fritzl - These are boots, not shoes, and the original design of the "Indy" was as a workboot and so they would certainly lack the "esthetic" you would be expecting in shoes. Harrison Ford wore his personal Alden workboots in the Indian Jones movie series and so they became popular as "Indys" and now Alden lovers, including me, have tried to make them acceptable as casual footwear. So, when you state that these boots are "clunky," consider/remember their original purpose.
But it's not easy to pull off a chestnut bal. Needs a linen lounge suit or seersucker at a garden party or the track, not so great for work wear or anything formal. In other words, this kind of shoe is dating very quickly and in most contexts looks like costume, a big no no for me.
A friend of mine did it.
First you have to remove the burnishing using acetone.
Then make the new burnishing with special dye (french brand "Aux Drapeaux"), generally a mix of different colours following your choice (for exemple 5% black, 35% brown, 60% red).
Spoo the arguments here are based on so much more. Gemmed vs. non-gemmed or whether spade shoes from 80 years ago have any relevance in today's world, the average stuff people speak about anywhere in teh world.
These are 2 topics that have caused much of the unrest in the Middle East in recent years.
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.
A lot depends on how you define "closed channel" and even more on how it is done.
Some closed channel stitching will see the channel wear open and expose the threads in short order...and in the process the leather looks terribly ragged and tawdry.
A channel can be cut that is parallel to the surface of the outsole. It won't last long.
A channel can be cut that is perpendicular to the surface of the outsole. It will be visible from the outset..
A channel can be cut at an angle and it will wear cleanly and protect the thread.
Bottom line, however is that protecting the threads is the main objective. And a "channel" must be tightly closed to be effective in that achieving that goal.
A channel that is really just a groove is not effective...aesthetically or functionally.
If a company chooses to sell at a certain price level...to "occupy a niche" ...that does not afford a decent profit without compromising quality, then you're correct that choosing to use better quality raw materials rather than invest in what is essentially cosmetic ...ornamentations...is a survival strategy. But any company that operates within those kinds of constraints will never produce a consistently high quality product simply because the bar is always moving.