minutes of walking, I realized there was something bunching up in the toes of each shoe, making it really uncomfortable to walk. I assumed it was my socks and when I had a chance, I checked to see how I’d twisted my toes up.  It turns out neither shoe’s insole was glued in. They were just floating around. Additionally, while the heel of the insole was about normal insole thickness, the insoles taper in thickness towards the toes, which are only slightly thicker than a handkerchief. While I only wore these shoes for one day (and am trying to get to take them back, despite being worn), I would have to imagine that the thinness of the insole in the toes could become uncomfortable over time.

Unfortunately the poor quality did not stop at the insole. At the end of one day of wearing them and a grand total of about 15 city blocks walked — with the rest of my day spent walking indoors on carpet and tile — the heel and toe of the soles looked like they were a year old. Whereas some shoes have wood or hardened leather for soles, Zappos described these as having a combination leather and rubber sole. If this stuff is leather, it’s the lowest quality and softest shoe sole leather I’ve ever seen. After one very easy day of use, these are look akin to spray painted hard cardboard. They have no durability and the severity of wear from one low-key day was truly appalling.

Cole Haan full

After 1 day of use, heels look a year old


Beyond the lack of quality and durability, these shoes actually were fairly comfortable. It’s pretty disappointing that they are so poorly made. There’s no use making a comfortable shoe that promptly falls apart.

These shoes cost $158 on That’s not cheap and I expected something orders of magnitude better than what I got. I’d say the shoes I got are probably worth about $30 at a discount shoe store.

I’ll update this when I know if Zappos is going to refund me for my order or not. Their policy is no returns if something has been worn, but since this is such an obviously defective pair of shoes, I expect them to take the shoes back for a refund.


Zappos has accepted my return and fully refunded me for this purchase.


2 thoughts on “Review: Cole Haan Air Samuel

  1. […] Cole Haan Return I promised I’d follow up on my review of the pair of awfully made Cole Haan Air Samuel Plain Oxford shoes with an update on my effort to return them to Zappos. The good news is that Zappos is refunding me […]

  2. Ahmad says:

    I have at least 15 pairs of Cole Haan shoes. I have about 50 pairs of shoes that I obviously do not wear the same couple of shoes. I have had many problems the past few years with the quality of their shoes. I have had to get 5 pairs soles reglued after minimal wear. I returned two pair to Cole Haan do to defects and was given a store credit of $325.00. The last straw was just yesterday, I was caught in the rain wearing a pair of their closed toe fisherman style sandals. I only walked about one block in the rain before I got into my car. I drove about ten minutes and when I got out of the car I noticed the soles were falling apart. I had to put on a pair of old sneakers that I had in the trunk of my car to have shoes to drive home.

    The next day I went to my shoe repair guy to pick up two pairs of Cole Haan oxfords that I had got him to reglue the soles. These are the rubber sole laced split toe oxfords. I showed him the sandals and he show me an article he had that talks about just the same rapid deteriorating soles as my sandals. Tomorrow I will be calling Cole Haan to complain. I am certain they will give me another store credit. I already have a $325.00 store credit that I am not certain I want any more Cole Haan shoes.

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