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what makes a good shoe and why they cost so much - Page 3

post #31 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoefan View Post
Finally, bespoke shoes are generally lighter and often more flexible than their RTW counterparts, which can offer substantial benefits in terms of reduced fatigue after a day of walking about.
.

this question has never been answered around here and i still don't get, how a better constructed and better made shoe would be lighter?
post #32 of 232
DWFII, thanks for taking the time to post all of this very useful information. I always appreciate your input.
post #33 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
There are more than a few bootmakers in this country who try to preserve and honour the techniques of the past...techniques that are described in Rees and elsewhere and that their fathers and grandfathers practiced. But more than one has simply decided that such skills and materials are old hat and decided to move on. "That's the way we used to do it," to quote one wag.

For all the reasons above. I really admire the older techniques---to use them requires infinitely more skill, a better eye, and a certain refined sensibility. All that equates to more time...and that is almost the antithesis of today's modern "factory mentality."

Plus it's just the challenge of something new at my stage of life...it's almost like re-inventing yourself. Starting a new career without all the awkwardness and uncertainty.

Thank you, DWF. Here are some photographs of La Casa de Las Botas in Buenos Aires, where I had a pair of bespoke hunter/jumpers made up...you might enjoy seeing a category of shoemaking that does not aim at the ultimate in craft, but is very old fashioned nonetheless:

Argentina is a horse-mad country, and the perfect place to get boots made up. The dollar is also strong there. Some scenes from La Casa de Las Botas:



It's a tiny shop, and hearkens back to an age when bespoke shoes and clothing were more of an everyday option.







The bootmaker at work.



Lasts stored with no romance.



I settle details with the owner. As you can see from the photographs on the wall, this is little shop that is serious about its purpose.

Shots of the finished boots:











Beautiful bespoke trees.



- B
post #34 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post



Beautiful bespoke trees.

- B

That is really cool. If you don't mind my asking, when do you actually wear them?
post #35 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post
That is really cool. If you don't mind my asking, when do you actually wear them?

I never wear the trees.

The boots I might wear about ten times from spring and to fall, if I'm lucky.


- B
post #36 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
So how do you know? You educate yourself...and you think about how much more skill is required to make a shoe with a channeled outsole than one that is stitched aloft. And why that might be important. With deep regrets, I have to suspect that if Loakes are stitching aloft, then they have seen better days. And maybe don't deserve your dollar...especially if you are paying it thinking you are buying best quality...or even better (good, better, best) quality.
Truer words have never been spoken. As the Loakes are my first foray into the world of true gentlemen's shoes, I suppose I can expect a bit of beginner's folly. You learn from your experiences, and sometimes are lucky enough to learn from others. Bookmarked.
post #37 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
I never wear the trees.

- B

vox at its best



I settle details with the owner. As you can see from the photographs on the wall, this is little shop that is serious about its purpose.

i really love these ankle boots and + 1 to the purpose of this shop. great post
post #38 of 232
It's interesting to see the scathing opinion of exposed outsole stitching when several of the mid tier brands like Alden, Church's, and non-handgrade C&Js do just that. I presumed the only advantage of a channeled sole was purely regarding aesthetics, but I guess that isn't the case.
post #39 of 232
Epic thread.. thank you, DWFII for sharing your knowledge!
post #40 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramuman View Post
It's interesting to see the scathing opinion of exposed outsole stitching when several of the mid tier brands like Alden, Church's, and non-handgrade C&Js do just that. I presumed the only advantage of a channeled sole was purely regarding aesthetics, but I guess that isn't the case.
The channel does offer protection for the stitching, but only for a finite length of time. Whilst the OP has made some very good and interesting points and highlighted the skills involved with making fantastic footwear. To simply dismiss stitched aloft shoes in the manner he has, is, in my opinion somewhat disrespectful to those companies that offer this choice of finish. What he has failed to point out is that many of the shoe companies, for this I refer to those in Northampton, rely heavily on big orders and large turnaround just simply to survive. Providing a channelled sole when producing (in some cases) in excess of 2000 pairs per week is unrealistic. These are relatively small companies, and rightly or wrongly speed is of the essence. Does that make them any less of a good product, in my opinion no. They're not bespoke shoes and are not priced as such. I'm more than happy with the quality of my Church's, C&Js, Grenson's, Cheaney's et all and they've all got stitched aloft soles. Typically a channelled sole shoe from an English manufacturer will come on a higher grade (RTW) shoe, Edward Green, John Lobb etc, and as we know those shoes come at a premium (bespoke even more), which not everyone can afford. Would we like to see channelled soles on all English made shoes? Sure. Reality and economics for the companies involved unfortunately dictates otherwise. To dismiss them out of hand is wrong in my opinion, they're priced at a region which makes them more affordable and will last many years if cared for.
post #41 of 232
I guess I'll be the first to suggest a pin, on this highly informative and excellent read. Much appreciated DFWII.
post #42 of 232
Working as a shoemaker I want to add that in my mind I hope the reason for order a pair of good costly shoes would be more then about durability and methods! I know very well that high end factories as those mentioned here can make durable shoes of good quality and I don't think that none of them are stitching their soles aloft. I am pretty sure they bury the stitches into the sole in one way or another even though some of them don't cover the stitches with a flap of leather. Some years ago I visited J.L. factory in Northampton and a guy took me to a tour around the factory. I was impressed by the the way they made their shoes. They where using top grade leather and I couldn't see anything that I would like to complain about so if it is about durability I think they are all fine. I hope the reason for buying stuff that is made by makers in the West End area of London or D.W. in Oregon or perhaps me up north in Sweden is to get something that the factories can not offer i.e. a product that is made specifically for the client. The durability will of course be there too as the fit will be. And not to forget the personal contact with the maker which hopefully will last over many years. I read about the English motorcycle manufacturer Vincent HRD that their motto where "our m.c. are made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts" I think that motto is what keep this "good costly shoe" trade running. Well, just my thoughts for what they are worth.
post #43 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiaroscuro View Post
I guess I'll be the first to suggest a pin, on this highly informative and excellent read.

Seconded
post #44 of 232
OP, thanks for your insight. Since you've been making points about durability, what is your opinion on adding a rubber topy to the sole of a leather shoe? And how about rubber soles in general?
post #45 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groover View Post
The channel does offer protection for the stitching, but only for a finite length of time.
If done correctly, a hand cut outsole channel will embed the stitches roughly one-third to one-half the thickness of the outsole. So, it begs the question...how much protection for the stitches do you want when you pay top dollar for a pair of shoes? Half of the substance before the stitches begin to be abraded...or instantaneous tearing, fraying and loss of integrity? What Groover, has missed in the rush to justify is that yes, it takes a lot of time to hand channel an outsole. More than most manufacturers could justify. It may take upwards of two to three hours per pair to hand channel and hand stitch an outsole. Shocking eh? But!! As I mentioned repeatedly, any...any...outsole stitching machine can be set up to cut a vertical channel as the machine is stitching. Simultaneously. Think about this...if the outsole is going to be stitched and the machine can cut a channel at the same time... what is lost? Not time. Not energy. Not even much in the way of attention. It doesn't even take a particularly high skilled worker to do this (although it does require a little something more than a wino off the corner). So wages don't even have to be adjusted. There is even an attachment for the finishing machine that will close the channel at the same time the outsole is being prepared for tinting and waxing.
Quote:
Whilst the OP has made some very good and interesting points and highlighted the skills involved with making fantastic footwear. To simply dismiss stitched aloft shoes in the manner he has, is, in my opinion somewhat disrespectful to those companies that offer this choice of finish.
Groover has made a good point...unfortunately, it is not one that addresses in any way the fundamental issues contained in my remarks. I repeatedly stressed that I was talking about high quality shoes, emphasizing again and again that bespoke was the ideal. Moreover, I did not mention any names of any companies. Am I dismissive of factory made shoes? Yes...in comparison to hand made shoes, you bet. It is simply a matter of understanding that there are real differences and having the courage to recognize them. The bottom line is, and I think it is worth repeating and remembering--it costs...even manufacturers...nothing to cut a channel in the outsole and embed the stitches. Nothing!
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