Originally Posted by jonoft
The FootJoy plant in Brockton, MA closed in 2008. As late as 2007 you could still get these made to order shoes at a cost of $2750 which I find very reasonable. They are Goodyears, not hand-lasted nor hand-stiched, but nice workmanship all round
and the skins are the thickest that I've seen at 1.8-2.0 mm.
Honestly, I couldn't disagree more. Since Foot Joy is no more, I will break my own rule and offer a little different perspective. Not to diss the shoes but simply to point out some aspects that may have been overlooked by the casual observer.
First, I have already mentioned that piecing the saddle is poor practice and particularly in the case of alligator there is no logical reason for it.
Second, the stitching on the lateral side of the saddle on the right foot...at the bottom of the saddle... is sloppy. It doesn't even meet the stitching on the medial side of the saddle. Part of this is down to the fact that the saddle is pieced. But the gimping doesn't match or align either.
The left shoe is better, but still clumsy.
The facings and topline are bound and not done with much finesse, in my opinion. Probably would have looked more refined with a bead.
Third, the quarters and tongue look to be cut from the tail--which is, in most quality shops, considered marginal or even offal.
Fourth, thickness is not the be-all and end all. Esp. in bombe' alligator where the leather tends to be semi-rigid when compared to something like calf. That said, and noting that I don't have a leather gauge handy, I suspect most contemporary alligator is running around 1.4mm or 3.5 ounce--comparable to, or maybe a tidge heavy, relative to a man's calfskin shoe. But I don't know how you would measure that thickness especially on a cut and bound shoe. If measured at the tongue I would expect the leather on the tail to be thicker.
Fifth, I think eyelets are a sure indicator of a lower end shoe. Simply because eyelets are not needed if the shoe is made properly. And alligator is a dense leather so there's even less need.
Finally I agree with Isshi, piecing reptile is aesthetic travesty and is usually done only to get every last penny out of a hide. Nothing wrong with economy as long as that's not the only consideration. What makes lizard and alligator so appealing...to those who like it...is the unique pattern created by the tiles. A pattern that naturally and gracefully blends from large to small, square to round. Breaking up that pattern more than is necessary to create a shoe style leaves the end result looking like it was cut from three different hides rather than one; or as if it were the remnants of three different shoes stitched together by an itinerant cobbler.
Much of this is admittedly personal opinion...although based on experience and some uniquely intimate knowledge of both shoemaking and alligator. I offer it simply to share some insights from someone who is looking at these shoes with an uncommon eye.
--Edited by DWFII - 3/11/13 at 4:02pm