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Barker Black Shoes - what's your take? - Page 2

post #16 of 25
whew....damn, i didn't realize they had stepped into the over-700 USD category. I might be willing to go $500 or even as much as $600, but I don't think i could ever buy them at that price point. i really like the styles, and would REALLY like to see how they do a black chelsea boot, but i have to agree with other comments on the prices.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoopee
Barker and Barker Black are operating separately. I would be surprised if the latter are made to the former's standards. In fact, IMMSMC, spokespersons for the brand have said otherwise in interviews and pub blurbs.

Might be true but:
- Barker Black claims a history going back to Arthur Barker in 1880 (same as Barker Shoes)
- Barker Black says on its website : "After 125 years of producing quality bench made shoes in a factory christened by the Queen mum herself, Barker Black has been developed to embrace the storied past while forging ahead in design, details, and elegant sophistication.", which definitely links them strongly to Barker and introduces them as a new line created in 2005 out of the Barker factory
- Barker Black says on its website : "Until now, these distinguished shoes, so revered in England, have primarily been available in the UK, with the launch of Barker Black, Barker is ready to prove itself in the worldwide luxury market", which to makes it sound like expanding market reach rather than having a whole separate manufacture
- Barker Black says on its website : "Raising the standards of excellence in design, materials and construction the Barker Black range will be on par with Northampton neighbors, however through its updated sensibility and modern aesthetic, Barker Black will stand on its own.", which also happen to be where Barker is

I don't know Derrick Miller personally, but it really looks to me like the brand is his creation and the company might very well be operated separately, but that he is using the manufacturing capabilities of Barker to make them, and their history to add credibility to his brand. All of this may very well be wrong and jumping to conclusions...
post #18 of 25
Shoe factories build to a certain grade or price-point. They could up the quality by buying better skins and soles, hand clicking, designing better lasts, and more, and still be using the same mfr.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoopee
Shoe factories build to a certain grade or price-point. They could up the quality by buying better skins and soles, hand clicking, designing better lasts, and more, and still be using the same mfr.

True - and it might very well be the case here.

I was completely unimpressed by the BB shoes themselves, but have never seen Barker shoes in real life so cannot compare the quality. The BB quality is nowhere near the zipcode of a $750 shoe in my opinion (not even mentioning the silly gimmicky design details...)
post #20 of 25
I had a brief chat with Derrick Miller a while back while in NYC (not affiliated in any way - haven't bought anything from him even...) b/c I was very curious about BB, largely due to the combo of suede and brown leather that they did in their debut shoe. That one didn't look as nice in person - the suede was OK but the brown leather was flat and unimpressive. When I went to the shop, I saw some shoes that I liked and that looked wearable, others that didn't. But I didn't feel like they were a terrible-quality product. Derrick claims that he is doing largely as whoopee is saying - buying better skins and soles, designing new lasts (claims he did them himself - my guess is that he just had input on them), etc. He mentioned that he had a single guy do all the polishing and finishing - while it ain't EG, it ain't bad either. Another guy does a lot of the detail stitching, especially the highly visible cross-stitch on the high-cut derbies. Anyhow, this could all be further hooey, but I thought it was worth sharing what the guy who runs the shop had to say for himself when asked.
post #21 of 25
It seems like I may be missing something. I am honestly curious what the details of manufacture are that make folks think that BBs are 'not in the zipcode of $750 shoes'? Is it the skin quality or the finishing or what? My take is that they are $400-500 shoes selling for $750 and folks pay the upcharge for design and uniqueness. So they are certainly marked up. But in reading previous posts I worry that I have somehow missed the fact that these shoes are actually Alfred Sargent/Loake 1880 quality. That is not the impression I got when seeing them. To me, they felt pretty solid, I should have looked more closely at the finishing on the interior, but the soles were nice and I liked the last shapes. They didn't have anything in my size, so I couldn't try them on. I don't like their black leathers, but they have a couple of decent browns and a pebble-grain that were quite nice. So skin quality varies, but it ain't awful (IMHO). Anyhow, back to the question - do they feel different when you hold them in your hand? What are you observing that I am not?
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Get Smart
<I read somewhere that Barker Black is the "Thom Browne of shoes.">

do you know what that is supposed to mean?

Well - Beside the fact that they are both over-hyped, over-priced designers, the fact that Derrick Miller wears Thom Browne makes the link between the two not that crazy IMO...
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duveen
It seems like I may be missing something. I am honestly curious what the details of manufacture are that make folks think that BBs are 'not in the zipcode of $750 shoes'? Is it the skin quality or the finishing or what?

My take is that they are $400-500 shoes selling for $750 and folks pay the upcharge for design and uniqueness. So they are certainly marked up. But in reading previous posts I worry that I have somehow missed the fact that these shoes are actually Alfred Sargent/Loake 1880 quality. That is not the impression I got when seeing them.

To me, they felt pretty solid, I should have looked more closely at the finishing on the interior, but the soles were nice and I liked the last shapes. They didn't have anything in my size, so I couldn't try them on. I don't like their black leathers, but they have a couple of decent browns and a pebble-grain that were quite nice. So skin quality varies, but it ain't awful (IMHO).

Anyhow, back to the question - do they feel different when you hold them in your hand? What are you observing that I am not?

Yes - they do feel a million miles away from a pair of EG, JL or even Grenson MP (IMO). To me, they are barely C&J benchgrade quality + extra work on the finishing of the channeled soles (a là Zegna) to make it look and feel more "special" or luxurious. They should be sold at the same price point as a pair of Polo shoes, not RLPL or JL. JMHO of course...

EDIT: I'll stop there because I don't want to look like I'm obsessively bashing BB. Someone asked for our take, a few of us actually saw the shoes in real life and I thought I would give an honest unbiased opinion - but re-reading my posts, it sounds like I'm on a crusade against D. Miller, which is of course not true. I wish him all the success.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdl203
To me, they are barely C&J benchgrade quality + extra work on the finishing of the channeled soles (a là Zegna) to make it look and feel more "special" or luxurious. They should be sold at the same price point as a pair of Polo shoes, not RLPL or JL.

That seems fair, if a bit harsh. I'd also put them at somewhere between C&J bench and hand-grade shoes - not a bad shoe. I agree, they ought to be sold for $400-500.

But at least we agree that they aren't Loakes... I was starting to doubt my own shoe-savvy.

And I will say this - after having seen a ton of footwear in Paris, I am a lot more oriented towards tannery and leather quality as a differentiator than I was before. And IIRC, Barker Black did not have drop-dead skins, with one notable exception...
post #25 of 25
interesting shoes, but the price would require another go at davy jones' locker. yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
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