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Has Prada really damaged Church's quality? - Page 2

post #16 of 28
There are three reasons given by forum members here and on Ask Andy for stating that the quality of Church's shoes has gone down since Prada took over. I will try to be brief:

1. Leather quality gone down. My answer: I have shoes from before and after and have no evidence at all of this.

2. Post Prada Church's use linen linings in some of the range: My answer: Pre- Prada Church's shoes used linen linings across a much greater number of models. Post Prada Church's are more likely to have leather linings. Not all Cordwainers think linen linings are a bad thing anyway.

3. Post Prada Church's made extensive use of polished leathers that have been grain corrected. My answer: Church's have always made many shoes in polished leathers going way back to the 1950s at least.

Price is the other thing that crops us constantly - Prada Church's are not good value, they've put the prices up way too much. My answer: My first pair of Church's shoes cost me £220 twelve years ago. That same shoe today costs £320. That is a rise of 50% in twelve years. That is commensurate with price rises in general outside the technology sector which behaves very differently anyway.

My conclusion? Its good to hear the views of others but make your own mind up. What you hear about the decline of Church's quality and value is bunkum.
post #17 of 28
You will find two major objections to Church's shoes today on AAAC and here on SF. Both are trotted out frequently.

1. Overpriced

2. Quality gone down


1. Price: My first Church's were bought 12 years ago. Cost: £220 Same shoe today £320. Rise of 50% That's is not unacceptable in the time frame and mirrors rises in the cost of other quality goods. So I don't accept the "Prada has put the prices up unreasonably" complaint

2. Quality. Three categories:

a). Linings. Complaint: Too many models with linen linings with Prada Church's. Answer: Untrue. Less models use linen than did when Church's were family owned. Not all cordwainers think linen is a bad thing anyway.

b). Polished leathers; Complaint; So many Prada Church's use polished leathers ( corrected grain). Answer: Church's have always used polished leathers right across their ranges - at least two options in every model was always offered in a polished leather. This is nothing to do with Prada.

c) Construction : Complaint: Bursted welts occur in Prada Church's. Answer: I've never had a bursted welt in a pre Prada or Prada Church shoe and I owned 125 pairs.



Comparing my pre Prada Church's and Prada Church's I can see no difference i the quality of leather ( full grain) or constructino and a great use of leather linings in Prada Church's.


My conclusion? The views you are reading are the product of forum think. Some respected forum members have propagated an view questioning the quality of Church's shoes after the Prada takeover often enough for enough of the rest of us to believe it just because some say it is so.

My advice? By all means listen to all sides but make your own mind up. If you are happy with them and perceive them to be good quality as I do ( and other members do) then enjoy them!
post #18 of 28
Quality has gone down elsewhere. CJ is using bonded leather fibre insoles in their Handgrade Collection. I own several pairs of them and can confess that quality is far away from Church's, the price unfortunately not.
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Guys, I'm away on an assignment at the moment but when I get back home I'll take a pic of my pair of Merstone ankle boots which are also heavily worn, probably more so than the shoes in my first post. Still, they look in pretty good condition for the amount of wear although the sole didn't last anywhere near as long as the Consul and had to be replaced this year. How well they last is what makes me debate the perceived lack of quality since the acquisition by Prada. Ich_Dien, I understand your comment about the tree being too big, however, the trees are also Church's and the same size as the shoes. Rather surprisingly, the same tree is a bit looser when on my Merstone or Merthyr which are also the same size. P.S. Also, my experience with Prada's own products is quite positive as well. As far their shoes go, I had a pair of Prada boots for 7 years and I finally gave them away because I became bored of them; the shoes looked almost like new with only minor wear on the inside and the sole. And my wife swears by her Prada; she thinks the quality is one of the best she owns with only her Louboutin being consistently better.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leather man View Post
My first Church's were bought 12 years ago.

and I owned 125 pairs.
So on average you've bought 10 pairs of Church's a year for 12 years?

Did you wear them all?

FWIW, I have a pair of Consuls I bought about 18 years ago. They're fully leather lined and on a rounder last than the ones in the OP's post. The price have increased about 75% since I got them.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaplan View Post
So on average you've bought 10 pairs of Church's a year for 12 years?

Did you wear them all?

FWIW, I have a pair of Consuls I bought about 18 years ago. They're fully leather lined and on a rounder last than the ones in the OP's post. The price have increased about 75% since I got them.


Not sure I understand your question - why past tense? My answer is yes your calculations are quite correct. Do I wear them all - yes I do - naturally some more than others.

The price of Church's shoes depends on where you live. Outside the UK their prices are extortionate and I would never pay what Church's charge on the Continent. However I do think their UK prices are fair for the product on the whole. The exception is the Betis Calf range which I think are very overpriced.
post #22 of 28
I just purchased a pair of the Church's Philip shoes - still waiting for them to arrive. I've heard nothing but good things about this particular shoe. I believe it's now been discontinued and replaced with the Betis line, according to the salesperson I spoke to at Church's last week. Does anybody here own the Philips and want to share their opinion?
post #23 of 28
I'd have a hard time trying to quantify whether the relative increase in price post-Prada is commensurate with the rate of inflation since the acquisition. I'll say this, I purchased a couple of pair of post-Prada Church's before the Houston location closed up shop and I'm pleased not only with the deal I got, but with the quality of the shoes. They remain a regular and thoroughly enjoyed part of a rotation that includes C&J, Weston, Vass, Tramezza, and Sutor, so I have a pretty good basis for comparison.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
I had completely forgotten about this thread! The pair of Consul pictured in the first post has been donated to the Red Cross. It served me well for many years and I would definitely buy another one. But not anytime soon.

That's due to Church's doing a terrible job on resoling my boots. After two months of waiting, when I picked up the boots I realised that they had put a different sole to the original and I there was no stitching. The salesperson accepted less than half of the quoted repair fees because of that but he went on to say that the shoe was no longer offered, hence the different sole, and that stitching was "invisible". I wasn't particularly convinced about the "invisible" stitching and recently the soles came apart. They had indeed been cemented instead of stitched and I can't say I was surprised.

The boots went to the village cobbler who managed to stitch them back (for only a tenner!) but this was enough to put me off Church's for a while. Having said that, other peoples' experience has been completely different; a friend claims that all his Church's come back "as good as new".

The Consul have since been replaced with a pair of similarly priced RTW G.Cleverley. The boots, while still usable, have been replaced with a pair of Edward Green's Gresham (or will be when I receive them, in three months).
post #25 of 28
my personal opinion : I suppose the mistake at the beginning Prada bought Church and tried to change the production from the old classic English shoe in to an Italian made shoe, which is crazy.
since this move wasn't so successful they go back to the traditional production.
this about style.
about quality I actually don't know. it is a long time I'm not buying Church's shoes.
post #26 of 28
I can't comment about the quality, it's been 15 years since I have bought my last pair of Church's.

But where I think the main issue is, having handled pairs regularly at Church's stores and corners, is that the styling is still stuck somewhere in the 80's. I find them stocky, inelegant, and woefully unimaginative.

They might still be very well constructed, but I wouldn't pay their current price tag given their styling.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leather man View Post



Price is the other thing that crops us constantly - Prada Church's are not good value, they've put the prices up way too much. My answer: My first pair of Church's shoes cost me £220 twelve years ago. That same shoe today costs £320. That is a rise of 50% in twelve years.
lt mean nothing.
Some country report 100% increase price in 12 year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leather man View Post
What you hear about the decline of Church's quality and value is bunkum.

Yes.
Many new models bad,
many old models made better now.
Leather not as nice on upper now,
but still good.
Constrcution is closer stitch on goodyear now.
Sole and waist not as nice look now.
Pre and post Prada Church have good and bad points.
Church goodyear have one of the best insole,
it very very good.
post #28 of 28
I saw an enormous range of Church's shoes at the Prada outlet in the desert this weekend. Which suggests they are not selling that well in the US. The shelves were literally overflowing. Many of the models were in a polished binder that had interesting Prada-style antiquing and colors (mottled grey) but the leather felt like cheap, stiff cardboard--so stiff and abrasive the chukkas were difficult to get into even wearing sea island cotton socks. Some had great dainite soles but the overall impression of the collection was of a lower-grade Prada--poorer leather and construction, attempts at better styles. Sadly, even at 30-40% off list, they made me value my aldens more. no comparison in the quality of the leather.
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