I think it's unfair to expect perfection on the first try with a self measurement anything. Those of you who've ordered from Jantzen, how many got the shirts spot-on from the first order? Granted, given the price of a Jantzen shirt, an ill fit is more forgiveable but I think the expectations on these shoes are quite high. Cheap leather is exactly that. Of course it feels like a belt and it probably won't even compare to the leather used in mass produced $100-150 shoes because of the simple economies of scale. Esthetically, your tastes are your tastes but I do not think the shoe looks lifeless. Shoes, shirts, suits..most of these custom items take a few tries, even with the best makers, to get to a point where you feel 100% happy. Quite frankly, my belief is that short of one having really weird feet or wanting a shoe that no one makes, you'll be better off going OTR. If you are going to go the custom route (let's also not forget the price diff. between Shubert and the big houses that do custom shoes), I think you need to be cognizant that it will probably take a few tries with some give and take between you and the maker. I am not coming down on you as you are definitely correct about voicing your concerns and issues with the your shoes and Seok has used the forum to promote the shoes so he must deal with both the positive and the negative (which he is doing). It just seems that some people are expecting a quality and style that might be hard to get at this price range with this maker.