The issue with gemming can't be brought up to often, since there's still so many people out there who have no clue what gemming is and how it affect a shoe.
Thanks, G. I kind of assumed your first point, but was surprised that the likes of EG, JL, G&G, and the "handgrade" ranges of other makers, would be included.
So, in answer to my previous question, Vass shoes are not gemmed, and are completely hand-welted and hand-stitched soles? Man, I love them even more now. Any idea what other makers fall into this category?
As for blake rapid, fair point, but it's horses for courses: for a lightweight loafer or something, I get it, but to be honest I always prefer the way a corked, welted shoe moulds to the foot.
Anyway, I guess both you and the Hoo are right: gemming does fail, it is inferior to a totally hand-sewn construction, but in the real world (especially for vain self-obsessed types like us who rotate several pairs), we might never know. The big point about what Hoo said, I think, is that it puts a question mark over paying so much for the top brands - unless you're going to treat them with kid gloves and wear them twice a year. I've no issue with a pair of $300 Cheaneys with that construction, but if I'd just bought a G&G MTO for $1300+, I'd be pissed.
So, Vass rocks then. No dissenters in this thread, I'm sure. :)
Another thing that happens often, people confuse blake/rapid-construction with blake construction. Sure, both have the blake stitch, but it's two different ways to make a shoe with very different result. This is blake/rapid: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YEgN9qS3YHY/UKT1f2QHMtI/AAAAAAAAAZo/5LS7C4yY30A/s1600/blake_rapid.jpeg
(small picture I know, but just google it and you get lots of information.) Blake/rapid can be resoled just as easily as welted shoes, and they are equally water resistant, and also often use cork filling. It's basically just using an extra mid sole instead of a welt.