A couple of months ago, I noticed my Facebook and Instagram feeds flooded with adverts for an online footwear company called Rapawalk. Looking to buy a very specific pair for an event, against the the wise counsel of my wife, I sent for a pair of their shoes. The first pair that I received was a disappointment, with poor workmanship and no finishing at all. I covered the experience in another blog post that caught the eye of the founders.
Jacob from Rapawalk reached out shortly after the article went live, and promised to look into the issue for me.
A couple of days later, he called back and told me that the poorly constructed pair I recieved was shipped as a consequence of a QC failure at their factory. Jacob stated that the shoes I had chosen came from a budget range that was manufactured by a third-party supplier and that’s where the problems had occurred. He offered a store credit for the value of the shoes, and requested me to order a pair from his premium range that is manufactured in-house. Having already had a poor experience with the first pair, I was a little hesitant to throw good money after the bad – but with Jacob’s persistent follow-ups, I relented, and sprang for cocoa and caramel brogue-style derbys with a “half leather” sole.
The shoes arrived fifteen days later, and were a pleasant surprise.
The complaints that I had about the finishing in my earlier pair were non-existent in this one. Over the past few weeks, I have worn these shoes in rotation with my other pairs, and have not had any issues with fit or finish.
One key advantage with these shoes is the “Wide” option for fit. With store-bought shoes from Hush Puppies and Ruosh, it often takes three or so months for a pair of shoes to stretch into a comfortable fit for my feet. However, Rapawalk’s “Wide” option gives those few extra millimeters that make all the difference. These shoes were snug and comfortable from the get go, and needed just a week or so of “breaking in” to give me a comfortable fit. The “half leather” sole is comfortable and durable, and works for me even on the polished floors of airports, offices, and metro stations.
In the weeks since, I have also bought a pair of suede boat moccasins from Rapawalk that I’m very pleased with.
In summary, Rapawak makes good shoes at a great price. The pair pictured above is comparable in material and finish to shoes by Ruosh and Hush Puppies that are 50 per cent pricier. The boat moccasins too, are comparable in material and finish to options from Bata, Hush Puppies, and Clarks that are 30% to 100 per cent pricier. The online shoe design system that they have is intuitive and user friendly – the only real hurdle being the way colours are rendered on individual monitors and phones. So unless you’re looking for a perfect colour match (impossible in natural leather IMO) this is a great way to go.
The best part for me, of course, is the attentive customer service. For instance, when a lace on my INR 6,000+ Hush Puppies snapped some time ago, three Bata/Hush Puppies stores in Gurgaon, one in Noida, and one in Greater Noida were unable to sell me a replacement, and the staff couldn’t care less. I’ve been to just one Ruosh store here in Gurgaon, so I won’t comment on their service. Rapawalk, however, followed up persistently by phone and Whatsapp to get this issue resolved, adding a human touch to the online experience that tends to be sterile and impersonal.
Disclosures: This review is based on my personal experience. I have not received any inducements in cash or kind for this review.
2 thoughts on “Rapawalk: Good Shoes At a Good Price”
The question that arises here is why was the budget pair poorly constructed, with poor workmanship and no finishing at all? Is not that unethical on their part to sell substandard shoes. There are many well-known brands that sell very good shoes for that same price range.
Thanks for your comment. The issue here is that the “Lean Startup” fad calls for building and releasing a substandard product to market and fixing it on the go. While this may work for a dating app, it spells disaster for a physical product such as shoes. There is an experience that goes with Bata – it spells utilitarian and no-nonsense. They made the wise decision to open exclusive Hush Puppies stores for the pricier range. Look at Ruosh – their stores spell out the elegance that they want their product to bear. I think Rapawalk got back to me just because I had been so vocal about my experience. The person who spoke to me said that the lower priced range is outsourced so that they have a product to cater to segment demand. The shipping of that unfinished pair was a consequence of QC failure at that factory. Let’s hope they wisen up – there is so much competition in the online shoes space – apart from online only brands, legacy brands such as Clarks are also joining the party. The online apparel sites such as Myntra too have the money and brand recognition to prevail. I got as pair of canvas shoes from the Myntra brand Roadster, and was quite impressed by the quality and finish at 1/3 Sketchers/Converse prices.