or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Shoe question for mr. harris and bengal-stripe
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Shoe question for mr. harris and bengal-stripe

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Having recently gotten my first pair of english shoes (Crockett and Jones handgrade), I'm curious as to certain other english shoe makers and how they stack up to C&J in terms of leather, welting, patina, etc. I love the burnished patina of the C&J leather as well as the extremely slim shape overall. Specifically I wanted your opinions on these makers: Green and sons (grenson) Tricker's Edward Green New and Lingwood (not sure who makes their shoes) and any other fine english shoemakers you might be aware of (besides Lobb). Thanks very much.
post #2 of 14
My understanding is that New & Lingwood's shoes are made by Crockett & Jones and Alfred Sargent. New & Lingwood also owns the Poulsen Skone line, which is made by Edward Green. I have a pair of Paul Stuart Stuart's Choice shoes, which are made by Grenson and are equivalent in terms of construction to Grenson's Masterpieces line. Their quality is very similar to C&J's Handgrade line. Both have channeled soles, interior hand-markings, narrow waists, and other hallmarks of fine welted shoes. The punching on the Grenson shoe appears sharper -- it's a little difficult to describe without pictures, but the brogueing on the C&J shoe is a little fuzzy and indistinct. The leather that the Grenson is made from is of marginally higher quality than that the C&J shoe is made from. Although both shoes are antiqued, it's more extensively done and done with better effect on the C&J shoe. The waist on the C&J shoe is slightly narrower, and the C&J shoe has a full sock liner. My C&J shoes are more comfortable than my Grenson shoes, but I think that this is more because the C&J last (330) fits my foot better than the Grenson one (92) does. Edward Green is in a different league from either C&J Handgrade or Grenson Masterpiece. The leather is higher quality, the waist is narrower, the welt stitching is closer together, the channeling in the sole is better closed, the welt is closer cut, and the antiqueing is done to better effect than on either of the other two. On the C&J shoe, you can see the markings on the leather where the pieces were fed through a machine to punch holes on the edges. On the Edward Green shoe, you cannot. As bengal-stripe has mentioned here and elsewhere before, Edward Green is famous (or infamous) for the narrowness of their shoes. You can get C&J Handgrade for around $365 (including shipping and shoe trees) if you're willing to mail order them from Britain. Grenson Masterpieces are slightly less expensive (although Stuart's Choice shoes cost $550 per pair). The going rate for Edward Green shoes in the US is around $700 per pair (Ralph Lauren Purple Label shoes, also made by Edward Green, cost $100 or $150 more, but I think that you get the shoe trees for that price). C&J and Grenson aren't on the same level as Edward Green (or Lobb, for that matter), but they do represent pretty good bargains. I've never seen a Tricker's shoe in the flesh, so I really can't comment on them.
post #3 of 14
I think Mr. Bengal Stripe is going to be of greater assistance than me on this one. I have seen shoes from most of the firms in question but for some it's been a while so I'm going off memory: Edward Green sets the standard for sure. As Bengal Stripe pointed out, what sets these brands apart is the degree of refinement. When looking closely (I mean from a few inches away) at an Edward Green shoe it is somewhat difficult to put your finger on what makes them better. But back up a bit, take in the whole shoe - you will see a clear difference. The just look considerably nicer than any other English shoe. The only other English shoes that can compete are the John Lobb models with the beveled "bootmaker" sole. Crockett & Jones Handgrade and Grenson Masterpieces - Both very very nice shoes. I recently picked up a pair of Grenson shoes (made for Paul Stuart) on ebay. It had been a while since I had seen the Paul Stuart shoes. The shoes I bought on ebay aren't quite as nice as I remember them in the store. Maybe the shoes I bought are seconds or perhaps the store models had been polished to a higher standard. Or maybe my memory is faulty. In any event they are great shoes but still a notch below Edward Green. The leather, stitching and finish on the Edward Greens is at a slightly higher level. I will take some pictures of the Paul Stuart shoes and post them so that you can see for yourselves. My only experience with Crockett & Jones Handgrade is the models they have done for Ralph Lauren. The Polo Benchmade shoes used to all be from the regular C&J line but some of the more recent models I've seen have been handgrade (with the channeled sole.) Again, very very nice shoes. But compared to Edward Green they were a bit chunkier and the finish wasn't as dramatic. Trickers & New & Lingwood - The only Trickers I've seen in person have been the heavier "country" models. I've only seen their town shoes in pictures. They look to be heavier in scale and they don't have a channeled sole. But judging from their reputation they should be very nice shoes. I haven't had the good fortune of coming across any New & Lingwood shoes so far. A friend of mine says that the Alfred Sargent whole-cut shoes from the "Premier Exclusive Collection" are quite nice. They are whole-cut and have a channeled sole and they are pretty cheap too - about $250 including shipping: Alfred Sargent "Premier Exclusive Collection" Thracozaag - Which model of Handgrade shoes do you have? Jcusey - which model of the "Stuarts Choice" shoes did you get?
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Jcusey - which model of the "Stuarts Choice" shoes did you get?
It's a punched-toe 4-eyelet bal in an antique dark brown (a color that Paul Stuart insists on calling dark khaki for some reason that I can't fathom). It's been in both the Fall 2002 and the Spring 2003 catalogue. Grenson's model number for it is 8077.
post #5 of 14
There isn't a great deal I can add to this posts, what Messrs. Cusey and Harris haven't mentioned already. I agree with all the statements: C&J Handgrades are very fine shoes, but they are not as nice as Edward Green. But then EG charges almost a 1/3 premium compared with C&J. Like everything in life, you get very much what you pay for. It might be worth mentioning here that Grenson, Tricker's and Tim Little (who is not a manufacturer) offer a bespoke service: i.e. a factory made shoe over your personal last. Edward Green has also recently started to offer bespoke, but that is a totally handmade shoe and cost £ 1500 ($ 2300) which brings it into the price range of Cleverley and almost John Lobb. One last thought: I think all shoe manufacturers are having a hard time at present, with almost the entire market for casual and leisure shoes fallen out, in favour of sneakers and trainers (at least for the under 50s). It probably hits the top end of the market less than the cheaper makes. So for all the shoe cognoscenti on this list (yes all six of them), let's enjoy top shoes, as long as we have them.
post #6 of 14
I for one am getting the shoe cognoscenti thing by osmosis...
post #7 of 14
Quote:
But then EG charges almost a 1/3 premium compared with C&J. Like everything in life, you get very much what you pay for.
I guess that things are a bit different in Britain. If I could get Edward Green shoes for 1/3 more a pair than Crockett & Jones, I'd be turning cartwheels.
Quote:
It might be worth mentioning here that Grenson, Tricker's and Tim Little (who is not a manufacturer) offer a bespoke service: i.e. a factory made shoe over your personal last. Edward Green has also recently started to offer bespoke, but that is a totally handmade shoe and cost £ 1500 ($ 2300) which brings it into the price range of Cleverley and almost John Lobb.
In any event, a couple of questions: who makes Tim Little shoes? I bought a pair about six months ago (sight unseen, but what can you do when the shoes are in Britain and you're in the US?); and while I admire the attitude, I think that the quality of construction does not justify the price. I also wonder where Edward Green found the craftsmen to make their bespoke shoes. If the bespoke shoes are truly handmade, then they would have had to find people different from those who make their ready-made shoes. It's not like there is a large supply of craftsmen who are capable of doing this sort of work. Did they lure some people away from Lobb or Cleverley or Amesbury? By the way, do you know anything about some of the smaller French makers like Aubercy, Corthay, and Altan? I've seen some beautiful pictures of their work on the souliers.net website that you mentioned and on one of the Japanese shoe porn sites, but it's often hard to tell from pictures.
post #8 of 14
Pierre Corthay primarily makes bespoke shoes but if I read the sites below correctly he recently introduced a ready-to-wear line. Apparently he used to work for Lobb and for Berluti. Altan Bottier does bespoke, half-measure and ready-to-wear shoes. Aubercy primarily does ready-to-wear shoes. They are exquisite. I really would love to visit their shop in Paris. They do a half-measure service as well where you can pick the sole, upper, leather, broguing etc. They carry 8 widths of the more popular shoes. If one of those lasts is not sufficient in its original form they will build it up or carve it down so that the shoe will fit perfectly.       Check out these websites: Aubercy About Pierre Corthay About Pierre Corthay About Pierre Corthay Souliers - French site for fans of high-end shoes\\
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Thracozaag - Which model of Handgrade shoes do you have?
Firstly, many thanks to the wealth of information I've gotten from reading all the responses. With suits and shirts I'm on a little firmer ground, but I have a LOT to learn about shoes. I actually couldn't locate the C&J's that I got from the 2002-3 catalogue;the closest model to it was called the Belgrave, last 337. Having gotten these C&J's I've really started to admire English shoes, in particular Edward Green. In fact, I actually prefer the Edward Green double monkstrap to that of Lobb.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
I also wonder where Edward Green found the craftsmen to make their bespoke shoes. If the bespoke shoes are truly handmade, then they would have had to find people different from those who make their ready-made shoes. It's not like there is a large supply of craftsmen who are capable of doing this sort of work. Did they lure some people away from Lobb or Cleverley or Amesbury?
There has been a long tradition in English tailoring (and shoe making as well) of farming things out as piecework to other workshops. These days things have changed somewhat, when only the large Savile Row firms have survived; but traditionally one could open a tailor's as a one-man shop. The proprietor was a cutter/fitter by training. Once the customers measurements had been taken, the pattern made and the fabric had been cut, the pieces were sent out (usually to a workshop in a cheaper part of town) where they were stitched together and then went back and forth for fittings and the necessary production steps. They might even use different workshops for the same suit: a coat maker, a trousers maker and a waistcoat maker. Not forgetting a "fell-hand" for hand stitching and buttonholes. The same division of labor applies to shoe making; there are four main steps: last making, clicking (pattern making and cutting), closing (stitching the uppers) and making (stitching upper and sole together). Traditionally making is always done elsewhere. Even John Lobb sends his shoes to some other part of the country to be "made". Jason Amesbury has probably had a similar training to George Cleverley (the man). Amesbury is a last maker and clicker by training, so once the leather has been cut it goes to a firm to be closed and then to some other firm to be made, but the shoes are not "made" in house. At that particular workshop (usually somewhere in the country) Amesbury's shoes might rub shoulders with New & Lingwood's and John Lobb's. That's why I'm not sure whether the Edward Green bespoke shoes are made in house, I presume they are dispatched to a workshop specialising in hand stitching. It is the normal trade praxis in England. But of course, Amesbury or Lobb or whoever, as the master in charge would have a close eye on every stage of the production process. It is after all their prestige, which would fall through poor standards in any one stage. I am always planning of taking the train and going shopping from London to Paris (about 3h), if only for a day. When I eventually come around doing it, I will report here.
post #11 of 14
So tired after writing the other three posts, but just want to mention the Tricker's makes great shoes. While I'd put Green, Amsbury and Cleverley on the same rank (up there...), Trickers' Jermyn Street and 1829 Collections will be among Lobb, C&J Handgrade and Grenson. I do not know if they make for anyone else. Do any of you notice anything different between shoes in Edward Green label and under RL's label?
post #12 of 14
There are only very subtle differences between Edward Green shoes and the models EG produce for RLPL. RL is very fond of the last 808, which is somewhat longer and more elegant then 606 (both have a squared toe). Also RL likes punched toe medallions. For example: EG "Newbury" (a wholecut shoe, naturlaut's favorite) appeared two years back at RL with a toe medallion (and possibly on a different last). Equally RL might dig out a model from the past, which is not in EG's current catalogue. I find it nice to see, that RL respects EG's integrity and their particular house style. Unlike John Lobb, EG does not aim at new designs every season. RLPL shoes are supplied with matching shoetrees, which are made for that particular last and size. (So the shoetree for last 606 in 9E will be slightly different from the shoetree for 808 in 0E.) And, of course, the RLPL shoes have purple lining in the back part. Here is a Japanese site with EG special orders; it's the same philosophy of mix and match. It includes a number of models not in the catalogue at the moment. By changing details like the toecap or the last you get a different model. http://www.ma-maison.co.jp/foot/new.html
post #13 of 14
However, I dislike the RL shoes trees. They are finished with a layer of water-proof lacquer, thus not doing what they are supposed to do --- absorbing moisture. I have stopped using those trees and used my own cedar trees instead. I plan to order trees from Green for my size and last.
post #14 of 14
It appears the jury is still out, whether unvarnished cedar is actually desirable as material for shoetrees. (I am just repeating the argument and do not take sides.) We all agree shoetrees should absorb excessive moisture, but it is also said, that cedar shoetrees have a tendency to dry the leather out excessively, as they don't seem to stop with the surplus moisture and go on drying and absorb the natural moisture out of the leather, causing the leather to become dry and brittle. That is the reason why some authorities say you should not leave unvarnished cedar shoetrees for longer than a week in a pair of shoes. After all, even if shoetrees are non-absorbent, the moisture will evaporate through the leather into the atmosphere; it might take a bit longer. Unvarnished cedar shoetrees are relatively recent. In old American shoetrees, maple would have been the wood of choice and beech for European ones, always varnished. And shoetrees from moulded aluminium sheets were once popular. Even today, most European shoetrees are varnished and European makers believe that varnished shoetrees have advantages. Here what Jason Amesbury (a bespoke shoemaker) has to say to the topic: http://www.amesbury.co.uk/bespoke/en/trees.html As the old English saying goes: "You pays your money, takes your choice.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Shoe question for mr. harris and bengal-stripe