Apologies for bringing up an old thread, but I purchased some of the City line shoes about 18 months ago (from Royal Exchange store in London) and it’s been interesting seeing how they’ve fared in this period.
In summary, I wouldn’t purchase them again because (i) they’re not a bargain, (ii) they haven’t worn so well and (iii) there are better shoes at a similar price point. They’re not all bad though.
I’ve attached some pics to show how they’ve worn in this time (note they only came back from resoling/restoration from Church’s a couple of months ago). They are a bit manky and misshaped, but not overly so.
The linen half lining was a particular issue for me in the first month or two, not because of any particular deficit in quality, but where the shoe naturally creases along the bottom of the toes (and mine seemed to crease quite a bit – as you can see in the pics, there are in fact two creases, one horizontal along the toe line and one diagonal further down), the creases were very painful to begin with. Toes rubbing against an inwards crease/fold of linen or canvas is much more discomforting than against mere leather (which I don’t think would crease in the same way anyway). After a few months though, everything softened up above the toes and although the creases on the surface remain, it’s not something I feel when walking. In fact, the shoes are now exceptionally comfortable, and while I think this is the case with most pairs of shoes which have been worn in, these are particularly comfortable.
As to how they have worn, the creases have been depicted and discussed above, but more recently (and what drove me to search for this thread), there is quite a bit of cracking and in one point (see close-up image), there is what I would describe as a crevice – perhaps a symptom of these shoes being corrected leather. It feels like I could open up the crevice and peel part of the top layer away. They’ve been treated with the correct brushing, polishing care etc and even shoe trees haven’t done much to save them (though I admit, because I now have a number of other shoes I prefer, these have been relegated to the occasional deprivation of shoe trees).
I mentioned that these have already been into Church’s to be resold. They couldn’t do much about the creases (and I’m not sure the severe cracking had begun when I took them in), but they did at least revive the linen to a white colour (i.e. give it a good steam clean). Apparently I’ve still got another 2 resoles left, but I don’t imagine they’ll last until then. While I may also put down the slightly excessive wear to the fact I sometimes spend 18-24 hours in the office wearing them continually, and have a propensity to walk a mile and back to grab lunch every now and again in the City, these shoes don’t have the innate durability or quality of my other shoes.
So if anyone were considering buying a pair of these, I don’t think it would be a disaster (especially if they could be purchased at a sale price – I know branches in London were recently doing 20-30% off certain City line shoes), but I think either the linen lining and/or quality of leather makes it difficult for the shoes to hold their shape properly.