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Leather or rubber soles? - Page 8

post #106 of 171

^^^ Well, from the above, and from Ron's helpful post, it sure doesn't sound to me like manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank when they offer synthetic sole shoes for the same price as leather.  The cost differential seems much as I expected - minimal - in the context of a higher end shoe.

 

And since by far the majority of such manufacturers don't strike their names from their synthetic-soled products in impotent outrage, I am also having a hard time swallowing the suggestion that synthetic soles are uniformly regarded as a 'hallmark of cheapness' - or whatever the expression was.


Edited by RogerP - 10/20/13 at 4:38am
post #107 of 171
RogerP you are perhaps the biggest twat on this forum
post #108 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post
 

^^^ Well, from the above, and from Ron's helpful post, it sure doesn't sound to me like manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank when they offer synthetic sole shoes for the same price as leather.  The cost differential seems much as I expected - minimal - in the context of a higher end shoe.

Quote: RIDER
I pay around 25 euro per pair for Sestriere outsoles (my leather outsoles generally cost me around 12 euro) and that is considered very high - but my customers like them, as do I. 

 

Well it looks like rubber - at least in some cases - actually costs more than leather, so the argument that rubber is cheaper is another conditional one. How many different grades of sole leather are there?

 

Quote: RogerP
And since by far the majority of such manufacturers don't strike their names from their synthetic-soled products in impotent outrage, I am also having a hard time swallowing the suggestion that synthetic soles are uniformly regarded as a 'hallmark of cheapness' - or whatever the expression was.

I'll keep an eye out for other makers who won't put their name to rubber-soled products, but somehow doubt the list will be long. Again, I respect DWFII's right to do that, but it also seems the majority of the "industry" (I know that word is more suggestive of factories than traditional workshops) has no qualms about their logo being on rubber-soled products, and indeed that rubber has benefits over leather that go beyond superior performance in the wet - benefits that many will neither consider, not admit, at least not publicly.


Edited by nh10222 - 10/20/13 at 5:10am
post #109 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeen7908 View Post

RogerP you are perhaps the biggest twat on this forum

 

Thank you for that contribution to the subject of discussion.

 

Do you have an opinion - or information - as to the cost of sole material as between synthetic and leather?

 

Do you have an opinion - or information - as to whether the difference in cost could be a factor of any real financial significance to a premium manufacturer?

 

Do you hold an opinion - or have any personal experience - with synthetic-soled shoes causing massive stench and fungal growth?  Have you met any of the countless thousands who have experienced this for themselves as a result of wearing premium footwear with synthetic soles?

 

No?

 

Didn't think so.

 

Absent that, feel free to continue with the personal attacks.  Work with what you have.

post #110 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by nh10222 View Post
 

 

Well it looks like those Sestriere rubber soles (which seem similar in appearance to Dainite but I've never worn them) are - in at least some cases - more expensive than leather. If the price of E12 was for a pair of leather soles, that's less than half the price of two Sestriere rubber. Granted, those leather soles might not be absolute top of the range oak bark-tanned leather.

Would you say that a cost difference of 13 euro is a significant factor in the overall price of a premium shoe?  I thought Ron's point was that past the $350-400 mark, it really wasn't a significant factor.  I always expected that there was a difference in cost, the issue was how much of a difference, and what was the significance of that difference in the context of premium footwear.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post

Anyway, once you cross the $350-400 barrier, cost of outsooles doesn't really mean much. Under that selling price you search materials to give you the best quality possible for what you need to be on the market for, over that you spend less time considering cost and more time on the end product. I pay around 25 euro per pair for Sestriere outsoles (my leather outsoles generally cost me around 12 euro) and that is considered very high - but my customers like them, as do I. I'm pretty sure we have not crippled anyone, but I will keep an eye on my mailbox for any letters from my attorney.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nh10222 View Post

I'll keep an eye out for other makers who won't put their name to rubber-soled products.

 

I'd be interested to know if there are any, and whether it could reasonably be advanced that they represent the rule, rather than the exception.

post #111 of 171
Quote:

Originally Posted by RogerP View Post

 

Would you say that a cost difference of 13 euro is a significant factor in the overall price of a premium shoe?  I thought Ron's point was that past the $350-400 mark, it really wasn't a significant factor.  I always expected that there was a difference in cost, the issue was how much of a difference, and what was the significance of that difference in the context of premium footwear.
 

Not significant at all, and remember that's EUR 13 in favour of leather - the rubber soles actually costing more. Even if the best leather sole cost a few Euro more than Sestriere, so what?

 

Quote:
 

I'd be interested to know if there are any, and whether it could reasonably be advanced that they represent the rule, rather than the exception.

Given how many big names have no problem with putting their logos on rubber-soled shoes, I think it's fairly safe to say that they are firmly in the majority and represent the rule, the exceptions being a tiny minority in terms of their number and total production. I don't really mean to heap small time traditional workshops, with their different philosophy, onto the same pile as high volume gemming factories, but essentially, despite the plausibility of what DWFII has said about the increased risk of Athlete's Foot, etc., for my practical purposes and in light of my admittedly small sample of experience, all other things being equal, rubber soles on well-made leather shoes do not present any noteworthy risk to foot health over traditional leather soles in themselves. I don't mean to be a Doubting Thomas here, either, so I'm always open to more information on the matter, but while the health of my feet is still fine, I feel that I shan't be choosing leather over rubber for fear of tinea or other foot conditions... the main reason I do choose leather, when I do, is aesthetic.


Edited by nh10222 - 10/20/13 at 6:27am
post #112 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post

And since by far the majority of such manufacturers don't strike their names from their synthetic-soled products in impotent outrage, I am also having a hard time swallowing the suggestion that synthetic soles are uniformly regarded as a 'hallmark of cheapness' - or whatever the expression was.

Au contraire --- many manufacturers have gone over in recent years and switched from stock rubber soles to those which incorporate their name or logo. Which means new moulds will have to be produced (in various sizes) and an increased minimum order if the soles have to be manufactured to the firm's request. The John Lobb rubber sole (incorporating their JL logo into the design) might be produced by the Harboro rubber company (I don't know), but the unit cost will be higher than a standard Dainite sole.

I do find this thread so unbelievably redundant --- it's just "Horses for courses!" or "Chacun à son goût!"
post #113 of 171

More serendipity. It turns out that a number of essential oils, including cedarwood oil, are toxic to the fungi that grow on skin and that grow on leather. So someone who uses shoe trees that express such oils may have a lower risk of athletes foot and fungal growth in the shoes themselves. I am going to stick my neck out not very far and suggest that one would have to search far and wide to find an American who pays multiple thousands of dollars for hand made bespoke shoes but does not religiously use shoe trees. In America, these would likely be made of cedar. Thus, they would reduce their risk of fungal contamination, not because of an inherently superior construction of the shoes, but because of the way they maintained them. 

 

I aslo suspect that the typical man who wears Lobbs or bespoke shoes has a large rotation and allows much more than one day off between wears of any given pair. This provides many days, perhaps weeks, for the last bit of extra moisture to diffuse to the surface of the leather and evaporate. So fungi may rarely get a chance to get established in than man's shoes. Of course, not all shoe trees are made of such wood, and some are covered with varnish that, I assume, would limit the amount of essential oil that reached the leather. So I am not suggesting that differences in fungal growth are due entirely to cedar, but I suggest that the maintenance practices of people who wear expensive shoes contributes.

 

My athletic shoes are, as best I can tell, 100% synthetic. It is possible there is some cotton in the mesh, but I doubt it. They have open mesh on the uppers, and even holes in the soles, covered on the inside with mesh, so they are amazingly well ventilated. I keep some pairs for non-athletic use for when I can get away with running shoes. The ones I use for workouts get saturated with sweat daily. I can rinse them in the shower, or if needed, every now and then toss them into the washing machine. I love the airiness and easy maintenance. I have had them for years, and the contents labels have worn to the point of being unreadable. For their purpose, it is hard to imagine anything made of leather even approaching this performance. But of course, they are not dress shoes.

 

If I were to get some shoes from DWF I would absolutely maintain them as he suggested. But in real life, I wear decent shoes, but far from bespoke. They are volks shoes, made for the average working person, who could never imagine paying the price for high end RTW, MTM, let alone bespoke. They are bought used and cheap. I endeavor to spend as little as possible on them going forward, so I use sole protectors to cover the leather soles. If this really raises my risk of athletes foot, so far I have gotten away with it. I do use antifungal spray right after I take them off, before I insert the shoe trees. I enhance the trees with a touch of extra cedarwood or lemongrass oil from time to time. Crossing my fingers.

post #114 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post


Au contraire --- many manufacturers have gone over in recent years and switched from stock rubber soles to those which incorporate their name or logo. Which means new moulds will have to be produced (in various sizes) and an increased minimum order if the soles have to be manufactured to the firm's request. The John Lobb rubber sole (incorporating their JL logo into the design) might be produced by the Harboro rubber company (I don't know), but the unit cost will be higher than a standard Dainite sole.

I do find this thread so unbelievably redundant --- it's just "Horses for courses!" or "Chacun à son goût!"

 

Indeed.  I guess the folks at JL aren't hanging their heads in shame over the choice of synthetic soles if they are choosing to incorporate their logo into them, nor is it likely that they perceive the choice to be a "cheapening" of good shoes.


nh - agreed.

post #115 of 171
Several people have commented along the lines of "Despite the possibilities, despite the facts, I am going to continue to buy and wear rubber soles and synthetic shoes."

I know I've said this before...unequivocally...but people being what they are, it gets missed. To whit:

Well doh! I haven't ever, and wouldn't ever, and don't, expect anything else. We all have our priorities...some dependent on function, some on money, some on convenience.

The real question is...would you rather not know? If knowledge is power, would you want to go through the rest of your life in denial or in some fog of incurious and willful ignorance that is perpetually surprised by the vagaries of real life?

I've been on this forum a considerable time. I don't quote prices, I don't seek orders. I don't criticize brands specifically or people's choices. I provide information based on what I know from real life experiences--blood sweat and tears...the dues I've been paying and the skills I've been honing and the lessons I've learned. Anyone who really tries can confirm at least the outlines of what I've said.

Believe who you want, do as you want, but understand that my impulse is first and foremost to share information and educate.

The other thing to understand is that like anyone who feels a calling to teach, I know as sure as I stand here that some people cannot learn, will not learn even when confronted by massively corroborating sources such as I posted regarding fungal foot infections and their probable causes.

Know also that I don't care...as with other such endeavors it's the journey not the destination that matters. It is enough that I made the effort.

So we come back around...would you rather not know? If so, there's an app for that.
post #116 of 171

The fact that Lobb, and I assume other high end shoe makers, sell shoes with rubber soles need not mean they are happy about it. It could be they are simply responding to customer demand. If you see enough people having cobblers remove your beautiful leather soles and replace them with rubber, then at some point you decide to offer to do the best you can, even if you think leather is better.

 

I suspect if someone made this request of DWF he would tell them to buy their shoes elsewhere. But the bigger manufacturers may not be so choosy. 

 

Although I would never pay what a pair of his shoes should cost, I appreciate the fact that there is someone like DWF around, to defend the best practices he can find. I also really appreciate his willingness to explain how shoes are made. It is HARD to be a perfectionist. Most people don't care enough to want perfect. They want "good enough". For most purchases they want good enough at a low enough price. The increments in quality one gets by adopting ever higher construction standards become smaller and smaller the higher you go. If all shoes were handwelted by master crafts people, most of us would be going around barefoot. There are not nearly enough people who know how to make shoes the DWF way to service the public, and the costs would be prohibitive. Plus, many of us have other priorities in our footwear that may trump the model DWF pursues- athletic shoes are one example, technical climbing equipment may be another. So the rest of us have to make do with the compromises that appear to make sense. They may be far from perfect, but they are "good enough".

That does not mean we resent having the cost of our compromises pointed out. And it certainly is not a reason to complain when an expert does exactly that.

 

By buying good shoes at disposable prices, if I find my sub $100 shoes disintegrate prematurely due to sole protectors, or any other reason, at least I got some good wear out of them. So far, they have not gone fast enough to make me see the financial logic in paying 10 to 50 times as  much to get top of the line RTW or bespoke. If the shoes were to last 10 to 50 times as long, I would be long dead by then.  "Chacun à son goût!"

post #117 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post
 

The fact that Lobb, and I assume other high end shoe makers, sell shoes with rubber soles need not mean they are happy about it. It could be they are simply responding to customer demand.

 

But neither is there any basis to support the contention they, or any of the other numerous high end makers who offer synthetic soles are doing so unwillingly or reluctantly. And there is certainly absolutely no reason to suppose that they are doing so knowing full well that they are putting both the structural integrity of their shoes and the health of their customers at risk.  My guess is that if that were an actual lesson of any value at all, it would have long been "learned" by these top quality RTW and bespoke makers.

 

Or perhaps they, too, as simply ignorant and will not learn.

post #118 of 171
Quote: dbhdnhdbh
 

The fact that Lobb, and I assume other high end shoe makers, sell shoes with rubber soles need not mean they are happy about it. It could be they are simply responding to customer demand. If you see enough people having cobblers remove your beautiful leather soles and replace them with rubber, then at some point you decide to offer to do the best you can, even if you think leather is better.

 

Although I would never pay what a pair of his shoes should cost, I appreciate the fact that there is someone like DWF around, to defend the best practices he can find. I also really appreciate his willingness to explain how shoes are made. It is HARD to be a perfectionist. Most people don't care enough to want perfect. They want "good enough". For most purchases they want good enough at a low enough price. The increments in quality one gets by adopting ever higher construction standards become smaller and smaller the higher you go. If all shoes were handwelted by master crafts people, most of us would be going around barefoot. There are not nearly enough people who know how to make shoes the DWF way to service the public, and the costs would be prohibitive. Plus, many of us have other priorities in our footwear that may trump the model DWF pursues- athletic shoes are one example, technical climbing equipment may be another. So the rest of us have to make do with the compromises that appear to make sense. They may be far from perfect, but they are "good enough".

 

We'll probably never know the whole truth in that regard... I think manufacturers and retailers like to project the image of absolute commitment to quality*. It's all part of securing a sale; advertising, propaganda. We know that in most cases they have to make certain compromises in order to sell their products at a given price while still recovering their target profit. Maybe they could sacrifice some of their profit to use better materials or pay their workers a higher wage, but tend not to if they can get away with it. If the competition has started to cheapen production with inferior materials or have offshored production, thereby maintaining real profits in a high cost environment or increasing them in an act of greed, the pressure for other players to follow suit will be on, unless they believe they can break ranks and make more money with both higher quality and higher prices supported by low elasticity in demand for their products in niche markets. The Northampton-style factories are already serving something of a niche but, as we have seen, the same market diseases still apply to them. DWFII has touched on this issue himself with leatherboard inner soles, etc. I guess it's the slippery slope of substitution, the gradual shift of what is "good enough" in manufactured goods, a shift that often occurs with great subtlety so as not to awaken the masses. There are few shoes or other mass-produced goods that are not the victim of compromise. That's the way it is.

 

In the nasty world of exponential growth, staying in business for manufacturers usually means there has to be a growing return in nominal terms and, ideally, in real terms. The motive for a growing return will in most cases be of greater importance than maintaining the highest quality materials and construction standards. If that means using some materials that the experts in the company don't like or consider inferior, but which the customers appear to want, so be it. It sounds like a fairly simple business decision to me, and a common one, but not necessarily a good one from all angles and it sometimes proves to be the wrong one. Welcome to the market economy. With shoes, it's not as though lives are at stake, which could be the case with certain industrial products like aircraft, if inferior quality materials are used.

 

*From a tailor's website, on Edward Green shoes: THEIR PHILOSOPHY HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO MAKE THE FINEST SHOES POSSIBLE....I am delighted to be able to continue to offer to those who appreciate the best that money can buy. He didn't actually say Edward Green shoes were the best that money can buy, but there was a deliberate association of that language with the product, which no doubt gives some people that warm and fuzzy feeling. Personally, and while I don't have any Edward Green shoes, I don't believe they are the best that money can buy, and I'm almost certain there are still compromises in their design process that could be criticised by sticklers for quality. Finest shoes possibe? At that price level, maybe, but not in absolute terms. They might be about the best for that price... maybe he meant "best that (amount of) money can buy", but I don't think they are the best "best that (any amount of) money can buy". We're exposed to this sort of thing on a daily basis from corporations, politicians etc., and while many people will say that's obvious or common knowledge, it's easy to get caught up in propaganda, sophistry, hype, if not downright fallacy, without even realising. Clever language that is known to convey a certain message, the meaning of which is fluid enough to allow those using it to later claim misinterpretation on the part of their audience, is everywhere.

 

Quote: dbhdnhdbh
 I suspect if someone made this request of DWF he would tell them to buy their shoes elsewhere. But the bigger manufacturers may not be so choosy. 

 

Actually, he said he will do it if requested, but is not happy about it.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post


That does not mean we resent having the cost of our compromises pointed out. And it certainly is not a reason to complain when an expert does exactly that.

 

I'm benefiting from DWFII in terms of perception of quality. There are now more things I can look for when deciding what is the best value, more questions I can ask, aside from the price tag (which I just did with Clifford Roberts), and I certainly appreciate that. The information that has been shared is for the good of the shoe lover's community.


Edited by nh10222 - 10/20/13 at 9:39pm
post #119 of 171
I do have an opinion, as do you. Unfortunately, yours (and mine) is not a particularly informed one, since you know very little about shoes except how to buy them.

However, you are quite willing to launch ad hominem attacks of your own on forum members who are clearly more knowledgeable about shoes than you.

Perhaps you are right, perhaps you are wrong. At the end of the day, opinions are like assholes: everybody has one, and they are all full of shit to greater or lesser degrees. Why don't you state what you have to say, and let others have their say too.

You are an internet tough guy. I suspect you have fairly pathetic self-esteem in real life, probably picked on as a child. You desperately earn and spend money and also bluster and posture on fashion message boards, in a bid to compensate for this

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by skeen7908 View Post

RogerP you are perhaps the biggest twat on this forum

Thank you for that contribution to the subject of discussion.

Do you have an opinion - or information - as to the cost of sole material as between synthetic and leather?

Do you have an opinion - or information - as to whether the difference in cost could be a factor of any real financial significance to a premium manufacturer?

Do you hold an opinion - or have any personal experience - with synthetic-soled shoes causing massive stench and fungal growth?  Have you met any of the countless thousands who have experienced this for themselves as a result of wearing premium footwear with synthetic soles?

No?

Didn't think so.

Absent that, feel free to continue with the personal attacks.  Work with what you have.
post #120 of 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeen7908 View Post

You are an internet tough guy. I suspect you have fairly pathetic self-esteem in real life, probably picked on as a child. You desperately earn and spend money and also bluster and posture on fashion message boards, in a bid to compensate for this

What gives you the qualification to psycho-analyse someone you have (presumably) never met? You can disagree with someone without getting so disgustingly abusive.

Shame on you!
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