What you say is pretty subjective. In general, closed-channel stitching takes more work and skills to accomplish, therefore it costs more to make. Given a choice, I would go with closed-channel stitching every time because to me, it's elegant and slick. Why do you think only on more expensive brand as you mentioned from EG to Lobb that they always offer closed-stiching channel?
Some people don't care for it, maybe because they're close-minded or whatever the reason might be, but it's hard to argue that closed-channel stitching is cheap to make. At $200 dollars, having it is quite amazing to me.
Admittedly, the upper leather isn't on par with EG or Lobb, I'm not going to talk about upper leather because that's not the point of my post.
I wasn't responding to you there.
I personally LIKE closed-channel stitching. It is usually a sign that the maker cared about every detail of the shoes. Of those makers I listed above, each offers closed stitching in its' TOP line. Again, a sign that they are paying closer attention to detail in their top offerings.
However, GIVEN A CHOICE of where one would rather the maker spent manufacturing dollars, uppers or closed channel sole, it seems like a no-brainer. Would you trade a lower quality upper for closed stitching sole? OR, would you trade upper stitch quality (close, straight, uniform) for closed channel soles?
My only point was that in order to sell a pair of shoes for $200, the maker MUST be saving money somewhere in order to still make a profit. If they're paying xtra money for the sole treatment, they MUST be saving it elsewhere in order to still make a profit. All things equal, I like close channel. In a $200 shoe, I'd prefer they spend the money on the construction and the uppers. Soles is last on my priority list.