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With sandal season peeking around the (very long) corner, now is the time we daydream about new warm weather styles and picture ourselves shedding off our winter layers for open-toed shoes and breezy dresses. And since we all can’t wait to ditch our winter boots and expose our toes (after a pedicure, of course), shoe styles are on everyone’s mind. If the Hermès Oran sandals have been on your wishlist for so long that you might just finally splurge this season, or the French Sole Alibi sandals popped up in your search and you’re wondering if they measure up to the original, then this is the post for you to read. I’ve owned and worn both shoes, and in this post, I’m giving my very honest thoughts on if I think either of them is worth it.
But before we get into that, a little background first. I’ve been candid before in my love/hate relationship with designer items. I won’t take you down that winding road of confusion in my brain again, but if you’re a regular reader, you may be confused by this post, especially because last year I shared what I thought was one of the best dupes for the iconic Hermès Oran sandals. (Spoiler alert: I still think they are.)
I, like many others, have been eyeing the “original” designer pair but didn’t want to spend money on them. After all, shoes are just something you walk on. They’re bound to get dirty and scuffed up. Spending several hundred dollars on a pair of shoes doesn’t make any sense, right?
Well, after 6 months of wearing the French Sole Alibi sandals, I ended up getting the Hermès Oran sandals after all. I’m not proud of it – nor am I ashamed either. It’s just one of those things where I had always wanted the original shoe and a dupe wasn’t cutting it for me – price and reasoning be darned.
Now that I’ve had both, I thought it would be helpful to share an update and comparison post. I know I’m not the only fashion site recommending the French Sole version as an alternative and if you’ve been wondering how they measure up and truly compare, now you’ll know.
Exclusive Cognac Leather Alibi Sandals by French Sole Overview
The cognac leather alibi sandals are one of Tuckernuck’s best-selling shoes. I originally got mine from Amazon and there is a slight difference in color (more brown than cognac), but this shoe features an “H” cut-out with visible white stitching. Subtle yet interesting, this is a timeless and versatile shoe.
Materials: 100% leather, rubber sole
Sizing: The website recommends you size up 1/2 size. I got my normal size and that was okay.
Color: Available in white and cognac
Made in: Brazil
Extra Details: Padded sole
Hermès Oran Sandals Overview
Handmade in Italy, these shoes have been around since 1997 and they’re more popular than ever. You could slip them on with anything from a black dress to denim cut-off shorts. They truly are iconic shoes and they’ll never go out of style.
Materials: Calfskin Leather
Sizing: I had to buy and return a few times to find the right sizing. These are handmade so sizing can be a little off, plus they are in Euro sizes which can be a bit trickier to convert. Even using the size guide on the website, I landed on a 1/2 size bigger than my normal size.
Color: Available in 25 colors, ranging from classic gold (which translates more to brown) to hot pink.
Made in: Italy
Price: $660. It’s usually cheaper to buy directly from the website unless you get a very worn pair from Fashionphile.
Extra Details: Gold lining
Exclusive Cognac Leather Alibi Sandals by French Sole vs Hermès Oran Sandals – A Comparision
Comfort: The French Sole sandals win the medal when it comes to comfort. For me, they were comfortable as soon as I slipped them on, thanks to the lightly padded footbed. I wore them all day when I was on vacation and my feet only started feeling sore towards the end of the day.
In comparison, the Hermès sandals are too uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. Not to mention the blisters. The leather straps rub on the side of my feet which is odd – because no other sandals have given me blisters before.
Reviewers have said that they get more comfortable after a few days of wearing them, but I have not found that to be true. I do have wider feet, so maybe these just aren’t meant for me.
Comfort Winner: French Sole
Aesthetics: I’ve got to say, the styles are extremely similar. From a picture or even from far away, you may not even be able to tell the difference (the color difference is not as drastic as the above photos portray). But now after owning both, I can spot the differences.
The Hermès sandals have a longer and narrower toe and footbed. This illusion elongates your foot and makes it look thinner and a touch more refined. Also, the cutout is thinner and the white contrast stitching is more visible.
The narrow, angled feature of the Hermès shoes does make them look more original and expensive, so I’ve got to give the aesthetic award to Hermès, although it’s close.
Aesthetic Winner: Hermès
Price: $155 vs $660 – it’s a no-brainer that the French Sole shoes are more affordable, and even then, $155 is still a little pricey for sandals to me!
Price Winner: French Sole
Quality: The French Sole sandals could almost be a perfect shoe, except months into wearing them (though a lot, I might add), the leather/finish started rubbing off. You can’t tell when wearing them since the wear and tear are mostly under your toes, but it is disappointing for the price. There have been a few similar reviews of the leather peeling off so I know it does happen, but the reviews are largely positive with a 4.5-star review.
(I did pass on the French Sole sandals to family once I bought the Hermes ones. Shout out to my teenage niece for taking these great updated photos for me. Isn’t she talented?!)
I’m happy to report that even though they didn’t rank high on comfort, at least the quality is better with the Oran sandals. I’ve worn them for 6 months as well (though not as frequently) and the leather doesn’t appear to be the type to rub off or peel.
However, I’m not the most graceful walker and already, I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and got a little visible dent in the front. Mentally I thought, “Well that was about $40 in damages. Do I need to get these insured? Am I Heidi Klum with her legs now?”
Safe to say, neither of these shoes is indestructible, and though the bottom of the Oran sandals already looks really worn, the visible parts of the sandal look almost new.
Quality Winner: Hermès
Those are my facts, and if you’re deciding on which ones to get, it’s unfortunately not a one size fits all answer. You have to decide what’s most important to you. Is it price? Aesthetics? Comfort? Quality? Only you know.
Are the French Sole Alibi Sandals Worth the Money?
I don’t think they should cost as much as they do because of the chance for the leather to peel, but they are padded, comfortable, made out of leather, and the closest style to the Oran sandal.
A brown leather sandal is a must-have and the “H” cutout is the perfect mix of timeless yet elevated. Sam Edelman comes close with this style and they are a little cheaper, but as of now, I think the French Sole Alibi sandals are the best alternative on the market today.
If “it depends on the pair you get” isn’t clear enough of an answer, then I’d say yes, they are worth the money!
Are the Hermès Oran Sandals Worth the Money?
Let me answer your question with a monologue. I’m not saying this makes sense, but I am glad that I got them because I kept working them up in my mind to be this golden shoe.
Every summer I was longing for them and even with the dupe, as close as it was, I knew that they weren’t “real”. So once I bought them, I stopped longing for them and stopped using my precious mental space to think about them.
With that being said, I feel super paranoid whenever I wear them. Not to mention they are not the most comfortable shoes. Does it make sense for me to keep wearing them? Not really. But am I glad I got them? Yes. Would I get them again? Yes. Would I recommend them? No, UNLESS, you’re okay with them getting scuffed and could “buy them twice” and you don’t think you’d be satisfied with the alternative.
If you love fashion, it’s inevitable that eventually, a designer item will catch your eye. But no matter what an item costs, it’s important to make sure you’re investing in timeless pieces for your classic wardrobe to ensure money is well spent on clothes that will never go out of style.
Need more guidance on how to know when to splurge? Get all the best tips in this next post: How To Mix High and Low Fashion (& Know When To Splurge and When To Save)